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Male and Female RTC Items

What to Bring to Navy Boot Camp

Updated: December 12, 2017

Because storage space is extremely limited at Navy 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. The following is a list of items you can bring.

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:

  • One pair of prescription glasses (most recent pair) and reading glasses. You will not be allowed to wear contact lenses during recruit training. If only contact lenses are worn (e.g., a recent pair of glasses is not available), you may wear the contact lenses to RTC and bring a contact lens case with a small bottle of solution for cleaning, disinfecting, and storage. Military glasses will be issued during the first few days of in-processing and contact lens wear will then no longer be permitted.
  • Money – recommended, $10 – maximum of $50 (you won’t need more than that)
  • Light sweater/jacket for winter months – it will be mailed back to your home after arrival at your expense.
  • Completed Direct Deposit Sign-Up (Standard Form 1199A).
  • Checkbook and ATM card
  • Photo Identification/ Drivers license
  • Small Bible
  • Social Security Card
  • Pre-paid calling cards
  • Basic makeup: Female/one of each: face powder, blush, lipstick, eye shadow and mascara (non-aerosol or glass). Make-up will be authorized for division photographs, family night, and on graduation liberty only.

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

  • Oral contraceptives (OCPs, sometimes called birth control pills or BCPs) and/or thyroid replacement medications
  • Immunization Record
  • Small address book
  • Jewelry (limit to Wedding Ring, Watch, Religious Medallion)
  • Retainer case
  • Passport
  • Credit Cards
  • Family Papers. If you’re married, bring copies of your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of all your dependent children. These certificates are necessary to register allotments. You must also bring copies of court decrees pertaining to alimony and child support. Additionally, if either your wife or husband has been previously divorced, a certified copy of divorce documents is required.
  • Alien Papers. You must bring a copy of your certificate of entry.

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.

Boot-Camp Hair Standards

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.

UPDATE: According to the Navy’s All Hands magazine, beginning January 2015, Navy boot-camp will initiate a pilot program (length of time program will run has yet to be determined) to cease mandatory female haircuts. The pilot was established after receiving feedback that junior Sailors and officers are not taught proper grooming standards during their initial training. Grooming standards education will be incorporated into the curriculum, but will not impact other training. This will allow women to style longer hair in the same manner that they would wear it daily in the Fleet while providing the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the standards before transferring to the Fleet. If desired, women will still have the opportunity to cut their hair upon arrival and during training at Recruit Training Command.
UPDATE: The female pilot program has concluded and the changes have now been made permanent. Females NO LONGER are required to have their hair cut upon arrival to RTC.

Highlights of the changes and guidelines include:
– Hairstyles must allow for the proper fit of headgear and not interfere with the proper wear of protective masks or equipment.
– When in uniform, hair may touch, but not fall below a horizontal line level with the lower edge of the back of the collar. With service dress jumper uniforms, hair may extend a maximum of 1 1/2 inches below the top of the jumper collar.
– Layered hairstyles are authorized, provided that the layers present a smooth graduated appearance. No portion of the bulk of the hair (except the bun) as measured from the scalp will exceed 2 inches.
– The bulk of the bun shall not exceed 3 inches from scalp. The diameter of the bun will not exceed 4 inches. Loose ends must be tucked-in and secured. Buns must not protrude through the opening in the back of a ball cap.
– Angled hairstyles may not exceed 1 1/2 inches difference in length from front to back.
– All hairstyles must minimize scalp exposure.
– Two strand braids (a type of twist) are authorized. Braided hairstyles shall be conservative and conform to the grooming standard guidelines.

Male new recruits will have their head shaved to a stubble length upon arrival, and will receive two additional haircuts during training.

Items that will be Sent Home

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

  • All alcohol based health and comfort items
  • Civilian Clothing
  • Cell Phones
  • Cameras
  • All electronic/electric items
  • Curling irons
  • All books and magazines
  • Cards, dice, or other gambling paraphernalia
  • Large and bulky stationary
  • Large plastic picks, rakes, etc., or any made of metal
  • Anything made of glass, including mirrors
  • Double-edged razor blades
  • Scissors
  • Disposable lighters
  • Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco (smoking, chewing, or dipping)
  • Large deodorants (larger than four ounces)
  • Weapons (including brass knuckles, knives, firearms, etc.)

To expound further about cell phones at Navy boot-camp: cell phones will get sent home upon arrival; however, THU Sailors are authorized to have them. A THU Sailor is one that has graduated boot-camp and are part of a temporary housing unit (THU) — they are awaiting clearances before they can go to their rating school (that is the most common reason), etc.

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).

Receiving mail from home. One of the most cherished times of day during recruit training is mail call. If you know someone in boot-camp, send them short notes of encouragement, but do not send them care packages. Recruits are NOT allowed to receive care packages of any kind. Any food items that are received are immediately discarded — not allowed to be consumed.

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.

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

  1. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All that is required for RTC will be supplied, including running shoes; you do not have to bring your own.

  2. Future Sailor Lily says:

    I am not sure if I am allergic to penicillin. My mother says she “thinks I was when I was a baby” (but honestly my mother says a lot of things), I don’t think I’ve had taken penicillin since then, and I’m nervous about the peanut butter shot at RTC. Will I get disqualified, thrown out, yelled at, if I bring it up now? Will they make me take an allergy test? what if I’m not even allergic?

  3. Corpsman says:

    Future Sailor Lily,

    If there is a possibility that you have a penecillin allergy report it at MEPS. You will be exempt from the “peanut butter” shot and will not be kicked out for that being the reason alone. Speak to your psyician before going to bootcamp and get checked out. Good luck to you and Semper Fortis.

  4. future sailor L says:

    Hello! I have bangs and would like to know if they’re allowed. I have messy wavy hair, do you think it’s a good idea to just perm it for boot camp? I feel as if it would be better too, since it makes putting my hair up easily.

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Future Sailor L.,

    I recommend that you have your recruiter find a female recrutier within the local NRD to have her explain hair specifics to you –your recruiter can take a picture of your hair and send it to her, or depending on how far she is away, you might be able to meet her, and she can make an assessment of your hair and make recommendations.

  6. Future Sailor Kim says:

    I have an iud implanted that’s my only birth control, Will I have to have it removed before bootcamp?.

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Future Sailor Kim,

    No, as a matter of fact, CNRC had to publish an Operational Notice that states;

    2. Discussion. Information provided by the Navy and Marine Corps Public health Center suggests some female recruits/applicants have been advised to stop taking oral contraceptive (OCPs, sometimes called birth control pills or BCPs) and/or thyroid replacement medications before departing for initial training. Additionally, some female Future Sailors/applicants have been advised to have their IUDs removed and/or their implanted contraceptives (Implanon) would be removed at initial training.
    3. Action. Effective immediately, recruiting personnel shall not advise Future Sailors/applicants to discontinue use of OCPs, to have IUDs removed, or to stop thyroid replacement medications.

  8. Stephanie says:

    So my natural hair color is black but I recently got blonde highlights, will I need to dye my hair back to one solid color?

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I apologize for taking so long to respond, but I was waiting for some input. I was told to advise you to get your hair color back to one color for boot-camp.

  10. Zane says:

    Hello! So I have a quick question regarding haircuts. Should you buzz your head before arriving to bootcamp? I’ve heard the haircuts are done carelessly and within a matter of seconds.

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Every male will sit in the barber chair and have their haircut whether there is enough hair to cut or not. There is no haircut triage — you line up and get in the chair when it’s your turn.

  12. Haylli says:

    So I have a birth control implant in my left arm called (Nexplanon), do I need to have it removed before going to boot camp?

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No, you do not have to remove it to go to boot-camp.

  14. Da’Marquis C says:

    Do we need to supply our own stationary for mailing letters. Steno pad, pens, envelopes, and stamps.

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Da’Marquis C.,

    Due to the limited space you have at boot-camp to store items, I would wait until you get there to purchase the materials for letter writing. There will be an opportunity shortly after arrival for you to do just that.

  16. Anne says:

    I would like to give my grandson soap, soap holder, sunglasses and shower shoes. Can I? My other grandson is on the uss Theodore Roosevelt and I did see him more then that. Hoping you say yes

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Toiletries and the other items you mention brought to boot-camp will be thrown away or sent back home. All acceptable/required items will be provided. Once he graduates boot-camp, he can possess all of the items you wish to send him.

  18. Josh says:

    When I was 18 I got medically disqualified at MEPS. I’m not 26 will all of those records from them still be on file? I ask this because I feel I was done wrong because I failed my hearing test and the doctor asked me if I had trouble with ear Infections and I said when I was younger I had swimmers ear a couple times and he disqualified me saying I needed to get written documentation from the times I had the infections and releases. But that is basically impossible as most of those times I didn’t even go to the doctor.

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you were disqualified for hearing/ears, your PULHES data in the MEPS system will still indicate a “3” for the H (hearing/ears), even if the physical itself has expired. I recommend that you find the documents for the times that you did go to the doctor, but even with those documents if you didn’t pass the hearing test itself, you would remain disqualified unless you can pass the hearing test. No branch of service will waive hearing loss that I am aware of.

  20. Stephanie says:

    Quick Question – Am I allowed to take my vitamins with me to bootcamp?

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