Recap of Key Things to Do Ahead of Time:
- Contact your service unit/council if your troop is camping as part of a group, to ensure you know what the camping and cooking (and showering) facilities are for your troop.
- Check the weather forecast for that specific area.
- Get a list of emergency contact numbers for you, your fellow Camp Volunteers to give your troop parents who are not attending.
- Complete any First Aid, CPR, and camping/outdoor training required by your council.
- Make sure any adults attending are registered volunteers, in accordance with your council guidelines.
- Make sure you have the minimum adult/girl ratio for the event.
- Ensure your leader daypack includes updated health forms for ALL attending with your troop (including adults), and a current and complete first aid kit.
- Communicate clearly with parents regarding the facilities, weather, and meals/snacks.
- Double check about girl/adult dietary restrictions (as these can change from year to year).
THINGS TO PACK:
This is obviously dependent upon what type of camping you'll be doing, and how long you'll be there. Our trip was three days and two nights in a cabin with a shared kitchen, and a 3+ hours car ride from home. And I'm an overpacker, for sure! But I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Plus, we were staying in a really really nice cabin with a great kitchen.
Sometimes generic is fine. Sometimes it's not. So splurge on the important things like pasta sauce, and go generic on others that don't matter -- like jelly. It's hard to screw up jelly. When in doubt, go with the plain option (smooth peanut butter over chunky). I've seen leader lists that included all kinds of fancy "adult" foods. My girls are pretty picky still, even in fourth grade. So we went with the basics. Your mileage may vary. Go with what your troop will enjoy!
- Pots and pans, baking sheet, pot holder, ladles, etc.
- Paper plates, bowls, thick cups, plastic utensils -- I know, it's not environmentally friendly but were sharing our kitchen, so this was the better approach (tent camping: reusable dishes/utensils/cups and dunk bags, along with a small container of bleach for rinsing water; be sure to bring small bins for washing, rinsing, and sterilizing dishes)
- Large snap-lid bins, labeled with troop number and your name
- Paper towels
- Dish towel
- Garbage bags
- Aluminum foil (kitchen or campfire cooking -- this is key!)
- Dish liquid
- Cooler with ice & refrigerated food
- Coffee maker (good coffee -- the mamas need it!, filters, travel mugs)
- Salt/pepper/spices (garlic and Italian blend)
- Cooking oil and butter
- Milk, orange juice, apple juice, water (and a couple of ginger ales in case someone's tummy is upset)
- Lunches: Sandwich supplies (bread, peanut butter, honey, jelly, sandwich meats, sliced cheese, mayo and mustard). We had one mom go back and make the sandwiches while we were at our first activity, then meet us with the lunch stuff at a picnic spot afterward, as there wasn't time for all of us to go back to the cabin to eat. See Snack Bags for fruit and other options.
- Small bags of chips -- these transport better than large bags
- Juice boxes (optional)
- Little Debbie type snack cakes (dessert!)
- Popcorn (we had a microwave! Get the brand name kind if you're bringing microwave popcorn. The generic doesn't pop well)
- Paper bags to distribute the popcorn
- Hot chocolate packs (generic fine) -- we ended up with popcorn and hot cocoa for our late night snack. You could skip all that and go with s'mores though.
- S'mores supplies (graham crackers, hershey bars, marshmallows -- don't get the big flat marshmallows that are marketed for s'mores; they don't taste as good as the regular ones. Weird, I know)
- Bananas (or not. We ended up tossing some -- and they have to be stored so as to not go brown fast; see Snack Bags for other fruit)
- Small/quick Breakfast: Yogurt, cereal, pop-tarts
- Big Breakfast: Eggs, frozen pancakes (generic okay), syrup (brand name), sausages, grated cheese (optional -- we used the cheese for this meal and our big supper)
- Big Supper: Spaghetti noodles (generic okay), large marinara sauce (brand name), regular sized alfredo (brand name), ground beef (in ziploc, even if sealed), bread (we used small french bread type rolls -- butter and garlic), salad and dressings.
- Small supper: sandwich stuff (campfire cooking: hobo packs, chili, hot dogs, etc.)
Every person (girl and adult) had one snack bag per day, labeled with her name and the day it's for. Friday snack bags were quart-sized and distributed when we picked the girls up from school. They munched on these in the car. Saturday bags were gallon-sized and stayed in the girls' daypacks, Sunday's were quart-sized and for the car ride home. Adjust as needed based upon your length of stay. Short trip with one overnight can have just the gallon size and you'll be fine.
The purpose of the snack bags was not only to ensure each person had something to eat throughout each day, but also provided options for picky eaters, if they didn't care for the meal being served. Each day's bag contents varied, with the exception of the trail mix.
Our snack bags rocked! Ahead of time I dumped all the trail mix supplies into a huge bowl, mixed it up, them used a scoop to fill sandwich baggies. We had three trail mixes per person total. It was a lot, but any leftovers could be dumped into the next day's snack bag. And they were. It worked great!
- Trail mix in sandwich baggy (peanuts and/or cashews, craisins [better than raisins, IMO], dried pineapple/other fruit [freeze-dried fruit will get weird and chewy, so use regular dried fruit for trail mix, and keep freeze-dried fruit separate], pretzels, M&Ms, goldfish crackers)
- Cutie oranges in sandwich baggy with paper towel (messy -- this was a Saturday only snack, to avoid sticky rides in the car)
- Small apples
- Box of raisins
- Peanut butter cracker packs
- Chewy granola bars (assorted)
- Freeze-dried apples (in their own packs)
- Pack of hand wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Bug spray
- Extra hair rubberbands
- First Aid kit (epi-pen, bandages, tweezers, Benadryl cream, fast dissolve Benadryl and Ibuprofen for kids, small electronic thermometer, safety scissors, gauze, wrap, maxi pad, saline eye drops, moleskin, Children's Pepto, Adult Tylenol/Advil, etc., and some candy of some sort for quick sugar boost, or boo-boo distraction)
- Health forms with emergency contact info for all attendees (in ziploc)
- Permission slips, signed (in ziploc)
- Cell phone (in ziploc)
- Camera (optional, but mine works better than my cell phone)
- Camp map
- Small notepad and pen to record medications given
Extra Stuff to Bring:
- Craft/game stuff in case of inclement weather. I brought a roll of butcher paper that had accompanied a box from Amazon. It was a perfectly good (albeit wrinkled) long length of paper. I rolled it up, tossed in a big bag of Sharpies, and it was an instant, fun "Let's draw a mural!" activity for down time. Doubles as great bonfire fodder when you're done!
- Uno cards are a great and easy down time game. We did a lot of GS traditional games though.
- For younger troops, coloring pages and crayons, and other crafts are good. Older girls? Skits, games, etc. But it's NEVER a bad idea to have something on hand to keep them occupied during down time or if it rains.
- Phone charger (moms)
- Acne cream and whatever toiletries you need. Because I swear nothing like camping makes my face break out! Ugh.
- Tie-dye supplies, waterproof tarps, etc. (we used old vinyl tablecloths) to do it on. Container to pre-soak in soda ash. Twine and clothespins to hang to dry. Extra gloves!
- Foam core cut in half. This gives you 4 kaper lists total. We broke up into two patrols and then assigned each patrol jobs for the length of our stay. You could easily use rolled up butcher paper for this, but I had some foam core handy.
- Camper Badge supplies (maps, cardboard knives, compasses, etc.)
- Any additional badge supplies (we did all of Camper and most of Simple Meals at camp)
- Toilet paper (because even a stocked cabin can run out)
- Pump hand soap (ditto)
- Small battery lantern (to leave in bathroom at night, etc.)
- Ear plugs/eye masks (moms!)
- Extra deodorant, pads, sweatpants, sweatshirt, socks, toothbrush, towel for girls. I always have at least one extra sleeping bag in my car too, just in case, and a spare small duffle with one set of clothes and toiletries in case someone forgets her bag. I also bring a small electric heater just in case. Yep, I'm an overpacker for sure! ;)
So, there's your HUGE packing list! You certainly don't need to bring all that, but hopefully it will give you an idea of things to consider bringing on your trip. Our biggest expense was food. We don't skimp on food, and used the bulk of our cookie money to pay for food. The cost for us to go to camp for three days and two nights (including activities) was $75/girl. The adults who went were paid for with troop funds. And we used $200 in cookie money to pay for the rest of the food. You can ask your adults to pay their own way, which would mean not dipping into your troop funds as much (or at all). It's up to you and your parents.
Just one of the many awesome things we did!
More to Come Soon!