Sending your teenager off to camp isn't any less chaotic than when he was in grade school, especially when it comes to packing. Because many teen camps are highly focused, what your teen needs for three weeks of marine biology camp at the beach is completely different from what he'll need for film camp in New York City. Whatever you pack, keep in mind the frequency of relocation throughout his camp session. If he's moving every other night and carrying all his belongings in his backpack, your checklist will be different than if he's living in a dorm room or cabin for entire session.
Whether your teen is spending the summer in the mountains of Massachusetts or the concrete of Los Angeles, he'll need plenty of lightweight clothing that dries quickly. A couple of bathing suits, and a lightweight bathrobe for going between his room and shower. A few dressier outfits might also be necessary, depending on the camp. A few sweatshirts or sweaters and a rain parka, are also worth including. Keep the bulk to a minimum, and if he's going to be hiking or doing outdoor excursions, send him with clothing made from material that dries quickly and wicks sweat away from his skin.
The toiletry needs of a teenager are more than those of a fourth-grader. Pack plenty of oil-free sunblock, face wash and bug-repellent. A travel toothbrush and toothpaste. All bathroom-related toiletries should fit in a mesh carrying case that lets your teen carry them easily to wherever he's bathing, according to GoodHousekeeping.com. For teen girls, any makeup or lotion should go in a separate storage bag so they're not exposed to dripping wet containers. Contact solution, glasses cleaner and eye drops are also essentials.
Equipment needs vary based on the type of camp your teen is attending. Camps with a particular focus, such as film, soccer or politics will include a specific list of equipment instructions that you should follow diligently. Other good equipment to pack includes a reasonably sturdy camera, small alarm clock, long-lasting batteries, a crank-powered flashlight especially if he'll be outdoors often. If he'll be in a dorm room, don't forget a small fan and possibly a desk lamp.
Linens and Such
Depending on the type of camp your teen is attending, he'll either need bed linens or a sleeping bag. Several standard bath and face towels, are necessities if he'll be staying in a dorm. A few small, fast-drying, high-absorbancy towels, available at any outdoor store, are helpful if your teen will be hiking or outdoors. A small compact pillow is effective for any camp setting. If he's carrying all his gear in a backpack, choose a sleeping bag that compresses easily.