Sign up for the TODAY newsletter

You have successfully subscribed to the TODAY newsletter.

Subscribe now and get trending stories, celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Summer camp rocks! Here's what to pack so your kids have a blast

From water bottles to sunglasses, this is everything kids need!
by Donna Freydkin / / Source: TODAY

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

Parents, raise your hands if you can relate: You get your kid's camp supply list, and you just, well, sigh.

The list is long. The days are short. So, what's a parent to buy?

To simplify the process, we consulted experts at REI, who provided us with guidance on what to get and what you can safely leave at home (hint: cute fashion sandals that won't work in chilly pools or lakes).

To start, the biggest mistake parents make? Overpacking and overloading your little ones with stuff they won't use.

"If they don't want to wear it at home, they are not going to wear it at camp," said Malcolm Dunn, an REI Outdoor School senior instructor based in Seattle.

Sound familiar? Guilty as charged.

And the biggest rule of thumb for kids and parents is to wear water-friendly shoes so feet don't come home with blisters.

You want "sandals that won't fall off when getting in and out of the water. Flip-flops fall off and get lost," said Dunn. "Trips to the camp nurse are no fun!"

TODAY editors, writers and experts take care to recommend items we really like and hope you’ll enjoy! Just so you know, TODAY does have affiliate relationships. So, while every product is independently selected, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the revenue.

1. STATE Bags Kane Children's Backpack, $60, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

It's durable, without being over-sized and unwieldy.

2. Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $19, Amazon

Shopping summer camp

The best leak-proof water bottle for kids we've ever used.

3. Lille 32oz Stainless Steel Thermos Lunch Box, $23, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

It's cute, and keeps grub cold.

4. Banana Boat SunComfort Clear Spray Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $8, Walmart

Shopping summer camp kids

This is one of the top-rated sunscreens for summer according to Consumer Reports.

5. KEEN Kids' Seacamp Ii CNX Sandal, $55, Amazon

We find these sturdy, comfortable and perfect for being in the water (and out).

6. The North Face Kids Zipline Rain Jacket, $55, Zappos

Shopping summer camp kids

Lightweight and waterproof, which is all you need.

7. The North Face Kids Youth Sun Stash Hat, $22, Zappos

Shopping summer camp kids

It's reversible and provides UPF 50 protection.

8. Natrapel Mosquito, Tick and Insect Repellent, 3.4 Ounce Pump, $6, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

This product is DEET-free and protects for up to eight hours.

9. Kanu Surf Platinum Rash guard, $19, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

This shirt provides solid UPF 50 protection.

10. AmazonBasics Beach Towel Cabana Stripe, Green, Pack of 2, $19, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

They're bright. They're colorful. And, the price is right.

11. Minishade Polarized: Flexible Kids Sunglasses, $20, Amazon

Shopping summer camp kids

These impact-resistant shades provide 100 percent polarized UV protection.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
MORE FROM today