Unpacking at Sanborn

Unpacking and organizing at Sanborn tends to be a very different experience from your room at home with a full sized closet, dresser, and major floor space. Being a camper at High Trails or Big Spring will also make a difference in how you unpack, so to that end, we figured we’d consult with the leading experts and find out exactly what are some of the tips and tricks that make living at camp, with all your gear, as organized as possible.


Every camper at High Trails will have a locker (approximately 21”w x 22”d x 34”H to the hanging bar and each shelf is 11”H), a cubby in the bathroom, and access to the shared space under the bathroom sinks. Keep in mind that the following advice is by no means mandatory to be followed, nor is it impossible to live an organized life at camp without doing these things. We just figured we’d hit on some of those, “Oh! That’s a great idea!” moments.

Each locker includes two shelves and a bar for hangers. We have lots of hangers to use at camp. One great idea is to bring the skinny size plastic drawers to create more containment spaces, for stationary and accessories, hats, gloves, or undergarments. If plan on driving to camp, this is an easy thing to even pack those items in while at home and then deposit straight in your locker upon arrival. Many campers ship luggage to camp and these can pack up easily in a box. (We wouldn’t recommend carrying one on an airplane. Yikes!)

Something easy to pack into airplane luggage would be a hanging shelf apparatus, usually intended for sweaters or shoes, but can hold many things. The one shown happens to be much longer than you can see, but all that excess just bunches up quite nicely on the locker floor and stays out of the way underneath. This way you have lots of compartments and they are easy to see. Shoe boxes can also be easily packed into suitcases and used to store undergarments and things.

The top shelf of the locker is quite deep, with room to stack extra sheets behind pants and sweatshirts where they stay out of the way and clean and folded until they are needed. Above the lockers is ample room for hiking packs, sleeping bags, and other overnight paraphernalia. When it comes to life in the bathroom, think awesome learning experience for college dorm life! We have hanging cubbies provided in each bathroom with room in them for toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair accessories. Having a plastic caddy to hold all those other hygiene items under the sinks makes finding your stuff really easy.
So now that you’re unpacked and organized what about making it feel like home. Pictures from home and small posters and everyone’s colorful pillowcases quickly make the cabins look like they belong to each group of girls living there. We are excited for opening day and everyone to move in, we hope this this helps give some quick ideas that will make it easier to keep track of every sock you bring to camp!


At Big Spring the type of living unit you live in depends on your age. The Junior Boys (ages 7-9 years) live in one of 2 cabins, Massive or Red Cloud. The youngest month long campers (ages 9-11 years) live in the Yurts. The rest of the guys (ages 12-16 years) live in the big green tents! This means that the best unpacking strategies are different for each type of summer home!

CABINSThe Junior Campers at Big Spring live in cabins and unpack all their luggage into their locker.

The lockers are 21”W, 22”D, with 3 shelves - each about 11”H. The bottom of your locker is great to put your hiking boots and riding boots on.

You can also store sleeping bags and daypacks on top of your locker.

The bathrooms are inside your cabin, so bringing a shower caddy to carry your things to and from the bathroom can be very handy.

YURTS The month long campers ages 9- 11 years all live in yurts!

In the Yurts using your luggage as a “closet” works best. There is room at the end of your bunkbed if you are the top bunk)to sit your trunk or duffle. If you sleep on the bottom of the bunk you can also use the space under your bed.

The yurts also have lattice work around the walls that jackets and other items can be hung from and tucked into. Things can also be hung from the lattice on the walls.

Hanging shoe organizers can make good cubbies when hung from the bunkbed or the ceiling.

In the washhouse, you’ll have a cubby for all your toiletries and other bathroom items. Think of it as good training for college dorms. A shower caddy is useful for making sure you have everything you need for a shower.

TENTS The month long campers who are 12 years and older all live in the green canvas platform tents.

In a tent there are not bunkbeds, so using the space under your bed is ideal! Store your backpack, shoes, and personal sports gear under there.

Using your luggage like a closet for your other clothes keeps them all in your space and organized. Many guys bring trunks, but it is definitely not a requirement. Many campers and staff use their duffels or suitcases all summer and don’t notice any difference.

One nice idea for a trunk is that it can be pulled out and used as a table top for games or your waterbottle.

Each tent is held to the frame with straps and clips - you can hang your calendar and mail in the clips next to your bed.

In the washhouse you’ll have your own cubby for all your toiletry items and hooks for your towels. Bringing a shower caddy is great for taking to and from the shower.

Back to Blog
Jessie Spehar
About Jessie Spehar

Jessie began her career at camp as a counselor in 2006 and returned each subsequent summer, taking on more responsibilities each year, including those of Camp Photographer and Supervisor of Canoeing and River trips. She joined the year-round team in 2013 as Marketing Director for the camps. Jessie has a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Special Education and taught for 4 years before joining the COEC full-time staff. Stuffing M&Ms into marshmallows prior to roasting them, sitting in a canoe or her SUP board on top of the water and photographing everything are some of Jessie’s biggest joys.