basic training packing list for each military branch
General Military Questions

Basic Training Packing List for Each Military Branch

Packing for basic training, no matter which branch of the military, is your first opportunity to follow orders. Therefore, a basic training packing list is essential.

Ideally, you show up for training with as little as possible.

Also, those who show up with items they do not need can cause a slowdown of the receiving process.

Furthermore, unnecessary items are confiscated and stored until training is complete.

Every branch of the military has its list of acceptable and unacceptable items.

Jump To A Branch

Army Basic Training Packing List
Navy Basic Training Packing List
Marine Corps Boot Camp Packing List
Air Force Basic Training Packing List
Air Force Approved Items Available for Purchase
Coast Guard Basic Training Packing List

Army Basic Training Packing List

New Soldiers arriving for their first day of Basic Combat Training
image: usar.army.mil

Special Note: Click Here to download a free Army Boot Camp packing list.

Before heading off to Army basic training, be prepared with what you need.

What You Need to Bring

There are several documents you need including extra backup copies.

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • College transcripts if any
  • Social security card
  • State identification
  • Bank card
  • Marriage license or divorce decree, if any. Also, be sure the extra copies are certified. You can visit your local records office for certified copies but be prepared to pay a small fee.
  • Birth certificate – these copies should also be certified.
  • Eyeglass prescriptions
  • Letter from doctor listing prescriptions because the Army can continue to fill your prescriptions.
  • Spouse’s information if you have one
  • Military orders
  • The travel and meal tickets you received the day you reported to ship out to basic training
  • Direct deposit form
  • Coat or jacket depending on the season
  • Two-day supply of clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Six pairs of ankle socks
  • Running shoes
  • Shower shoes – you will have an opportunity to buy these after you arrive. Still, it is worth considering bringing a pair with you in the event there is a delay between arrival and an opportunity to buy these.
  • Band for eyeglasses if you wear them
  • Eyeglasses

Related Article41 Questions to Ask a Military Recruiter

The following items are available for purchase as a bundle set when you arrive for basic training. You may bring these items with you, or you may purchases them as a set.

  • Soapdish
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Combination locks (set of two)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Wipes
  • Nail clippers
  • Bootkit
  • Neck ID holder
  • Toiletries tote bag

The following items are necessary but are also available to purchases on base.

  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Soap
  • Shaving items
  • Washcloth
  • Shower shoes
  • Running shoes – you will have an allowance for the purchase of suitable running shoes. However, if you have your own, you may bring them as long as they meet the expectations of the Army.
  • Bras and sports bras
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Shampoo
  • Laundry detergent

Female Recruits Need to Bring

  • Three pairs of white, beige, or black underwear
  • Three bras also white, beige, or black
  • A full slip
  • Flesh tone pantyhose
  • Feminine hygiene items

Male Recruits Need to Bring

  • Three pairs of white underwear
  • Athletic supporter

Things That You Could Bring

These items are not required but are recommended. Also, these items are available for purchase on base.

  • Body and foot powder
  • Floss
  • Hydration packs depending on seasonal conditions
  • Washcloth
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Watch
  • Calling cards
  • Stamps
  • Writing paper and envelopes

Things You Should Not Bring

There are several items you must not bring with you to Army basic training.

However, you will have an opportunity to store these things until you graduate.

Also, for questionable items such as drugs and weapons, you will have a chance to turn these items in anonymously without fear of repercussions.

  • Friends and family
  • Pets
  • Vehicles
  • Nonprescription drugs
  • Razor blades
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Cards or dice
  • Tobacco products
  • Personal electronics such as phones, cameras, and smartwatches
  • Pornographic materials
  • Any batteries other than size D

Related ArticleArmy Basic Training Locations

Navy Recruit Graduation
Image: navylive.dodlive.mil

Special Note: Click Here to download a free Navy Boot Camp packing list.

The Navy’s basic training packing list is considerably shorter compared to other branches. For the most part, everything you need is provided.

What You Need to Bring

  • Social security Card
  • Immunization records
  • Two valid forms of identification and one must have a photo.
  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree if you have either
  • Copies of birth certificates for any dependents
  • Direct Deposit form
  • Permanent resident card if you are not a citizen

Things That You Could Bring

  • Basic watch
  • Wedding ring
  • Small religious medallions
  • Small dictionary
  • Address book
  • Hairbrush and a comb
  • Phone cards
  • Prescription glasses
  • A small amount of cash
  • Ladies can bring personal hygiene items and conservative makeup, if worn.
  • Prescription medications
  • Barrettes that match hair color

Things You Should Not Bring

Several items are not allowed. Basic training is your first opportunity to prove you can follow orders, so plan to ensure these items are not with you when you arrive.

  • Perfume or cologne
  • Shaving cream
  • Any item using aerosols
  • Lighters
  • Tobacco products
  • Playing cards and dice
  • Nothing glass, including mirrors
  • Alcohol-based items such as mouthwash
  • Weapons of all kinds
  • Metal hairpins and pics
  • Cameras
  • Hairdryers
  • Electric razors
  • Curling irons and straighteners
  • Food
  • Nonprescription rugs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Extra clothing
  • Lighter fluid

Marine Corps Boot Camp Packing List

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training session
Image: media.defense.gov

Special Note: Click Here to download a free Marine Corps Basic Training packing list.

When you leave for Marine Boot Camp, personal items will be locked up during training. There are very few items you need during recruit training.

Also, many personal items, like Chapstick or soap, are available once you begin training.

What You Need to Bring

  • Recruiters business card
  • Identification
  • Social security card
  • Transcripts
  • Running shoes

Female Recruits Need to Bring

  • Hair products
  • Makeup if worn
  • Three pairs of skin-toned pantyhose
  • Two white bras
  • Seven white sports bras
  • Seven pairs of white underwear
  • Three pairs on white ankle socks

Things That You Could Bring

  • Stamps
  • A few pictures
  • Small amounts of cash
  • One extra pair of civilian clothing
  • Small religious book

Things You Should Not Bring

  • Tee shirt, tank tops, or shorts
  • Cell phone or other personal electronics
  • Athletic wear
  • Dresses
  • Sandals
  • Hairdryers, curling irons, or straighteners
  • Extra civilian clothes
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol including items that contain alcohol such as mouthwash
  • Narcotics
  • Drugs without a prescription
  • Books and magazines
  • Items in glass or mirrors
  • Electric appliances
  • Playing cards or dice
  • Large photographs
  • Food or gum
  • Jewelry other than basic watch and wedding rings
  • Shoe polish
  • Radios or cameras
  • Shaving kits
  • Contact lenses

Related Article Marine Corps Basic Training Guide

Air Force Basic Training Packing List

Air Force basic training instructor. Image: Wikimedia.org

Special Note: Click Here to download a free Air Force Boot Camp packing list.

For the most part, you may show up to Air Force basic training with just yourself.

Many of the items you need are either assigned to you.

Other items are gathered into a backpack and available for a fair deduction from pay to cover the costs.

Air Force Approved Items Available for Purchase

These are the items available for purchase if you prefer the convenience over wondering if your personal items are appropriate.

  • Laundry bag
  • Mesh bags
  • Pens
  • Sharpies, both black and silver. You will be marking your items with your information, so these are necessary.
  • Padlock – if you decide to bring your own, bring a combination lock, so you do not worry about losing your key.
  • Towels
  • Blousing straps
  • Flashlight
  • ID holder
  • Reflective belt
  • Ruler
  • Toothbrush/paste/case
  • Floss
  • Foot powder
  • Highlighter
  • Notebook
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Soap
  • Shower shoes: The members of your unit in basic training will arrive at various times of the day and night. You will likely find yourself with an opportunity to shower before having a chance to purchase your kit that includes shower shoes. You might consider bringing shower shoes with you.
  • Laundry detergent
  • Trash bags
  • Nail care kit
  • Canteen
  • Storage containers

What You Need to Bring

  • Important documents such as ID card, birth certificate, military contract, marriage license, college transcripts, and certifications. Make copies of these documents, as well, just in case.
  • Visitor Access Request Letter: If you complete this right away, this gives time for background check completion for your visitors before graduation.
  • List of valuable contacts and their full name, address, and phone number.
  • Original bottles for current prescriptions.
  • Banking information including bank name, address, and your account and routing number. Recruits set up direct deposit, so you can print out a direct deposit form directly from your bank or bring a voided check.
  • Two pairs of pants
  • Three shirts and one should have a collar
  • Three pair of dark blue or black spandex shorts with no visible branding

Female Recruits Need to Bring

  • Six pairs of white or black undergarments and sports bras are ideal.
  • Natural hair color
  • Hair types and bands that are the same as natural hair color
  • Two weeks of feminine hygiene products: These items are available for purchase at the BX, but you do not have access to the Base Exchange (BX) immediately, so it is best to be prepared.
  • Conservative makeup if you wear makeup.

Male Recruits Need to Bring

  • A two-week supply of shaving materials. Also, disposable items are recommended.
  • Three pairs of boxers or briefs

Things That You Could Bring

These items are not required but are suggested.

  • A debit card or some cash in the event there is a delay in your travel.
  • Prepaid phone card
  • Glasses, if you wear them, and a copy of your current prescription.
  • Basic watch
  • Pantyhose
  • Running shoes – recruits are issued running shoes upon arrival at basic training. However, you may bring your own if they are in good condition.

Things You Should Not Bring

There are items you should not bring to basic training, as well.

However, if you do bring these items, expect they will be confiscated and returned to you after your graduate and move on to your next phase of military training.

  • Any type of tobacco product
  • Radios or other music players
  • Magazines
  • Jewelry
  • Makeup
  • Any type of food
  • Items that contain alcohol such as mouth wash
  • Cell phones and smartwatches or other electronic devices
  • Over the counter medications
  • Fake nails
  • Electric face exfoliators
  • Any product that uses aerosols
  • Weapons

Coast Guard Basic Training Packing List

Coast Guard Basic Training
Image: wikimedia.org

Special Note: Click Here to download a free Coast Guard Boot Camp packing list.

The Coast Guard issue recruits everything necessary, so the packing list is easy to manage.

What You Need to Bring

  • Social security card
  • One form of Identification
  • Up to $50 in cash
  • Wearing weather-appropriate clothing including athletic-type shoes

Things That You Could Bring

There are items you can bring, but if you chose to travel light, these are all available for purchase on base.

  • Three white V-neck tee shirts
  • Six to ten pairs of white underwear
  • Conservative watch
  • Wallet
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Wedding rings
  • Nonelectric razor
  • Religious book
  • Religious medallions
  • Address book
  • Writing paper, envelopes, and stamps
  • Unscented lotion
  • Toothpaste and brush
  • Body powder
  • Small photographs
  • Compression shorts
  • Invisalign orthodontics (if necessary of course)

Items Permitted for Women Only

  • Birth control pills
  • Hair ties and pins that match hair color
  • Small earrings, one set
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Minimal amount of makeup
  • Six white or skin color sports bras and a regular bra
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hair gel

Things You Should Not Bring

  • Alcohol
  • Pornographic materials
  • Glass containers
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Drugs
  • Tobacco products
  • weapons

Conclusion 

Fortunately, when you join any branch of the military, you need only to show up with some documents, identification, and yourself. 

Also, the items you bring that are unnecessary are taken away until graduation.

Typically, each branch has a list of times you must bring.

Also, there is a list of optional items that you may bring to keep with you during training.

Either way, this is your first opportunity to show you can follow orders and to keep the receiving process moving quickly.

References:

www.gocoastguard.com

 armypubs.army.mil

www.bootcamp.navy.mil

www.marines.mil

Rob V.
Basic Training Packing List

Basic Training Packing List

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See a boot camp packing list for each branch of the military. Includes a downloadable PDF for the basic training packing list for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
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