Packing for Camp

Campers should be centrally involved in packing.

Campers do better at settling in to new surroundings when sufficient time has been set aside to pack in a calm and efficient way, and when they’ve been involved in the packing process. The goal is to have campers arrive well-prepared but not overloaded. Stick to the numbers offered on the packing list and fight the urge to pack extra stuff! Or, if you just can’t resist, throw in extra socks (as they tend to get eaten over the course of the session).

Parents often say they want their son to become more organized and to take better care of his belongings. But how can he be expected to take responsibility for his things at camp if he doesn’t know what he’s brought, especially if shoes, sandals, etc have been purchased recently? Every camper should play a central role in packing, no matter his age. It might take longer, but this teaches both responsibility and the importance of preparation, and he will be less likely to misplace his belongings at camp. Even the youngest of campers can help pack. Pull out a stack of t-shirts, shorts, pants, etc and allow him to choose the suggested number of each.

Read Packing for Pemi to learn how important it is for a camper to be involved in the packing process (and meet Dr Piles).

Download your packing list here (pdf).

Order Pemi logowear and more from the Camp Spot here.

Pemi uniform: the only required items are Pemi logo t-shirts (any style; cotton or wicking): 2 navy / 1 white / 1 grey.

These are available through the The Camp Spot our clothing supplier. In addition to t-shirts, the Camp Spot has plenty of optional clothing and gear that you can purchase. There is no need to buy all new clothing for camp. On the contrary, “old faithfuls” from home will do just fine.

Pack in duffles, not a hard trunk.

We suggest packing in sturdy duffles as there is no room to store trunks while at camp (and by being a part of the packing, your son will know that his toothbrush is zipped up in that obscure end pocket). Each camper has a set of shelves to call his own where he keeps his clothes and other belongings.

If you plan to ship a duffle to camp ahead of time via UPS, use the address found on Contact. We can ship the duffle home for you at the end of camp and the UPS fee will be charged to your son’s Camper Expense Account. Be sure to indicate this on the Travel Form when asked about luggage.

Weekly laundry, yes.

E&R Cleaners is our excellent laundry service. Each boy receives a sturdy bag for use while at Pemi, labeled with his name and cabin. Laundry is picked up once a week and returned 2 days later. (Boys still pack a personal laundry bag or pillowcase to hold laundry for the time when his “official” laundry bag is out of camp.)

We sleep in sheets, not sleeping bags.

While boys should bring a sleeping bag for overnights away from camp and very cold nights in camp, they sleep on (in?) sheets and should bring TWO flat sheets, TWO fitted sheets, and TWO pillowcases. Each Sunday, boys strip their beds, send those sheets to the laundry, and remake their beds with the second set. A great habit to develop! See the packing list (link, above) for suggested blanket layers.

Rental bedding is available for international campers.

Boys who live in the US supply their own bedding. Campers from outside the continental United States may rent three blankets, four sheets, two pillow cases, and a pillow. The charge is $55.00 per half season, and $110.00 for the full season. Please inform camp if you wish to take advantage of this service.


EACH and EVERY item should be labeled with first and last name, or the first initial of the first name and the full last name. Every shoe, flashlight, tennis racquet, and towel. Every water bottle, daypack, pillowcase, and baseball cap. Everything! Name tags are best; permanent marker is fine but write clearly. (If you order early from the Camp Spot, they will put nametags in for you!) Color nail polish is handy for labeling things like flashlights. Local charities will benefit from unlabeled lost and found items.

Optional items that ARE allowed (and remember to label!):

  • iPod Shuffle without a screen (will need an adaptor for charging via an electrical outlet)
  • Digital or 35mm camera (not a go-pro). Personal digital cameras brought by campers to Pemi will be kept safely to be used with permission under counselor supervision.
  • Musical instruments (or we can rent one for you) and music
  • Books, art supplies, cards, chess sets, and similar items for rest hour (though our library is stocked with books and games)

Enjoy a look at packing lists through the ages!

The following should NOT be brought to Pemi:

The items listed below are not allowed because Pemi is “unplugged and screen free.” read more >>

  • Cell phone: Unless traveling solo, in which case cell phones are collected and stored safely in the office
  • Laptop
  • iPod (only iPod shuffles without a screen are allowed)
  • Go-pro camera
  • Hand-held electronic games
  • Kindle, Nook, or other tablets (bring books or enjoy Pemi’s well-stocked library)

Other items to leave at home:

  • Fidget spinners
  • Knives (Swiss Army knives for campers 11 and over are allowed, but with conditions)
  • Pets
  • Squirt guns, water balloons, trading cards, or Silly String
  • Snacks, candy, etc. (no food is kept in cabins for health and safety reasons)
  • Fireworks or other explosives, firearms, sling shots
  • Drugs, tobacco, alcohol

When in doubt, ask Danny at [email protected]

Join in with Cans From Campers!

In 2015, in response to increased interest in community service and in partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank, Pemi launched Cans from Campers, a food drive for Opening Day in June and arrival day for Second Session campers in July. We encourage each Pemi boy to bring a can of food or non-perishable to donate to this initiative.  Returning campers and staff might even consider bringing a can for each year that they’ve attended Pemi!

We are fortunate to enjoy three bountiful meals each day at camp. By contributing to the NH Food Bank, we give thanks for this and help to provide a basic need for those less fortunate in our surrounding area.  We also hope that this arrival-day initiative might in some small way symbolize the culture of generosity and community-mindedness that we aim to build each season at Pemi.

And finally, the most-forgotten item is…

  • a pillow!

Package Policy:

Please share this information with other family members and friends: packages are limited to flat-envelope style, no more than one per week. Preferably, packages should contain reading/writing/art materials that can be enjoyed during rest hour and not silly games or toys or “stuff-just-because” that will take your son away from exploring what camp has to offer. No food of any kind is allowed. Thank you for honoring this rule and setting a good example for your son and his cabinmates. A handwritten letter means more than stuff!  When a boy receives a package, a notice is placed in his mailbox. He brings the notice to the office to get his package and will open it in the presence of an office staff member. This procedure enables us to manage trash, label items if needed, and monitor our no-food policy. We understand that sometimes a bulky item is forgotten at home and requires a larger package. See Contact for the best address for mailing packages for mailing and letters.