CVN-71

Male and Female RTC Items

What to Bring to Navy Boot Camp

Published: June 30th, 2008
Updated: April 14, 2015
By: Thomas Goering

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.

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:

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 (433)

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


  1. Maggie:

    My husband is leaving for bootcamp shortly and after searching the RTC website and speaking with his recruiter, I am still confused as to who should have which documents. I understand that he needs to have the necessary papers to enroll me in DEERS and I also know that I must have these same documents when obtaining my military ID card while he’s away.

    Which one of us should have the originals and which one should have the certified copies of my social security card, marriage certificate, and birth certificate? I want to be sure he has what he needs. Would it be acceptable if I have the certified copies of those documents in addition to 2 forms of a photo ID? That way he can take the originals?

    Thanks for your help

  2. NCCM(ret):

    Maggie,

    He should bring the copies, you maintain the originals. Most of that documentation he will need should already a part of his record, but contact his recruiter to make sure what specific documents, if any, he may need to bring.

  3. Joseph:

    Hello, I’m about to enlist, I was wondering if we can bring a wallet. It seems like we should be able to, but I’m not certain.

    Thank you

  4. NCCM(ret):

    Joseph,

    Yes, you can bring a wallet.

  5. Tyler:

    Silly question, but in regards to the ring does it have to be a wedding ring or can it be any ring with a strong sentimental value attached to it?

  6. NCCM(ret):

    Tyler,

    A wedding ring.

    If you could bring and wear everything that has sentimental value, then you could bring your girlfriend… tis not the case. :)

  7. Jazmin:

    so im just wondering can i wear my own hair in cornrows? it is really short and only goes to my ears. also if my hair is already short they won’t cut it again will they?

  8. NCCM(ret):

    Jazmin,

    They will want to see your hair at full length to determine if a hair cut is needed.

  9. Veronica:

    Can we bring facial moisturizer ?

  10. NCCM(ret):

    Veronica,

    Don’t think that is going to fall into the “basic make-up” category.

  11. erin:

    I was goining to cut my hair short like three inchs before I left. Is that ok?

  12. NCCM(ret):

    Erin,

    Yes, you can, of course, cut your hair before you go, but you will go to the beauty shop at boot-camp, sit in the chair, and the hair dresser will decide if more needs to be taken off.

  13. carol:

    I have extremely curly hair. Will I be able to bring gel to bootcamp?

  14. NCCM(ret):

    Carol,

    I would not bring it, as the possibility of them making you throw it away is pretty high. I would stick to the list above.

  15. kayla:

    Should i bring stuff like shampoo and conditioner? or would it be best not to

  16. Cynthia:

    If someone has the chance could you put a link on here of a appropiate haircut for females. Im having a hard time finding a picture.

  17. NCCM(ret):

    Cynthia/Kayla,

    Basic toiletry and haircare items will be supplied. I added a picture to the post that will give you a good idea of the female hair length. Thanks for the suggestion!

  18. Deneen:

    As far as bringing an address book do you need envenlopes and stamps or will they just make you mail that back home with your other stuff.

  19. NCCM(ret):

    Deneen, Cynthia, Kayla (you have a lot of email addresses…),

    Letter writing material will be available at RTC.

  20. dom:

    im just wondering if dreads are an acceptable hair style?

  21. NCCM(ret):

    Dom,

    Not while in uniform.

  22. Daniel:

    Hello,
    I am going to RTC in december. So I have two questions. The first is the watch. I’ve read on other websites that they will only let you have a watch if you ate given a senior recruit position. Is this true? If not any suggestions on what watch specifications I should look for?
    The second question is about outerwear. I see that you are to bring a light jacket or sweater, any suggestions on which? What kind of outerwear will they provide for the cold months?

    Thank you so much!
    Future Sailor Galbraith

  23. NCCM(ret):

    Future Sailor Galbraith,

    You can bring a watch, but like you have read elsewhere, it is a real possibility that you won’t be able to wear it unless you are in a position that requires it. You will have room to stow your watch, unless you have one like Flava Flav that is :)

    You will not wear your civilian jacket or coat while at RTC, you only need it to get there and until you get issued your uniform – it will more than likely be boxed up and mailed back home, or you can donate it to charity.

  24. Future Sailor Mammina:

    Hey so, ive seen that we cant bring alot of things, but I am a female and I am leaving Feb 15, 2011 and my skin gets really dry (my face to be exact) so will they supply us with some kind facial moisturizer?

  25. NCCM(ret):

    Future Sailor Mammina,

    You will be supplied with basic toiletry items, including soap that may have a moisturizer in it. You will not have much time to sit in front of a mirror getting all fixed up. :)

  26. rachel:

    i leave in less than a month, reading this answered some of questions i had thanks, but i have one question… i am not religious and i dont own one, so i was wondering is it mandatory to bring a bible?

    thanks! :)

  27. NCCM(ret):

    Rachel,

    Funny.

    Do well, and thank you in advance for your service!

  28. Court:

    I have excema, I use special lotion/cream that is not prescribed by a doctor (but recommended). Will I be allowed to bring this lotion/cream?

  29. NCCM(ret):

    Court,

    Eczema is normally a disqualifying condition, if you received a waiver for it it is because your flare-ups are very infrequent and the affected area is small. How often do you require the lotion?

  30. Future sailor smith:

    This is really a strange question but i’m reporting in december and i was wondering if at any point in inprocessing are females required to to take off their bra during the examinations? Thanks!

  31. shamika:

    can i pull my hair back in a ponytail instead of cutting it

  32. NCCM(ret):

    Shamika,

    No.

  33. Jordan:

    I had a sailor tell me last night that a girl fresh out of basic said they stopped cutting the girls hair a couple weeks ago and not a cut is not required. Is this true?

  34. NCCM(ret):

    Jordan,

    Over the last 30+ years, I have heard that many times – each time it has proven to be rumor/wishful thinking. I will follow up with this next week and get an official answer.

  35. Dan:

    In regards to shaving everyday are we given anything for razor burn with our “basic toiletry items”? Is there a list somewhere stating what is included?

  36. NCCM(ret):

    Dan,

    Shaving cream?

  37. Nicole:

    Is Eyeliner considered “basic makeup?” or will be thrown away?

  38. NCCM(ret):

    Nicole,

    “…face powder, blush, lipstick, eye shadow and mascara.”

    Eyeliner isn’t on the list, it may be discarded.

  39. Candice:

    Hey I’m leaving in december 2011 .. do you advise me to get micro braids or wear a short weave

  40. NCCM(ret):

    Candice,

    I do not advise it.

  41. Candice:

    Oh ok …why not … I herd it was actually a little better than having to deal with your own hair .. I have very kinki hair

  42. Nicole:

    would it be possible to leave any makeup home & have my family mail it to me when it got closer to graduation?

  43. NCCM(ret):

    Nicole,

    It is possible, but I would ask your Recruit Division Commander (RDC) about that as graduation draws closer.

  44. Jhoser:

    Hi, I have this bracelet made by my father which i have worn for almost a decade now. The problem is, it could not be taken off unless it is destroyed. Do you think they’d let me keep and wear it on boot camp?

  45. NCCM(ret):

    Jhoser,

    You would not be allowed to wear the bracelet during boot-camp.

  46. Ryan:

    I notice it says bring a pair of athletic shoes, are these going to be sent home with my regular civilian clothing? or are they what i will be wearing during basic?

  47. NCCM(ret):

    Ryan,

    As long as they are not too flamboyant (flashing lights, etc. – if there is a question, have your Recruiter look at them), and they meet the requirements in the post, you will be able to wear the athletic shoes you bring.

  48. Randi:

    If the men have an engagement ring are they allowed to wear that?

  49. NCCM(ret):

    Randi,

    No. “Wedding Ring, Watch, Religious Medallion”

  50. Austin:

    NCCM,

    You were able to answer my question about the ID card during DEP so I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of underwear they will issue males (i.e. boxers or briefs).

  51. NCCM(ret):

    Austin,

    Briefs.

  52. Chelsea:

    Can you bring a small book of pictures? I’ve heard you could but I’m not sure.

  53. NCCM(ret):

    Chelsea,

    You have very limited space; I suggest you make it part of your small address book.

  54. Future Sailor Anne:

    I hate to be a pain but I have a few questions…

    I know that it says that we are allowed to bring a sports bra if we are bigger than a 40 DD, I am a 34 DD so does that still count?

    The other week my recruiter told me that women are allowed to wear “studs” in basic training…is that still accurate?

    If I don’t agree with shots due to religious belief’s, do i still have to get them?

  55. NCCM(ret):

    FS Anne,

    Bring the sports bra.

    I don’t think you will be able to wear any earrings while in training.

    Yes, you will be required to get the vaccinations at boot-camp.

  56. Julie Matthews:

    Is it ok to have tattoos and my boyfriend is joining the air force at the same time would there be any chance we could communicate

  57. NCCM(ret):

    Julie,

    The tattoo requirements for the Navy.

    To communicate during boot-camp, you would have to each send letters to each other.

  58. Richard:

    Hello,
    So we don’t need to bring extra pairs of clothes? Just the clothes on our backs?
    Thanks in advance.

  59. NCCM(ret):

    Richard,

    Aye, those are all you’ll need.

  60. Anthony:

    Hi,
    I saw you said eczema is usually a disqualifying condition, may I ask why? I am not doctor diagnosed as having it, but I’m pretty sure I do. The only thing I need to do is moisturize my face daily and I’m fine, it takes 10 seconds to do that. My eczema would not effect my performance in the military at all, even if I had a flare up. I am highly motivated to excel in the Navy and don’t want this minor condition to stop me from doing so. This is absolutely no problem unless the Navy wants to make it one. Like I said I only need moisturizer and 10 seconds and I really don’t think that should DQ me.
    Thank you for reading and I await a response,
    Anthony

  61. Taylor:

    I was wondering if we were allowed a small ipod device for at night when we have down time.

  62. NCCM(ret):

    Taylor,

    No. An iPod would not be allowed.

  63. Future Sailor J:

    I have extremely long hair and it is quicker for me to pick it up neatly than it would be for me to have short hair. Any update on the haircut requirements for women?

    Also is there a specific type of watch that I can use?

    If I were to fall ill during basic, how is my family informed?

  64. NCCM(ret):

    Future Sailor J,

    Yes, they absolutely will cut your hair short when you arrive at RTC.

    You can bring a watch (conservative in color and size), but more than likely you will not be able to wear it during training – it will be up to your RDC.

    If you fall ill, and the illness is beyond the common cold, etc., you may be able to call home depending on the seriousness.

  65. Jasmine:

    If i get in the 900 division will i need to bring an instrument? or will they provide?

  66. NCCM(ret):

    Jasmine,

    If you require it, they will supply it.

  67. Future Sailor Sarah:

    Okay I am leaving in a month what type of cold weather gear do they provide? and how likely is it that i will be in an coed division? also if there arent enough people for a division what happens?

  68. NCCM(ret):

    FS Sarah,

    Not to worry, you will be provided plenty of gear to keep you insulated from the weather.

    You should be able to be placed in a division once you arrive – that is one of the factors used when lining up jobs and ship dates – when Navy Recruiting ships 100 percent of their assigned goal, it fills the divisions.

  69. FS Fabanne:

    Hello
    I read on a NAVYMOM blog, that she followed the TO BRING list to the T and everything purchased such as the 6 cotton panties, make up for pictures and sneakers were sent back home. Then again her postwas dated 2009. So I would like to know how accurate is this list. I would hate to take graduation pics without any make- up after going 9weeks looking rough.

  70. NCCM(ret):

    FS Fabanne,

    The list in this post is valid. Just make sure the sneakers are conservative (no blinking lights, bright obnoxious colors, etc.), and make sure the make-up is limited to the basics and is in a small container (don’t bring a make-up bag full of stuff).

  71. Brianna:

    I will be leaving for boot camp wednesday and i have lost my social security card…the office will not be open until tuesday…will a print out be accepted until the actual replacement card is received?

  72. NCCM(ret):

    Brianna,

    If you joined the DEP with your original SSN card, then you have a certified copy of the card in your enlistment package – it would be good to use for shipping; otherwise, you would have to produce an original SSN card to ship. Contact your Recruiter ASAP to be sure of the documentation you have in your packet.

  73. Brianna:

    yes i did have a copy of the original when i joined! i saw on the list that we should bring our social security card with us so i was worried that i wouldnt be able to go because it was lost. Should i still bring the new print out as well and my birth certificate as back up?

  74. Future Sailor Sarah:

    I have heard that if our ASVAB score is high you can be place in 900 div how true is this? I scored 80/99 and have seen people who have said that they had high scores and were “volunteered” for 900 div

  75. NCCM(ret):

    FS Sarah,

    Your academics are important, but prior experience with marching/military drill or choir/band would be the most advantageous attributes to possess.

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