What does your girl need to pack for camp?

[This post originally appeared at on GSWNY’s blog]

Recently one of our camp experts took to Facebook Live to show everyone tips and tricks behind packing for camp. She uses her extensive experience to guide us through the struggle of thinking we need to bring everything plus the kitchen sink.

For easy reference, here’s a list of her suggestions:

What gear/equipment do I need for camp?

  • WATER BOTTLE – Please encourage your daughter to drink water regularly at camp. Just because she doesn’t feel thirsty doesn’t mean she’s not dehydrated.
  • Sleeping bag, best if rated for down to at least 40 degrees – character bags, novelty bags, etc are meant for sleeping indoors in a temperature controlled room. Nature gets cold at night (colder than some people realize).
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight (and extra set of batteries)
  • Washcloth and towel for showers
  • Towel for swimming
  • Bug spray (no aerosol)
  • SUNSCREEN! (No aerosol) Please teach your daughter how to apply it and how MUCH to apply. Staff and other girls can help with places like her back. Your hairline CAN BURN! If her hair is parted, encourage her to put some sunscreen on the part even if she doesn’t like the feel of it in her hair.
  • Hat/sunglasses
  • Poncho/jacket/etc – please no umbrellas, they make it hard to do activities and are an injury-risk
  • Mess kit with dunk bag – plastic bowl, plate, cup, and silverware, and a mesh bag. You can buy these pieces separately at Walmart and use a mesh laundry bag for very cheap if you can’t find a kit you like
  • Backpack
  • Bag for dirty laundry

What clothing do I need?

  • Sneakers! You CANNOT hike in sandals.
  • Sweatshirt
  • One-piece bathing suit (best suited for lawn games that involve running, slip-n-slide, etc) Two-pieces and bikinis can be uncomfortable for very active activities.
  • Item to tie-dye (cotton shirt, bandanna, etc).
  • Long pants for hiking
  • A few extra pair of underwear – You don’t want to go swimming, then put dirty underwear back on! Ew!
  • Sandals for showering

What personal items should I bring?

  • Medication – This gets checked-in with the nurse on arrival at camp. The nurse will either keep the medicine locked up and distribute it at the required times, or will make note about the girl carrying the item with her (such as asthma medication).
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush and hair ties
  • Any other personal care items (deodorant, contact solution and case, glasses, soap, shampoo, menstrual care, etc)
  • Optional items: books, film camera (no digital), stuffed animal, stationary and stamps, compass

Can I bring food?

  • No! Because of allergy concerns and more importantly because animals will smell food (even through wrappers) and raid tents, please do not pack or send your daughter food.

What else should NOT be packed?

  • Fruity smelling personal care items (animals can mistake the scent for food)
  • Body sprays, perfumes, etc.
  • Aerosol containers of any kind
  • Valuable jewelry
  • Electronic devices (phones, music players, digital cameras, etc)
  • Pocket knives or weapons (if pocket knives are needed for an activity, they will be supplied by the counselor)
  • Permanent markers (or really any art supplies! We have a whole building devoted to art! You’ll have everything you need there!)

What else?

  • Some programs require special equipment such as horse programs or off-site trips will have special items to pack. Please make sure you refer to your Camp Information Packet or call 1-888-837-6410 for questions about packing.

What are some ways to make packing easy?

  • Put all of a day’s clothing in a ziplock bag, smush the air out, zip it up, and label it. Also do the same for “extra” items like extra socks and underwear to make them easy to find. An empty grocery bag is enough room for all (or almost all) dirty clothing throughout the week.
  • Pack minimal where possible. You don’t need a whole entire container of shampoo for a week at camp. That bottle lasts a month or more at home, so estimate how much you’ll need then put it in a smaller container labelled with your girl’s name.
  • If your daughter is wearing any Girl Scout clothing or something common (such as a solid-colored sweatshirt), put her name on the tag. Girls that lose their cookie program sweatshirts often have them returned within an hour or two if they have their name on the tag. Without a name, it can take a significantly longer time. Names on the tag also prevent clothing mix-ups.

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