Camping packing hacks from am a former camper, staff member, and now parent to an avid Tanako camper. I wanted to share 8 packing hacks to make your life and your camper’s life a little easier (and maybe their cabin counselor too). These would likely work at any camp where the shower/bathrooms are in the same building as the sleeping areas (if by chance you live too far from Camp Tanako. Though it is the B-E-S-T, best!)
1. Pre-soaped washcloth: Take your washcloth (I always send the ones that are one step away from being a dust rag) a few days prior to packing. Lay them out on a counter or tray where they won’t be disturbed. Add the amount of 3 in 1 soap product (so that you get body wash and hair care in one product) that your child would normally use. You can gently spread it out with your finger for faster drying. Allow it to sit and air dry. This usually takes 24 hours. Then put them in a plastic bag so that they stay dry until shower time!
2. Pack clothes by the day: There are a few ways to do this. I like to take a shirt and lay it on the bed, then shorts, then undies, and socks each on top of the other. Then I fold the whole thing in half, sleeve to sleeve, and if needed the tail of the shirt up to the collar. You can then put a rubber band around it, put it all in a plastic grocery bag, put in a zip lock style storage bag, or even leave them folded like this with nothing to keep them together (though this last option sounds like hard work down the drain, when it all unfolds as the kid rummages through their bag).
3. Disposable camera: I recommend a disposable camera. Yes, they still sell them. Unless you have a digital camera you are willing to possibly part ways with.
4. Dirty clothes bag with a draw string: This can be a cloth/mesh bag or a trash bag with a drawstring. The draw string is important because under the cubbies is a towel rack that the dirty clothes bag can be looped through so that it hangs there and your child can throw their dirty clothes in there every day. If using a cloth/mesh bag you should attach it to the bunk bed post for easier removal at the end of the camp. (remember the bag will grow in size so you might want to test this at home before choosing your method) If you use a plastic trash bag you can cut the draw string off the towel rack.
5. Draw cord type back pack: This should have their Bible, flashlight, and water bottle in it.
6. Knee length bath/house robe: knee length because the shower area floor gets wet and no one wants a soggy robe. Here is why you want a robe. Prior to going to the shower area the camper can change out of their clothes (put them in their hanging laundry bag), put their robe on, grab the pre-soaped washcloth and bath drying towel. Now as a kid (big or small) they are only carrying to the shower area, a rag that will get wet, the towel they will dry off with, and they will put their robe back on after they are dry. Once back to their bed they can drop their wet rag in the laundry bag, hang their bath towel up to dry, and change into their clean clothes in a dry area.
7. Put their name on everything: This is a cabin counselor speaking, not a mom. As a mom your thought is, it doesn’t matter if we make it home with the same or any sunscreen or that old towel or whatever. But as a cabin counselor, if it can be identified as this kid’s or that kid’s without the kid trying to remember or possibly even one being upset because now they don’t know where their sunscreen is or will someone at home be upset that I lost my towel, etc. If the kid doesn’t want their name on it, pick a symbol that can be theirs.
8. SEND MAIL! This is me as a camper. Every camper no matter how old they are wants to get mail. If you don’t want to mail it for fear of it not getting there or forgetting then bring it and drop it off discreetly at the office window after your camper gets settled in their cabin. You can write day 1,2,3, etc. on each envelope so they are delivered in order. Make sure the camper and the camp is listed on the envelope. And no food per camp rules! (Sorry that last part was the staff member in me)