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Local Store Offers Summer Camping Tips

Check out a list of what to bring and what to do as you gear up for a summer of outdoor activity.

While families are returning from Spring Break, Arden & Earl Edelcup, owners of are busily preparing for what they call, “Our holiday season at Ross’s - - Camp shopping” and offered many tips and suggestions for parents getting their kids ready for camp.

Ross’ has been one of the “go-to” places in downtown Highland Park for families seeking a large affordable selection of items to help campers be prepared for a summer filled with great experiences and memories created at summer camp.  Ross Boutique, located at 625 Central Ave. in Highland Park has been referred to as the “Camp Headquarters” on the North Shore for many years.

35 years ago Ross’s was a two-aisle variety store. Today this multi-faceted store continues to transform itself to meet the evolving needs of their northshore clientele.  Most importantly, their Summer Camp Headquarters section has grown so popular that it now boasts a large “home” within the store. From Soffe shorts to egg carton mattress pads, there is truly nothing a camper needs that can’t be found inside this summer camp mecca.  Most importantly,  Arden Edelcup states, “Every staff member at Ross’s is armed with the individual camp’s supply lists, as well as years of experience, so parents and kids can actually enjoy their guided tour through the maze of options.”  

“Packing your child's bags for an overnight camp can be a daunting task if you're not prepared,” said Arden Edelcup. “The process of gathering their personal items and then packing them into a large duffle can be simplified by following these basic guidelines.

  1. Check with the camp for an up-to-date list of recommended items as well as the type of sleeping and bathing arrangements available. It will also be helpful to know the local weather and terrain. 
  2. Consult with the camp for a list of luggage regulations.
  3. Clear a large area such as a spare room or bed to spread out all the items your child will be taking with him.  Begin gathering the items she will be taking with them at least one month before the trip. Place them in the designated area mentioned

“Most overnight camps provide a detailed list of items to bring,” added Earl Edelcup. “With limited time, and a desire to save money, it’s important for parents to know where to go to find the items required and at reasonable prices. Also, some items, like camp fans are worth the splurge because they can be used year after year. This year, Ross’s will have the best new camp chair with padded seating in fun bright colors, which we expect to be a hit with the campers!! These chairs are designed to last longer and can be used for several camp seasons and can be passed down to younger siblings.”

Ross’s has composed a suggested list of the camp items, almost all of which are available at Ross’s:

Bathroom supplies such as towels, wash cloths, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, hair brush or comb.  This year, some of the camps are requiring a lice comb and preventative lice shampoo.  All of these need to be carried in a bath caddy. Some campers like the collapsible mesh caddy while others like the more durable plastic caddy.  Both are great options. This year, Ross’s brought in a plain terry boy’s bathrobe, while most girls opt for more colorful tie dye terry shower wrap or bathrobe.

Shirts and shorts: (it seems that you are going in the summer, so probably short sleeved tops, but pack a few long sleeved ones just in case it gets cold at night or depending on your climate range), pants (again, short or long, some of each), underwear, socks, shoes, hiking boots (if you'll do a lot of hiking).  

Bedding & Sleepwear: Sleeping bag or comforter, sheets, and pillow are a must.  However, most campers also bring a mattress pad to cover the flimsy cot mattresses.   Another popular item is a bunk caddy that campers hang off of the side of their bed to hold their pens, paper, & books and journal.  PS. Don’t forget the booklight.   While some campers like to bring their regular pajamas from home, others like flannel pants and t-shirts to sleep in.  They can also wear these same flannel pants or shorts during the day.

Bags and Luggage: Most camps request that campers use a duffel bag, and at Ross’s you will find a great inexpensive one that can be airbrushed with your camp name.  To identify your bag, most campers put bright colored duct tape on their bag.

Every day Essentials: Don’t forget a battery operated fan for your camper.  Some campers prefer the fans that clip onto their bunk, while others purchase the larger ones that cool the whole room.  Cute small rugs also make for a cozy living space.  This year, a new fan necklace has been popular so campers can be cool all day long.   Of course, make sure that campers remember their glasses, contacts, flip-flops, sunglasses, lip balm, hair supplies, deodorant, glasses. laundry bag, several bottles of suntan lotion, a durable water bottle, flashlight/lantern, and a swimsuit.

Stationery & Color Wars:   When campers and their parents come in, the fun really begins when they can pick out their own unique stationery, pens, & games to bring with them.  This allows kids to express their own individuality, while getting them excited to embark on their camp experience.  Parents & Grandparents, don’t forget to stock up on the popular Penny Laine camp cards to send to your camper.  Some camps do not allow packages of goodies from home, while others limit them to a few per season.  However, sending cards is a wonderful way to put a smile on your camper’s face. Campers also like to bring with a variety of toys and books such as: Mad Libs, Yes& Know books, stickers, journals, pillows, comic books and more.  Most campers choose a variety of these time tested items before they go so they can entertain themselves of the bus ride and in their bunks.

Many camps engage in Color Wars which places campers into different groups for a week of friendly competition.  This is fun and festive time for campers to show their spirit.  Ross’s has everything for Color Wars from Go Green sweat bands to Go Red face paint markers.  First time campers may not know which team they are on until they arrive while returning campers stay with the same team every year. Ross’s has composed a suggested list of camp preparation tips:

  • Place a notepad and pen in the packing area. As you pack your child's things, it will be easier to write items down that you remember at the last minute rather than stopping in the middle of packing to go on a scavenger hunt for forgotten items
  • Many people buy new socks and undergarments to send with their child to camp. If appropriate, plan to leave the new items at home, and pack the old. Then he can throw away old undergarments at the end of each day. This will lighten the return home packing process.
  • Try to select clothes that won't wrinkle easily and aren't too bulky.
  • Check the weather forecast for the camp so that you can pack appropriately. Don't forget to send a rain jacket or plastic poncho.
  • Do a literal head-to-toe checklist for each set of clothes to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Ask yourself the following questions. "What does my child need for his head/hair?" "What does she need for her face?" "What does he need for his neck?" Ask yourself this question for each part of your child's body, down to the feet.
  • Plan to send your child in their heaviest pair of shoes while traveling to the camp so that their bag will be lighter.
  • Pack a couple of sets of old clothes that your child can wear for messy activities.
  • If you're concerned that the travel size items won't last the entire time your child is at camp, then have them use the items a few weeks before he leaves to see how many days each bottle will last. Then you will know what quantity of each travel size item to purchase. Refill the bottles if you can, instead of buying new ones.
  • Try to purchase containers that close securely to prevent leaks.
  • Most camps do not provide linens and towels. Be sure to check and see if you need to send these items.
  • Place two pillow cases on their pillow on the chance that the outside one gets dirty. Also, they can turn the pillowcase inside out.
  • Placing items in clear zip-top bags allows your kids to find things in their luggage quickly without unfolding clothes and disrupting an organized bag. The zip-top bags also help you pack tightly by removing excess air in the luggage.
  • If your camper is traveling with a group for instance on a bus, place an easily identifiable marker on his bag, such as colorful tape or luggage straps, so that they can quickly distinguish their bag from others.
  • Label all of your child's items with their name in case they are misplaced at camp.
  • Pack a robe and flip-flops for use in the shower area. A bag that can hang on the shower faucet is a handy place for your child to place their shower toiletries.

Arden Edelcup added, “Do not wait until the night before your camper leaves to begin packing. If you have forgotten anything it may be too late to purchase. It is best to get a good night’s sleep before sending your child off to camp”.

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Richard April 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM
This store sucks. They have no REAL camp gear. NO HIKING boots, NO BACKPACKS , NO RAINGEAR, NO COOKWEAR.

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