Tips On Summer Camp Packing and DIY Personalize Trunk To Have A Happy Camper


Your making that list and checking it twice.  Well, the time has come and you filled out all the necessary camper forms and now it is time to pack.  But where do you begin?  Maybe this is your first time packing your kid for a summer camp or maybe you didn’t feel like you had it all together last time.  It can seem REALLY overwhelming.  No fear!  Here are some tips to help make great memories.

Let’s start with the most obvious resource in your quest to pack and that is the camp provided packing list.  Start looking at this early in case you need to order any items ahead of time.  Your camp has scheduled activities already in place and they have provided this list to help your packing be a success.  Whether your camper needs a pair of pants to go horseback riding or an old shirt and shorts for going into a mud pit that you will for sure never want again.  So go ahead and print that out and start checking items off your list.  You may also want to pay close attention to the items that the camp does not want you to bring like video games, cell phones, and iPads.

So you looked over the list but you still feel like you are missing something.  Your camping list may or may not include everything you would want to pack so here is a more comprehensive list.  Keep in mind that less is more.  You don’t want your child to stress out about keeping track of all of his/her items instead of having fun and you don’t want them swimming in a sea of stuff and can’t find anything.  Easier said than done coming from the queen of over-packing!


  • Sleeping bag & Pillow
  • Sheet Set
  • Pajamas
  • Soap & Shampoo
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deordorant
  • Comb/Brush
  • Lip Balm
  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer or Wipes
  • Bath Towel & Washcloth
  • Beach Towel
  • Shower Tote or Bucket
  • Shower Shoes (Flip Flops)
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Prescription Meds
  • Flash Light
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Hat
  • Poncho or Raincoat
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandanna/Scarf
  • Small Backpack or Drawstring Bag for Day Trips
  • Shirts and Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Shorts and Pants
  • Sweatshirt/ Jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Gym Shoes
  • Laundry Bag
  • Mini First Aid Kit

Extra items:

  • Comforts From Home Like Stuffed Animal
  • Books/ Bible
  • Deck of Cards
  • Pre-addressed & Stamped Envelopes & Stationary
  • Journal With Pen/ Pencil
  • Empty Scrapbook with Markers
  • Camping Stickers
  • Spare Batteries
  • Disposable Camera
  • Extra Pair of Shoes and Extra Socks
  • Plastic Ziplock Bag for Wet Clothes
  • Swim Goggles
  • Ponytail Holders/ Headbands
  • Dress Clothes
  • Bathrobe
  • Nail Clippers
  • Family Photos
  • Extension Cord
  • Small Personal Fan
  • Poster
  • Hanging Bunk Organizer
  • Snacks (If Allowed)
  • Night Light

The day has come to pack up all these items.  You can use a duffel bag, suitcase, or footlocker trunk.  The trunk has been all the rage lately to send with your camper.  You can even personalize the trunk for more fun.  So let’s start with the DIY on how to make your own.  You can purchase these from just about any of the big box stores.  I found mine at and they had free two day shipping.  The trunks arrived in great shape after being shipped.  Then the fun began!

Here are some items that you will need to personalize the inside of your trunk:


I purchased all these supplies from Micheals Craft Store:

  • Elmer’s Foam Cork Board
  • E6000 Glue (Needs 72 hours to cure so don’t wait until the last minute)
  • Spray Paint (I used a color to match the inside)
  • Basal Wood (1/2″ x 1/2″ x 36″)
  • Craft Plywood (1/8″ x 12″ x 24″)

Other items you will need but not pictured:

  • X-acto Knife
  • Family Pictures
  • Mini Dry Erase Board
  • Mirror (maybe for a girl footlocker)
  • Binder Zipper Pouches (or other lid organization)
  • Outdoor Vinyl and Cricut or Silhouette Machine


Once you got all the supplies, let’s start putting it together.  Start by cutting the foam board with X-acto knife to fit inside the lid.  Using the E6000 glue, glue the foam board into the top of the lid.  I would lay the lid flat on the floor with something heavy on it overnight to dry.  Then the next day you can use the same glue to glue down your photos (I laminated mine to last longer), dry erase board, mirror, and zipper pouches.  Again, let this dry for several hours or overnight with something heavy on top.  While that is drying, start cutting the wood pieces.  We used a miter saw to cut each piece.  It was a little tricky with the wider pieces, though.  Remember to measure each piece twice and cut once to get the right fit.  Then sand down the edges and apply spray paint.  I applied two layers of spray paint.  When the lid is dry, you can now glue the newly painted wood pieces down.  I glued the small wood pieces to the sides and double checked the fit with the flat wood divider before letting it dry.  The wood divider is left out while drying because you want the divider to be removable.  I spaced out my dividers based on the toiletry container that I purchased from Target to fit.  Target also had some cute camping items in the dollar bin section this summer.  I needed each section to be wide enough on the sides to fit and the middle was used for their shower tote.  You can organize the inside anyway you like.

On the outside I used my Cricut machine and outdoor vinyl to create the personalized look.  My design was pretty simple since I was limited on time by that point.  However, the skies the limit on decorating.  There are even people on etsy who sell pre-made vinyl for you just to apply.  If money is no issue, you can even purchase a trunk completely decorated and done.  Who knew??  Finally for fun, I plan on attaching stickers to the sides of the trunk from each of their camping adventures and our vacations destinations.


As you are packing you will want to label EVERYTHING!  I mean do you really want them to loose their tooth brush on the first day?!?  You can use a sharpie marker or order those stick on labels.  I love these because they hold up on clothes, shoes, and even in the dishwasher.  I get labels for every school year for each kid from Sticky Monkey at or Label Daddy at  I am sure there are other websites that sell them too.  I would also recommend packing all their outfits in labeled ziplock bags so it will be easy for them to find.

Finally before you send off your camper, sit down with them and go through all the packed items especially if they didn’t help much.  All the hard work will go to waste if they can’t find anything.  This can be overwhelming for a young kid so take your time and explain how things might work like showering or bedtime.

Now they are ready for camp!  I hope this helps make your camp preparations a little easier.  Encourage them to document all the fun they are having so they can tell you all about it when they get home.  They could even exchange addresses with a friend to gain a pen pal or two.   Our last camp allowed me to write the boys emails and I took the opportunity to write daily.  The camp also posted pictures online throughout the day.  Technology is amazing these days!  Please share your tips from your camping experiences in the comments below.  I would love to hear them!


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