What to Bring

You’re expected to have certain mandatory items and paperwork upon arrival. Most of what you need can fit into a gym bag or small suitcase. Your recruiter should have given you an official list of what you are allowed to take with you to basic. Stick to this list. One of the first things you’ll experience at Basic Training is a complete search of your personal possessions. Anything not approved will be confiscated and stored until after graduation.

Another reason to pack light is that when you graduate, you will only be allowed three bags (one carry-on and two bags that can be checked). One of those bags will be your duffle bag full of uniforms. The other will be a garment bag to carry your dress uniforms, and the third bag will have the civilian clothes and personal affects you brought with you.

Do Bring

  • Only the necessities in your personal luggage.
  • Any important paperwork you may need — check with your recruiter.
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, soap, deodorant, shampoo and shaving equipment (males) to last for about a week.
  • Glasses as opposed to contact lenses. The training environment is not conducive to contact wear.
  • Shower shoes are mandatory and must be the slip on type with a rubber bottom. No sandals or beach shoes are allowed.

Don’t Bring

  • Knives, guns, brass knuckles or anything that may be used as a weapon.
  • Dice, playing cards or anything that may be used to gamble.
  • Magazines, books, crossword puzzles or any other media that is not of a religious nature.
  • Cigarettes, dip, lighters or any other tobacco products.
  • Large photo albums. A few photos are permitted but space is limited.
  • Material that is pornographic or can be considered questionable.
  • Any over-the-counter medications to include vitamins and supplements.
  • Aerosol sprays of any kind (i.e. hairspray, deodorant, starch).

Mandatory Items for all Trainees

  • Laundry soap (1)1
  • Ball-point pen (blue or black) (1)
  • Shampoo (1)
  • Deodorant (1)4
  • Toothbrush (1)
  • Toothbrush tray (1)
  • Toothpaste or powder (1)
  • Notebook and paper (1)
  • Black shoe polish (1)
  • Shine brush/cloth (1)
  • Shower shoes (1 pair)
  • Soap (1)
  • Soap tray (if bar soap is used) (1)
  • Civilian eyeglasses (if applicable)2
  • Contact lenses/case (if applicable)
  • White Socks (2 pairs)

Male Specific Items

  • Shaving Equipment (1)
  • Shaving cream or Electric pre-shave lotion (1)
  • “Brief” style underwear. (Not “boxers.”)

Female Specific Items

  • Sanitary napkins/tampons (1 pkg.)
  • Bras/sport bras (6)
  • Hair bands, bobby pins, etc.
  • Underwear (6)
  • Brushes or combs (1 each)
  • Nylons/panty hose (6 WOT)

Optional Items (Females and Males)

  • Envelopes (1 box)
  • Iron (1)
  • Towels (2)
  • Stamps (1 book)
  • Cotton balls (1 box)
  • Spandex Shorts (females) (3 pair)
  • Spray starch/fabric finish (1)3
  • Batteries (D size) (2)
  • Nail trimming equipment (1)
  • Watch (1)
  • Sewing kit (1)
  • Calling card
  • Foot powder (1)
  • White socks (2 pairs in addition to the 1 mandatory pair)
  • Shaving items (Females)
  • Stationary supplies (1)
  • Running shoes (1 pair)4

You should also bring enough civilian clothes to last about 3 days. If you wear contacts,
bring your glasses. The training environment is not conducive to contact lens wear.

1If you are allergic to a certain kind of detergent, you may purchase another brand
at your own expense.
2 Trainees who wear glasses or contacts are required to buy eyeglass straps.
3 Do not bring aerosol sprays of any kind.
4 Your feet will be scanned upon arrival to ensure you are issued proper fitting
shoes during processing; therefore, wear one pair on the day you ship to Basic Training.

Paperwork: To complete all of your military records, you will need to bring some items with you to basic training. Better to be safe than sorry, so bring any paperwork you think may be useful during your processing. Below is a list of the minimum documents you should bring if you have them:

  • Civilian eyeglass prescription
  • Contact lenses prescription
  • Any important paperwork relating to a medical prescription
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security Card
  • Marriage license
  • Dependents’ birth records
  • JROTC/ROTC certificates
  • Civil Air Patrol certificates
  • Naturalization papers
  • Alien Card
  • Enlistment contract
  • College transcripts

Financial Preparation

It’s important to take care of personal matters before you leave. Basic Training is designed to be stressful and you will need to focus all your attention on training.

Check with your recruiter if you have questions or are unsure about how to handle any of the following matters:

  • Who will receive your mail?
  • Does your family have access to your finances? Bank accounts, etc.
  • How will your bills be paid while you are gone?
  • Does someone know what bills are due and when?
  • What other things could pop up in the time you are away?
  • Does your family know whom to contact in the event of an emergency?
  • Have you set up a bank account prior to your arrival?