Towering Pines Blog

Let’s Pack for Camp like Pros!

Posted by on June 8, 2018

Thank you Judy for your veteran tips for packing your son!  Judy’s brothers went to Towering Pines, while Judy attended Camp Woodland. Judy is a longtime supporter of the camp experience and has been a camp mom for over 5 year summers!

Pro Tip: I learned from a former boss that “any job is easier when you have the right tools”

  • Stick on Labels (from
  • Silver Sharpie
  • Black Sharpie
  • Black permanent ink clothing rubber stamp with LAST NAME ONLY.
  • Silver permanent ink clothing rubber stamp with LAST NAME ONLY (for dark clothes and items).

Stick to the list for the most part. Towering Pines has been in operation for 70+ years…the Jordan Family knows what works and what doesn’t at camp.

Packing Rules to Live By

  • Order the minimum recommended camp apparel and maybe one or two other items you know for a fact they will wear.
  • Don’t send your child to camp with an article of clothing (or any item) you/he/she would be devastated by if it were ruined/lost/misplaced.
  • There really is no “fancy occasion” that requires formal attire. Especially at Towering Pines where a golf shirt and khaki shorts is as fancy as it gets 1 day out of the summer.
  • One of the best things about camp is it truly is a place where everyone looks the same. Everyone dresses at the same very casual level of shorts, t-shirt, hoodie. Camp is the place to show your personality, not what kind of clothes you have. So it’s not going to matter if your kid’s riding jeans are from American Eagle or if they are from Walmart. No one seems to be able to tell the difference or even cares about that stuff. Just send the towels from Walmart or whatever happens to be laying around your house that you don’t mind never seeing again because it may get mixed up in someone else’s bags on the way back. Label them so it makes weekly laundry easier for the counselors.
  • Get high quality flip flops such as “sliders” or “Crocs.”  That seems to be what the kids live in all summer. Mark them with a Sharpie that shows up on whatever color they are.
  • Don’t stress out too much about having a rain poncho. It’s on the list but if your kid has a rain jacket/outershell type of thing from Lands End/LLBean/NorthFace that will work.

Embrace the idea of “Camp Clean.”  Camp laundry is not the level of laundry as you might be doing at home.  No one is pretreating for stains. A red shirt may get in with the whites.  A white sock will get in with the darks. Whites get dingy…colors fade. And that is ok…it’s camp laundry.

The actual packing process
Pro Tip:  Plan on the process taking about 2 hours, maybe a little longer if this is your first time. I designate an area of our house as the packing area.

  1. I am a batch processor. It helps keep things from getting mixed up of half completed. If you have more than one child going to camp, you might want to pack them individually (get one completed before starting on the next) so things don’t get mixed up.
  2. Lay everything out in piles (10 socks, 12 shirts, bedding, etc. ) before packing anything in a duffle so you can double check everything as it goes in. I pack all of the bedding in one duffle and the clothing in another.
  3. I have the child pull things from the list (10 socks, 10 pairs of underwear, 2 Woodland/Towering Pines shirts, 8 other shirts, etc.).
  4. As the items are pulled, I stamp them with name and check it off the list. Anything I can’t stamp, I sharpie. My mom (who was the camp nurse for many years) used to hand sew cloth labels into all of my clothes (and my brothers’). Every year. Such dedication…but I am not doing that.
  5. Just rubber stamp the name onto the white label of many clothes on the inside back of the collar  or on the seam and get on with your life.
  6. Use the sticker labels for non-clothing items like water bottle, hair brush, shower stuff. Sharpie shoes on the inside exterior sole or where visible elsewhere on the shoe.

The best camp luggage is duffles. We got ours from LL Bean but has them as well.