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Trunk or Duffle for Camp?

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Every camp trip involves packing, and before deciding what to pack, you’ll have to decide what type of luggage you’re going use to pack your camp gear into. This leads to the question: which is better for camp, a trunk or a duffle?

The truth is that the right container for your camper could be a footlocker trunk, a suitcase, a duffel bag, or it could even be a large backpack. With the help of camp experts Dr. Chris Thurber and Dr. Jon Malinowski, we’ve compiled a list of tips for choosing the best luggage for camp.

How to Pick the Best Luggage for Summer Camp

The best place to start when trying to decide what type of container you will use for your summer camp trip is checking with the camp itself. Most summer camps will list suggested luggage solutions in their information packets, or even a preferred type of container.

If you don’t see any information regarding suggested luggage, you should call the camp to ask. Camp directors will know how much space is available for campers personal belongings and guide you accordingly.

Benefits of a Footlocker Trunk

Footlocker trunks are a long-time favorite because they are tough, compact and multi-functional.

Here are five additional benefits of having a footlocker trunk while at camp:

  • Desk: A great hard surface to write letters home
  • Game Table: For cards or other board games
  • Chair: Additional seating for visitors from other cabins
  • Step Ladder: Easily reach your top bunk
  • Organization: Keeps clothes and gear neater than a suitcase or duffle bag


Footlocker Trunks are the long-lasting reliable choice for thousands of summer campers every year. In fact, at Everything Summer Camp our camp footlocker trunks last long enough to be passed down from one sibling to another, and are backed by a lifetime free repair warranty!


Soft Case or Duffle Bag for Summer Camp?

While hard trunks have the most to offer in terms of additional benefits, there are situations where packing for camp with a duffle bag or pop-up soft trunk is advantageous. Also, some summer camps specify luggage must be soft-sided for potential travel or luggage weight reasons. First and foremost, if your camp advises against hard trunks, do not bring one. 

Don’t hesitate to call the camp and talk to a director for luggage guideline clarifications, but if the information packet is specifically advising against hard trunks you should trust that they have a good reason.

Similarly, if your trip to summer camp involves a plane flight, it will be much easier to bring a pop-up trunk or duffle bag rather than a traditional trunk. If the camp cabins will have closets and drawers for campers then a duffle bag can be compacted for storage.


Additionally, If your camper will be doing long hikes, they will need to bring a day pack in the form of a duffle bag or backpack in addition to a footlocker trunk or a soft trunk.

How to Pick the Best Backpack for Summer Camp

Once you’ve decided between a footlocker trunk, pop-up trunk, or duffle, the last piece of luggage you’ll want to consider is a backpack.

There isn’t a summer camp we can think of that we wouldn’t recommend packing a backpack for. The problem is that there are so many backpacks out there, that it’s hard to know how to choose.

Here are two rules for finding the perfect backpack for summer camp:

  • Go Big: A large backpack is your best option for long hikes. Remember: You can always leave space in a large backpack, but you can’t increase the capacity of a small backpack.
  • Add Weight: If you’re going to a store to purchase your backpack make sure you add weight to the backpack while trying it on. Every backpack feels comfortable when it's empty, but you need it to be comfortable when it’s fully weighed down with gear.

The Smart Choice for Summer Camp Luggage

Ultimately, the best luggage for summer camp will come down to the camp’s recommendations, your method of transportation, and what the camp lodgings provide for storage.

Think about what activities will occupy the majority of your camper’s time and decide based on which provides the most benefits. If you’re in search of more summer camp advice we have a full print guide of great summer camp advice for parents and kids alike.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy camping!

- John, Everything Summer Camp


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