What To Pack For Young Life Camp

June 28, 2013
Originally posted in 2011.

We’re almost halfway into the summer camping season…which means half of us still have to pack for camp!

Here are a few things I’ve forgotten in the past, but want to make sure I don’t forget next time.

15 Camp Packing List Essentials


You know you look rad wearing it around, and on top of the cool points, its quite useful.

Video Cam/Camera

It’s a tough call. Do you participate in all the games, or stand on the side shooting videos and taking pics that will be a huge help in selling camp next year? Solution: hang out with your cabin and designate one leader from your area to take turns shooting pics/filming at each event.

Crazy Creek 

Another tough call. If you bring your camping chair, it sure is more comfy to sit in at club, but it’s also kinda selfish to be the only one with a butt cushion. If you bring it to share, that’s great, but then kids might feel like you’re choosing favorites. Possibly offer it as a reward for a late night cabin game.

Water Bottle 

Yo, ya gots tah keep yoself hydrated. Two keys to surviving a grueling week of lil sleep are eating right and drinking lots of H2O.

Water Shoes
Seriously, by the end of night one that shower is just disgusting. Do your feet a flavor. Chacos work great in the shower and in the lake. Make an investment. I’ve had the same pair for 11 years. Plus, if you tweet about Chacos, TYLM (TotalYLMove) will probably retweet you.

White Noise
It’s tough to sleep surrounded by the sounds of fifteen high schoolers random breathing. The free White Noise app on the iPhone does the trick. Plus, it provides a great joke for all the kids to pick on you about for the next year. “Remember when you made us listen to that terrible noise all night long at camp.” They’ll mock you… but secretly be thankful.

Robe/Bedroom Slippers
Might sound funny, but sure feels comfy. Plus, it gives your campers another way to make fun of you. They think you’re old already, wait til you break out that robe!

Mini Notepad/Pen
Since kids can’t have their phones at camp, it makes sense for you not to be pulling yours out all the time. If you want to take notes in the leader mtgs on schedules, cabin time questions, etc… it’s nice to have a lil notepad that fits in your pocket. It’s also handy during club if you want to write down ideas from the talk/songs/etc…

You do a lot of walking around camp. It’s nice to not have to go back to the cabin to get things. I like to keep my Bible, notebook, crazy creek, sunscreen, sunglasses, cards, camera, wallet, etc.. in a backpack. When I’m not wearing it I usually keep it in the Leader Lounge.

During my early years of leading, I used to play “Silent Football” with guys in the cabin at night. After realizing that game has great potential to really damage some kids, I’ve switched to a nightly routine of playing “Push the Deck.” We circle up laying on the floor, taking turns to do pushups through an entire stack of playing cards. Face cards=10. Aces=15. Number cards=# on the card. It tires guys out pretty good. Last man standing wins.

Ziplocks/Plastic Bags
8 out of 10 YL campers/leaders leave camp with a wet item. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plastic bag to pack that baby in?

If you were a middle school girl in the 90’s you might still have a Caboodle in your attic. It would be pretty hilarious if you packed it full of materials to do an “post cabin time- spa night.”

Extra Clothes To Share
Gals love to trade clothes, and guys love to get dirty, so both male and female leaders should bring extra clothes. There’s something bonding about sharing your gear.

Extra Pillow/Sheet
Everyone sleeps better with their own pillow. Pack your own comfy sheet (stuffed down in the pillow case.) A good night’s sleep is essential to being an ‘oh boy’ leader.

Extra Towels
You know how gross it is to share a towel. Its proven that 28% of all campers forget to bring a towel. It’s also proven that 93% of all stats are made up on the spot. Bring an extra drying cloth.

Extra Shoes
You know some guy in your cabin is going to get his only pair of shoes soaking wet and muddy on night one. You promised him the best week of his life, and now he’s gonna have wet feet for a week. Bring that guy some shoes. If you forget, ask the Guest Service folks at camp. They usually have pairs leftover from previous weeks of camp.

General Packing List 

T-shirts, shorts, tennis shoes, swimsuit, beach towel, sunscreen, bathroom stuff, a set of clothes that can get dirty (including old shoes), jeans, sweatshirt, rain jacket, closed toed shoes, a nice outfit, volleyball costumes, hat, sunglasses, camera, and all the stuff above. 

Please chime in with a comment below and share what you wish you would have brought to camp.

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