Male and Female RTC Items

What to Bring to Navy Boot Camp

Because storage space is extremely limited at Recruit Training Command (RTC), you should limit the amount of personal effects you bring, and keep luggage to a maximum of one small gym or travel bag.

If you are reporting to RTC during winter months (October through April) wear warm outer clothing – it does get cold near the lake! Keep in mind that during your in-processing you will be required to mail any item not listed below, with your excess civilian clothing and personal effects, to your home at your own expense, or donate the stuff to charity. Personal items and clothing won’t be allowed to be stored at boot-camp.

Here is a list of stuff you can bring to Navy boot camp:

Note: At a designated time, you will be sent to the dispensary at RTC for medical evaluation.
Additional Items to Bring, if Applicable;

Females in-processing at Navy boot-camp

Females – To expedite your medical processing, if you have had a PAP smear/pelvic examination during the six months prior to leaving for RTC bring the test results with you. Additionally, if you’re currently using birth control pills, bring copies of exam records (in addition to the pills) specifying type(s) of birth control pills both presently and previously prescribed. You will receive a pregnancy test within three days of arrival at Recruit Training. If the test results are positive, you will be discharged.

Your hair – Female new recruits may travel to RTC with their hair styled as desired. The standard hair length for females may touch but not fall below a horizontal line level with the lower edge of the back of the uniform collar. Females will have their hair cut (styled) to military standards after reporting to RTC for a nominal fee.

Males will have their head shaved to a stubble length.

Items that will be sent home (at your expense), donated to charity, or otherwise disposed of :

Non-prescription drugs/medications will be discarded and/or mailed home.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Phisoderm, Phisohex, and similar products
  • Foot powders
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Commercial sleeping aid
  • Decongestants
  • Acne medication
  • Antihistamines
  • Analgesics
  • Eyewash (with the exception of saline solution for contact lenses)
  • Sex-related materials (including diaphragms and condoms).

Sailor’s guest posts that convey their Navy Boot-Camp experience:
Boots Pound Towards the Future
Boot-Camp: Welcome to the Deep End – (a series)

Welcome to Navy Boot-Camp Video

The following video should answer many questions.

Read Comments (374)

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374 Responses to “What to Bring to Navy Boot Camp”

  1. TakenTheLEID says:

    I was wondering what the “volunteer” jobs during boot camp were and what does one have to do to leave boot camp as a seaman or E-3?

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Volunteer jobs are the ones that the RDC allow you to volunteer for — some ask for volunteers, and others appoint the positions of RCPO, Section Leaders, APOs, etc. To get promoted in boot-camp, you have to stand out above everyone else — demonstrate leadership!

  3. KirstenS says:

    Is there a monetary limit on the prepaid phone cards you can bring in? Many Thanks

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Kirsten S.,

    There is not limit set by the Navy.

  5. SIARA says:

    How far can women who enlist in the buddy enlistment go together.

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Buddy Program guarantees that you will be in the same boot-camp company — if you have the same “A” school, then you will more than likely be at school during the same time frame, but only boot-camp is guaranteed.

  7. tony [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    hi, I will go to the “boot camp” in two months. As I am a chinese,my English is not perfect, can I bring a small dictionary book? Because I know I need to learn a lot of knowledge in the camp!

    thanks very much !!!

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You can bring a small one with you, but I would not be surprised if they have you mail it back home if it is any bigger than the palm of your hand.

  9. shakira says:

    When do we start to get paid ? When do we get our uniforms

  10. FS Jessup says:

    Just wondering about BT I leave in 2 weeks and what type of underwear will they issue guys like boxers, briefs? My recruiter doesn’t seem to know thanks!

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:

    FS Jessup,

    My understanding is that you get a choice between briefs and briefs. :)

  12. Mark [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Could i keep a retainer they’re the clear plastic ones , they don’t affect my speech or make me over salivate. The case for them is no bigger than the palm of my hand so storing isn’t difficult. I got my braces off just a few days ago and I ship out September 4th I don’t want all the money for braces to go to waste.

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As it states in the post, you can bring a retainer case.

  14. Juliet says:

    Hi my son is leaving for bootcamp Aug.28,2013. This might be too soon to ask but when do you think his graduation will be. It’s rally hard to ask for vacation in such a short perion. Pls help. Thank you.

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No way of knowing his graduation date for sure, but figure it will be about 9 weeks after he arrives there. He will be sending home a card with all of his graduation information on it shortly after his arrival there — it will give dates and specifics.

  16. Juliet says:

    Thank you.

  17. Lydia says:

    Hello! as it states women can bring makeup,i have terrible acne. i go to basic in 3 months. will i be allowed to use a face powder when i get there?

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Any make-up that you are allowed to have cannot be used during boot-camp — you will only have it to use during graduation.

  19. Disf11 says:

    I see that we are allowed to bring a small Bible to basic but what is the size limit. I would like to bring mine that is about 7″x4.5″. Is that ok?

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    There isn’t a specific size dimension listed (“pocket sized” or “compact”), but 7″ may be borderline — I think it may fit, but the place you will keep it is very limited in space.

    For context, they used to provide a Bible that was about the size of the palm of your hand, and when they considered the size, I am pretty sure that is the size they were thinking about — it would easily fit in your “pocket”.

  21. Jndlr says:

    Odd question,
    But I am a female and I was wondering if I can bring/wear my own bra/panties? If not, what’s provided?

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Not sure of the brand name, but the bra and panties will be provided and they are basic white. You will not be able to wear your own.

  23. Jndlr says:

    Hey there again,
    I have extremely short hair for a girl, I use clippers and keep it at about 1″ and I love it that way! Will I be able to keep it that short or shorter during basic and am I allowed to have the same hair cut as the guys?

  24. Jndlr says:

    Another question,
    So I can bring my phone with me and use it on my way there for last minute good byes right before I get there but I have to send it home after I get there, right?

  25. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, you can bring it with you.

  26. Jndlr says:

    About the hair question,
    I usually cut it once a week or once every two weeks, will i be able to do that in basic?

  27. Jndlr says:

    Oh! Another question,
    I was planning on getting my bellybutton pierced on my 18th birthday, will I be able to keep it in while in basic?

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No, you will not be able to maintain a belly button piercing while in boot-camp. You will get your hair trimmed after the initial cut — I do not know how often that occurs — you will not be able go go visit the hairdresser whenever you feel the need. There is no place for vanity while in boot-camp.

  29. Curry [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I’m leaving in a couple days and I had a question, are wallets allowed? I have a black one that is about the size of my palm.

    Also, about shaving razors…are we allowed to bring our own or do they provide some? Because I’d much rather bring my nice 5-blade Gillete, as smaller blade count just jacks up my face, and seeing as how shaving will almost be a daily occurrence, I’d prefer the best razor I can possibly have there.

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as the wallet fits and fully conceals in the rear pocket, it would be fine. RTC will supply all the toiletry/shaving items that you require.

  31. Kayla H. says:

    Im a female and have extremely short hair on the sides and on the top its a little longer, will I have to cut the top off as well?

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The haircut cannot appear to be faddish. The hair on top will be cut to look proportional.

  33. Kyle [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    I leave for RTC in 60 days. Are we allowed to bring prescription allergy meds with us? And if so how do we go about doing it the right way?

  34. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No. You cannot bring allergy medications to boot-camp — if you do, it will be mailed home or discarded.

    The only medication that can be brought with you would be that which is used to control thyroiditis and hypothyroidism (documentation would be included in your MEPS physical).

  35. Jake says:

    Ok here is my main concern. I grew up with heavy Irish traditions as did my girlfriend, we grew up in South Buffalo Irish country. We’ve been together for some time (3 years) and as is tradition, we both wear the Cladagh ring, the Irish version of a promise ring worn by both man and woman. Am I allowed to have this or do I have to leave it at home?

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You can have it with you, you just cannot wear it during boot-camp.

  37. Luigi says:


    I am leaving next month from boot-camp. I have one question about boot-camp that is can we bring a retainer with us? My parents spent about 6k on my braces and I don’t want this money going down the drain. Should I contact my orthodontist and have him sign a form from me?

    Thanks, Luigi

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, just as it states in the post above, you can bring your retainer (and case).

  39. Tatiana says:

    what if you cant swim that well will i be taught ?

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:


    In the movie in the post, start watching from the 8 minute 44 second part — and they actually talk about teaching to swim at the 9:23 start point.

  41. Evan says:

    Am I allowed to bring my prescribed Adderall? I fear I wouldn’t be able to finish boot camp without it.

  42. NCCM(Ret) says:


    With a current prescription of Adderall, you cannot join. You must have been off the drug for a minimum of a year; so, if you are in the DEP, you will be discharged.

  43. kylynn says:

    I was going to get braces but i heard you cant have them during boot camp, after boot camp will i be worry free enough to have braces?

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have know Sailors to have braces once they were on shore duty, but keep in mind, if you are deploying, and during your first enlistment while on sea duty, you will have extended periods away and will not be able to visit your orthodontist.

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