Summer camp purchasing is a little tricky. We’re constantly pushing the line of using our imaginations to stretch out our budgets while striving for a great, safe programme.
There are many things that it makes sense to buy in bulk (duh.) but here are a 4 things that I made sure to buy every summer by the roll. Duct tape you shouldn’t buy by the roll - buy it by the box.
1/4” or 1/2” inch nylon rope. Great for creating clotheslines by cabins and tents (make sure you use eye hooks - knots around trees can damage the bark and weaken the tree, normal hooks can take out an eye during a wide game), yellow nylon rope can also help tying things down and keeping things secure. Make sure you keep an old kitchen knife and a blow torch near the roll of rope to give you good, clean ends and prevent unravelling. I heartly recommend mounting the rope roll inside the shop so that it doesn’t wander off and the site people can watch to know when to order more.
- 1” webbing - a different colour every year. Any camp with an adventure program (everyone of us, right?) can find great uses for webbing. We used it to create belay stations at Cairn (the Christian summer camp we used to direct) for the climbing wall and zipline, and cut it into 12’ lengths so that every cabin and unit had a introduction game bag that included araccoon circle (download a free pdf of raccoon circle games from the master - Dr. Jim Cain). I also learned a great trick from taking my Wilderness First Responder at Outward Bound - every back should have a 3m (12’) length of webbing so that you have gear to make a stretchers and splints on trip. Plus… more Raccoon Circle games!
- Parachute cord (p-cord) - not white. Like both of the above p-cord can be used for many things: Creating bull-rings for adventure programming, as a lazy line for hauling belay lines up through shear-reduction devices, as a throw line for getting rope over a branch to hang your food away from bears on trip.
- Shop Towels - the blue paper towels that you can buy at a big box hardware store are much better for use in the shop then the brown rolls or even grocery store paper towels. Recommending buying paper products gets my inner environmentalist screeching but with these you have a better product and that means you will use less.
What have you bought a lot of for camp that made a huge difference?