Sunday, July 22, 2018

The What and Why of Packing - Your Guide to Girl Scout Summer Camp

I see a lot of posts online with campers and parents looking for general packing lists and some more specific information on what to bring.

Here is a basic Girl Scout camp 1 week packing list. Going for more than 1 week? Just add a bit more clothes and consumables (shampoo, toothpaste, detergent, etc.).  I've even included a printable packing list to help you out!

Bedding:
  • Sheets (twin) - Most camp cots are just a bit smaller than a normal twin bed, but the sheets will fit just fine.
  • Blankets - 1 or 2 light blankets. At night it may get cold, especially if your cabin is air conditioned.
  • Pillows - 1 is good, 2 if you really need it.
  • Pillow cases - 1 per pillow. You can bring a blank one or Girl Scout one that people can sign or that you can draw on!
  • Teddy bear - Don't bring your absolute favorite, you never know what might happen at camp.
  • (Sleeping bag) -  Not usually needed unless you are hiking for a sleep out. You can still use the bedding you brought if you are not going a long distance. You can also sleep in a sleeping bag in your bed if you prefer.
  • (Sleeping mat) - Only needed if you are sleeping outside. Yoga mats are a very inexpensive option for this, others may prefer a blow up mattress or a small cot.
  • (Tarp) - Useful for sleep-outs to keep dirt, mud, some bugs, and dew off your sleeping bag.

Clothes:
  • 7 Short sleeved shirts - Most camps do not allow tank tops. This is because you will be very busy and out in the sun a LOT, having skin exposed can drain your energy, make you tired, and (even with several applications of sunscreen) you can burn and ruin your week.
  • 7 Shorts - Nothing too short, tight, or see through. Remember it's hard to play and have fun when you are uncomfortable.
  • 1 Pair of jeans (more if horse unit) - Definitely something comfortable that you can move around in. You will be walking and getting on and off horses.
  • Sweater or light jacket - Sometimes it can be cold in the mornings when you wake up or when it rains. Something light is good.
  • Undies / bras - Extra pairs are suggested.
  • Socks - Several extra pairs are suggested. Socks that cover the ankle (this helps prevent blisters).
  • Pj's / sleepwear - Something light and comfy, no more than 1-2 are needed.
  • 1-2 pairs tennis shoes - Something that's been worn for at least 2 weeks before camp. Most camps require close toed and close heeled shoes. One pair is usually enough unless you expect them to get wet.
  • Shower shoes / water shoes - Crocks, strap on sandals, and mesh water shoes are good options.
  • Boots (horse units) - Need to have a smooth sole and a 1" heel. (No hiking boots, fashion boots with heels, or rain boots). Most camps have some available to borrow.
  • 1-2 Swimsuits - One swimsuit is enough, but if your group swims more, then 2 so you can swap out. Some camps have rules about two piece swimsuits so check with your camp.
  • Rain jacket / poncho - Rain jackets work great, but can get your legs a bet wet. Ponchos roll up smaller for your bag but can be very hot inside.
  • Hat - Wide brimmed or a baseball hat. Visors aren't ideal because the top of your head isn't covered in the heat.
  • (White t-shirt) - A lot of camps require on for tie-dye. Check with your camp. Pillowcases, towels, socks, and other white fabric can usually be substituted.
 Toiletries:
  • Caddy to carry - Something waterproof, sturdy, and with a handle
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Hair ties - Usually required when swimming.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap - If a bar, bring it in a case.
  • Shampoo / conditioner - Small bottles just for the week are easiest.
  • Deodorant - This is a great thing to bring. If you aren't sure about wearing it yet, talk to your mom to see if you might need it when super sweaty at camp.
  • Razor
  • Wash clothes or loufa
  • (Lotion) - Nothing too smelly, you don't want to attract bugs.
  • Sanitary napkins / tampons - If you need.
  • (Baby powder with starch) - This is helpful to prevent and sooth any heat rashes.
  • Towels (1 shower, 1 swim) - Remember which is which, you don't want to dry off from a shower with a chlorine smelling towel.
Equipment:
  • Trunk or suitcase - First see what your camp asks that you pack in. Trunks are great because they keep most everything you take, are waterproof, and cheap, but can be heavy to carry alone. Suitcases are easy to carry and are usually already owned, but can be difficult to constantly open and close and aren't always waterproof.  Rolling duffel bags are great at fitting under beds and hold a lot of items, things can easily get lost inside them though.
  • Day bag - This is what you will have to carry your things all around camp. Make sure you mark it with your name or some other identifying feature so that it's not picked up by another camper on accident. Cinch bags are used a lot as well as backpacks. Cinch bags can hurt your shoulders or break easy if you have too many things inside, but are cheap. Backpacks are comfortable and carry a lot but are pricier and may be too big for the smallest of campers. Choose something you would be comfortable with for a week.
  • Sunscreen - Get one with the SPF that you need. Remember sunscreen expires after a year!
  • Bugspray - Bring a full bottle, and use it! No aerosols at it destroys the waterproofing of tents and other fabric items.
  • Chapstick - With SPF is the best option
  • Flashlight (and batteries) - Cheap flashlights usually break the first time they are dropped so get a couple or something more durable.
  • Fan - One with batteries unless your camp allows bigger plugged in fans.
  • Bandannas - Useful for many things including headbands, head coverings, and tying or carrying things. Bring some pretty ones that you love.
  • Mess kit with dunk bag, plate, bowl, cup, silverware - Delicate wash bags are $1 and plastic dishes are about the same at your local dollar stores.
  • Water bottle - Something that can be easily carried (a strap, a handle, a bag), is not easily broken, is easily refillable, and you can tell apart from everyone else's.
  • (Laundry soap, dryer sheets) - Only needed if you are staying for more than 1 week. Just bring a bit more than you will need.
  • Dirty clothes bag / laundry bag - Popup style that can slide under the bed are a good option for easy access and hide-ability, or drawstring bags are good too.
  • (Pocket knife) - Check with your camp to see if these are allowed, usually only Cadettes and up can have them. Having done a pocket knife training is helpful as well.
  • (Bug netting) - Camps will let you know if you need this.
  • (Hammock) - Campers doing survival type camps may be allowed to bring one. Check with your camp.
  • (Compass) - Useful if you are doing an outdoor or survival type camp.
  • Sunglasses - Keep up with them and put your name on them.
  • Trash bags - A couple of these. They take up very little room and are good to keep things dry, cover something, use as a poncho, or help pack up at the end.
  • Ziploc bags - Another small but sometimes useful item. If you are carrying many things, throw them in for easier (waterproof) carry. Great for wet swimsuits in a bag, but don't forget to take it out to dry back at the cabin.
Extra Things:
  • Camera and charger - Take lots of pictures! Make sure you have a memory card as well.
  • Something to do during rest hour - Cards, lettery writing, a book to read, or quiet games to play.
  • (Camping chair) - Optional for campers.
  • Any items for dress up days - Such as tutu's, tie-dye, western, 50s, crazy, etc.
  • Pens - Always useful
  • Journal - Remember all of your awesome camp memories.
  • Meds - Any meds you need or might need, drop off at the nurse during check in. Make sure they are in the prescribed bottle with your name.
  • Swaps - If you like to swap and you know others bring some too, otherwise you can bring some to give but don't be surprised if you don't get any back.
  • Paperwork - Any paperwork that you haven't yet turned in, be sure to bring during check in!
  • Spending money for trading post - Items can range from $.50 to $40.

If you have more questions about what to take to your camp (since they are all different!) don't hesitate to contact your local council or camp to help ease your mind.

There aren't many things you shouldn't bring, but here are a few:
  • Snacks and other food - Not allowed. Bugs, critters, animals, and other campers will get into these and make a mess of your belongings and your tent/cabin. Powdered drink mixes and gum is included in this.
  • Electronics (except cameras) - Phones don't count as cameras. You won't have the time to mess with electronic things and trying to find a place to charge them and to keep them safe from harm isn't worth the hassle. Curling irons, blow dryers, and hair straighteners too.
  • A bad attitude - You come here for the fun, and even if your group is doing something you don't care for, try to find something in it that you do like!
  • Valuables - You never know what can happen at camp.

A few packing tips:
  • Label everything!
  • Pack it yourself. This way you know where things are located in your trunk and how to pack it back up at the end of the week.
  • Bring your packing list so you can remember everything when repacking.
  • If you prefer you can pack daily clothing sets in ziplock bags to get ready easily in the mornings.
Staff specific stuff to pack:
  • Snacks - You can usually have some kept in a designated area for your breaks.
  • Pens - Always useful, staff may need even more.
  • Electronics - Lets be real, you live here all summer and will bring your electronics along. Don't forget any cases, cables, and accessories that you need.
  • Watch - Campers don't need one, staff does!
  • Alarm clock - Something dependable, even a phone works.
  • Hammock - Another great for staff.
  • Camping Chair - Wonderful and comfortable.
  • Khaki shorts - Check with your camp if a pair is required. Usually worn with staff shirts during check-in.



Remember to follow the first post to keep up with all the information posted.

Next: Camp Names
~Zigg

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