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Deep Thinking on Camp Name Tags

Name tapes. Whether your kids are attending day camp or sleep away camp, these little strips of cloth or nylon ensure that you won't have to buy your child a brand new wardrobe, each and every week. Bathing suits have a mysterious way of disappearing.towels and underwear, too. Although us practical moms try to "think disposable" when it comes to camp clothing, it is frustrating, nonetheless, to start off the season with twelve bathing suits and end the season with three!

You might say, I have been fascinated with name tapes for quite some time. I became aware of these little suckers my first summer at sleep away camp. It seems a pair of my underwear had fallen out onto a sports court on its way back from the camp laundry. Thanks to that wonderful little name tape, it wasn't long before everyone at camp knew it was my underwear that had been loitering for days on tennis court #3!

Cut to age 16. I had just been hired by an upscale camp outfitter in town. While I had dreams of working the sales floor, I was immediately relegated to the basement, where -- along with three other girls -- we worked sweatshop style over sewing machines affixing an endless parade of name tapes onto camp orders: White thread for the light color clothes, black thread for the darks. So, by the time my kids were ready for camp, you might say I had already done some thinking on the subject.

Sew In Tapes

My kids' first summer, I hired my seamstress to sew the name tapes into all their clothing. These labels, no doubt, stay on forever. But my kids, (who had "label issues" already) couldn't stand the itchiness of these tags - and this method was definitely pricey.

Laundry Stamper

The next summer I tried a laundry stamp. It is great for last minute labeling, but the ink did fade over many washings, and did not show up on dark colored garments. However, I still keep one around for a quick fix.

Iron-On Name Tapes

The following year I decided to try iron-on name tapes. I was appalled when the first set I ordered turned out to be cheap nylon tapes. I promptly reordered the fabric variety. But when it came time for ironing-on, I noticed something interesting. The fabric ones adhered ok, but were definitely detectible (and able to be yanked off) by those label-sensitive kids of mine. The nylon ones, however, adhered fully & completely, and never seem to fall off.never!!! What's more they are smooth and don't cause unnecessary itching. I am sold on them!

Clothing Tattoos

Clothing tattoos are the newest entry to the name label market & I am intrigued by them. They are permanent iron-on transfers that come in fun and funky colors and shapes, for the coolest camp duds around! They adhere completely to clothing and are dryer-safe. This is the direction most clothing manufacturers are going in, (think Hanes® new "labeless" underwear.) The main downside to clothing tattoos is price. They will run you about .50 for a set of 50 tattoos, which is considerably more than the traditional labels, and which is why I have yet to try them

All in all, it is good to have a variety of labeling products on hand: Name tapes, laundry stamps and laundry pens for last minute labeling.and those awesome silver SharpieT pens for writing on dark surfaces. I have also become a big fan of the permanent identity stickers many companies sell, which are ideal for sticking on expensive sports & electronic equipment. As always, be sure to shop on line for the best prices.

About the Author: Laura Miller has been a staff member at several camps and has worked in camp marketing. She is the founder and Director of Marketing for

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