Why Do I Have to Pack 8 Towels? — Explaining the Overnight Summer Camp Packing List

When I first started helping my daughter pack for her first two-week stay at Camp Quinebarge, I wondered why the packing list included four bath towels, four beach towels, and ten sets of clothing when laundry was going to be done in the middle. Grumbling to myself I considered that it might be someone’s weird sense of humor. However, it rained her first week, so once a towel was used it never dried, and she ended up using most of them. 

After we bought the camp, we changed the packing list to a total of five towels, because that is what most people sent anyway, and we’ve been fine, but in observing the campers, I have learned that it was a wise person who drafted that original list. Three bathing suits? Campers have the chance to swim at least 2 times a day, so suits can start to feel waterlogged. Two pairs of sneakers? A must, because campers are playing all day, and sneakers can get wet or muddy. Flip flops and a shower caddy? Boys shower in a shower house and girls need to keep their toiletries together, since at least six girls will share one bathroom. Long sleeves and sweaters in the middle of the summer? Absolutely, because our cabins have fresh air flowing through them at all times, and the Lakes Region of New Hampshire can get some chilly nights and mornings. 

Camp Quinebarge’s packing list really is an organizational dream, guiding the campers to pack extra necessities, have some niceties, but save room by leaving many items at home. For example, while our Sunday campfire fire is “formal attire,” there is no need for a uniform or dress clothes. Sunday dress is a camp t-shirt and Quinebeads, a special item we give out on the first day. While campers wear team colors for the Monkeytown Olympics, a festival of physical challenges for counselors and campers, team shirts are tie-dyed. Also, campers and counselors can leave their electronics behind, because they are headed to a device-free zone where activities, outdoor adventure and exploration, fun, and friends are already included.