top of page





Kettle Pond aims to provide everything essential that you will need during your week with us other than basic personal items (clothing, toiletries, and writing supplies). That said, there are a number of things our writers have found useful while on campus. Over the years, we have collected a fairly exhaustive list of packing suggestions and tips. We've heard from some that it's overkill, but we have also lent coats (and socks, and pants...) to many of those critics. We strongly encourage all of our writers to at least take a look at the list below. Even our longtime staff who compiled these suggestions continue to find it useful as they pack each year. 


Of course, many of the items below are nice to have, but are clearly dependent on your mode of transportation (e.g. coffee makers, printers, lamps, etc). These suggestions represent luxuries those driving to the conference may enjoy having on hand, but are not possible to bring for writers with less flexible packing situations. Essentially, other than your basics (clothing, toiletries, writing supplies) you shouldn’t need most of this, but you may be more comfortable having some of it. Whenever possible, we try to connect writers sharing apartments in advance so that they may collaborate on packing plans if they wish.



Paul Smith’s campus is relatively small, compact, and generally quite flat. Parking is free and available near the dormitories and throughout the main campus. Temporary parking to load/unload outside the dormitories can be made available during registration and checkout as requested.

The most important thing to keep in mind when packing for Kettle Pond is the weather in the Adirondacks, which can be quite erratic in June. In general, the days are warm and the nights are cool, with occasional (usually brief) periods of rain, and beautiful sunsets. A rain shell and pair of sturdy shoes (or umbrella and all-weather sandals, you do you) are strongly recommended. Our best advice for all writers preparing for their week with us at Paul Smith’s is to pack as we do: plan for 3 seasons of weather, hope for fewer. 


  • lightweight pants/shorts/dresses/summer tops, etc.

    • whatever clothing is comfortable for you in warm/hot weather – we don’t mean to scare you, it will probably feel like summer for most of the week, but we shall see

  •  sweater/sweatshirt/fleece/etc.

  • light and/or mid-weight jacket

  • long pants

  • raincoat &/or umbrella

  • sturdy, water-resistant shoes

  • comfortable walking shoes

  • shower sandals and/or slippers 

  • pajamas/sweats 

  • robe (see bedding & housewares)

  • hiking and/or gym clothes 

    • writers have access to Paul Smith’s campus recreation facilities, as well as all the trails at the VIC

  • swimsuit or paddling clothing

    • for kayak/canoe use, swimming, or just sitting by the lake

  • yoga mat

    • we are hoping yoga classes will be offered, but cannot guarantee this yet; campus yoga mats will be available for our writers to borrow if they wish

  • hat(s) – sun hat, knit hat, favored hat

  • sunglasses​


Kettle Pond aims to provide everything essential that you will need during your week with us (again, other than clothing, toiletries, writing supplies), but we are the first to admit that the linens and towels included with campus housing are quite basic, and the shared kitchens are not stocked with anything at all – no dishes, or other equipment (though they all contain a refrigerator, stove, and oven). Whenever possible, our goal is to connect writers sharing apartments in advance, so they may collaborate on packing if they wish.


  • warm blanket/sleeping bag

    • the college provides thin blankets, and dorms are heated, though the system is designed to heat up very slowly and isn’t suited to quick changes in settings

  • one fitted sheet/twin xl sheet set 

    • the college provides biodegradable sheets, one fitted, one flat; they are perfectly comfortable though not luxurious

  • extra pillow & pillowcase 

    • the college provides one pillow & one biodegradable pillowcase per resident

  • bath/beach towel

    • one bath towel and one hand towel are provided, however they are very basic, and quite small; this is probably the luxury you’ll enjoy the most (and can double as a picnic blanket)

  • hangers

    • we actually have a bunch of these, but first come, first served

  • handsoap 

    • we also have some of this, but again first come, first served

  • dish soap & sponge

  • some kind of cup (e.g. a mug, water bottle, cup)

  • misc. kitchen items

    • spork, silverware, cooking implements

    • straw, bottle/can opener, corkscrew

    • small pot or pan

    • electric kettle or coffee maker

    • food storage container, plastic bags, foil 



  • printed directions to Paul Smith's

    • cell service is spotty along the way and if driving you may lose your GPS connection

  • toiletries

    • some very basic staples are available in the campus bookstore, though it is not open on weekends/during the first two days of the conference (there is a small market ~5 miles away; the closest pharmacy is in Saranac Lake)

  • allergy medication

  • headlamp, flashlight, or lantern

    • walkways are lit, but there are beautiful hiking trails around campus where a flashlight might be useful

  • bug spray &/or anti-itch remedies

    • Kettle Pond will provide some bug spray and citronella candles during evening receptions

  • sunscreen

  • driver license, passport, or other ID

    • Paul Smith’s is within 100 miles of the Canadian border, which means it is under the jurisdiction of Border Patrol – this means it’s possible you will encounter a checkpoint on your journey as you get close to campus

    • writers haven’t encountered any checkpoints since 2018 (and that was for a staff retreat), but we urge writers to be prepared for this (and to let staff know upon registration so we may be better able to assist others as they make their way toward us)

  • cash

    • an ATM is available on campus, evening bar is a cash only

  • phone & charger

    • cell service is spotty, though wifi is free and available on campus and writers without service may find it their best option to make calls

  • laptop & charger

    • computers are available in the library during regular hours, and in the 24 Hour Room adjacent to the library

  • headphones

  • backpack, satchel, or tote bag

    • a waterproof option or rain fly could be helpful if you plan on hiking or paddling

  • pens & paper

  • notebook

  • extension cord/plug strip

  • printer & data cable

    • writers who wish to bring a printer are advised they will not be able to network it on Paul Smith's WiFi and must bring an appropriate cable​

    • printing is available on campus, though the library 24 & Hour Room are a 5-10 minute walk from the dorms, and help isn’t available outside of limited hours hours; staff can help with printing emergencies.


The TL;DR (even though you clearly R-ed)


When you join us, plan to write as if none of the above matters, but pack with your own comfort and artistic needs in mind. A condensed, printable version of this list, formatted as a checklist, will be distributed to attending writers prior to conference week.

bottom of page