10 essentials for your kids first overnight summer camp

We’ve rounded up the handiest, most practical summer camp must-haves . (Getty/File)

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Singalongs, campfires and new best friends. Packing up and heading to camp is one of the best summer rituals. Each year, thousands of children across Canada spend time at camp.

And, it’s good for their health. A research project from the University of Waterloo found summer camp provided Canadian children with positive experiences, including socializing with others and personal growth and development.

If this is your first time sending your little ones to adventure in the wild, here’s a roundup of practical items to make for a memorable getaway.

Rather than a backpack or regular bag, a wheeled  duffle comes recommended by some camps because the wheels make it easier for kids to maneuver across uneven terrain that comes with the territory at camp. Users applaud this one’s heavy duty construction, numerous zippered pockets and ability to fit a surprising amount of stuff. Necessary for the little camper who just needs “one more stuffie” tucked inside.
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One thing they’ll need every day is a hat, and this one’s got them covered, literally. The wide brim provides UV 50+ protection, dries quickly and comes in eight colours. And there’s even a pocket they can use to tuck in the treasures they find on the hiking trail or beach. 


As a parent, you know instinctively that your child will shed that hoodie on the dock on the very first day, and then leave it there. You also know that there are likely at least three other kids with the same hoodie. Get smart and put their name on their clothes with a multi-pack of heavy duty label stickers from Mabel’s Labels. This pack is good for T-shirt and jacket tags (just stick them on a clean, unwrinkled tag) along with backpacks or water bottles. As a parent who’s used these and other brands, Mabel’s are by far the best as they can withstand years of laundering.  
There’s nothing that upsets a great night of sharing stories with campmates more than itchy mosquito bites. Tuck a pack of these innovative patches into their kit and ensure they have the simple instructions for use: clean the itchy spot, dry it, and apply the sticker-like patch onto the affected area. Voila! No more scratching.
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Even though every day at camp should be filled with sunshine, we all know that sometimes summer in Canada means rainy days where they’ll be stuck in their cabins. Paperbacks that double as games the whole cabin can enjoy are a great addition to their gear.


Even if they’re not afraid of the dark at home, the night sky in the woods can seem much darker than in the city. Send along the EverBrite and they’ll be able to find their way back from campfire to sleeping quarters, no problem.
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Let’s face it, kids aren’t always responsible when it comes to hanging up their wet things after a swim. Prevent their towels from getting musty with these quick drying microfibre versions, which come in eight fun styles. And they fold compactly so they can be tucked into a bag when not in use.
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Help them keep all their bathing essentials at hand and organized with this easy-to-use shower caddy. The quick drying mesh caddy, which comes in six colours, also ensures that everything dries out between showers. No musty bottles or slimy soaps!


Those endless summer nights can be beautiful, but they can also be chilly. Ensure your campers have a snuggly blanket for evening. Slip this super-warm throw into their kit to add to their camp-issued bedding or for wrapping up during a campfire. As an added bonus, the little stars and words of encouragement glow in the dark.


Camp is the best kind of memory making. It can be a magical experience for many children, who may develop friendships that last a lifetime. Slip this autograph book in their duffel or pack so they can be sure to collect notes and signatures from new friends and their favourite counsellors.
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