Packing Essentials for Working at a Summer Camp


August 13, 2019

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Getting ready for your summer of a lifetime? Don’t stress! Everything you need and more is right here, now let's get packing! 


As summer camps usually last around 3-4 months, we understand that you are going to be away from home for a long time, so planning ahead and being prepared is key. 


Top tip: Start by making a list (even including every single item of clothing), review this list or physically look through the pile of specified items every day for a week, you will be surprised with how much you cut the list down by realising how many items you don’t “need” to take with you - don’t forget the clothes will still be there when you get home!


Here are the items that we are sure you will need …


1. Important documents

Depending on where your summer camp is located, there is definitely going to be a list of required documents that you will need to make room for in your backpack. The best way to avoid stress when you land in the new country is to be prepared with multiple copies of each document in hand. Covering all various countries that require a visa such as America and Canada, important documents can include:


  • Passport (with visa inside)

  • DS 2019 Form - the document that allows you to apply for the J-1 Visa in the USA

  • SEVIS receipt - proof of visa payment 

  • Flight and insurance information

  • Camp contract and camp details

  • Travel to camp information

  • Pay as you go travel card (not a necessity but can be handy!)

  • Some cash to get you started (of course in the correct currency)


To guarantee stress free and smooth travels, splash out and treat yourself to a travel wallet. This way you can hold your passport and other relevant documents in the same place to allow easy access when you reach the airport, whilst also storing the copies in another section of your backpack - it’s good to be prepared for anything! 


2. Preparing for the sun 

Is it bad to guess that part of the reason your working at a summer camp is to enjoy a summer of sun? Not if you’re from the UK! It might seem like common sense, but the last thing you want at camp is to get burnt on the first day and spend the rest of your time having to hide from the sun. Here are the essentials for those who are used to the rainy summers …


  • Suncream - this is essential!!!!

  • After sun - better safe than sorry

  • Sunglasses - the cooler the better

  • A cap (if you are standing with the sun beating down on you everyday this is also an essential - even if you don’t suit hats, get used to it!) 

  • Mosquito repellent and cream - we all know that mosquitoes love hot countries and also love tourists’ blood… it’s best to be prepared for the amount of mosquitos you will encounter, especially around the lakes and the cabins


3. Possibly the most stressful part - clothes 

Remember, summer camps are very active places - no, you’re not going to need your best going out dresses and heels! Get prepared to live in t-shirts, shorts and flip flops for a few months. To help you out when making your list, here are some of the items you may want to pack:


  • Roughly 6-8 t-shirts - even though your camp will provide you with endless amounts of their own merch, you are going to need a new t shirt everyday, this is one thing that you will never have too many, and make sure you pack the ones you don't mind getting dirty! 

  • 2 or 3 pairs of sports leggings or shorts - you will be wearing these everyday

  • 4-5 more casual t-shirts / shirts - for your off-camp days

  • 2 pairs of casual (denim) shorts - for a change on days off or the weekend trip into town

  • 1 pair of jeans / trousers - you may want these for night time events 

  • 2 or 3 swimsuits or swim shorts - we hope that you will be able to take a dip everyday 

  • Roughly 10 pairs of underwear and socks - even though laundry is done once a week … you never know!

  • 2 pairs of pajamas 

  • A hoodie - you will never regret packing comfy clothes for the cooler nights 

  • A rain jacket - because we know you love being prepared 

  • 3 pairs of shoes - 2 sports trainers and one pair of casual shoes 

  • The most important essential - flip flops! 

Although this list may seem excessive… it's actually a very basic list when you think about not having your usual wardrobe for 3+ months. Luckily camp is so casual and you may even end up wearing the same swimsuit every single day - and no one will care! (Plus the benefit of being able to wash your clothes every week) 


4. Toiletries

Camps usually do a staff trip to the local supermarket during staff training, so don’t waste time stressing or over packing with heavy toiletries! Some items you may want to remember are:


  • Travel size shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste to get you started

  • Contact lenses / contact lense solution 

  • Deodorant - it's a known fact that deodorant is very expensive in America, does anyone know why? Nope! We recommend taking a few sprays to keep you going

  • Make up (not necessary but you may want to freshen up at the weekend) 

  • Make up remover

  • Moisturiser 

  • Hairbrush / hair bobbles 

  • Any tables / medication you may need

  • Tweezers / nail clippers / scissors 

Of course if you are loyal to certain brands that you can’t buy over there, stock up! Just don't overthink it…Buy the non-essentials when you get there! 


By now your suitcase or backpack is probably overflowing, but make that list and stick to it! A few extras you may want to remember are travel adapters, chargers, earphones, flashlights or a journal and of course, some personal or ‘homely’ items such as photographs to decorate your cabin and your favourite teddy. 


Remember your moving to a country which sells everything you would ever need - don’t stress about the packing, get excited for the best summer you will ever have!


Happy packing!