Packing For Summer Camp: An Insider’s Guide to Packing Smart

Teen packing suitcase on her bed.

The countdown before camp has begun, and while excited, you may be less than enthusiastic about packing. Whether you’re speed packing after diligent procrastination or slow packing far in advance, we’d like to share some tips and tricks for a smoother experience.

First Things First: Something not to pack: electronics! From Zoom to Netflix, the past two years have been marked by screen time. Camp’s a great opportunity to disconnect from tech, reconnect with yourself, and connect with incredible new friends across the country.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you are bringing a costume, pack the full ensemble in its own bag
  • If you have special toiletries which you may not be able to replenish or borrow at camp, like Black hair products or customized skincare, it’s better to pack more than less. Consider you’ll be showering more often. Pay attention to how much product you use weekly so you can pack enough to last.

Tips for “Securing the Bag”

  • Pack your bag in “categories” so it is easier to pull from. Put heavy shoes on the bottom, shorts in one corner, jeans in another, etc. Place things you know you’ll need faster, like PJs for the first night, toiletries, and undergarments on top or in an outside pocket.
  • Bring a duffel bag instead of a suitcase. Space is very limited in the cabins, and the flexibility of fabric can sometimes allow you to fit more.
  • Bring a bag you don’t mind getting dirty! Also, try not to pack with a school club bag you’d have to replace if lost or damaged.
  • Vacuum bags can be great – however, remember you may not have a way to flatten them again and will need to be able to zip your bag back up!
  • Act like you’re at the airport: Carry your pillow and wear your bulkiest shoes and jacket.

Whether you’re preparing to slay a wig at one of our drag shows or dragons at a LARP, props and costumes take extra creativity to pack- thankfully, creativity’s kind of our thing. 😉

Swords, Instruments, Props, and Other Uniquely Shaped Items

  • If you have fragile items, wrap them carefully in a towel or clothes you don’t mind potentially getting slightly ripped.
  • If you have a long item that just won’t fit, move both zippers to one corner of the bag and leave the handle sticking out.


You’ve landed a SICKENING wig- the one with floor-length ponys just like Sailor Moon or curls to make Dolly proud… but how do you fit it in your bag? If it’s smaller or has no styling, you can fold it into a zip lock bag, then put it in a separate compartment, so it isn’t smashed.

For bigger pieces, you may need to make room for a small shoe or cereal box. Gently fold it out following the direction of the curls. Then, place it inside the box. You can also fill a bag with socks and place it in the middle as a DIY mannequin to help it hold its shape. And if you don’t have space, don’t worry! You can still bring the house down without it!

But the most important thing we hope you bring to camp is your full, authentic self, and we can’t wait to see you soon!

See a full camp packing list >>

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Odyssey Teen Camp

Odyssey Teen Camp, located in the Berkshires, is a safe summer space for teens to be themselves. Our campers experience the pure exhilaration that comes from being included, honored, and celebrated for exactly who they are. They leave OTC instilled with the confidence to reimagine their place in the world. And they will forever remain a part of the OTC family. OTC offers full summer programming for ages 13 through 18.
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Find Out About Odyssey Teen Camp

A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18
Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.