"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Camp List

Okay, so here is what I have to put together before Number One and Number Two sons leave for camp. They will be gone three and a half weeks, joined by Number Three who will be there for 8 days. The first year Number One went I stuck to The List like it meant the difference between my boy loving camp or living in my basement until he is 5o. Six summers later, I know better. So let's review The List, shall we?

1 Sleeping bag (light) for tripping (that's canoe tripping, not tripping over)

1 other sleeping bag for in-camp bedding and in case trip bag gets wet (I don't even want to think about how it might get wet)

1 30 litre dry bag to keep clothing and sleeping bag dry (so why are we worried about wet bags?)

1 single blanket for added warmth (Huh? My boys are furnaces in the dead of winter)

1 pillow (I send the oldest ones in the house, circa 1982)

2 pillow cases (do they get a reminder to change them?)

10 pairs of socks, please send dark ones (so you can't see the dirt? Anyways, it's a moot point as I have taught my boys never to wear socks with sandals)

8 pairs underwear (hmmmm, will they be reminded to change them when they change the pillowcases?)

8 pairs shorts (not likely)

10 t-shirts in dark colours ('cause what you can't see won't hurt you)

3 pairs long pants (learned not to send the zip-off kind, they only come home with one pant leg)

2 bathing suits (so they can wear the 8 pairs of shorts instead? My guys live in their suits, hence no need for the underwear)

1 sun hat, sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen (to be worn as often as the changing of the pillowcases?)

3 lightweight long sleeved shirts (don't need 'em in the winter, so not much use in the summer)

2 warm sweaters (crew or v neck?)

2 pairs of pajamas (maybe this is where the t-shirts and undies come in)

1 government approved PDF (this is tricky, as some life jackets are sooo uncool)

1 two piece rain suit (I now have a half a dozen unworn pairs of rain pants in a variety of sizes, perhaps I will make a rain quilt)

2 bath towels (again, circa 1982)

2 pairs rubber soled shoes (burnable at the end of camp)

1 pair sandals (not to be worn with 8 pairs of dark socks)

1 pair swim shoes (tried to send these, never worn)

1 paddle (very, very important for cool factor)

Toiletries (nice thought that they might wash)

biodegradable shampoo in plastic container (but dirty hair keeps away the bugs, right?)

biodegradable soap in plastic covered dish (dirty skin matches the dark t's and socks)

Flashlight (the cool kids have headlamps)

Writing paper, pens, addressed envelopes (thank god for permanent stamps that might be mailed some year)

1 water bottle (maybe that's how the sleeping bags get wet)

1 toiletry bag (I have splurged on LL Bean bags this year in the hope that they will be used and return home)

All the above must be labelled, I figured out after Number Two Son started going that the labels should only be their last name, let the camp laundry figure out whose is whose. So I am hoping there is some good reality TV on for the next few days since I will be dusting off the old iron and board, if I can remember where I put them away after last year's labelling marathon.

But of course, all my careful labelling, folding and packing will be for not once they find the bathing suits, a couple of t-shirts and the sandals. The rest of the giant hockey bag will lie undisturbed by human hands beneath the bed until I dump the perfectly preserved contents into the laundry upon their triumphant and smelly return home.

And the only thing better than sending them off to camp is welcoming them home.


  1. This list looks very familiar because it mentions items for tripping (paddle, dry sack, etc.) I wonder if your kids go to the same camp my boys did and where one of my sons still works? (Program Director.) And that cabin looks just as “rustic.”
    Or maybe there are lots of camps known for tripping?
    I probably shouldn’t mention the name of the camp on your blog – I’ll just say Camp K.

    As for labels? I just used a permanent black marker!

  2. Wow, my son is such a homebody he couldn't even handle a full day, DAY camp. That's wonderful that your boys enjoy it so much...I'm sure they'll have wonderful childhood memories!

    Did the photomeme, BTW. It was fun! it

    Happy weekend, Cid!

  3. Good grief. Is that what I'm in store for?

  4. Woah! And I thought I took a lot of stuff on holiday with me!

    The toiletries comment made me lol :P

    Hope they have a great time.

  5. OMG! camp is a lot of work! LOL!

  6. You've just brought back a memory of my mother ironing on my name labels when I went away to Sparrow Lake Camp. I really enjoyed this post.


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