Camp Half Moon in the Berkshire Mountains since 1922, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

The Right Way to Pack for Overnight Summer Camp near New Hampshire

Packing for camp can be a very stressful process. There are so many things you need to remember! What if you forget a shoe or a tube of toothpaste? What if you pack all the wrong kinds of clothes? Fortunately, we here at Camp Half Moon are ready to help you face your fear of packing and get on to the fun. Though we still have a few months to go, it is never too early to start the packing process, and we think the sooner, the better. Here are some tips on exactly how to pack, stress-free!


Step 1- Organization: First and foremost, you must go in to the packing process with a clear idea of exactly what you need. Consider all the possible weather conditions, you will want not only summery clothes such as shorts and tank tops, but also sweatpants and long sleeve shirts. And you will of course want your customized Camp Half Moon apparel! Remember, in an overnight camping environment “it is better to have and not need than to need and not have.” For this reason, before you even lay out your clothes or shop at all, make an exact list (excel spreadsheets may sound over the top, but can be quite useful) with checkboxes so you can keep up on all the items you want and whether or not you have them.


Step 2- Miscellaneous: Of course, your list already includes the basic clothing items and shoes. But often it is easy to forget the miscellaneous items. Do not forget to include all your personal hygiene needs. (shampoos and hairsprays, face washes, etc.) It is also important to have outdoor ready products such as sunscreen, bug repellents, deodorant, and hats.


Step 3- Shopping: Obviously, the items that you have put on your list are not all already in your possession. However, the key to shopping for camp is to not over – or under – shop. Before leaving for the store go through every item on your list, including small things such as nail clippers and bed sheets. Look around your house for all of these items and locate them, don’t just assume that you have it. Once you know exactly what you already have, mark it on your list and head out to the store.  You may need to buy an additional item even if you already have it, for example an extra bottle of shampoo or a back up pair of sneakers- it is better to be safe than sorry, so mark it on your list and purchase an extra one. Also, not everything that you have in your home is “camp friendly.” Certain things have a tendency to get dirty or ruined while at camp. Take this in to consideration when laying out what you do and do not need. Once you have all your home items gathered, you can collect the new ones.


Step 4: Labeling: Labeling your personal belongings is a very important thing to do. For the purpose of laundry, you may need to label all clothing items. Buy sew-in or iron-on labels with your child’s full name inside and place these in clothes. You can take to socks and underwear with a permanent marker (just initials will do), and a folded label or handwritten name on the tag of bathing suits will suffice. Most importantly, do not forget the small stuff. Though no laundry will be separating your child’s flip flops or toothpastes, these items still need labels. Being in a bunk with many other campers can cause items to be lost or confused for someone else’s. For easy identification, label (with vinyl stick-ons, stamps, or permanent marker) personal belongings.


Step 5- The Setup: Easy unpacking once at camp starts with organized packing beforehand. To make it easy for your camper to get settled in, pack with a method. Put similar types of clothing in the same piles in your trunks, and pair shoes on one side. Keep bathroom items in plastic shoe boxes or crates, and put small items and jewelry or money in a lockbox or small drawer unit. This will help you to keep track of what types of things you have already packed, and will help to ensure an easy unpacking! What a relief.


Step 6- The Final Touches: Once you’ve put everything together, towels in stacks, stuffed animals in place, and water bottles in line, it’s time to do the finishing check. Make sure everything on your list is ready and accounted for. Survey the boxes and trunks that are packed up and look for organization and a full count of all items you wished to bring. It is a good idea to pack a fresh copy of your packing list (with unchecked boxes) in to your bags so it can be used to account for all items you packed prior to camp and re-pack to come home!


Now that you have all the tips to the packing process, it’s time to get started! No need to fear the under packing or missing items any longer, with this detailed guide there is no way to fail. Go in prepared and remember to follow all of your steps. Packing this year will be easy as pie, and camp coming so soon is just the cherry on top.