Summer camp season is here and it’s tough to tell who is more excited. Your kid, who is free from pencils, books, and dirty looks, or you, who is free from your kid (at least for a few hours a day, unless they fell for the old sleepaway camp racket). Either way, that excitement will be equally short-lived for both of you if your kid is not properly outfitted for their camp experience. These 9 items will keep them comfortable and prepared for any activity so neither of you is reduced to a sweating, sobbing mess at the end of the summer (or, worse, the day).
Patagonia Torrentshell JacketWhen a classic summer downpour inevitably washes out the day at camp, junior has 2 options: Enjoy the rest of their day in this breathable, windproof, waterproof shell, or have their counselors hastily wrap them up in a garbage bag. The choice is yours.
Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket ($99)
North Face Happy Camper BackpackIt remains to be seen if everyone in your kid’s generation will sport the same North Face jacket the way everyone in your college dorm did, but this scaled-down version of their adult-sized backpack will ensure your kid fits right in at camp — or they’ll just have the coolest backpack. Plus it can hold, like, 20 juice boxes!
North Face Happy Camper Backpack ($60)
Keen Newport H2 SandalsThese sandals are rugged, waterproof, quick drying, and adjustable, with a toe guard to protect those precious little piggies. Perfect for any warm weather activity from hiking and kayaking to roaming the water park or just walking around, and impervious to the heckling the kid with the aqua socks is going to endure.
Keen Newport H2 Sandals ($50)
L.L.Bean Waterproof Solar FlashlightCharge this flashlight under a lamp at home before you leave or under the sun while you’re hiking all day. Either way, it pumps out 60 lumens and 12 hours of light on an 8-hour charge. That’s a lot of ghost stories. And since it’s waterproof to 80 feet, you can tell those stories on an actual dark and stormy night.
Solar Waterproof Flashlight ($25)
Camelbak Eddy Kids Water BottleHaving already cornered the market on runners in fanny packs and dehydrated festival ravers, Camelbak is bringing their BPA-free, never spilling, lifetime guaranteed water bottle technology to your kid. Fun design themes like dinosaurs, puppies, and sports gear mean they can show off their personality in a more counselor-friendly way than crying for a drink of water every 5 minutes.
Camelbak Eddy Kids Water Bottle ($12)
Beyond Bookmarks Outta This World BasketEven if your kid is heading to sleepaway camp, you can still control what toys they play with by sending them this gift basket full of bouncy balls, moldable putty, a flying foam rocket, squirt guns, and something called Lazer Fingers that will surely drive their counselors nuts after lights out. If you’re crafty, there’s plenty of nooks and crannies to sneak your kid some of their favorite candy contraband.
Beyond Bookmarks Outta This World Basket ($50)
Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for KidsKids love joke books, so this would make a great gift for just about any reason, but it’ll especially come in handy when they’re trying to break the ice with new kids they might not know from school. It also provides an early lesson that will serve them well in the office one day: funny gets you out of any awkward situation.
Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes For Kids ($3)
Kikkerland Platanus Log PillowA super-soft log-shaped pillow can serve a dual purpose for your kid this summer. First, if their idea of roughing it means not playing on your iPhone for an hour, putting this in their bed is probably as close to the great outdoors as they’re going to get. Secondly, if they’re going to actually, you know, camp, they’ll look like a badass who sleeps like an angel while resting on a hunk of wood.
Kikkerland Platanus Log Pillow ($18)
Melissa & Doug Camp Bunk Box Of QuestionsThis stack of 42 entertaining questions is the perfect way for your kid to start meaningful conversations with their new friends about their backgrounds and personalities. The alternative is ‘Truth Or Dare?’, the perfect way for said friends to start embarrassing conversations with your kid about their crushes and bedwetting habits.
Melissa & Doug Camp Bunk Box Of Questions ($5)