June 19th, 2012

5 Non-Toxic Summer Camp Essentials

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Groovy Green Livin Summer Camp © philipus - Fotolia.com

Today I’m getting on an airplane with my oldest son to take him to overnight camp. He’s going for four weeks, two weeks longer then last year.  I wish I could say that I’m not freaking out, but I am.  Thankfully, there’s a level of comfort sending him to this camp-he’ll be with two of his cousins and it happens to be the camp that I spent most of my summers during my own childhood. But four weeks is a long time. There doesn’t seem to be any apprehension on his part-he’s excited, packed and ready to go.

We’ve been packing for weeks. Two huge duffel bags are filled to the brim with the ‘stuff’ the camp suggests bringing on their packing list. If you and/or your children have gone to camp (overnight or day camp) you know that most camps have a  “packing list”. This list includes everything to pack, from how many pairs of underwear to number of stamps.

Whether it’s day camp or overnight, when you send a child to camp it means giving up control over that child for a few weeks. They will eat what they want and probably do things that they wouldn’t normally do at home. That’s what camp’s all about.

There are few essentials that I’m sending with him to try to keep his camp experience as non-toxic , eco-friendly and green as possible.

Here are a few of my summer camp favorites:

Sunscreen Groovy Green Livin Purple Prarie natural sunscreen

Purple Prairie SunStuff SPF 30 is one of my favorite sunscreens. We started using it last year and it worked really well. HERE are a few other favorite sunscreens, perfect for those summer camp days in the sun.

Bug repellant Groovy Green Livin Buzzaway natural bug repellant

I’m sending my son to camp with a DEET free bug repellant. Buzzaway is our bug spray of choice this year. It contains a blend of wintergreen, citronella, cedarwood, peppermint and lemongrass oils and it works well.

DEET is the most widely used insect repellent in the US and is the leading ingredient in most conventional bug repellants.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that as long as consumers follow label directions, insect repellents containing DEET aren’t dangerous. The tricky part is following the directions-most of us don’t and we end up applying too much bug repellent and leave it on our skin for far too long. DEET then becomes highly toxic.

Bug bites

There are also natural ways to treat bug bites. Check out a few of my favorites HERE.

Shampoo Groovy green Livin Earth Mama Angel Baby natural shampoo

He’s going to camp this year with shampoo that doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals.

Our go-to shampoo this year is Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. Body wash and shampoo all in one- we’re killing two birds with one stone! Last year he came home with his soap unopened.

Deodorant Groovy Green Livin Toms of Maine Natural Deodorant

He doesn’t wear deodorant yet, but if he did he’d go to camp with Tom’s of Maine Deodorant.

I’m just thinking how smelly a cabin filled with 11 year old boys will be. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain controversial aluminum,  their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my son’s body. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives.

Toothpaste Groovy Green Livin natural toothpaste

Toothpaste is a tough one. He’s going to be brushing with The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper in Groovy Grape .This toothpaste does have fluoride, but doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate or any harsh ingredients. Thanks to Suzanne of Mommy Footprint. we have a few new fluoride-free brands to try out when he comes back from camp.

Do you have any natural or organic favorites to pack for camp?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything through the links it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

© philipus – Fotolia.com

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9 Responses to “5 Non-Toxic Summer Camp Essentials”

  1. Thanks for the suggestions. It reminds me that I need to pick up some bug repellant.

    It is great that he gets to go with his cousins and also to a place you are familiar with!

  2. Ha – that cracks me up that your son came home with his soap unopened! I’ve noticed that personal hygiene does not seem to come naturally for boys!
    I’m a big fan of Purple Prairie Botanicals and Buzz Away too!

  3. Hey Micaela, I’m thinking when they start to go through puberty maybe that will change and they’ll actually want to shower? We shall see. I’m hoping the shampoo gets used this year. 4 weeks is a long time and my car on the way home will be pretty smelly!

  4. I just use baking soda to brush my teeth and it works great. Wet the brush, dip it in the baking soda, and scrub your choppers!

  5. Good suggestions Jacob. Baking power has a bitter after-taste doesn’t it?

  6. [...] writing and focusing on some fun with my family. My oldest son is (finally!) home from 4 weeks at sleepaway camp. I can’t stop staring at him and looking for ways that he’s changed.  Of course [...]

  7. I ‘m impressed he’ll use the EMAB despite the girlie packaging! Certain unnamed males in my household use it too! Shhh…

  8. [...] camp kid. For 4 weeks every summer I would pack my bags and head off to my home away from home, a sleep-away camp in northern [...]

  9. [...] Every year I try to find a few must-have camp supplies that go into their duffle bag. Here’s what I’m sending this year. [...]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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