Twelve Essential Things to Pack for Summer Camp

Even the most experienced campers sometimes forget things when they pack, so it’s always a good idea to make a list. Each camper will have his or her own lists, which may contain a wide variety of items, but every camper should have a few essentials. Here are ten that we suggest for your summer camping adventures.

Rain gear

If the past few days have been any indication, you’re going to want to bring rain gear to camp. Ponchos and raincoats are great. Umbrellas are less useful in the woods, but they would do in a pinch.


There’s nothing better than spending a cool summer night in front of a nice campfire, but you’ll need something to start it with. Matches are great, but you have to keep them dry. A lighter works well until it’s out of fuel.

At least one set of cool weather clothing

Even in the summer, the nights can get pretty chilly. It’s definitely a good idea to have at least one pair of long pants and a fleece pullover or sweatshirt of some kind. You’ll thank me on those brisk August mornings.


Why should the fun stop when the sun goes down? There is a whole other world of flora and fauna at night, and you can explore that world if you can see it. Also, the path to the bathroom is full of rocks.

Close-toed shoes, two pairs

Remember those rocks? Close-toed shoes will make the trail a lot safer. Having two pairs is also essential in case one pair gets wet. Rotate into the dry pair while drying the others in front of the campfire, but not too close! Melted shoes are no good.

Plenty of socks

Right along with the shoes, make sure you have enough socks. Nothing will ruin a good campout faster than walking around with wet feet. We recommend at least 1.5 pairs per day you’ll be in the woods.

Bug spray

‘Tis the season for mosquitoes, ticks, and my least favorite, deer flies. Those little buggers are the worst. I’ve seen some interesting solutions to deal with deer flies, but good old fashioned bug spray still does the trick.

Sleeping bag

This might go without saying, but it’s here just in case. Even though the days are hot, the nights can get a bit cold. Having a good sleeping bag will ensure a good night’s rest so you can enjoy your days.

Water bottle

Having a reusable water bottle is very environmentally friendly. It prevents plastic bottles from joining the Great Pacific garbage patch, and the fuel it takes to transport commercial bottled water around the country. A Scout needs to pay attention to these things and do their part.


This is more of a stand-in for all of your usual toiletries. It’s the little comforts of home that really make your trip more enjoyable. Double check to make sure you don’t forget anything!


I’m amazed how often I forget to pack a towel, it’s like I have a mental block about it. You’ll need it for showers, swimming, and drying off after a sudden rainstorm. Of course, a towel is about the most massively useful thing you can bring to camp.

Swim suit

Taking a dip on a hot summer day is so refreshing! Don’t know how to swim? No problem! The camp staff are experts at getting kids into the water and enjoying it. Swimming and summer go together like Fourth of July and fireworks.

Medical form

You did remember your medical form, right? You can’t stay at camp without it.