Equipment List and Packing Tips

Coming prepared to camp sets the stage for a summer focused on learning and fun in the outdoors. Please arrive at camp with all of the required items from this list. All clothing and gear must be well marked with your camper’s name.

Some of the best quality items for life in the outdoors can be found at secondhand stores or gear exchanges! Young people grow quickly, so we highly recommend that you look for stores in your area where you can find secondhand items for a lower price. You can find logoed versions of many items on our packing list in the Chewonki Store (we encourage you to order early).

Visit our Chewonki Store:

Please see the Gear Lending section below for items you may have difficulty acquiring. 

Gear Lending at Chewonki

All campers will have the opportunity to borrow gear for the summer from Chewonki’s Packout. Items that are available for lending include:

  • Sleeping Bags
  • Compression Sacks
  • Sleeping Pads

We are able to provide additional equipment and clothing to campers. Please contact the camp office ( several weeks in advance of arrival for more information.

Camp T-shirt Update

We no longer require participants to wear a Camp Chewonki logoed t-shirt during camp. We are pleased to announce that all campers will receive two Camp Chewonki logo t-shirts as part of their enrollment. They will be distributed upon arrival at camp!

Packing for Camp

Living in a cabin at camp means that we all embrace group living and shared space! This means living simply, and leaving items at home that will not be needed during the summer. We request that you limit what you pack to the items on this list, as we have honed it over many summers, and find that it meets the needs of our campers.

Each camper will have their own set of shelves and shared storage space under their bunk to keep their belongings organized while at camp. We recommend packing for camp in suitcases or bags that can be easily compressed and stored while not in use, like duffle bags.

We highly recommend packing together with your camper. This allows them to understand all the items that are going to camp with them and where they are. It also prepares them for the task of packing for themselves on their cabin trips and when they prepare to return home.

Please contact us with any questions you may have about items on this list or how to acquire them. We look forward to working with you to ensure a stress-free packing experience!


*Packing quantities are for 3-week Full Session (10-day Puffin Program is listed in parentheses where different)

  • 6 total t-shirts (3 for Puffins) –  Campers will be provided with two cotton Chewonki t-shirts on opening day. We recommend at least one of the remaining t-shirts you pack must be a synthetic blend. 
  • 1 long sleeve shirt – must be lightweight, quick-drying synthetic
  • 8 pairs of underwear (5 for Puffins) 
  • 2-3 bras – if appropriate, at least 1 sport-style bra
  • 11 pairs of socks (6 for Puffins) – at least two pairs must be wool or a wool blend (e.g. Smartwool, Darn Tough, Wigwam, etc.)
  • 1 set of long underwearboth top and bottom base layers, wool, synthetic, or a silk blend are required. For the top, crew, henley, or zip-top t-neck styles are all appropriate
  • 4 pairs of shorts (2 for Puffins) – cotton is appropriate, and at least one pair must be lightweight, quick-drying synthetic
  • 2 pairs of pants – at least one pair must be lightweight, quick-drying synthetic; no more than one pair of cotton or denim 
  • 1 warm top layer – heavy sweater or jacket; wool or fleece is required; must be able to be packed down into a backpack
  • 1 set of rain layers – both a rain jacket and rain pants required and must be able to fit over base layers; jacket should be sturdy and include a hood, both nylon, and breathable fabrics are appropriate (Gore-Tex, Patagonia H2No, Marmot Precip, L.L. Bean TEK)
  • 2 swimsuits
  • Optional Sweatshirt – cotton hooded or zip-up can be a nice addition, but not necessary
  • Optional Sleepwear – comfortable clothes for sleeping

A Note About Layering

Layering is combining different garments to achieve insulation and protection from wind and rain. Insulating layers should be synthetic or wool fibers, which insulate when wet. Cotton is a poor insulator when wet. Layers must fit comfortably over each other so that they can be worn together.

Footwear and Headwear

  • 1 pair of wet shoes – Used for boating and swimming on trips; must stay on foot and have a closed toe; old sneakers, neoprene booties with soles, or Keens are all appropriate; NO CROCS!
  • 1 pair camp shoes – must be a sneaker or athletic shoe for running around
  • 1 pair of rain/mud boots – must be a durable boot for rainy days and farm chores, such as Muck, Bog
  • 1 pair of sandals – for walking to and from waterfront and airing feet; Croc, Tevas, or Chacos are all appropriate
  • 1 pair hiking boots (optional for Puffins) – for use on the trail by Heron backpacking cabins, and for use in camp as work boots; ensure a comfortable fit and that they are broken in before use at camp to avoid blisters
  • 1 pair sunglasses – must bring neck strap
  • 1 sun hat – full brimmed or baseball style is appropriate 
  • 1 warm hat – wool or fleece is appropriate

Bedding & Hygiene Items

  • 2 sets of sheets –  twin size with pillowcases
  • 2 blankets 
  • 1 pillow
  • 2 towels – one can be a beach towel
  • 1 washcloth, optional 
  • Sunscreen –  enough for the duration of camp, spill-proof, non-aerosol container
  • Bug repellent, optional –  spill-proof, non-aerosol container
  • Toiletry Kit –  Container for storing and carrying items to and from the washhouse;
    must include:
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Floss
    • Shampoo and soap
    • Brush/comb
    • Lip balm
    • Nail Clippers
    • Additional Items as needed (tampons, pads, lotion)
  • Prescription medications – See the Health & Safety page of our website for more information about CampMeds
  • Prescription eyeglasses – must bring neck strap


  • 1 sleeping bag* – synthetic fill, three-season bag, 15-35 ℉ (e.g. REI Lumen, LL Bean, North Face Cat’s Meow, Marmot Trestles, Sierra Designs)
  • 1 compression sack* – for packing up sleeping bag
  • 1 sleeping pad* – closed-cell or inflatable sleeping pad (e.g. Thermarest, Ridgerest)
  • 2-4 stuff sacks – for organizing personal items
  • 2 water bottles – one-liter water bottles – must be durable (e.g. Nalgene, Camelbak, Kleen Kanteen, Hydroflask)
  • 1 headlamp – e.g. Petzl, Black Diamond, Princeton Tec; make sure to bring spare batteries
  • 1 small day pack – for off-campus excursions and day hikes
  • 1 knife, optional – a pocket knife with a blade (must be 3” or less)

Miscellaneous Items

  • Letter writing materials:
    • 1-2 pens or pencils
    • Stationary or postcards – campers will be given time to write a letter home at least once a week
    • Pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelopes – preparing envelopes at home makes the process of sending mail from camp smoother
  • 2-3 paperback books, recommended – for rest hour, bedtime, or downtime; great opportunity to complete summer reading for school; we does have a small library of books available to campers
  • Nicer outfit for banquet, optional
  • 1 personal journal, optional
  • 1-2 disposable cameras, optional – we take pictures of camp every day; we strongly advise that digital cameras be left at home
  • 1 musical instrument, optional – campers will have opportunities to practice their instrument and perform on occasion
  • 1 pair of lightweight binoculars, optional
  • 1 deck of playing cards, optional – card games are a great way to connect with cabin mates during downtime
  • Athletic equipment, optional – campers are welcome to bring a frisbee, football, or baseball and glove; camp has soccer balls for campers to play with during free time

Things to Leave at Home

  • Money – any travel money will be collected and stored in the camp office to be returned at the end of the session
  • Electronics of any kind – Chewonki is a screen-free community where we take time to unplug and enjoy the sights and sounds of the natural world; any cellphones (and other devices such as e-readers or handheld video games) needed for travel to and from camp will be collected and stored in the camp office to be returned at the end of the session
  • Food of any kind – our kitchen staff works hard to provide healthy, delicious, and filling meals; we cannot permit outside food in our cabins due to severe allergies and wild animals
  • Toys, cards, or other expensive items – your favorite toy or Magic/Pokemon card will be waiting for you when you get home, anything you bring has the potential to get dirty, broken, or lost
  • Digital cameras and/or Go-Pros

Items with an asterisk can be borrowed from Chewonki