You're sending your child off to a sports camp this summer, but do you have everything you need to pack for them? Trying to remember everything can be overwhelming, and while the camp may send you a suggested packing list, it's possible that the organizers didn't include everything your kid will need.
Whether it's a day camp, an overnight camp, or a week filled with your child's favorite sport, let's review a list of supplies you should pack. Don't forget to label everything.
Day Camp Packing List
Many sports programs offer day camps only. Though you won't need to pack a lot of items, it is good to send your child off with supplies to get them through the day.
- Backpack (ideally sturdy, but lightweight)
- Bagged lunch
- Combination lock (if necessary)
- Extra socks
- Hat with a brim and/or sunglasses
- Medications your child takes regularly or might need (find out the camp's policy on this in advance)
- Reusable water bottle
- Spending money
- Sports equipment and safety gear (make sure everything fits and is in good shape beforehand)
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, lip balm, hand sanitizer
- Swimsuit, goggles, and towel in a plastic or waterproof bag
- Windbreaker or sweatshirt (in case of chilly weather or rain)
Overnight Camp Packing List
Overnight sports camps, whether a single night or a full week, will require more preparation. You want to ensure your child has everything needed to participate in the day's activities as well as sleep comfortably at night.
Be sure to include workout clothes, safety equipment, special footwear such as cleats or ice skates, and so on. Double-check in advance that everything fits well and is not worn out or broken.
If your child will use a locker, be sure to provide a combination lock.
Clothing should include shorts and t-shirts (or whatever your child wears to play their sport) along with plenty of socks and underwear. Sweatshirts, sweatpants, and a light rain jacket should be included for chillier days, and pajamas are required for nighttime. Flip-flops or sandals can be packed for downtime as well. Some camps have a special event or two that require dressier clothing, too.
It depends on how tough your child is on clothes and whether the laundry is available, but one set of clothes for every day of camp, plus two spares, is a good rule of thumb. You may want to provide a laundry bag (even a labeled trash bag will do) for your child to keep their dirty clothes in.
It's also a good idea to find out if there are special spirit days where your child will need to wear a particular color or even a costume.
Even at camps dedicated to other sports, your child will likely have an opportunity to swim. Consider packing a swimsuit or two, goggles, flip-flops, earplugs (if needed), and a beach towel if the camp doesn't supply them.
Every camp is different, but you may need to supply sheets, pillowcases, a pillow, a blanket or sleeping bag, towels, and a laundry bag. Be sure to check with the camp to see what they provide.
Sun and Bug Protection
Hats, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen can protect your athlete from the sun. Lip balm is also important sun protection. Make sure your child understands that sunscreen should be applied daily and reapplied frequently.
Check with the camp to see if bug spray is needed, if it is provided, and if it is allowed. You might also be able to get a recommendation for a spray that is useful to ward off bugs that are native to the area where your child's camp is located.
Pack whatever your child uses regularly. Be sure to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a washcloth. Your child may need a small tote to carry items back and forth from the showers as well.
In the toiletry kit, include some basic first-aid supplies, such as bandages or blister pads. Additionally, find out the camp's policy about prescription and over-the-counter medications your child may need. These often need to be kept and dispensed by the camp medical staff.
Books, magazines, letter-writing materials, and stamps are also good things to pack. A journal, craft supplies, a Frisbee, or Hacky Sack may also be taken along. Anything that your child enjoys to occupy their downtime.
Many camps don't allow electronics because camp offers kids a time to unplug. If permitted, you can pack an MP3 player, phone, or tablet along with the appropriate charger. However, remind your child that camp is about the sport and making new friends, so reducing screen time can help them get the most out of the experience.
If your child does not bring a smartphone to camp, find out if you should provide a phone card for calls home. You may also want to pack an inexpensive disposable camera if the phone isn't coming along.
There's always the little things that should be packed for camp. Most kids will find a flashlight, water bottle, small fan, and alarm clock useful. If the camp allows it, you can also pack their favorite snacks.
Lastly, inquire about spending money. Find out if it is allowed and get a recommendation for how much is needed. Be sure your child has guidelines for how to spend the money wisely.