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Camp America Packing List


Now first things first, let's start with the clothes....

First of all, our best tip is to not bother going out and spending loads on clothes... especially for camp. Take a trip to Primark and pick up a load of basics which will last you for the whole summer (you end up wearing a lot of the same clothes anyway) and if you don't spend much on clothes in the first place, you can donate it to friends at camp or just get rid of them (gives you more room for travelling!)

  • Underwear
    That's a given - you don't need to pack too many though; you will have access to laundry facilities there! We recommend 10 pairs just to be on the safe side.
  • T-Shirts
    We love T-shirts at camp! They are comfortable, can be worn on numerous occasions and don't look too awful with a sprinkle of camp dust on them. Don't worry about packing lots and lots; you'll find you'll start to accumlate shirts once you get to camp! Don't forget at least one white t-shirt so you can do the iconic summer camp activity, tie dying!
  • Swimming Costume/Trunks
    You'll find yourself on the water throughout our time at camp - you lucky things!! Therefore, swimming attire is most definitely a necessity. Ladies, definitely pack swiming costumes (i.e. one-piece) for on-camp as they may have strict rules about that and save the bikinis for your travels after camp. Guys opt for board shorts over Speedos ;) !
  • Trainers
    A summer camp MUST! Although you'll be calling them sneakers by the end of summer. We recommend bringing good trainers that can suffer a lot of mud and fun. Whilst we love Converse here in the office... we would hate for them to get ruined at camp! Bring at least one pair of trainers you don't mind getting a little muddy.
  • Flip Flops
    Another must for summer camp! Worn at the lake, in the shower, or even on your days off at the beach! Don't worry if you go through more than one pair at camp... that's pretty normal!
  • Hoody
    A hoody, also known as a sweatshirt once you step off that plane. The nights can be chilly in the US, and we don't want our counsellors getting cold!
  • Shorts/Leggings
    A must at camp! Shorts are pefect during the hot weather, and sport leggings work great for girls as they are super comfortable and great in all the activities you'll be participating in!
  • Socks
    Just because socks are always handy and they disappear in the blink of an eye. You'll find that you may go through 1 or 5 pairs depending on how adventurous your day at camp is... so pack lots!
  • Raincoat
    Believe it or not, it rains in America. You can either dance in the rain and get soaking wet (definitely our preference) or grab a raincoat! Both options work well, and it's always handy if you're teaching an activity for a few hours and need some shelter!
  • PJ's
    You definitely only need to bring a couple of pairs. Please make sure they're appropriate!
  • A Nice Outfit
    Probably the most important decision you'll find yourself facing... which nice outfit should I bring? We guarantee you'll have either a night on camp or a night off where you'll want to look the part ;)

Ok, ok I've got all my clothes. What next?!

  • Toiletries
    Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, shower gel and anything else you normally use! Here's a packing tip! Why not buy a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner and save yourself room in your suitcase? Or opt for travel size bottles. No worries if you still don't have room... you can purchase some from Wal-Mart when you get to camp!
  • Sleeping Bag
    We know it might be tricky to fit this in with your never ending luggage, but we'd always recommend getting one! You can check with your camp before making this decision and if you don't have room in your luggage it's another item you can pick up at Wal-Mart! You'll find yourself picking up another hundred items that you didn't actually need at Wal-Mart, too...
  • Alarm Clock
    Not all camps will allow you to have your phone on you at all, so if you have a small alarm clock you can bring that would be excellent! Saying this, you'll find your wonderful little campers are an alarm clock all in themselves!
  • Sunglasses
    Definitely not something you'll want to find yourself without during the hot summer months. If you can take an extra cheap pair you have lying around, we'd certainly recommend it!
  • Camera
    Because this is one adventure you're going to want to remember!
  • Watch
    A camp essential. You'll need this to be on time to your activities, know how long is left before the next one or maybe just count down the minutes until it's time for lunch!
  • Water bottle
    Another camp essential but another you could just buy when you're out there! At camp, you'll never be seen without your water us! 
  • Bug Spray
    This can also be bought once at camp, but please do grab yourself some so you don't find yourself scratching your way through the summer! This is also super handy if any of your campers have forgotten to bring some!
  • Journal
    The ultimate packing item!! This item will be cherished and filled with love and scribbles throughout our time at camp, and you'll find counsllors will come home and say they wish they kept a journal. One day, it will be incredible to look back and remember all those little details that you forgot.
  • Home Comforts
    Whilst you can make yourself feel at home with your coins, photos, flags & football shirts, your campers will also love getting to know more about you and where you're from - so its win win! Don't forget our favourite chocolate brand & if you're from the UK, teabags! We really missed these two items and you can even use them as currency with other counsellors as the summer goes on.
  • Travel Adapter
    Unfortunately, we do not have the same outlets as America. So save yourself the hassle of realising this when you're on 5% and trying to Skype your family and grab one before you go!
  • A Small Backpack
    This is super handy to carry around your extra items to be the very best camp counsellor; first aid items, water bottle, folder, and definitely some sunscreen too!
  • Important Documents
    THE NUMBER ONE ITEM! We're talking about your passport, Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019 form), your medical insurance certificate, policy & handbook, your travel to camp instructions and...
  • $150 Cash
    We always recommend you have around this amount when you arrive in the US just in case. You'll definitely use some of it on snacks, a Wal-Mart trip and maybe for getting to camp. If you purchase any travel tickets to get to camp make sure you keep your receipts! The camp will give you this money back when you arrive. But don't panic - this will all be on your travel to camp instructions so you'll know beforehand.

Unique Items

  • Extension cord
    Sounds weird we know, but trust us, it'll be the best travel hack you ever use! With one UK extension chord, all you need is one US adapter, attach the extension chord to the adapter and bob's your uncle, you then have X amount of UK outlets under just one plug!
  • Portable speaker
    An extremely verstaile item to pack - dance parties in the bunk? You got it! Entertainment for days off? Sorted! Timer for shower hour? You bet!
  • Earplugs and a facemask
    Whether at camp, or travelling, you will find yourself sleeping whenever and wherever you can, so these two items will come in VERY handy for that!
  • Portable charger
    Perfect for days off and travelling at camp when you'll be using your phone alot for photos and messaging home!

As for a suitcase or backpack? 

This is completely up to you. It really depends on how rustic your camp is and your after camp travel plans. The majority of people take a back pack in their first year, but a suitcase in their second. So we'll leave the decision with you.

TIP! If you are opting for a backpack, go for one that opens all the way down. The drawstring type can get kind of annoying, as it can be hard to find things. Backpack lovers in our office recommend canvas bags that you can write on, so you can have one for t-shirts, one for underwear etc.

ADVICE! If you choose to go with a suitcase, make sure the dimensions of your case is within the limits of any airlines you will be travelling with – if you’re planning on travelling internally within the US, make sure you look at the domestic airlines/trains/buses before buying that suitcase because different travel companies have different limits! Then, depending on the limits, get the largest size you can get, even if you don’t think you’d fill it because then there’s plenty of room for all your American goodies at the end of the summer.

My camps packing list
Be sure to ask your camp directly for their packing list as some camps will provide or require uniform, some may have specific unique items you need to bring, and majority of camps do something called 'colour war', so wherever you go, make sure you pack a variety of different colours so your prepared to be on any coloured team! One thing to note when receiving the packet list from camp, always check or use your common sense as an international staff member...if it says things like egg crates, bed stand etc. it's highly likely they have just sent you the standard list for campers and/or American staff, and you wouldn't need to worry about these kind of things! Also, majority of camps will take international staff to Walmart during orientation week, so be strategic and if there's anything you think you could just get whilst you're there, do that! 

If you want to share any of your packing tips or even just show us some hilarious photos of you trying to squeeze everything in, head over to our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages and share your packing photos.

Happy Packing!!