Monday, July 18, 2011

How to pack for camp like a teenage girl

Yesterday, the spouse and I took our now teenage daughter to her sleepaway program, which runs for three weeks. And this year, for the first time, I had my daughter pack herself (armed with the packing list from camp). And let me just say, I'm pretty sure my daughter would give Ginger and the Howells, from Gilligan's Island, pretty stiff competition in the packing department. (I read the student manual, and I am pretty sure it did not say "Bring everything you own." Also, do you really need six 8-inch bottles of perfume... at camp? Or eyeshadow? I know: "Clearly, J., you are not a 13-year-old girl." To which I say, "Thank goodness!")

Now granted, this post is coming from someone who has been known to bring only a carry-on bag for a week's trip -- or who can cram clothes enough for two people for two weeks in a single regulation suitcase. But I am not a 13-year-old girl, and when I was approximately her age we all went to sleepaway camp (albeit for eight weeks, not three) with rather large trunks. Still.

So somehow the spouse manages to fit our daughter's suitcase, which could sleep a family of three (I exaggerate only slightly), her laundry basket (which is crammed with stuff, including a fan -- a total necessity as there is no air conditioning -- laundry detergent, her rain boots, a small desk lamp, and a blanket -- again, all necessities), her backpack (crammed with stuffed animals), her beach bag (not sure what was in there -- but I think a neutron star may be missing some of its mass), her small trunk (again, no idea what was in there -- but I checked and both cats are present and accounted for), and the three of us into his Honda Civic Hybrid, and we motor to camp. (FYI to all you hybrid car owners, if you want to see what crappy mileage you can get, try taking your daughter to camp or college.)

When we arrive at camp, it takes all three of us to transport her stuff to the unloading area where a U-Haul truck will take everything to her living quarters -- and then all three of us will need to haul it across the courtyard and up a flight of stairs (or in the teeny tiny elevator) and down the hall to her room. In 90-degree weather.

And then I see him. This 13- or 14- year-old boy -- or rather his luggage. Which consists of one average-size suitcase and a carry-on-size rollerboard, both of which he is wheeling himself. And then I spot another boy, with just a suitcase and a backpack. And another one. And as I glance around the unloading area, I realize that our daughter has a lock on the award for most stuff. Indeed, no one is even close. I am so proud.


Anonymous said...

I travel for a month with carry on, but I know which room to go to to borrow a fan!

Sugar Daze said...

I'm sorry but did you say she took all that for 3 weeks???Maybe next time you should fly there and take the overweight luggage fee out of her allowance! :P

Ange said...

Love it!!

Incidentally, Is it usual for kids to camp away (in ROOMS) for such a long time? I stress when mine go away for three nights. And what's a camp without a tent? ;-p

J. said...

@Ange, this is more a summer school, held on the campus of a college. FYI, here in the States, campers sleep in cabins, not tents, at sleepaway camps -- though they go camping (say with their parents) in tents.

Ange said...

So THAT'S what all those "Earnest Goes to Camp" movies are about? I didn't realise that it actually happened. Do you get to visit at weekends? (I'm so naive)

Donna said...

My daughter (age 15) goes to band camp at a nearby university for 1 week each summer. The kids stay in the dorms. The trunk of our car is fully packed, mostly with snack foods and beverages. Next year, she wants to take a mini-fridge and microwave. It's one week, for goodness' sake!!!

I so feel your pain.