What Should I Pack To Work At Camp?

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Now that the warmer spring weather is finally arriving, it’s hard not to get excited about summer just around the corner! But as excited as you may be for camp, you may be overwhelmed with the thought of packing. What should you bring to live in a cabin for three months? We’ll share all the essentials you don’t want to forget, plus the things that our veteran staff recommend!

Summer Camp Counselor Packing List:

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Of course, clothing is the main thing you’ll want to pack - we have a laundry service once a week at camp, so you’ll need at least 7 days worth of clothing, plus some extra outfits to change into when things get wet or muddy.

Here in North Carolina, the weather can change quickly, and afternoon rain showers are common! Layers are key, especially since May can be brisk when you arrive for Staff Orientation (morning temps can be in the low 50s!), while July and August will be toasty with temperatures in the upper 80s.

  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans or long pants (for chilly days, horseback riding, and blacksmithing)
  • Underwear
  • Socks (bringing both cotton and synthetic socks is a great idea!)
  • White collared shirt (for Sunday Church)
  • Swimsuits (1-pieces for female staff)
  • A nice outfit for days off (optional, but can be nice to have if you’re going into town)
  • Rain gear
  • Fleece jacket
  • Wool or fleece hat (for cold days)
  • Hat/ball cap (to keep the sun out of your face)
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Since camp is surrounded by rugged terrain, you’ll want to bring proper footwear. We ask that everyone wear shoes around camp and in activities, to keep your feet safe. Bringing more than one pair of sneakers/athletic shoes is a great idea in case they get wet!

  • Tennis shoes/sneakers for daily use
    Shoes that you can run in and cover your entire foot - Crocs, Chacos, or similar shoes aren’t safe to run around in during most Evening Programs or All-Camp-Games
  • Water shoes
    Anything you might want for swimming, boating, or playing in a river - shoes with a heel strap or way to secure to your feet are ideal. Think Chacos, Astrals, Keens, etc., not flip flops. Some staff also bring rainboots, but these are optional.
  • Slippers/cabin shoes
    These are optional, but can be nice to put on in your cabin at the end of the day.
  • Activity specific shoes
    Anything you need to teach your specific activity safely and comfortably! This might be riding boots, paddling booties, soccer cleats, mountain bike shoes, hiking boots, etc.
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Cabin Life

In addition to what you need to bring to wear, you’ll also need some essentials for living in a cabin all summer.

  • Pillow and pillowcases
    We provide sheets & blankets, but you’ll bring your own pillow. Don’t forget multiple pillowcases so you can send one out in the wash each week.
  • Laundry bag with secure closure
    Speaking of laundry… you’ll need somewhere to put your dirty clothes! Bring a bag with a drawstring closure (not a hamper), so your clothes can stay together when they get sent out to be washed.
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Toiletry articles
  • Mattress topper & personal blanket
    These items are purely optional, but some staff will bring a foam mattress topper and a blanket from home for additional comfort. You can always buy a topper from Walmart if you prefer on a day off, so if you are flying in and don’t have space to bring one, don’t worry.
  • Trunk or large duffle bag
    You’ll need somewhere to put all your clothes and gear! Many people use a trunk (like the ones from Everything Summer Camp) or large duffle bag. This will function like your closet for the summer!
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Even if you’re not teaching an Outdoor Adventure activity, there’s still some camping gear that you’ll want to bring!

  • Water bottle(s)
    Arguably the most important item on your packing list! We have water bottles at our camp store if you forget one, but staying hydrated while working and playing outdoors at camp is essential.
  • Day Pack
    Having a backpack that you carry with you every day is very helpful at camp. With a backpack, your waterbottle, rain coat, hat, staff journal, and other essentials will always be close at hand!
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
    You may not be leading trips off property, but each cabin goes on an overnight camping trip together every session. You can also unzip your sleeping bag and use it as another blanket layer in your cabin during the chillier early summer nights! Let us know if you don’t have one of these and we can help you out.
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
    Since there’s no streetlights at camp, this is helpful to find your way back to the cabin at night! We know many people rely on a phone as their flashlight, but you’ll need one of these for “unplugged life” at camp. Plus, headlamps are a great hands-free option!
  • Camping mug/utensils/bowl
    For those camping overnights we mentioned, bringing your camping “mess kit” can be nice if you have one. If not, you can borrow ours.
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Other “Nice to Haves”:

These items aren’t necessary, but we’re listing them as “nice to haves” in case you want to include them in your packing!

  • Musical instruments
    We are always looking for more musicians to join us on the front porch for Morning Assembly, or at Campfire! Have an instrument but wish you could practice more? Bring it along - camp is a great place to learn! During Free Choice periods you can often find people jamming out at Esefel library or around the Dining Hall.
  • Sports equipment
    You are free to use all the gear and equipment that camp has, but there might be some equipment from home that you prefer to bring (for example, a tennis racket, helmet, bike, etc.) And of course, you this includes any equipment specific to your activity that you want to bring!
  • Books and games for your cabin
    We have a small library at camp, but you may want to bring your favorite childhood book to read to your younger campers at night, or fun board games to play together during down-time.
  • Bible and devotional materials
    We have Bibles you are welcome to read and use, but you may also have a personal copy that is special to you, or other devotional materials you want to have during the summer.
  • Stationery/pens/stamps
    Sending and receiving snail mail while at camp is a lot of fun! Make sure to store your envelopes and stamps in a sealed baggie though, because the humidity can cause them to stick together otherwise.
  • Small fan
    Helps keep you comfortable on hot summer days with no air conditioning in the cabins
  • Alarm clock
    A basic alarm clock (one without a radio or internet connection) will be helpful during the summer if you have trouble waking up to the sound of the camp bell, or if you want to get up early for Daily Spark or a morning workout.
  • Sunglasses/sunscreen
    You’ll need plenty of sun protection to keep you safe and comfortable during a summer spent outdoors!
  • Bandanas
    Some staff bring these as an additional scarf-like protection from the elements, as a handy towel or handkerchief, or wet it to help cool down on a hot day. With a variety of uses, they’re a handy thing to keep in your day pack.
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What Do Staff Recommend?

So now you know what’s on the packing list, but what do veteran staff recommend bringing? Here are some things that our former campers and veteran staff always have on their packing lists:

“I ALWAYS bring more towels than I think I need, because nothing is worse than being out of dry ones! I also like to bring a bunch of books, because they are the perfect way to spend a bit of free time during a busy day.” - Carson Skidmore (Camper, ‘09-’12, Staff ‘18-’19, ‘21-’22)

“I always bring a small door rug and put it next to my bed so I can wipe all the sand off my feet before getting in. Absolute game changer.” - Will Weaver (Camper ‘08-’14, Staff ‘19-’22)

“Something that’s now always on my packing list for camp is my hammock (and then I forget to use it all summer)” - Tom Yoxsimer (Camper ‘11-’16, Staff ‘18-’19, ‘21)

“I always bring my Magic the Gathering cards” - Ford Layman (Camper ‘06-’11, Staff ‘21-’23)

“Something that’s now always on my packing list for camp is a reliable headlamp with extra batteries! The last thing you want in the middle of the night is for your source of light to magically disappear.” - Croft Hamilton (Staff ‘19-’22)

Still have questions? You can always , or check out our “What To Bring To Camp” page for more details. Happy packing!