The Ultimate Camp Counsellor Packing List

I had the most AMAZING summer working as a Fine Arts Specialist at Camp Echo Lake in Warrensburg, New York! Prior to coming to camp, we were sent a packing list (YEAH PACKING LISTS) to help us pack. It was a really great list, however, there were a few things that I didn't pack that I probably should have. A lot of the time you have to actually experience something to understand so I've decided to write up a packing list that explains why certain things are on the packing list! Plus some other things that really helped me at camp! So if you're going to work at a camp - hopefully you find this helpful!

  • 6x White Staff T-Shirts: You'll be given these during orientation and it's deducted from your pay. You have to wear a staff shirt from 9am-5pm every day.

  • 2x Tank Tops
  • 6x T-Shirts: You won't want to wear your staff t-shirt after 5pm trust me! American's LOVE a t-shirt and I picked up a lot of my favourite shirts while on days off! Lake George apparel is very popular.

  • 1x Nice White Shirt: Every Friday evening you'll be required to wear a white shirt to Services / Friday Night Live so it's a good idea to pack something for this.
  • 1x Party Shirt: The brighter the better and yes it's essential.


  • 1-2x Sweatshirts: A hoodie and a pullover are the perfect choices.
  • 15-20x Pairs of Underwear: I believe it's impossible to overpack underwear.
  • 1-2x Normal bras
  • 6x Sports bras
  • 14-20x Pairs of Socks: Honestly you can't overpack socks either, especially for camp.
  • 2-3x One-piece swimsuits: You will swim every day so it's handy to have 2-3 on rotation.
  • 1x Pair of summer PJ's
  • 1x Compact rain jacket: It rains randomly more than you would think
  • 1x Warm fleece jacket: This is 100% worth bringing, some nights it can get super cold.
  • 1x Pair of Thermals: Not an essential but handy to have if you get cold easily.

You get one DOFF (day off) a week, you will either be allocated 'Saturday 8pm- Sunday 11pm' DOFF or 'Wednesday 8pm-Thursday 11pm' DOFF and this will be the same for the entire summer. It's also nice to have something nice-casual to wear for the last night at camp!
Last night staff banquet 

  • 1-2x Pairs of Sneakers: I did the whole summer with 1 pair but I would advise bringing 2 because there is NOTHING worse than wet shoes. I personally love Skechers as they're SO comfortable! 
  • 1x Pair of Hiking Boots: I didn't need this because I was an activity specialist but you might need a pair if you're a cabin specialist/group leader.
  • 1x Pair of Flip-Flops: You need to wear them in the showers to prevent tinea. 
  • 1x Pair of Sandals: Such as Birkenstocks or Chacos. Or both.
  • 1x Rain Boots/Gum Boots: You could go without packing these and be okay but if you want to be prepared, pack them!
  • 1x Pair of Crocs: the best shoes to ever grace this earth and a heavily worn and loved item at camp.
These are 'normal' at camp

  • 1x Cap: America doesn't have 'no hat no play' rules like Australia does however you should bring a hat to camp, I promise you will wear it and use it regularly. 
  • 1-2x Pair of sunglasses: Same reason as above. I ended up ordering a custom prescription pair from straight to camp for $42 usd (about $62 aud) and they were amazing- PLUS so cheap!! Highly recommend if you're blind like me!
  • 1x Wristwatch: One of the ESSENTIALS of camp! I don't think I could have survived camp without my watch. Mine is the Casio LA-20WH-4A1 . The alarm sucks on it, it's more of a reminder beep but I love it regardless and it's water proof.
Love this watch so much!

  • Shower caddy: You can get these from Amazon or eBay for super cheap and you will use it every single day!
Shower caddy 

There is a health centre on campus but I find it so much easier to have my own stuff.

When you arrive, Camp Echo Lake will give the Internationals counsellors the following-
  • 1x Pillow: most of us ended up buying new pillows from Walmart though as the ones they give you can be a bit hit & miss
  • 1x Blanket
  • 1x Set of bed sheets: this is a fitted sheet, a top sheet and a pillowcase
  • 1x Towel: I would recommend also bringing a light towel (Turkish towels are great) to use at the lake/pool. Having 2 towels helps a lot.
My beloved Turkish Towel

I always travel with a laptop so I can do my photos and make videos etc but the majority of people didn't bring a laptop to camp.
Cygnett Powerbank Options

Canon Powershot G7X Mark II

  • Mattress topper: They call them 'egg crates', you can get them for $10 from Walmart and they make the world of difference. This was one of the best things I brought while at camp.
  • Speaker: this is was one of the best things I brought to camp and used every day  while at camp and on DOFF's 
The speaker I have is the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

  • Sleeping bag: I didn't bring one and I didn't end up needing one. If you have a super-compact sleeping bag I would recommend bringing one but if not you can always borrow from someone at camp. The only time you would ever really need one at camp is if you were doing a trek overnight trip which usually only cabin specialists or occasionally group leaders would go on!
  • A costume for Halloween: Halloween happens after the parents leave on visiting day so it's a good idea to have a costume idea packed!

  • Velcro wrap towel: One of my favourite items to use at camp. I got mine from Walmart and it's a game-changer. I would recommend getting one of these instead of a robe.
Velcro wrap towel

Waterbottle & reusable fork/spoon/knife

  • Laundry bag: I got this awesome one from Walmart that has a carry strap which makes it so much easier to carry from your bunk to the rox (staff room).
    The dream laundry bag
Reusable compact straw

Lunch box

  • Keepcup: if you're a coffee drinker this a must-pack item,
My one true love, and Jenny

  • Personal photos from home & blue-tac: makes your space feel like home
Photos and small fairy lights

  • Small battery-powered fairy lights: Not an essential but I had mine next to my bed and they were a great little light source when I would come into the bunk after nights off.
  • Paper/Envelopes: letter writing is a massive thing at camp and a good habit to get into. At the end of camp, the majority of the counsellors will also write 'bus letters' for all their campers/friends so it's handy to have supplies in advance for that.
My finished bus letters

  • Stamps: I went to the post office in Lake George and got a bunch of international stamps at the start of camp and that lasted me throughout the summer.
  • Green & Yellow Bandana: These are super handy for tribal events - staff don't have a tribal team so you want to wear an equal amount of green and yellow stuff always!
  • Lollies/Sweets from your home country: For the Post Visiting Day Candy Party plus your campers will love trying something from your home country!
Post-Visiting Day Candy Party

  • Eyemask: I can't sleep without one so it's a must-pack for me.
  • Earplugs: Kids snore.
  • Day pack: Just make sure it's big enough to hold a water bottle, sunscreen, a towel etc.
  • Polaroid camera: I regretted not bringing mine this year and it will 100% be something I pack for next summer. 
In NYC before we got the bus to camp!

Camp wrist

  • 1x roll of Duct Tape: It has SO many purposes at camp.
  • Crazy Creek: you will 100% need this and use this almost every day of camp. You can get cheaper ones from Walmart. Don't come to camp without one

This is what I've learnt from Summer 2019 about what to pack and what not to pack- I really hope it's helpful to you!

Until next time,
Chels x

Instagram- @littlek
Twitter- @littleksnap

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