30 Items Leaders Can Pack For Summer Camp

Drew Hill May 8, 2022

Download a printable PDF of the packing list.


Psalm 119:105- “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Mini Notepad/Pen

Take notes in the leader meetings, write down the schedule, cabin time questions, etc… it’s nice to have a small notepad that fits in your pocket. It’s also handy during club if you want to write down ideas from the talk/songs/etc… and it helps to keep you from constantly pulling out your phone. 


I use the marker to label clothes, ziplock bags, and draw beards for western night.

Water Bottle

Two keys to surviving a grueling week of lil sleep are eating right and drinking lots of H2O.


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

Crazy Creek

Comfy to have for leader meetings and cabin time. Probably not the best for the club room, unless you have 400 camping chairs to share.

Shoes (I bring 6 pairs, don’t mock me)

  • Casual (for kickin’ it)
  • Throw aways (for the obstacle course)
  • Extra pair (for the kid who only brought one pair of shoes and now they’re wet. It’s impossible to have the best week of your life if your shoes are always wet.)
  • Chacos (great for the shower and the lake)
  • Hiking boots/Running shoes/Closed-toed shoes (for the hike day, horse back riding, ropes course)
  • Bedroom slippers (Might sound funny, but sure feels homey. Plus, it gives your campers another way to make fun of you.)

White Noise

It’s tough to sleep surrounded by the sound of 15 kids’ random heavy 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.


Don’t carry your phone all around camp when campers aren’t allowed to have theirs. Borrow a camera or invest in one. But don’t miss all the fun because you’re on the sideline taking pics either.

Watch/Alarm Clock

Bring a watch so you can know the time and not have to pull out your phone. An alarm clock is essential as well as your body clock is going to press the all-natural snooze button.


Nuff said.


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, shades, cards, camera, wallet, etc.. in a backpack. When I’m not wearing it I usually keep it in the Leader Lounge. I initially pack my backpack for the bus ride (Make sure to pack snacks for your hangry high school friends). If you’re wearing Chacos on the bus, make sure to put socks in your bag because buses can get chilly.


It’s nice to have some candy to pass out on the bus, at cabin time, etc… You can also ask friends to mail your cabin a package at camp.

Cabin Unity Game Outfits

Don’t go too overboard, it makes other cabins look bad. But don’t go too underboard, it’s fun to get creative and make your cabin feel special. Here are some ideas from YLHelp.com.


During my early years of leading, I used to play “Silent Football” with guys in the cabin at night. After realizing the game has the potential to emotionally 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

Statistics show that 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?

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 closet.

Extra Pillow/Blanket

Everyone sleeps better with their own pillow. Pack your own comfy sheet or blanket (stuffed down in the pillow case.) A good night’s sleep is essential to being an ‘oh boy’ leader. It’s nice to have a warm blanket on a cold bus.

Extra Towels

Because it’s gross to share a towel and your high school friend is going to forget to bring one.


A bad sunburn and chapped lips make it harder to have the best week ever. Make sure you and your campers use sunscreen and chap-stick, especially in Colorado!

Duct Tape

I always pack a roll and always need it for something.

Theme Nights

Talk to your trip leader and find out what your theme nights are at camp. If you’re doing “Tacky Christmas,” then bring red/green gear. For “Western night”, bring eyeliner to make freckles, buck teeth, and extra bandanas.

Spending $

Be aware of what kids don’t have extra $ and be willing to splurge and buy them a milkshake at the Sippie-Parlor.


Soap, shampoo, deo, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, floss, razor, tide pen, tissues, hand sanitizer, shaving cream, nose-hair trimmer, bug spray, labeled medications.

  • Create a toiletry basket to put in the bathroom. Feminine products, chapstick, hairbrush, sunscreen, mascara, Q-tips, razors, makeup remover, and most importantly some febreeze and some sort of bathroom spray like Poo-Pouri for every toilet! (Thanks, Cori Ward!)
  • Extra roll of paper towels 


T-shirts, shorts, hoodies, jeans, swimsuit, rain jacket, underwear, socks, belt.


Hats, sunglasses, headphones, phone charger, etc…

Small Fan

A small fan can help cool, get rid of bad smells, and also serve as white noise when sleeping.

Table Questions for Meals at Camp

Here’s a link to questions you can download and print out to use at mealtimes at camp.

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