Camp Runoia stuff – keeping it simple

We recently shared tips and tricks for packing with our camp families and reminded them that 2 large items is the limit for baggage. There is no doubt that three weeks at camp does require a substantial amount of belongings yet we really do want our campers to navigate the experience with just what they need, not an excess of ‘stuff’ that has little purpose other than clutter. With entire businesses and a library of books dedicated to decluttering your life it is always interesting to see what feels ‘essential’ for a few weeks at camp. Obviously we expect a favorite stuffie to make the trip but miscellaneous items that have no purpose at camp become a restriction for enjoying the camp experience.

Bringing a limited amount of belongings that are prescribed on the well thought out packing list provides a great opportunity to develop life skills and independence. If you only have 1 pair of sneakers or flip flops then it’s a good lesson to put them in a place where you can find them so you have them when you need them. Many of us live with such excess in our lives it truly becomes a burden. We spend so much time and effort organizing, searching for and replacing our stuff that we lose the pleasure in enjoying it.


With a nine day laundry cycle camp is a great opportunity for campers to manage their clothing in a way that is hygienic but also practical. The clothes you wore in the morning before swim lessons can go back on afterwards and a pair of jeans can last a couple of days if you are only wearing them in the chillier evenings. If you have run out of underwear by day 7 you need to navigate how to make that 10 pairs you brought last for the full cycle.


Space at camp is obviously limited and everyone is sharing so one roommate having excess has an impact on their bunk mates. It is also ‘rustic.’ While we certainly are building life skills for big away from home events in the future, we are not trying to replicate a mini college experience. Dorm rugs and throw pillows are unnecessary and soon become grubby. There is no cleaning service, campers who have been out playing in the woods and lake all day are in charge of maintaining their space. As they are busy developing those basic life skills the results can sometimes be marginal. A bedside rug is only best used for wiping off sandy feet after coming up from the beach. It needs moving when you have ‘sweeping’ on the chores chart and often ends up shoved under the bed with the dust bunnies. Check out this old blog about helping campers to figure out what to bring.

Over enthusiastic or perhaps anxious parents that pack 3 tubes of toothpaste can rest assured that if campers run out of necessities we have a stash of all of the basics and no one will need to go without.

We hope that our campers will have just what they need to be able to enjoy a simplified summer having a blast on Great Pond.


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