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The essential overnight camp checklist your child needs

Last year, when I was attempting to pack my son up for overnight camp, I tried to think of all the scenarios he might encounter. What if it rained? What if there are lots of bugs? What if he gets too hot? What if he gets hungry? What if he gets scared? 

By the time I was actually ready to pack, I was tasked with how I was going to fit 200 items in his duffle bag. It turns out, I didn’t need to pack absolutely everything I had dreamed up in my worst-case scenario mom brain. 

To save you from the torment of taking too much, we have come up with an essential checklist of what your child will need while away at overnight camp at Muskoka Woods.

The first step is to label all of your child’s clothing, so it doesn’t get lost or mixed up with fellow guests’ belongings. Also, leave all jewelry, tablets and cellphones at home, because a) your child will not need these at camp and 2) Why take the risk of them being lost?

Next, look at what your child will be doing while away at camp. Are they in selected programs like skateboarding, inline skating, or golf? If so, they will need the appropriate equipment, including helmets, protective pads, skateboards, skates, and golf clubs and a collared golf shirt.

Once you put aside their customized experiences and what they’ll need to complete them, then make a list of essentials they’ll need to get through their stay. These include:

  • Shampoo
  • Sunscreen
  • Soap
  • Insect repellant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Running shoes
  • Hat
  • Watch
  • Jacket, raincoat and rubber boots
  • Underwear and socks (mom tip: always pack 1 or 2 extra)
  • Bathing suits (yes, suits, plural. It’s always handy to have spare) 
  • Several shirts, tops and shorts – also pack some T-shirts that you don’t care will get dirty or ruined
  • Several sweatshirts and/or sweaters
  • Jeans and/or sweatpants
  • Pajamas
  • Labelled water bottle
  • Pillow
  • Blanket/sleeping bag/single bed sheets 
  • Towels (for both beach and shower)
  • Flashlight
  • Small backpack
  • Small fan (optional)

In addition to these items, toss in some items that are familiar from home, like their favourite teddy bear or book — just something to give them comfort while away.

If packing is stressing you out, you can also purchase a camp essentials kit from Muskoka Woods. The essential kit includes items such as water bottles, sunglasses, bugspray, toothbrush and toothpaste, while the deluxe kit includes everything from the essential kit plus sleeping bag, bedsheets, pillow and pillowcase, beach towel and gym bag.

Lastly, if you’re worried you forgot something or that your child will run out of a certain item, Muskoka Woods has a Camp Store wherein you can load money into an account for your child should they need or want something they don’t have on-hand. You will receive up-to-the-minute reports of their purchases, just to give you even more peace of mind that your child has everything he or she needs or wants while away at camp.

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