The Essential School Camp Checklist

Each year, school’s all-around Australia organise camping trips to introduce students to the wonders of nature and outdoor adventure activities. School camp is a rite of passage for all kids – big and small, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for students to develop new friendships, skills and interests.

For many kids, it will be their first time being away from home and the comfort of their parents, which is the perfect opportunity to teach them independence. The process should begin with the school camp checklist and handing over the responsibility for packing and organising for the camp.

The school will usually send home a list, and we strongly encourage you to run through the list to add more detail or other necessary/sentimental items. With your child, go through the list and highlight things that need to be bought or borrowed (well before camp to ensure you’re not scrambling last minute!). Organisation is essential. Leaving something important behind could be the difference between a horrible experience and a camp experience they’ll cherish forever.

It’s also an excellent idea for you and your child to practice packing and to unpack the items in their bag with a checklist. This will help them to be aware of what they have and to understand what order is best to pack, such as the essentials at the top so that they can be quickly accessed. This will go a long way to ensuring your child can re-pack at the end of the camp and minimise the chance they will leave something behind. If a sleeping bag is required, have your child practice getting it out, using the zips and packing the sleeping bag away.

According to Dr Christopher Thurber, a clinical psychologist, author, camp consultant and father; “the most important thing about packing for school camp is to make it a team effort and allow plenty of time to teach your child how to pack. This can also help to ease any nerves about being away from home.”

What to Pack

At the top of the school camp checklist, is luggage – it needs to be big enough to fit everything comfortably, but remember that your child will have to carry the luggage on their own, so make sure it’s not too heavy or too big. One piece of luggage, a sleeping bag and a small backpack for day trips are highly recommended. Mark these with your child’s name, address and phone number.

  • Shorts and t-shirts
  • Jeans
  • Socks and underwear
  • Warm jacket or jumper – if it’s a Winter camp
  • Pyjamas
  • Swimming costume
  • Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
  • Two pairs of sneakers – one old pair for water for camp activities
  • Thongs – for showers
  • Toiletries, soap, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, lip balm and insect repellent
  • Two towels – bathroom and beach towel
  • Pillow and sleeping bag
  • Day backpack
  • Paper, pens or pencils
  • Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes
  • Medication (if required)
  • Tissues
  • Raincoat
  • Water bottle
  • Torch
  • Pocket money – for souvenirs
  • Camera – optional, a waterproof disposable camera is a great idea to capture the memories

Wash all clothing before packing and ensure to mark everything with your child’s name or initials, from socks to soap cases, if something goes missing you’ll want it to be returned without a fuss.

As well as providing unforgettable outdoor adventure school camps, The Collaroy Centre also hosts birthday parties, conferences and retreats. Located conveniently on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on natural bushland with stunning views, The Collaroy Centre is a unique location, perfect for any size event. You can learn more about us on the About page.