Marine Corps Boot Camp Packing List

You’ve committed to the Marine Corps or are thinking about it and might be wondering …


You’ve committed to the Marine Corps or are thinking about it and might be wondering what items to bring with you to the infamous basic training (aka boot camp). The answer to this is, not a lot. The Marines love to live by the ‘less is more’ motto, and boot camp is the first experience you will get a taste of this. Here’s your Marine boot camp packing list.

Marine Boot Camp Packing List

  1. Clothes
  2. Important Documents
  3. Money
  4. Toiletries
  5. Miscellaneous Items


Marines are known to brag about how good looking they are and expect their potential prospects to exude this standard. During boot camp, they will provide all of your clothing so you don’t have to worry about much there. All you need is to show up with the clothes on your back, literally. 

However, when you go to MEPS the day you swear in and take your official oath, you are expected to look your best. 

What to wear to Marine Corps boot camp

  • For your shirt: collared, long-sleeved, button-up is required
  • They prefer slacks, but any pants with no holes or stains are fine – Absolutely no shorts
  • A belt is one hundred percent necessary, as they expect you to tuck in your nice shirt
  • Running shoes
  • For men, briefs or boxer briefs (no loose boxers)
  • For women, conservative underwear (no thongs)
  • Eyeglasses (if applicable) 

Some recruiters may even suggest bringing a spare pair of underwear and socks if you are required to stay at a hotel the night before shipping. This way you can throw the pair you wore away the day before and have something fresh to put on while you travel to your depot. 


Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Tyler Hlavac

Your recruiter will get all of your official records from you before you leave for boot camp. This makes the document process a breeze while heading off for basic training as you won’t have to remember to bring much. All you need are two documents. 

  • Valid photo ID
  • Social Security Card


You won’t have a need for cash while at boot camp, but for safe practices and maybe to buy a snack while you travel, they recommend bringing twenty dollars.

You are allowed to bring a wallet to put your money in and use it to hold your ID and social security card while you’re at it. 


Many recruits will stay in a hotel the night before they ship off for boot camp. They may need some hygiene essentials to use in the morning to look their best. All of the following items should be disposable, as you are not allowed to bring any of these to boot camp. 

  • Disposable razor 
  • Shaving cream 
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste 
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Body soap

Marines are required to have a clean-shaven face. They will expect you to have a smooth face when you arrive at boot camp, hence the reason for a razor and shaving cream in your overnight bag. 


marine packing list
Photos by Lance Cpl. Christopher McMurry, Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali, and Pfc. Michelle Brudnicki

There are a few other items that might make getting through boot camp a little easier that are allowed. 

  • Religious Medallion
  • A bible (although it is suggested to have it mailed to you after arriving to boot camp as to make sure it doesn’t get lost) 
  • Small address book with photos 
  • Stamps 
  • You recruiter’s business card (this might come in handy in the event you need to get a hold of him or have any problems)

Female Recruits: 

As a female, you are able to bring a few extra items that you may need while at or traveling to boot camp. 

  • Birth Control Pills 
  • Tampons/Pads (they will be provided at boot camp, but just in case you are traveling during a specific time of the month) 

What not to bring to Marine boot camp

The Marine Corps couldn’t make going to boot camp much easier. Remember this is a time for you to focus and learn. Things that might distract you from being your best will definitely not fly while you are there.

Anything else you might think of that is not on this list will not be allowed or will be confiscated if brought with you. They will lock your things up while you are in basic training, but you don’t want to risk losing anything of value. So, it’s wise to leave it with your parents or friends while you are training. You’re not going to have extra time anyway, so there is no point in bringing things with you.

Here are a few examples of what NOT to bring:

  • Cell phone
  • Bags 
  • Media players 
  • Jewelry 

It’s important to listen to your recruiter and ask as many questions as you can before you leave for boot camp. It might be beneficial for your parents to ask questions as well so they know what to expect while you are getting ready to leave and are away.

You want to leave prepared and ready as you are about to endure the hardest few months of your life. This time isn’t going to be easy, but as long as you stay focused you will get through this.

Start preparing for Marine Corps boot camp with our mental preparedness tips or begin physically preparing for boot camp.

The editorial team at Sandboxx.