The Camp Mom Expert: How to Pack a Trunk

By: Allison

Posted: 5.27.21

I’m Allison, and I’m here to talk about how to pack your trunk for Camp. Everybody has their own way of preparing for Camp, but these are the tricks that work for my boys.

First off, the best trunks for Cho-Yeh are the hard plastic ones. We like the Plano Storage Lockers from Academy. They have different colors to choose from (which is great if you have more than one child) and cost around $25. You can also use a large duffle bag or suitcase. The large wooden trunks are not ideal because they are expensive and don’t fit under the bunks. My kids like to decorate their trunks with stickers they’ve collected. Some friends even paint their names on the top. It’s fun to allow your kids to get creative and make it their own!

The best way to pack clothing (especially for younger campers) is to divide each day’s clothes into gallon Ziploc bags. I label mine Monday-Saturday and put in an outfit for each day, including underwear and socks. My 8-year-old thanked me at the end of the week and said it really helped because he could just grab what he needed and go. I also label a Ziploc bag with “extras” that includes just that — spare socks, underwear, and two outfits.

I recommend throwing in a couple of bags for wet swimsuits and towels. Once, I discovered my son’s wet clothes wadded up, and the smell nearly knocked me over. So, encourage your kids to utilize the empty bags for wet clothes and towels. For dirty clothes, you can ask your kids to just put their outfits for the day back into their labeled Ziploc bag, or you can include a laundry bag. We have done both, and it’s really just a personal preference.

For Crud Wars, I pack old clothes that they can throw away. Their shoes will get dirty as well so pack an old pair or buy cheap ones. Campers will also need an additional backpack for opening day.  Check out the Opening and Closing Day Logistics page for more information.

For toiletries, I buy travel-size bottles for shampoo and liquid soap (bar soap is not recommended). I put these, along with their toothbrush holder, deodorant, and other necessities into a Dopp kit or toiletry pouch. Another small bag or even a shower caddy works great too. I also throw in a pair of flip flops they can wear in the shower. Some moms even suggest including a small bath rug in their camper’s trunk. Then they can wipe their feet before they get into bed at night and the sand or dirt on their feet doesn’t get in their sheets.

Lastly, be sure to label EVERYTHING with your camper’s name. It might seem silly but so many items end up in Lost & Found throughout the week. For clothing, I recommend just purchasing no-iron fabric labels like these on Amazon. Along with this, be mindful of what items travel to Cho-Yeh with your camper. There’s always a chance of something being lost or damaged, so it’s usually better to just leave valuables at home.

See the full packing list for Camp here.

Be sure to go over everything in the trunk with your child. It’s especially helpful if the child assists in packing — that way they can know everything they have and where it is. The better prepared my camper is, the more I can relax while they are away because I know they have everything they need for their time at Camp. The independence that they gain from spending time away at Camp is irreplaceable!