Camp Life and Packing Tips

What to Pack & Bring

Program Materials

  • Note paper, pens, pencils
  • Book: Drum Circle Facilitation by Arthur Hull (required reading). Bring to Playshop.
  • A piece of string or ribbon for closing ceremony (3 feet long, thicker than thread and thinner than rope)

Drumming Equipment

  • Hand Drum (any kind, more than one is fine, but we will have extra drums to share)
  • Optional: Djun djun, or any extra ‘sounds’ that you would like to contribute (gongs, chimes, bilaphones, shakers, bells, etc)

Internet and Cell Reception

Cellular phone reception is good for most carriers. There is (usually) a slow and intermittent internet connection in the Lodge.

The Camp Environment

Camp Mokuleia sits right on the beach. You will enjoy the peace and tranquility of island living in a comfortable yet rustic camp setting. Because we are close to nature, be prepared to protect yourself from the elements such as wind, rain and insects. It is preferred not to bring food into your room or tents. If you do, please make sure you use airtight containers to prevent attracting insects. The climate in Hawaii at this time of year is very pleasant. It is warm with an occasional light rain and scattered rainbows across the ocean. Cooling tradewinds keep the climate comfortable. Camp is casual, and light clothing is all you will need. A sweatshirt, long pants and covered shoes for evening is sufficient. Swimming is at your own risk. There is nice beach swimming in front of the camp. It is a turtle preserve protected by a reef. The water is calm in the morning and often choppy in the late afternoon evening. Reef shoes and fins are recommended. Many turtles will be swimming nearby. Look but do not touch!

Lodge Accommodations

Your Lodge room will be provided with bedding and have access to a share bathroom. Most rooms will have their own bathroom. Some rooms share the bathroom with one other room. While linens are provided, you may want to bring an extra beach towel and a light shawl or blanket for cooler nights.


Camp Mokuleia provides an abundance of basic wholesome meals. While meals are not gourmet, the food quality is above most church camps with fresh fruits and vegetables available at each meal. Vegetarian or vegan meals are offered but you must sign up for this option ahead of time. If you have special needs, please bring extra food to meet those needs. You will have access to a refrigerator and a small kitchen. You should bring along cooking equipment if you think you may want to use the kitchen. Participants often bring along their own tea and coffee.


We advise you to travel light and do not bring expensive equipment.

Personal Gear

  • Sufficient clothing for the week should include: shorts, t-shirts, long pants, sweatshirt or light sweater or jacket
  • Tennis shoes, sandals
  • Bathing suit and a t-shirt for swimming
  • Beach Towel
  • Reef shoes and snorkel gear (you can buy cheap snorkel gear in Honolulu)
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lots of sunscreen!
  • 1-2 Water Bottles
  • Light blanket, shawl or sweatshirt (for evenings around campfire)
  • Personal Toiletry items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, etc)
  • Small personal first aid kit with pain reliever, sunburn cream, mosquito repellent
  • Snacks: food items you like or require (in sealed containers!)

The suggestions below have been offered by past participants to make your experience at camp more comfortable:

Bag Weight Limits

Weigh your bags before you leave home. Most airlines have a strict 50 pound per bag limit and there are height-length-width limits too. More weight or bigger bags will cost you extra. We also have a 2 big bag limit on the bus from Honolulu to Camp. In other words, if you have more bags, you’ll have to get them there yourself.

Drums & Transport

You will be playing your drum a LOT, so bring one you really like. It’s worth a little extra weight. However, also bear in mind that you’ll be carrying it back and forth to the circle from time to time (a 5-10 minute walk). Add straps or bring a case for easy carrying. It is pretty humid there, so thin goatskin heads can get flabby. Cow skin, thicker goat skin, or of course, REMOs work best.

People have successfully checked drums in regular drum bag padded with clothes and bubble wrap over the head. Another good layer of head protection are planter pot pads (cork & melamine or similar), available in the garden sections of Home Depot, etc. What works even better is a large, wheeled duffel bag, which carries a lot more other stuff than a drum bag. As for hand percussion, this is the place to bring your good stuff - the pieces that sound great, that you like to play, and that you don’t necessarily pass out to your drum circle participants. Your good instruments will make our music even more awesome!

Drum as Packing Space

You can stuff a lot of clothing or your beach towel inside your drum. It works best to line the inside with a trash bag so things go in and out smoothly without catching on the wood grain.


Here you can pack light. A small assortment of shorts, tees, and tank tops, sun dresses, swimsuits (having 2 is handy), a sarong or two, and a pair of sandals should do it. In Waikiki, you’ll find lots of places to buy shirts, dresses, sarongs, etc. Bring a long-sleeved shirt for night drumming, though you may rarely need it.


A pair of sport sandals with good support work well, brands like Keen, Teva, Merrill or Chaco. You’ll be walking around camp a lot, and many of our activities are standing. People who have worn flip-flops all week have ended up with foot/leg/knee/back problems. Do NOT plan on going barefoot, except on the beach, since there are sharp seed pods that fall from the trees all over the campground. Centipedes also live under tree debris, and although getting stung is very unlikely, you don’t want to be the unlucky one!

Back or Seat Cushion

Although we generally move around a lot, the drum circle chairs are the hard stackable kind. People who bring a seat cushion are always glad they did.

Coffee & Tea

If you like good coffee, try to bring a bag (ground) to add to our group supply for the coffee maker in the lodge. You can buy coffee in Waikiki. If you like good tea, bring your own. Caffeine is always available in the cafeteria, but it is strictly Folger’s and Lipton type. And bring your commuter cup if you want to bring a to-go cup down to the morning drum circle. 8:00am comes early after late-night drumming!

Tote Bag & Small Articles Bag

You’ll want some sort of easy-access tote bag or small backpack to carry your hand percussion, water bottle, notebook, etc. back and forth to the drum circle. The circle is about a 5-10 minute walk from the lodge and dining hall. Add a small bag for small things like your room key, drum tuning key, lip balm, sunglasses, etc (or use your pockets).

Snorkel Gear

The camp’s beach leads right into a sea turtle preserve, and it’s a big thrill to snorkel around the turtles in the morning! Bring snorkel gear if you can.

Beach Mat & Towel

If you’re spending anytime in Waikiki before camp, you’ll see the ubiquitous ABC stores where you can pick up a cheap straw beach mat and towel. They may be available in the airport too.

Food & Drink

The best place to buy your snacks and treats in Waikiki is the Food Pantry, on Kuhio Avenue at Walina Street.  They have a much bigger food selection than ABC stores. It is walking distance from most Waikiki hotels, at least on the Diamond Head side of town.

As for drinks, the Hawaii Playshop is not a big drinking scene, and in fact, we officially discourage alcohol in honor of the church camp’s policy. That said, discreet night time socializing and drinks have been known to be enjoyed by those who bring their own. We MUST keep all alcohol out of sight, including upon arrival. Carry your stuff in bags onto the bus.

NOTE: In past years, the bus has stopped for people to buy beer and snacks at a tiny store on the way to camp. DO NOT depend on this happening this year. Cover yourself - shop in Waikiki!

We hope these suggestions help you to make your experience at camp as comfortable and wonderful as possible! Aloha!

Arthur Hull & the VMC Staff