Monday, June 25, 2012

Packing for Camp

The bus is leaving, can your kid find his stuff? Can you find your stuff? I can't even remember what stuff I was initially  looking for anyway.

I, like other parents, am swept into hysteria at the drop of a hat. The moment I catch a whiff that other parents are doing something different or better I will go tilting at whatever windmill comes into my line of vision with the fury of a balding, over-earnest middle-aged man, hell-bent on doing things “right” (or at least right enough not to generate scorn from other parents).

Sunday we dropped the first kid off to spend a week at sleepaway camp. On display right then and there were a number of examples of creative and nifty packing containers for camp gear.
One overlooked advantage of the large duffel is that the kid can bivouac inside if an emergency shelter is needed.

We had decided to use a large duffel bag with wheels as it could contain everything, including sleeping bag and pillow.

Classic utility with modern colors.
Others had complied with instructions and brought the traditional footlocker.

I like this for the easy portability and no-spill rummaging.

Many simply used a large suitcase.

Boxes outside the box: Very creative, but does this represent an advancement in camp organization or merely luggage that doesn't fit under a bunk?
Seeing a plastic drawer system sealed up with duct tape made me think the progenitor of this idea was either breathing the fumes of genius or madness. True, the bags only had to survive a 90-minute truck ride to the camp – there were no connecting flights or other way stations in which an awkward container would fair less well.

The drawer system would seem an improvement on the more traditional containers – at least from an adult’s point of view. Plus no arranging when you get there – presto, all socks in the sock drawer!

Knowing my son, who feels changing his clothes, unless it is to put on his Clone War pajamas, is energy not well spent, would not benefit from the drawer system. Most likely he will find the shoes, shirt, shorts he will wear for the week by rummaging messily through the bag.

Am I concerned we are stifling his sense of well-being by not establishing a more rational environment for him? You bet I am.

But my latest manta is my godsend – let the kids become problem-solvers. Saying this absolves me of fruitless teeth-gnashing and allows guiltless dereliction of duty, at least when it comes to camp bag selection.

Who knows, maybe next year I’ll challenge the kid to create his own luggage from scratch using only chicken bones and duct tape.

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