School is letting out, and summer vacation is almost upon us. Everyone is getting ready for some fun in the sun and summer camps. Some of you may have been to camp before, but for you first-timers, you may be wondering what to pack. Here are some options, inspired by what’s in my cheer bag.

The first thing you need to decide on is what size of bag that you need. Depending on the length of camp, a luggage bag may not be necessary. A simple oversized or overnight bag might be what you need for a weekend camp. For those who have weeklong camps, you may need to go for a smaller luggage bag to fit all of your needed items. You should also bring a smaller bag or backpack to carry those essential items out to the field or gym. Don’t forget a luggage tag to make locating your bag easier and check-in faster!

Now, we need to figure out what is essential and what can be left behind. Depending on the camp, you may need to bring bedding items and a pillow. Some camps supply bedding, but to feel more at home and to be more comfortable, I suggest bringing your own. After a long day of cheering, you don’t want to sleep on scratchy sheets and a crummy pillow. Second, you will need to bring personal hygiene products; for a female cheerleader, this includes shower shoes, a toothbrush/toothpaste, a towel, feminine products, deodorant, extra hair ties/bows/bobby pins, a hair brush, lotion, body wash, a loofa, make-up, make-up remover, first aid items (Icy Hot, Advil®, any brace or support you might use, and any medication you take), healthy snacks, shampoo, conditioner, and, most importantly, sunscreen and a refillable water bottle! If you are like me and your hair cannot be contained without the aid of a hair straightener, bring it. If you can do without the blow dryer, straightener, or curler, leave it at home.

What are you going to wear?! Be sure to look at your camp brochure or itinerary, and see if your camp has any fun night events or themed days to pack specific clothing items for (i.e. 80’s Day or ‘We Wear Pink Wednesday’). You should always bring your complete team uniform, cheer shoes, socks, and of course, your bows! You will need to bring camp gear, which can vary depending on what type of camp you are going too. If you are doing a lot of stunting, you may want to wear moveable and more form-fitting shirts and shorts; if you are not doing a lot of stunting, a regular camp shirt and a pair of Soffe® knit shorts will work just fine. Be sure to pack enough clothes to last the entire time you are there, and bring along sports bras and bloomers. You will also need to pack some pj’s, and some clothes and shoes for your downtime. Some camps have a beach day, so be sure to bring a bathing suit if your camp offers that option.

Some additional items you can bring are (of course) electronics, like your cellphone. Be sure to always look over the rules and regulations of your specific camp. Some camps are a bit more lenient on rules, and others have strict rules when it comes to personal items and cellphone usage. Most camps discourage you from bringing expensive items like tablets, laptops, and jewelry–it is better if those items are left at home. BUT, be sure to bring along a camera, so you can document all your cheer camp memories and new friends! You may want to bring along a deck of cards, and a book or journal to fill up your downtime. Also, don’t forget any phone cords or chargers you might need. You will also want to bring some spending money; most camps have a store you can buy items from, so be sure to bring a little cash.
 

On a whole, cheer camp is for you to learn new skills, bond with your team, and to have fun! Bring what you need, but know that you probably won’t be spending a lot of time in your room. Most times at camp, you will be too busy having fun and learning new skills to be worried about all your stuff back in your cabin or dorm room. Don’t forget to bring your team spirit and smile to camp, and to check your attitude at the door. Last of all, be sure to save a little room in your bag for a spirit stick!

What items did you take to cheer camp? What did you leave behind? Let us know your camp packing secrets in the comments below!