what to bring to marine boot camp

What To Bring To Marine Boot Camp

Now that you enlisted in the Marine Corps, you are getting ready for boot camp. However, you might wonder what to bring to Marine boot camp.

The Marines provide you with most of what you need for boot camp.

Those who bring more than needed will find those items locked up during training.

However, you will receive your items when training is over, but it is helpful to keep in mind less is best in the Marines.

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Things You Need to Bring

Things You Should Bring

Things You Should NOT Bring

Things You Need to Bring

Drill Instructor inspects and disciplines recruits
Image: Flickr.com

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

When you show up to transfer to the recruit depot, you will want to be dressed in your regular clothing.

However, ensure all articles of clothing are conservative, yet comfortable.

Take care to look into the temperature of where you are going, because you might consider a seasonal jacket.

  • Identification – your recruiter will help you gather all necessary documents, such as your transcripts and your military orders. However, you will also need a valid identification that includes your photo. Also, you need to bring your official social security card.
  • Cash – bring a small amount of cash in the event of emergencies while traveling. You will not need this cash during boot camp, so only carry enough to get by.
  • Eyeglasses – leave the contacts at home and bring a current prescription and wear the glasses.
  • Prescription medications – bring your medicines with the label intact. Be sure the medication prescription is not expired, and the doctor’s information is evident on the label.

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Female Recruits

There are a few items female recruits may bring.

However, the limit is one small bag or case.

  • Hair products, including hair gel, pins, hair elastics, are permissible. Be sure the hair elastics match your hair color.
  • Makeup – if you wear makeup, you may bring a minimal amount—plan to bring conservative cosmetics, however.
  • Three pairs of skin-toned pantyhose
  • Two white bras and seven white sports bras – make sure what you choose is conservative.
  • Seven pairs of white underwear and three pairs on white ankle socks are also allowed.

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Things You Should Bring

Marines survive first night at on Parris Island
Image: mcdpi.marines.mil

There are some useful items that you might consider bringing along if you wish.

Also, since some recruits need more than a day to travel, there are a couple of items you should bring even though you won’t have them for boot camp.

  • Toiletries – if you travel is longer than a day, bring a small number of toiletries to get you by. These should be small quantities. If you are male, include a disposable razor and shaving cream, so you arrive at boot camp clean-shaven.
  • Many Marines recommend wearing a belt with your clothing, so you can arrive with your shirt tucked in nicely.
  • One extra pair of underclothing – if you know you will travel overnight, have a change of underclothes for the next day. You can wear the same clothing. Remember, less is more in the Marines.
  • Stamps – receiving letters is something Marine recruits look forward to. Plan to write back to your family and friends. To do so, you need stamps.
  • A small religious book is allowed, and feel free to stash a few personal photos as mementos. Be sure the photos are small and of good taste. Everything you bring in to Marine boot camp is looked through, so nothing is really private.
  • Female recruits might consider bringing feminine products and birth control pills. You will receive everything you need once you arrive for training. However, you may need these items during travel.

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Things You Should NOT Bring

As you work through what to bring to Marine boot camp, the list of items you should not bring is significantly longer than the list of items you should bring.

When you arrive for training, the instructors go through all your belongings looking for items you should have left at home.

  • Weapons of any kind are not permissible. This means knives or brass knives, along with anything the instructors deem unsafe during intake.
  • You may not bring books or magazines, either. They only book allowed is a small book relevant to your religion.
  • Tobacco products, alcohol, or illegal drugs – if you are working on an addiction problem, plan to handle your dependency issues well before arriving at boot camp.
  • Aerosol cans of any kind. This means spray deodorant, hairspray, or other items.
  • Over-the-counter medications – These items are available for purchase after you arrive for training. Also, you will learn more about what over the counter medications you may keep on hand during training once you get there.
  • Extra civilian clothing is not necessary. These items will remain boxed during training, but it is best to leave them at home.
  • Leave at home your cell phone or other personal electronics, including cameras and MP3 players. You may not have personal electronics of any kind during boot camp.
  • Electric haircare items such as hairdryers, curling irons, or straighteners are unnecessary and not allowed.
  • Scented items are prohibited. This includes perfume, cologne, or lotions.
  • Playing cards or dice – the Marines will confiscate these along with any other gambling paraphernalia.
  • Food or gum is not allowed. If you bring some snacks while traveling, make sure it is gone before you arrive for training.
  • Jewelry is not acceptable. However, religious medals, a basic watch, and wedding rings are acceptable.


Essentially, the Marines will set you up with everything you need for training.

Therefore, if you show up with next to nothing, your recruiter helped you understand ‘less is more’. 

You will bring some essential documents and enough personal effects to get you through traveling to training.

There are a few items female recruits may bring, but everything is available on base, as well.

Unnecessary items are boxed up during training, and any prohibited items are confiscated.

While this list is current, check with your recruiter for any changes and adjust your packing list accordingly.



Packing Lists for Each Military Branch

Basic Training Packing List for each Military Branch

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