What do boys actually wear and use in camp?
A while back in 2017, the team at Between Carpools put together a thorough and very helpful camp packing list. At that time, four years ago, everyone else on the BCP team had teen girls (except for me). My camp experience began, rather, with packing up boys. And as they age from elementary to mesivta-age camps, I see that their needs change too. So while the original list is universal, I saw that I needed to do some adaptations when packing and shopping for my boys (they gave me lots of notes to remember for future years each time they came home!).
This is the list I compiled for my own boys, with notes that detail their changing needs as they get older. Of course, every camp-going boy will have different preferences, and so you’ll adapt as needed. I did not include a list of food items.
Boys Camp Checklist
- 2 extra large duffels or 1 duffel + set of plastic drawers.
[Depends on boys preference, storage space available, and bunk space.]
- 12-14 t-shirts
[Older boys who are wearing a white shirt for much of the day need less.]
- 9-10 sweatpants and/or shorts
[Mesivta boys don’t wear shorts.]
- 10-12 underwear
- 12-14 weekday socks
[Socks do get lost]
- 4 pajamas
[Sleeping sweats/shorts and sleeping t-shirts.]
- 5-6 white weekday shirts
[6th/7th grade and up.]
- 3-5 weekday pants for davening/learning
[6th/7th grade and up. In different camps, white shirts/pants are worn for different durations.]
[In some camps, the boys only put on real pants for special occasions and they wear Tiros with a white shirt in the morning. Then, they’d need just 1-2.]
[In other camps, they wear pants for davening and/or learning groups and then change for the day; then 3-4 is good.]
[Mesivta boys wear pants in morning and later for night seder. “Stretchies,” a more comfortable pant, are popular among the boys.]
- 2 Shabbos shirts
- 1-2 Shabbos suits
- 4 Shabbos socks
[Keep some separate for Shabbos if he wears the same for Shabbos and weekday mornings.]
- Shabbos shoes
- 1-2 ties
[over Bar Mitzvah] [Don’t bring the good Shabbos hat.]
- 1-2 bathrobes
[2 if he uses it as a towel also.]
- 5-6 Tzitzit
- 2-4 Kippahs
- All sports equipment
- Natives and/or Swims
[Some older boys like Swims because they look like loafers and they can wear them with their pants/shirts in the morning. Note that they’re expensive, but sometimes you can find deals on older styles.]
- 2-3 bathing suits
- 2 sweatshirts
- Off Spray
- 3-4 Bath/Swim Towels
- Hand Towels
(2 sets of cheap linens if going for 2 halves. Preferably a dark color.)
- 2 pillows & pillowcases
- 2 mesh laundry bags.
[Some camps give the kids a standard bag.]
- Mesh bag for socks and underwear
[Some more orderly boys keep socks and underwear separate and throw the small bag into the big bag. Others just throw it all together.]
- Siddur/tefillin bag/tefillin/sefarim
- Set of little drawers to hold misc little stuff or end of bed caddy.
- Folding chair.
[In some camps the chairs are used constantly, in others not. The bungee chair is popular and lightweight, but expensive and takes up more space/doesn’t fold up so small.]
[There are many lightweight foldable camping chairs that cost less. Walmart has one for $6 but it breaks.]
- A good flashlight.
[They use this a lot.]
- Netilat cup.
[A collapsible cup such as this one is practical. It’s much cheaper at Judaica stores.]
- Poncho or umbrella
[Either a large fan for the bunk house, or a clip-on fan]
- Lint roller
[Lint gets on everything since it’s all washed together.]
- Bathroom caddy. Some use, some are just fine with carrying their shower stuff each day.