Tips for packing for first year campers

Written by Camper Mom Jennifer Suber with input from other Gravatt moms and edited by the summer camp staff.

1.   Use a trunk or a plastic Rubbermaid tote (not suitcases) to pack your child’s belongings (this can be placed at the foot of his/her bed and can be used for storage or a place to sit). Plastic totes are definitely the more affordable option, and counselors say they last longer.

2.   Send an old bathmat to place next to your child’s bed so he/she can wipe his/her feed before getting into bed (which will save them from having a sandy sleeping experience!)

3.   Send a plastic, three drawer tower (which you can purchase from Walmart or Target). There are no cubbies and no storage in the tents where you child will be staying. Your child can use the drawers as a night stand AND have a place to put clothes so that he/she does not have to dig through a trunk each time he/she needs an outfit.

4.   Use large Ziplock bags to help keep your child’s clothes separated. Socks in one, underwear in another, etc. OR pack one outfit per day in each bag so your child just needs to grab and go! This is especially helpful for younger children.

5.   Don’t buy new outfits, just send the clothes you have! Your kids will have a BLAST at camp but really don’t need anything “nice” to wear except for maybe one “cute” outfit they can wear to the dance – but that is not required. They can wear what they want!  At least one pair of thick, non-athletic shorts (as they are too thin) for high ropes is needed.

6.   Write all your letters / create your care package (remember - no food!) to your camper in advance and bring them to camp when you drop off your child. Your son/daughter will receive mail each day, so you can write all your letters in advance, label them with your child’s name and the date you want them delivered, and now you don’t have to worry about using the USPS! The same goes for care packages. Gravatt requests a donation for this service. It's tax-deductible, less expensive than the PO, and is guaranteed to get to your camper before the end of the session. Plus that money goes to help other children come to camp.

7.   Send a battery-operated fan –The nights get hot at Gravatt. To cool things off, send a camping-style (battery operated) fan that they can place on their three-drawer night stand.

8.   Send a bucket / shower caddy that they can carry their toiletries in to the bathrooms (be sure there are holes in the bottom to let the water drain!) Flip flops for the showers are also a good idea.

9.   Send an egg crate or some other kind of mattress pad – the mattresses at camp are wrapped in plastic, so if you have a light sleeper or someone that is bothered by the “rustling of plastic” when they turn over, you may want to bring something that muffles the sound / gives them extra comfort to put on the mattress under the fitted sheet.

10.                Send individual-use toothpaste packets. Your child then does not have to keep up with a tube of toothpaste. It also can be made into a “game” to see if they can finish all the packets during camp so that you know they are brushing their teeth!

11.            Pack a laundry bag. One with a string that will hang on the end of the bed is perfect.

12.           Send several towels. Counselors suggest white ones because they can be bleached, although any old towels will do. Write your last name on them with a Sharpie, or be prepared that they won't all come back.

13.          Don't forget the sunscreen and bug spray!

14.          Make a copy of all your camp paperwork before you send it in. Bring that with you on the day of check-in just in case.

15.         Pack medication separately. You're going to need to hand it to the healthcare supervisor at check-in, and you don't want to have go digging for it.

When you pick up your child – they will be happy – you will be happy – but you will have a lot of LAUNDRY! Consider spending a few hours at the laundry mat so you can wash everything at one time!


Note from Gravatt... Here is the official packing list:

Shirts & Shorts
Heavy Shorts for Ropes Course
Socks & Underwear
Close-toed Shoes**
Bathing Suits
Pajamas Raincoat / Poncho
Jacket / Sweatshirt
Laundry Bag
Toilet Articles
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Sheets & Blanket/Sleeping Bag
Pillow & Case
Bath / Beach Towels
Insect Repellant
Flashlight & Extra Batteries Stationery/Stamps & Pencil / Pen
White T-Shirt for Tie Dye*
Water Bottle*