California Sleepaway Camp Essentials

If you’re heading off to a sleepaway summer camp in California, there are a few things you’ll need to bring with you, and a few things you’ll want to leave at home.

To make sure you fully enjoy your time at Pali Adventures, we put together this list of sleepaway camp essentials. With these things, you’ll have your basic camp needs covered so you can focus on enjoying your time with us.

Keep reading to learn more about what should and should not be in your suitcase when you arrive at summer camp.


Let’s first get into what type of clothing you should bring to camp with you. All of your clothes should be ones you don’t mind losing or ruining since nature and fun like shaving cream fights can be rough on clothes.

We also discourage the use of expensive or name-brand clothing for the same reason. We prefer all of our campers to feel as though they can just have fun! 

Exactly how many of each type of clothing you should bring depends on how long you’ll be staying with us. You can find suggested numbers and more information on our packing list

kids at camp throwing holi powder

Long Pants

In addition to several pairs of shorts, you’ll also want to bring a couple of pairs of jeans or other tough long pants. These will protect your legs from the chill in the air at night and from getting scratched while exploring the woods during the day. 


We recommend bringing t-shirts to camp that are comfortable, appropriate, and not too important to you. You should be particularly careful in selecting shirts that work well for physical activities. (Side note: Watch out for “girls tees” as they may be too short for comfort for some activities.)

You’ll also want to bring a long-sleeved shirt or two along with a couple of sweatshirts. You’ll want to keep the sun off your bare skin. It can get chilly in the evening, too. 


Once again, you’ll probably need a couple of types. We recommend at least one pair of tennis shoes along with a sturdy pair of sandals. A pair of flipflops is a good idea to bring along.

If you’re taking part in a camp program that involves a lot of physical activity like one of our sports camps, be sure to bring an extra pair of tennis shoes just to be safe. 


If you’re enrolled in one of our specialty camps, there may be special requirements for clothing. Be sure to check the packing list for more information about what you should bring based on your chosen specialty. 

You may want to bring a slightly nicer outfit that you can wear to the Pali Dance. This celebration of the week of camp is always a blast and you’ll want to have something to wear to the occasion. 


Be sure to bring everything you need to keep yourself clean and well-groomed at camp. Depending on your length of stay, a travel-size may be all you need.

This includes:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Body wash
  • Deodorant 

One other thing that is essential for camp is sunblock. Bring a water-resistant sunblock of at least 30 SPF to avoid getting burnt. 


You have two options when it comes to what you sleep on. 

You can bring a twin-sized sheet set with blankets that can go on our mattresses. Or, you can bring a sleeping bag. Either way you choose, you’ll also want to make sure you have a pillow with you. 

Don’t worry about your bedding taking up space in your suitcase. Pack your bedding separately, especially if it’s a bulky sleeping bag or blanket.  Label everything!


Once your basic needs are taken care of, you’ll want to consider a couple of other camp essentials that will make your time at Pali Adventures more enjoyable. 

A small backpack or bag that you can bring with you will allow you to take things with you that you’ll need for the day. This allows you to keep things like sunscreen with you and can help you avoid losing a sock on the way back from swimming. 

You may also want to bring a notebook and writing implements with you. Journaling is another way to look back months or years from now and remember what you learned during your time at Pali Adventures. You can also use this to exchange information with other campers to stay connected with your new friends!

boys riding on dirt bikes

What NOT to Bring to Camp

Now let’s quickly talk about some things you should leave at home. Alcohol, drugs, and explosives are the obvious items on the list but let’s go over some that may be less obvious. 

Phones and any other internet-capable devices are strictly prohibited. While all other electronics including handheld games, music players, and digital cameras are technically allowed, there are two huge reasons we suggest you leave those at home as well. 

First of all, these items can become lost, damaged, or stolen during your time at camp. We are not responsible for what happens to your personal belongings, so to protect them, it’s best to leave them where you know they’re safe: at home. 

Secondly, these devices can often take away from your time at camp. Summer camp is about unplugging and getting in touch with nature as you build relationships with your fellow campers. If you want to get the most out of your time at camp then you should come without anything that has a cord or connects to the internet. 

Are You Ready to Attend Our Summer Sleepaway Camp in California?

Now you know what you should pack for a week or more of summer sleepaway camp in California. As you can see, you only need a few essentials to be ready to enjoy your time at Pali Adventures. 

If you don’t feel ready, be sure to check out our camp store. There, you can find a number of things you can purchase before or during camp so you won’t have to panic if you forgot something!