children wearing backpacks that have name bubble labels

10 Summer Camp Packing Hacks for Ultimate Organization

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What to Pack for Summer Camp + Creative Ways to Organize Your Child’s Overnight Bag

Sending the kids off to camp, and trying to figure out what to pack – or HOW to pack it? Then you’ll need this list of summer camp packing hacks.

Packing for an overnight trip isn’t much fun, but it’s even less fun when you get there and realize something is missing. And we all know how things tend to get lost at camp!

Let’s make sure the kiddos have a great, stress-free time by getting everything as organized as possible and ensuring that nothing important goes missing.

We’ll start with the list of my top summer camp packing tips, and then we’ll go over what – and what NOT – to bring to summer camp.

summer camp gear labeled with name bubbles and text that reads: summer camp packing hacks

This post was sponsored by Name Bubbles.

1. Color Code Each Kid

To avoid mix-ups, you need some way to keep track of what belongs to whom. 

One idea is to let each of your kids choose a color, and then pack only things in that color. And for items that don’t allow for color coding, you could get some colored tape and write their name on it.

I have to admit, this isn’t my favorite solution, though. It seems a little tricky, and won’t work for everything. Which brings us to my next summer camp packing hack….

2. Label Everything

An alternative to color coding, and perhaps a better option, is to label all of your kiddo’s things with custom name labels, such as those from Name Bubbles.

If you’re not quite sure what Name Bubbles are, let me enlighten you! They’re some of the easiest to use and strongest-sticking customizable name labels — oh, and they’re waterproof. 

You can use Name Bubbles labels on:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes and sandals
  • Bathing suits
  • Towels
  • Water bottle
  • Coats and sweatshirts
  • Toiletries
  • Outdoor gear 
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
  • Sports equipment
  • Medical supplies
  • Suitcase or duffel bag
  • And more

In fact, they will stick to nearly anything, and while they are removable, they won’t simply fall off.

And if you order the camp value pack, you’ll get a variety of label sizes: 

Waterproof Name Labels

  • 20 | Small Rectangle Labels 1.8″ x 0.5″
  •   5 | Rectangle Labels 2.8″ x 0.7″
  •   4 | Square Contact Labels 1.5″ x 1.5″

Waterproof Shoe Labels

  •  4 | Shoe Labels 0.8″ x 1.6″

Press-and-Stick Clothing Labels

  • 40 | Circle Clothing Labels 0.7″

Check out the camp value packs here.

3. Pack Old Clothes and Shoes

Unfortunately, no matter how well everything is labeled, some things might not make it back home. This is why it’s so important not to send anything nice – old, stained clothing and old shoes are a must.

4. Put Toiletries in a Caddy

Grab some travel sized bottles to fill with the necessities (shampoo, conditioner, etc.) and put all their toiletries in a shower caddy. This will make it easy for kids of any age to transport their things to the bathroom or shower.

Also, wrap hair ties around the handle of their hair brush to keep them from getting lost.

5. Pack Extras of the Essentials

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are bound to disappear, and you should definitely label them – but also include doubles of the essentials when packing for summer camp.

6. Roll Up Outfits (Together)

Put together outfits, including socks and underwear, and roll them together. You could either wrap a large rubber band around it or put the outfit in a gallon size resealable bag or packing cube.

Make sure to include a couple extra outfits!

7. Include a “Dirty Clothes” Bag

What is your child going to do with dirty clothes at the end of the day? Include some sort of bag, whether mesh or a grocery bag, for them to store used clothing that needs to be washed.

8. Pack WITH Your Child

What happens when your kid gets to camp and you’re not there to help them find their toothbrush? Eliminate the stress by having them HELP you pack, so they know exactly where everything is, instead of packing FOR them.

9. Add a Fun Surprise

Surprise your kiddo with something special that they will find once they get to camp. This could be a handwritten note, a new journal, or whatever will make them smile. 

10. Include Your Packing List

Finally, once everything has been packed, include your original packing list so your child can make sure they don’t forget anything once camp is over. 

What Should I Pack for Summer Camp?

Now that I’ve shared my list of summer camp packing tips, you might be wondering what exactly to pack.

Likely, your kids’ camp will provide a list but, if not, here is a list of things you might need to include:

  1. T-shirts
  2. Sweatshirts
  3. Jacket
  4. Shorts/pants
  5. Pajamas
  6. Undergarments/socks
  7. Bathing suits
  8. Towels
  9. Shoes/sandals
  10. Hats
  11. Sunglasses
  12. Backpack (for hiking)
  13. Dirty clothes bag
  14. Disposable cameras
  15. Bedding (sheets, comforter, pillow – if not provided)
  16. Sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
  17. Water bottle
  18. Resealable baggies
  19. Shower caddy
  20. Shampoo/conditioner
  21. Face/body wash
  22. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
  23. Deodorant, razor (for older kids)
  24. Hair brush and ties
  25. Nail clippers
  26. Lip balm
  27. Lotion
  28. Glasses and case
  29. Contacts, solution, contacts case
  30. First aid kit

Of course, your packing list might vary a bit, but this should give you a general idea. Your child might need some specific sports equipment, outdoor gear, medication, or other things not included on this list.

And, quick reminder – make sure to label absolutely everything!

What Can You Not Bring to Summer Camp?

Wondering if there’s anything you should NOT send to summer camp? 

Don’t pack these things:

  • Nice clothes or shoes
  • Electronic devices
  • Food with nuts
  • Anything valuable

Electronics include cell phones, music players, laptops, and so on… Time to get unplugged!

Also, you’ll want to consider whether or not to send anything sentimental, like a special stuffed animal or blanket, in case it gets lost.

Summer Camp Packing Hacks – Final Thoughts

And there you have it – my best summer camp packing hacks! 

Make sure to use the discount code WRITERMOM10 when ordering your Name Bubbles labels.

Read More:

19 Tips to Prepare Your Kids for Summer Camp Success

13 At-Home Summer Camp Ideas for Kids Who Are Missing Out

21 Awesome Summer Camp Ideas at Home

Name Bubbles Review: Personalized Name Labels for School, Daycare & More

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