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  • Tara R

The WHAT-IFS (and WTFS) of Camp Packing...


This should be easy, right? After all, I have a printed list in front of me-- succinct, to the point, clear as day! There is no ambiguity; in fact, some former camper (turned C.I.T. turned division leader turned statistician?) has all but guaranteed that 18 pairs of socks will ensure my child has a happy and blister-free summer.

And yet, oh yes yet indeed, simple directions have never been more difficult to follow. Why, you ask? Because there’s what to pack, what if, and what-the-f*ck to do

Item #1

What to pack: 18 Pairs of Socks.


What ifthat shifty girl from the other bunk (you know, the one who never had enough stuff and whose parents clearly took a gummy before visiting day) steals all her socks? What if my sweet child doesn’t want to make a fuss, but duh, she can’t fall asleep barefoot, so she lies awake night after night, scratching her bug bites and getting no rest?

WTF to do: Send 54 pairs, in two sizes and three ankle-lengths, just to be safe.


Item #2

What to pack: A water bottle.

What if this sad, green plastic water bottle that they sold me at Camp Spot is actually a dud? This spout feels sticky --- I mean, I can barely pop it open now. What if Billy fumbles with the lid as he’s being chased down the soccer field by 7 kids twice his size who all have September birthdays and working water bottles??


WTF to do: Google what water bottle does Tom Brady use?


Item #3

What to pack: Bedding.

What if… everyone else in the bunk has cuter bedding? My daughter wants this purple pattern that looks like grape vomit but, like, they’re almost sold-out of that fuchsia swirly hot mess that’s either tie-dye or a crime scene involving Pinkalicious. Either way, they both clash with the Dylan’s Candy Bar sleep sack and I am not buying a new sleep sack.


WTF to do: Procrastinate till all the good stuff is gone except the extra-soft Detroit Pistons comforter.

Item #4

What to pack: Stationery.


What if… she’s so homesick she needs to write me and our entire extended family multiple times daily, but she runs out of pre-addressed, stamped envelopes? What if no one will share with her? What if she forgets where we live?


WTF to do: Order 2 more packs of stationery, but omg, these are all SO cute, okay, order 25 (just in case.)


Item #5

What to pack: Extra batteries.

What if it’s a scorcher this summer, and supply chains are such that I can’t find new batteries to send, and his flashlight dies and fan stalls, and there’s a heat wave, and the kids turn on one another for basic survival tools and it’s like a Children of the Corn situation, and all I had to do make sure my son stays alive is to send him to camp with a lock box full of Double AAs and a shiv? WHAT IF I didn’t just do that?


WTF To Do: Xanax.


Item #6

What to pack: 1-2 pairs of jeans. What if… she needs more than one pair? I mean, what if they get lost and she wears sweatpants to campfire, and they billow around her skinny legs and catch an ember? What if she has a social? My cousin met her future husband at a camp social. Things happen.


WTF to do: Send 2 pairs, but maybe 4 in case she has a growth spurt, or 6, as she should really have extra stuff for other kids in the bunk, in case she’s having trouble making friends, and their bad parents only sent them to camp with one damn pair of jeans.


Item #7

What to pack: Shampoo.

What if… this gargantuan tub of shampoo that I’ve used six rolls of duct tape to secure and then bubble wrapped, explodes in her trunk? What if her carefully-curated camp spirit stuff gets soaked through with Pantene and she gets picked last for the wacky relay, and she becomes known as Shampoo Girl? What if she can’t wash her hair all summer?


WTF to do: Find a 24-hour shrink-wrap service in NYC. Find a shrink.

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