So, you’re driving home, trying to collect your thoughts. “Summer’s here. School’s almost out. Kids are going to camp. Must start packing. What do I need to buy? I can get through this. Breathe.”

You get home and remember that the camp sent you the official packing list. You find it under a large pile of papers. You read it. You call your friend Stacey who just knows stuff (you definitely know someone like that) and she gives you her yearly packing tips. You try to conjure up the faint memories of sending your kids to camp last year this time. The picture’s becoming clearer. You’re almost there…

If this description in some way resembles your life in the past few weeks, keep reading. We’ve thought about 4 things that you might just have forgotten to consider (in order of necessity).

The Must Have

Everyone needs it but no camp list mentions it. It’s the thing you put all your things into. You guessed it. Your Bag. Most popular are super jumbo soft trunks or duffel bags. Some still go with the good, old fashioned hard trunk. But everyone needs a bag. So, while you’re scratching your head thinking about what you need to buy for camp, start with the bag. Things to consider: size, color, with or without wheels? (Still need help? Check out our guide to buying a soft trunk.)

The Really Useful to Have

When it comes to camp it’s all about organization and storage. You want to make sure that your child goes to camp organized and that she stays organized when she gets there. When you’re packing the trunk, it can help to compartmentalize the different items using storage bags, boxes, Ziplocs, or any other bag or box shaped item you have hanging around. When your kid gets to camp, he can reuse these storage items to organize his space in the bunk.

The Nice (and Comfortable) to Have

Here’s where we move from necessary to nice to have (although the jury is still out on where you draw the line between necessity and luxury). For some campers, it’s become a standard to add that extra bit of comfort to their few hours of nightly sleep with an egg crate foam mattress pad. Some parents will tell you not to waste your money as the beds are comfortable enough without them while others will tell you that it’s the first thing their kids ask them to buy for camp. You be the judge…

The Thing Your Child Thinks is a Must Have

It serves no practical purpose, but if summer camp is all about the memories, the autograph pillow is a top favorite among campers themselves. Never heard of it? Well, it’s a pillow. And it normally has a cutesy picture on it. And most importantly, your kids’ friends can decorate the pillow with sentimental messages at the end of camp. It’s also an ideal gift from grandma or grandpa – the thing your child didn’t really need but Gramps decided to spoil them anyway.

Any Tips of Your Own?

Here at Pack for Camp, we think about camp packing all year long so we hope you enjoyed these tips…