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What To Pack For Overnight Summer Camps – A Parent’s Guide

Sending the kids off to their favorite overnight summer camps can be one of the best ways to allow them to gain some independence and enjoy childhood. Many parents tend to plan their kids summer camp destinations earlier rather than later and so I wanted to get this information to you as soon as possible. 

Overnight Summer Camp

While planning is fun and exciting, it can be rather difficult to know for sure what to pack for your kids when they head off to overnight summer camps. While it would be ideal, we can’t pack everything while we prepare our little ones for their next sleep away summer camp adventure… but we can try!

Ah, I’m just kidding. It’s really all about the essentials while we set up for sleep away summer camps. The less they bring – the less they are responsible for. Ain’t that the truth!?

What To Pack For Overnight Summer Camps

First time camping can be rather stressful because you’re not quite sure what to have your kids bring for this trip. While you surely can come up with some normal ideas like water, food, snacks or perhaps the appropriate clothing options, many parents freak out trying to figure out whether or not they’ve packed enough!

Do not worry! Every parent that’s ever sent a kid off to overnight summer camp has had the same concerns and feelings. Your kids (and you) will be just fine if you follow this advice on what to pack for overnight summer camps.

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hydro flask water bottle

Water Bottle

Be sure to get a reusable water bottle that your kids can use to stay hydrated during their overnight summer camp trip. The kids will be outdoors doing a lot of activities and need to have an easy way to keep their fluid intake up.

comfortable clothing for camping

Comfortable Clothing

It’s important to know what activities your kids will be partaking in during their time at summer camp so that you can pack comfortable clothing as well as appropriate clothing that will endure all of the activities they’ll partake in.

This includes packing appropriate shoe options for overnight summer camp.

warm camping layers

Warm Layer

Be certain that your kids have a sweater or sweatshirt packed in their overnight summer camp bag. The nights may still be a little cooler and even days during the summer season can get a little chilly.

Make sure you pack some warm layer options for your kids overnight summer camp, as well as pants.

Swimming Gear

Most overnight summer camps will have options for swimming, so be sure that you have all of your kids’ summer gear packed to go. This includes swimsuits, goggles, and a swimming towel.

It’s important that your kids have all of the necessary swimming gear to enjoy swimming activities as well as be safe while they’re enjoying said activities.

rain jacket for overnight camp

Waterproof Gear

Not only will your kids need swimming gear but they’ll need some waterproof gear for those rainy days and nights. The summer season doesn’t mean rain won’t hit so be sure your kids are prepared for an overnight summer camp with rain boots, raincoats, umbrellas and any other rain gear they may have to stay dry.

Alarm Clock and Journal

It’s important that your kids are able to get up on time and be able to journal their daily experiences while at overnight summer camp. That’s why you must make sure that your kids have an alarm clock and summer camp journal packed to keep them getting up on their own and having a place to jot down notes, thoughts, feelings, and their daily experiences.

pajama pants


All kids who attend overnight summer camp will need to have appropriate sleepwear. This may include a warm sleepwear option for those cooler summer nights. Slippers and a robe may work well too so that your kids are able to walk around without having to go barefoot while in their sleepwear.


While you can use a backpack to put some of your kids’ toiletries and other necessities for an overnight camp in it, you’ll want to make sure that your kids have a backpack that they can empty to use for any day hikes or other activities during summer camp where they may have to bring along supplies.

Medication or Eye Glasses

If your kids are on any medications or have to wear contacts or eyeglasses, it’s important that you send them along with the prescriptions and notes so that the camp counselor will know what your kids need.

The summer camp may have instructions for how to properly handle bringing your kids medication to overnight summer camp, so be sure to discuss that with them before dropping your kid off.

sleep away camp packing list help

Have A Great Summer!

These are just some ideas of what to pack for overnight summer camps that come to mind when I think about all of the times I’ve tried to pack for my kids to venture off overnight away from home.

There may be some other items that you feel are necessary for your kids, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal to help them when they’re feeling homesick, but overall this list should be a great kick-off point to help you begin packing for any overnight summer camps this year.

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