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Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Packing -- Page 2


  • Shampoo.Again, this should be a square-type bottle or tube, so it doesn't roll around in your drawer.

  • Soap (bar or liquid). Note -- Liquid soap is a whole lot easier to keep in inspection condition.

  • Soap tray (if bar soap is used). Bar soap is DEFINATELY not recommended.

  • Deodorant.

  • Ball-point pen (black). The "official" list says "black or blue," but you'll find out that the Air Force likes official documents signed with black ink.

  • Notebook and paper. Bring only a small notebook to take notes for the first couple of days. This is one of the "standardization" things. The T.I. is going to want everyone to purchase the "Air Force Style" notebook at the BX.

  • Laundry soap. Only take laundry soap if you have allergies and require a specific brand. Otherwise, it's traditional for all the recruits in the flight to contribute money and purchase one gigantic box at the BX for use of the entire flight.

  • Shaving Equipment. You can bring/use an electric razor, but -- man, oh man, are those hard to keep clean enough to pass inspection. Gals, you won't do much shaving in basic until the 6th week of training.

  • Civilian Clothes. Enough to last three or four days. You'll receive your initial uniform issue on Thursday or Friday of the week of arrival. After that, all your civilian clothes will be locked up until after graduation. Don't wear/bring anything outlandish. You DO NOT want to "stand out" from the crowd during basic training.

  • Civilian eyeglasses. If required to see, you'll wear your civilian eye-glasses until your "military" glasses are issued, which takes about two weeks for most people. Once you receive your "military" glasses, you'll be required to wear them for the remainder of basic training.

  • Contact lenses case. If you wear contacts to basic, you'll need the case to store them until after basic training. For safety reasons, you will not be allowed to wear contact lenses during basic training, so you'll need to bring your civilian glasses, as well.

  • Envelopes. To write home. Here's a neat trick. Bring about ten or so envelopes, pre-stamped. Then, when you get a chance to write home, you never have to worry about running out of stamps.

  • Stationary. To write home on. Although, before you'll have a chance to write your first letter home, you'll have already made your first "shopping trip" to the BX, and they have some pretty neat "Air Force" stationary that you may wish to purchase to "impress" the folks back home when you write your first letter.

  • Pre-paid phone card. Periodically through basic training, you'll get a chance to phone home. Bring a card with lots of minutes on it (you can always use it after basic, as well). If you forget the phone card, don't worry. They are readily sold at the BX.

  • Brushes or Combs. More important for the females. Guys, you'll only need a comb for your first day. By the second day, you won't have any hair left to comb.

  • Underwear (guys). Enough for three or four days. By Thursday or Friday of the first week, you'll be issued six pair of boxers or briefs (your choice).

  • Underwear (gals). Ladies, you'll be required to purchase your underwear at the BX (too many different styles/sizes to issue it). However, you'll receive a monetary allotment in your paycheck to cover the cost. If you are a "hard to fit" type, you may wish to purchase your underwear before your arrival, as I'm told the selection at the BX for females isn't all that great. You'll want a couple of white sports bras, and about four regular (white) bras. You may wear any kind/color of panties you wish, but remember the rule about "standing out." Be conservative.

  • Sanitary supplies (gals). Napkins or tampons, your choice. I would recommend only bringing a few (if you expect your menstruation within the first week), as there will be ample opportunity to purchase these at the BX.

  • Makeup (gals). Ladies, you are not going to be allowed to wear makeup during basic training until graduation day. At that time, you'll be given an opportunity to purchase what you need at the BX, and given instructions on how to wear makeup properly (conservatively) in military uniform. I recommend you leave your makeup at home, and buy what you need at the BX at the appropriate time. Any makeup you bring with you will be locked up with your civilian clothes and not returned to you until just prior to graduation. However, remember, if you don't bring it, the T.I. can't dump it out in front of everyone and yell at you for having it.

  • Hair bands, bobby pins, etc. (gals). Gals don't get their hair cut (unless they want to) during Air Force Basic Training. However, while in uniform (most of the time), you must wear your hair in such a style that it does not protrude past the bottom of the uniform collar, and does not interfere with the wear of the hat. For most gals with long hair, this means tying it up in a "bun." Hair bands, bobby pins, etc., must closely match the color of your hair, or be clear.

  • Nylons/panty hose (gals). You won't need these until the final week of training, so unless you're "hard to fit," I would recommend purchasing these at the BX. If you bring your own, purchase the "nude" color.

  • Watch. Not mandatory, but nice to have. You can't wear it all the time during basic, but you can wear a conservative watch most of the time.

    Anything on the "official" list that I've not mentioned above, can wait until after you get to basic.

    Packing Tips

    Don't bring your own running shoes. The Air Force used to allow you to bring your own running shoes and wear them during basic training PT. However, this policy changed a few years ago. Recruits are now required to wear the "issue" standard, New Balance, plain white running shoes, that you'll purchase at the BX, shortly after arrival. Recruits may only wear their $200 "Nikes" if they have a medical waiver from the base medical clinic.

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