DFW Camp Expo

What to Pack for Sleepaway Camp

What to pack at sleepaway camp. Sending your child off to sleepaway camp can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. As a parent, one of the most important tasks is ensuring that your child is well-prepared. Part of that is making sure they are prepared for their time away from home.

In this article, we’ll discuss the essential clothing items pack for your child and provide some helpful tips for making the packing process as smooth as possible.

Here’s how and what to pack for sleepaway camp:

what to pack for sleepaway camp a picture of all the clothes laid out ready to pack.

Clothing Essentials

The Basics

  1. Everyday Clothes: Pack enough comfy, casual clothes for the whole time they’ll be at camp. Think:
    • T-shirts
    • Shorts
    • Long-sleeve shirts
    • Jeans or pants
    • Light jacket or sweatshirt for those cooler evenings
  2. Pajamas: Every kid needs comfy sleepwear.
  3. Underwear and Socks: Pack plenty—more than you think they’ll need.
  4. Special Outfits: If the camp has theme nights or special events, make sure to pack any costumes or specific outfits.


  1. Sneakers: A sturdy pair of sneakers is a must for daily activities and sports.
  2. Sandals/Flip Flops: Great for showering and casual wear.
  3. Water Shoes: Perfect for water sports and activities by the lake or river.
  4. Hiking Boots: If the camp includes hiking, they’ll want a good pair of broken-in hiking boots.


  1. Rain Gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho and an umbrella will do the trick.
  2. Hat and Sunglasses: Protect your kiddo from the sun during outdoor fun.

Bedding and Linens

  1. Sleeping Bag: A good sleeping bag suitable for the camp’s climate.
  2. Pillow: A comfy pillow for a good night’s sleep.
  3. Sheets and Blankets: If the camp provides beds, pack fitted sheets and a warm blanket.
  4. Laundry Bag: A sturdy bag to stash dirty laundry.

Extra Clothes

What to pack for sleepaway camp.

When it comes to packing clothes for sleepaway camp, it’s important to consider the duration of your child’s stay and the activities they will be participating in.

Most camps recommend packing enough clothes for a week, and some camps have laundry facilities available for campers to use.

However, it’s always a good idea to pack a few extra of each item, just in case. As for the types of clothes to pack, you should consider the weather:

  • For summer camps, lightweight and breathable clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, and swimsuits are essential.
  • For winter break camps, be sure to pack plenty of layers, including long-sleeve shirts, pants, and a jacket.

While it’s important to pack a variety of clothes for your child, it’s also essential to keep in mind that space is limited at camp. Encourage your child to pack only what they need and to avoid overpacking, as they’ll need to carry their own luggage to and from their cabin.

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Clothing for Special Activities

Some sleepaway camps may require special clothing.

In addition to everyday clothing, it’s important to pack specialized clothing for specific activities.

If your kid will be participating in water activities, such as swimming or kayaking, be sure to pack quick-drying swimwear and water shoes. For outdoor adventures, it’s important to pack sturdy, closed-toe shoes and hiking boots, as well as clothing that provides sun protection, such as wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeve shirts. It’s also a good idea to pack a rain jacket or poncho, as well as extra socks and underwear to keep your child dry and comfortable during unexpected rain showers.

These are common items you may need for specific camps:

Activity-Specific Items

  1. Sports Equipment: If your child is attending a summer athletic camp bring the necessary gear (e.g., tennis racket, baseball glove).
  2. Musical Instruments: For kids attending a summer music camp, make sure they pack it properly with all necessary accessories.
  3. Swimsuit: Even if your camper won’t be in the great outdoors, many facilities still have a pool.
  4. Books: For keeping reading skills sharp.
  5. Journal and Pens: Great for writing about camp adventures.
  6. Camera: A disposable or digital camera to capture memories.
  7. Board Games/Cards: Small games for some fun during free time.

Camping Gear

  1. Flashlight/Headlamp: And don’t forget extra batteries.
  2. Water Bottle: A durable, reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  3. Backpack/Daypack: Handy for day trips and hikes.


  1. Rain Gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho and an umbrella to keep dry.
  2. Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun during outdoor fun.

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A list of what to pack for Sleepaway camp in terms of toiletries.

Toiletries are a crucial part of any packing list, as they ensure that your child stays clean and healthy while away from home. Familiar items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and sunscreen can actually be comforting for your camper.

Here’s what toiletries to pack for sleepaway camp:

  1. Toiletry Bag: A compact bag to keep all your kiddo’s toiletries organized.
  2. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Gotta keep those teeth clean!
  3. Shampoo and Conditioner: Travel-sized bottles save space. If your camper will be spending time outdoors, consider a shampoo bar.
  4. Body Wash/Soap: Pack a bar of soap or body wash.
  5. Hairbrush/Comb: To keep their hair looking good.
  6. Deodorant: When applicable.
  7. Sunscreen: High SPF to protect against sunburn.
  8. Bug Repellent: To keep those pesky Texas bugs away.
  9. Towels and Washcloths: The camp will let you know if your child needs to bring their own towels. If they do, make sure to pack a few for showering and swimming.
  10. Personal Hygiene Products: Make sure to bring any necessary items like sanitary products or tampons for girls.

Medications and Health Essentials

  1. Medications: Pack all prescribed medications with clear instructions.
  2. Allergy Medications: If you need them, don’t forget EpiPens or other allergy meds.

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Packing Tips

Packing for sleepaway camp doesn’t have to be stressful. With these final tips, easily prepare your camper for a fun, safe, and memorable camp experience.

A few final tips for packing for sleepaway camp:

  1. Label Everything: Use permanent markers or iron-on labels to mark all your clothes and personal items with your name.
  2. Pack Light: Only bring what’s necessary to avoid overpacking.
  3. Use Camp Packing Lists: Follow the camp’s recommended packing list and cross-check with this guide to make sure you don’t forget anything.
  4. Get Involved: Let your child help with the packing process so they know what’s packed and where to find it.

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Find the Right Sleepaway Camp

Packing for sleepaway camp requires thoughtful consideration and careful planning, just like finding the right camp! Check out our directory of the best summer camps in the DFW area.