If your child is signed up for a Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camp this summer, it’s time to let the packing prep begin! We know that the beginning of March may seem early to start thinking about packing but, trust us, you’ll be thanking us this summer that you started to think about summer camp packing now so it’s not crunch time at the end. In order to ease the packing process, we’ve broken packing down into three steps for you:
Step 1: Consult Your Camp
If you’re new to your camp, start by reaching out to your camp director or a contact at your camp to ask for a packing list. The camp should have a packing list on hand that they can easily forward to you. This list is the perfect starting point. We, and camp directors, recommend that you stick pretty closely to the list so that there’s space for what your child brings, and that what they bring is appropriate for the activities and environment.
Looking at the list, take inventory of what you have at home and what you’ll need to buy. Plan to label everything with name tags or a Sharpie marker since many campers may have similar items.
After you receive the list, you may also want to contact a current camp family to ask about any add ons and recommendations. If you don’t know anyone at camp, ask your director for a contact! Reaching out to a family will help you get “insider tricks” unique to your camp for packing. For example, the camp packing list may not include things like bringing a fun pillow to decorate your camper’s bed. Maybe making friendship bracelets is popular at your camp, and it’s fun to bring your own string. Maybe a flannel or tie-dye shirt is good for a special event Or, something else that’s unique to your camp!
Step 2: Set Up Appointments
In terms of thinking ahead, this step may be the most important. If your child’s camp has a uniform, it’s likely that they have partnered with a camp outfitter that sells the uniform. Even camps that aren’t “uniform” camps, campers need a few camp shirts for out-of-camp trips and intercamp games. For example, Amerasport, The Camp Spot and Bunkline Outfitter partner with many MCE camps. They travel across the country during the school year to get campers fitted for clothing in person or people can also order online. In addition to uniform clothing, these outfitters are a great place to buy your camp trunks, bedding, flashlights, headlamps, fans, shower flip flops, sweatpants and sweatshirts, sleep clothes, sleeping bag for trips, water bottles, a Crazy Creek chair, and more. Many of these visits are happening now, so be sure to check your camp outfitter’s schedule! Modell’s is also a great resource for sports gear and equipment, and MCE families can access special savings through the MCE-Modell’s partnership.
Additionally, some camps use baggage services like Camp Trucking to transport campers’ trunks and luggage to/from camp. Now’s the time to make those pick-up and drop-off reservations or arrangements. So, be sure to check in with your camp about this. Note, the pick-up date is often a week or so before the start of camp.
Step 3: Get Packing!
Once you have your list and you’ve had your appointments, it’ll be time to fill in with the essentials from a store like Target, CVS, or Bed, Bath & Beyond for items like toiletries and sunscreen. You may want to throw in a few other fun things such as playing cards, jacks, Mad Libs, stickers, colorful duct tape, and pick up sticks – these and other ideas may come from the family you contacted in Step 1. We also recommend sending kids to camp with a photobook of a few family members and friends. That way, when they’re new friends ask about their home life, they have pictures to show. You also may want to print some pictures for the camper’s area. You may want to pack all the items in big plastic bags within the trunks so things stay dry in transit. Lastly, it can be nice to throw in a note from you into your camper’s luggage. That way, when they arrive they can have a special note from their parents welcoming them to camp!
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.