The Ultimate Camp Counselor Packing Checklist: 7 Must-Have Items You Need for a Great Summer

May 22, 2023

As a camp counselor, you have an exciting and rewarding job ahead of you. You'll be responsible for shaping the experiences of young campers and helping them create lasting memories. However, as with any job, being well-prepared is key to success. That's why we've put together the ultimate camp counselor packing checklist — all the must-have items you’ll need for a great summer at camp.

1. Comfortable Shoes

As a camp counselor, you'll be spending a lot of time on your feet, so it's important to have comfortable shoes. Choose shoes that are supportive, breathable, and have good traction. Depending on the activities at camp, you may need hiking boots, water shoes, or sneakers. If you buy new shoes, make sure they’re broken in before camp to prevent blisters or other foot injuries.

Make sure your socks are doing their part, too. Good quality compression socks, like a pair of Comrad Socks, will keep your energy levels up on long and busy days while offering support and comfort where you need it the most.

2. Appropriate Clothing

It’s also important to pack appropriate clothing for the activities you'll be participating in at camp. Depending on the weather and activities, you may need lightweight and breathable clothing, rain gear, or warm layers. Make sure to pack extra clothing as well in case your clothes get wet or dirty during the day.

It's also important to pack appropriate clothing for any special events or theme days at camp. You'll want to fit in with the campers and show your enthusiasm for the theme. Don't forget to pack clothes for downtime, like comfortable pajamas and loungewear.

3. Sun Protection

Sun protection is crucial for spending long hours outdoors. Pack a hat to shade your face and neck from the sun, as well as sunglasses to shield your eyes. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF (SPF 30 to 50 is ideal) and apply it regularly throughout the day. Reapply every two hours throughout the day, and don’t forget to make sure your sunscreen fully dries before diving into the water.

4. Insect Repellent

Insect repellent is another essential for spending time outdoors at camp. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can carry diseases and cause discomfort. Nothing is more annoying than an itchy mosquito bite or having to deal with tick bites at summer camp. Look for a repellent with DEET to best help protect you from insect bites.

5. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is another essential to have at camp. Pack a small first aid kit containing items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, instant cold packs, and pain relievers.

If you are allergic to bees, it might also be a good idea to pack an antihistamine or an autoinjector for more serious allergies. In more extreme cases, the first aid kit may not be enough, so be sure to go directly to the camp nurse in the event of a sprain or more serious sickness.

6. Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial when spending long hours outdoors at camp, especially in the summer. Pack a reusable water bottle, and make sure to drink water regularly throughout the day. The average adult needs about 64 ounces a day, but more is needed if you’re exercising or spending time in the hot sun. Electrolyte drink mix or other supplements can also help encourage you to drink enough water and replace essential vitamins and minerals your body loses through sweat.

7. Other Personal Necessities

Depending on your camp's accommodations, you may need to bring your own bedding. Pack a sleeping bag, pillow, and any other bedding essentials you may want. Make sure to label all of your bedding with your name and phone number to avoid confusion with other counselors' bedding.

You’ll also need to bring functional toiletries. Consider packing conditioner to protect highlighted hair from chlorinated pools, a loofah or washcloth to scrub away grime from your skin, and basic skincare products are just a few items that will keep you feeling fresh and clean.

Everything You Need for a Great Summer

Being a camp counselor is a rewarding and exciting experience, but being well-prepared is key to success. The ultimate camp counselor packing checklist includes comfortable shoes, appropriate clothing, sun protection, insect repellent, a first aid kit, a water bottle, bedding, toiletries, and any other items specific to your camp's activities and culture. Make sure to label all of your items with your name to avoid confusion or lost items. Take the time to pack and organize your belongings before camp to ensure you have everything you need for a great summer.


I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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