Thursday, February 2, 2012

BMT: What to Pack

So, you've enlisted and your ship date is quickly approaching.  It's time to pack!  I find it interesting that some trainees got a list of things to bring and others had nothing.  My reserve recruiter gave me a nice packet (dated December 2008) that gave me explicit info on what to bring.  I'm going to reproduce that list for you now, and give you my commentary on what is essential, what is not needed, and what is really up to you.  Italicized items are on their list, and grouped into categories based on my opinion/experience.

Yes, bring these items!

Twenty copies of orders - It sounds totally crazy, but bring twenty copies.  There's a slim chance that your orders might be amended, but for most they won't.  If you're a reservist or a guardsman and you already have a slot at school, go ahead and bring twenty.  You'll need one in your pocket in all times, and it can't look trashed.  When you get to tech school, you'll need a ton of copies as well.  I don't think I ever had to worry about not having another copy, which was an issue that some had.  Bring these copies in an accordian file, which you'll want by the end of BMT for storing your items.

Unit Personnel Records - Your recruiter will hand you a sealed envelope of paperwork to bring down to the Reception Center.  Don't lose this, and always have it on your person, in your carry-on luggage.  I kept mine with my copies of my orders.

Social Security Card - Yes, bring this and another form of ID, such as a driver's license.  Most reservists and guardsmen will have their military IDs already, whereas active duty trainees won't.  If you've got your military ID, bring it.

Glasses - If you wear glasses, bring them.  Make sure they have your current prescription in them.  They'll use them to make your new BCGs and frame of choice.  Don't bother bringing your contacts, which really aren't authorized for wear at BMT.  They post really graphic pictures in the latrine of contact lens abuse.  You'll get to wear them at tech, so have your family bring them down for graduation.

Clothing for Three Days - Keep it simple, folks.  Plain, neutral, sold-colored shirts.  I grabbed a polo shirt or two.  Jeans and khakis are fine.  I wore my running shoes with these outfits.  Ladies, if you wear a regular bra one of these days then you'll have it when you wear your blues in 7WOT and 8WOT.  Otherwise, wear your sports bras.  Depending on the weather, bring a light jacket.  I brought a jean jacket for my 31 May ship date.  I didn't really need it at Lackland, but it was handy when I went to tech school.  If you wear bright colors, crazy prints, etc., expect to be called out by your MTIs.

Ballpoint Pens (Blue or Black) - Bring both colors, but primarily black.  Black is the standard color for filling out and signing anything, but you may want blue for taking notes or writing letters.  You'll be "given" some stick pens when you arrive, but if you have a preference, bring some.  I also brought my own Sharpies and a laundry Sharpie.  Never hurts to have another Sharpie!

Shampoo - Don't bring a full-sized item.  You just need a travel-sized one to get you through until you do your first mini-mall run.  Ladies, bring a 2-in-1.  Don't dispense your shampoo into an unmarked travel bottle of your own, they'll throw it away.

Deodorant (non-aerosol) - You may want to bring a clear deodorant, as you'll have to wipe the thing off every day before displaying it in your security drawer.  I chose to bring a clinical product and was careful to wipe it off regularly.

Toothbrush - Make sure it's a standard style toothbrush that will fit into a full-length toothbrush container.  Don't bother with your electric toothbrush, and pass on the travel toothbrush.  You'll need a full-sized toothbrush.

Shaving Equipment (males) - I'm not a man, but you're shaving every day.  I'd bring a razor with replaceable blades.

Shaving Cream (males) - Again, I'm not 100% sure.  When in doubt, bring a small one to get you through until your first mini-mall run.  You can always share with wingmen.

Toothpaste - Either bring a travel-sized one or one in the small, hard plastic container, versus the tube.  Get a straight, white paste over anything colored or with flecks.  Don't bring a full-sized, regular tube.  You won't use it.

Shower shoes - Buy the cheap, $1 black flip-flops at the BX or at clothing sales.  That's what everyone will buy at the mini-mall.  They need to be solid black and these ones fit the bill.

Soap - Bring a travel-sized liquid body wash.  Don't bring bar soap, don't bring a full-sized soap.  You'll buy a full-sized body wash at the mini-mall.

Tampons/pads - If you have a preferred product, bring it.  The smaller the item, the better.  You're going to have to shove these items in the back of your security drawer in a small space.  Put them in a Ziploc or something that will keep it contained and small in size.

Six Bras/Sports Bras - You may want to bring one "real" bra, to wear with your blues.  You can get away with not bringing the full six, but you'll want to have enough to last between loads at tech school.  You'll do PT six days a week in BMT, but you'll do laundry enough that you could probably get away with four of them.  Keep in mind that it's better to have more than you need and stash them in your civilian luggage than to be in need of more and not be able to get ones that meet your needs at the mini-mall.  Try to find ones in a technical fabric that folds flat, as you'll have to keep the edges flush.

Hair bands, bobby pins, etc. - Bring full, new packages of items that match your hair color.  See my hair post for more details.

Six Pairs Underwear - Purchase/bring these items in colors of white, black, or grey.  I highly recommend Under Armour, which can be found at the BX.  The fabric folds like a dream and helped me achieve demerit-free clothing drawers.

Brushes or combs - Try to bring/purchase one that isn't super huge - again, it'll be shoved in the back of your security drawer.

Nail Trimming Equipment - Yes, bring 'em!  You may use the nail trimmers for clipping threads, although I preferred my sewing scissors.

Shaving Items (females) - By the time you finally shave, you're going to want a nicer razor, not a cheap throw-away.  I brought a Venus razor and had a couple blades available.  You'll need to display a razor in your security drawer, so it will sit there, untouched, until your MTI authorizes its use.  Don't bother with shaving cream, as aerosol cans are a no-no.  I opted for the kind of razor blade that had the shaving cream built in.

Stamps - As mentioned in the mail call post, you can buy these on the first mini-mall run, although I think it was worthwhile to have them early, especially since you'll need stamps to send your "This Is My Address" postcard to family.

Watch - If you don't bring your own watch, you'll buy one there.  Doesn't have to be fancy, just a plain black sports-style watch that tells time.  Your puntuality is critical in the AF.  They follow the saying, "If you're fifteen minutes early, you're on time.  If you're on time, you're late."  You don't want to be late to anything, as it'll mean disciplinary action of some sort.  I would recommend bringing something that is water resistant, but that isn't too expensive.  You wouldn't want to ruin your fancy sports watch on the obstacle course, or have it come up missing.

Nope, save your cash! 

Laundry Soap - You'll be provided approximately six jugs of laundry detergent for the laundry crew to use, as I mentioned before, and when you run out you'll buy some at the mini-mall.  Don't bother bringing your own.

Toothbrush Tray - Maybe bring your toothbrush in a plastic bag or with a small cover.  You'll end up buying a full-sized toothbrush tray during the first mini-mall run.  It's a very specific one that is branded "Lackland AFB."  You'll be required to keep it cracked open 1/4" when it's displayed in your security drawer.

Notebook and paper - Don't bother.  You can buy a steno notebook on your first mini-mall run.  You don't need a notebook or loose leaf paper.  If you bring anything of this nature, bring an accordian file to store your important documents, when can be used when you go to tech.

Black shoe polish - Skip.  I preferred the clear Kiwi quick polish sponge, which you won't need to buy until 5WOT.

Shine brush/cloth - Skip.  Again, you won't need anything of this nature until 5WOT.

Soap tray - Nope, because you shouldn't bring bar soap.

Two Towels - Nope, don't bring 'em.  You'll get your issued ones that you'll be required to use.  The only reason my towels came in handy later is because I didn't have to buy new towels when I got to tech school.  You can use your BMT brown ones there, but you may want something a little larger/fluffier.

Cotton Balls - Nope, waste of cash.

Spray Starch/Fabric Finish, Iron - Your MTI will have these items available for you when the time comes.  You'll rarely use them, even then.

Foot Powder - I'd hold off until you get down there and determine how much space you have in your security drawer or if you even need the stuff.  A few of us ended up buying some eventually, and it's readily available at the mini-mall.

Batteries (D Size) - These are for your flashlight.  Pass on this, you can buy them and replacement bulbs at the mini-mall.  You won't need them for a while.

Calling Card - Bring your cell phone and be done.

Your Call - "Maybe" Items

Six pairs of nylons/panty hose - You definitely don't need six pairs, if any at all.  You'll have the option to buy these at the mini-mall, and the only time you'll wear them is graduation weekend.  During 7WOT, they'll typically have you in pants, since it's easier.  If you think your size may be more difficult to find, or if you just want to be safe, buy a pair of navy (found at the BX) and a pair of nude before you go.

Envelopes and Stationery Supplies - If you don't want to use the AF-branded stationery items from the mini-mall, then bring your own items.  I didn't use the stationery items that I brought down with me.  They stayed in my civilian luggage.

Sewing Kit - I felt it was beneficial to purchase mine before going down.  I bought one in Clothing Sales, one at the BX.  One was AF-specific and had supplies for your blues, which I didn't see when I was at the mini-mall.  A wingman had to borrow it at one point to make a repair.  The other was a small, D-shaped case in sage green fabric.  This one contains the scissors you'll use to clip threads.  If you don't buy them before BMT, you'll buy them at the mini-mall.

Three Pairs White Socks - I brought crew length socks, as well as wore some short socks down there.  I packed more socks than necessary, and I kept them in my civilian luggage.  It turned out to be a smart move, as you're able to wear a white sock of your choice, including ankle socks, when at tech school.  You really only need socks for those first three days when you're in civilian clothes.

Three Pairs Spandex Shorts (females) - I chose to purchase three pairs of Under Armour Heat Gear compression shorts prior to BMT.  They weren't the cheapest, but I was glad to have them and their magical fabric.  If you don't buy them at home, you'll be told to buy them at the mini-mall, where they ran about $10-15 a pop.  I liked having options at home, where I could buy the inseam that I wanted.  I ended up coloring the UA logos with a Sharpie, as they were in the process of deciding that any visible brands weren't allowed.  They can't force you to buy them, but they will blast you if you're not wearing them.  The AF PT shorts are billowy, so it's easy to look up your shorts during strength exercises if you're not wearing them.

Happy packing!  Maybe I'll do a "Things NOT to Bring to BMT," if need dictates!     

165 comments:

Unknown said...

So, to clarify for myself, would you recommend six pairs of the UA underwear and three pairs of the UA Spandex shorts?

Erin said...

@Unknown - If your finances permit, I was pleased with all of the items/quantities you mentioned. If they don't, then you can opt for another brand of compression shorts and you could get by with two pairs of UA underwear (that would remain unworn/folded in your drawer for inspections while you wore other underwear).

Sarah Zee said...

LOVE LOVE your website. I'm leaving May 15th for BMT, and I was curious about something. When I went to MEPS I gave them my college transcripts, and on my contract it says that my rank will be an E-3. I went through my Air Force Folder yesterday, and I can't find my transcripts anywhere. Are they in my file somewhere in Air Force land? Or do I need to get another copy?

Erin said...

Thanks Sarah Zee! If your contract says E-3, then that's the binding part - you don't need to worry if you can't find them. They probably took them. Are you AD, ANG, or RES? As long as it's notated in your contract, you should be fine. Look on your orders when you receive them as well. Never hurts to have another copy, if you have a spare laying around before you left.

Jen said...

I Just signed my contract for ANG a week ago, and came across your blog. You have some amazing tips to follow! about the UA compression shorts, Do you recommend the 4" or the 7"? or is it personal preference?

Unknown said...

I was also wondering about the compression shorts with the 2in 4in or 7in? Also I am Res and I am married and have a child, when you were in basic did you get seperation pay and bah?

Erin said...

Out of those three options, I'd probably do the 4" or the 7", depending on how they look on your body. You don't want them to look like boy short underwear. If you think they might ride up a lot, get the 4".

You'll get BAH from the get-go and separation pay after 30 days there.

Hope that helps!

Madison Tillitson said...

I leave for BMT in September, and I am flying down. I'm not allowed to bring liquid soap or even clear (gel) deodorant because I'm only allowed carry-on luggage and it's against airport policy, any suggestions?

Erin said...

@Madison - You can bring body wash/liquid soap on the plane, it just has to be under 3.5 oz/300 ml. Bring one of those to start and you'll buy a full-sized one at the mini-mall when you go. As for deodorant, you don't have to have a clear gel. I had a normal white clinical and I was fine. Just know that you'll have to clean it off for display in your security drawer. Hope that helps!

RdngMachn87 said...

Hey Erin, sorry to bug again. I was wondering. I went out and bought a good pair of petagonia (sp) underwear which are similar to under armor. I like them but was reading in some forums that the AF issues you granny panties and you don't get to wear the ones you being. Could you clarify. I was also wondering if i can write on my black underwear with a silver sharpie? Thanks Erin.

Erin said...

@RdngMachn87 - No bother at all! I've heard the Patagonia ones are great too. The AF doesn't issue you underwear, so you will get to wear the ones you bring. Maybe I was unclear, or talking about me. I wrote my name on the inside of my underwear, just in case. If I were you, I'd mark them last initial + last four of your social, which will be your laundry mark for everything else (ex: F1234).

AllyCatttt said...

Two questions- 1) DId you get the 4" or 7" spandex shorts for yourself? 2) Should I mark all my garments with my last initial and last four of my social or should I wait while I'm at BMT? 3) You mentioned you brought a razor with you, how'd you get that through security at the airport? Or are they more lenient with BMT trainees? Thanks heaps :-)

AllyCatttt said...

Oh, and did you get the UA boy short underwear or briefs? Also, (I don't mean to sound too personal), but would you suggest getting black or white underwear and sports bras?

Erin said...

@AllyCatttt - I'm pretty sure mine are the 7", especially since I'm tall. The 4" would be pointless. You might mark your sports bras and underwear with the marking. You won't mark them at BMT, because they get washed in a mesh bag, but if the bag bursts open, you'll be better able to claim your stuff. I made sure my marks were really small. Yes, you can bring a razor - they are allowed by TSA for everyone. :) I got the hipster UA briefs. As for sports bras, know that the white ones will get really dingy. You can bring whichever you like, but don't expect white ones to stay nice.

AllyCatttt said...

Erin- Thanks for the tips!!! :-) I assumed white would get dingy, I just wasn't sure if we were allowed to wear another color or not, so thanks for clarifying. Your blog is EXTREMELY helpful and informative!! :)

Erin said...

@AllyCatttt - Yes indeed! Stick with white, black, grey, or nude and you should be golden. Glad to help, thanks!

Alecia Stoppel said...

Hi! Can you get boy shorts for bmt??

Erin said...

@Alecia - Yes you can! I've had some people go through recently that said they worked out quite well!

Alecia Stoppel said...

Thank you!

RdngMachn87 said...

Erin, I bought some crew socks. They are white except @ the toe they are gray. They are hanes brand socks. Is this going to be okay? Also, when I write my initial/last 4 of ssn identity on my clothing where do i write it on them (underwear,sports bra,socks)?

Also, when I graduate, can my BF bring some things for me to take with me to tech school are is that not allowed?

Thanks Erin and I am glad you are doing okay :)

Erin said...

@RdngMachn87 - That's fine! Remember, you're only wearing your own socks those first few days, then they're being issued to you. If you want to mark your clothing before you go, just make it small and unobtrusive. There's no rules about marking those, but I made them small and tried to find a tag or label to put them on. As for socks, I marked them on the bottom instep. All of those items will be washed in a mesh bag. Try not to make those marks big/noticeable, that way they don't count it against you during inspections. I put them on the inside.

Yes, your BF can bring you a few things, that's no problem. I had my husband bring me my contacts, iPad, iPod, as well as some civilian running gear.

All in all, doing great, thanks for asking! :)

Bfoote89 said...

Why shouldn't I bring a bar of soap?

Erin said...

@Bfoote89 - Bars of soap and soap dishes are too hard to keep clean. There can't be ANY residue on either of those things when they're doing an inspection, otherwise you'll get a demerit. It's easier to wipe off the top of a bottle of shower gel.

Latoya Gatewood-Young said...

Are females permitted to bring Birth Control? I disclosed this at MEPs, but I was not sure if they allowed this. I'm set to out process Oct1st. Soo many mixed emotions right now!

Erin said...

@Latoya - Yes, you can bring your birth control! If at all possible, try to bring enough to get you through BMT. I'm not sure how easy it would be to refill a prescription for birth control while you're down there. It's an exciting time for you! Best of luck!

Latoya Gatewood-Young said...

Thanks for all your help! I have a few additional questions. I am on the fence as to deciding whether or not to bring a checked bag (to toss away later). You mentioned to buy travel sized body wash and toothpaste in the hard container. Unfortunately, toothpaste containers exceed the 3.2 oz rule. Would if be okay if I had a full bottle of body wash other items (restricted on carry on ie sewkit)? My intention was to bring a regular backpack and check a cheap disposable backpack with my full bottle of body wash, toothpaste etc.

Erin said...

@Latoya - You're very welcome! Checked bags are typically a no-no, so don't do it. You won't really have time to pick up a checked bag, and in the event it gets lost, you're screwed. Buy travel sized every thing to take down there - you can buy full sized items when you arrive, including that special toothpaste. Sorry if I wasn't clear!

Lindsey said...

This is such a helpful site. I was wondering is there a specific color that the sports bra has to be? Or just the basic black, white , or neutral?

Erin said...

@Lindsey - Thank you! Basic black, white, grey, or tan is the best.

amanda said...

Erin does it have to be white socks, or does black and grey socks work? also wondering about the compression shorts. can you just wear spandex or does it specifically have to be compression shorts?

Erin said...

@amanda - Black and grey is fine, since you're really only wearing them the first few days, then you'll have your issued socks. Spandex shorts are fine too!

Megan Thome said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kassidy Allardice said...

Hi Erin! your blog has been very helpful! I leave for BMT Feb 12. I haven't read anything about pajamas? are we issued Pjs or do we bring our own?

Erin said...

@Kassidy - Thanks! You aren't issued PJs, as you'll sleep in your PT gear (once you receive it). I slept in underwear the first few days.

D Vals said...

Hi Erin,
As far as undies go.. they no longer sell the UA ones you were commenting about, although they do sell the boy shorts underwear. Would this be okay? Also, I received a handout from my recruiter recently that has roll of quarters and disposable camera on it. I figured the roll of quarters was for pays phones, but don’t they allow you to use your cell phones for calls now? I pretty much just followed the list you gave. It is ten times better than the one I received from my recruiter, especially being a female!

Erin said...

@D Vals - I've heard that's the case with my beloved UA underwear. :( I've seen some comments from recent graduates in the FB groups that they've been able to wear the boy shorts at BMT, so I'd go that route. You can also try Patagonia for a similar pair of moisture wicking underwear. Yes, they let you use your cell - check my post on phone calls. Definitely pass on the disposable camera. Have your parents/friends/significant other bring your camera to graduation weekend for you, or use your cell. Glad to help!

ashleynicole09 said...

The black UA boy shorts they sell have grey stripes on them. will that be OK?

Erin said...

@ashleynicole09 - If they have a design all over them, I'd pass and find another all-black pair (regardless of brand).

ashleynicole09 said...

Okay, Thanks. Also, with the one normal bra we want to bring for our blues for graduation, does it have to be white, or can it be nude?

Erin said...

@ashleynicole09 - It can be nude, mine was.

Brianna Kowach said...

I will be going to BMT soon (have not received my ship date yet) and was wondering if you thought any microfiber hipster panties would work. (I am a little tight on money, so I'm trying to save as much as possible.)
Thanks!
(By the way, I love your website! It is very helpful and informative.)

Erin said...

@Brianna Kowach - I think they'd work - definitely worth a try! Glad to help, and good luck to you!

Brianna Kowach said...

Thank you so much!

Brianna Kowach said...

Another question... What color would you recommend for spandex/compression shorts?

Erin said...

@Brianna Kowach - They *HAVE* to be black. No logos that can be seen when you're wearing them either.

hhowey said...

I was wondering if you could clarify the part about bras. Did you bring six of each, or one regular for blues and six sports for the rest of the time? Do you have a color rec?I have mostly black and white, but I'm thinking the black may show through the sand-t's, or do you wear your blouse most of the time so it doesn't matter?

hhowey said...

Yikes one more about bras, I have some that are the combo sports with padding, but they don't fold flat, is that a huge problem? Haha who knew bras would ever seem so complex! Thanks!

Erin said...

@hhowey - Sorry it took me forever to get back to you! I had one regular bra for blues and 6 sports bras. As for colors, it's up to you. I recommend white, tan, black, or grey. You'll be wearing your blouse ALL the time outside of the dorm, so it doesn't matter if you have a black bra on underneath. The only time our blouse was off is if we were in the dorms just rolling and folding. If they can't fold flat, be sure to wear those ones all the time and keep ones that fold flat in your drawer. Glad to help! :)

Sara Stormont said...

Hi Erin, your website has been a huge help in answering a couple last minute questions for me! One thing though, for sports bras they only ones that really fit me well are Under Armour Still Gotta Have It but the thing is is that the stretchy band that goes around the bottom have Under Armour printed all the way around. Would that be allowed? Thanks! I ship April 2 by the way.

Erin said...

@Sara Stormont - Glad to help! It's totally fine if your sports bras have a logo. We had others with Nike swoosh logos in front and there were no problems. Worse come to worst, your MTI will make you buy a couple cheap plain ones. You can leave those in your drawer and wear your UA ones all the time. Good luck to you at BMT!

Kyli Day said...

Hi Erin, I leave for BMT on the 23rd and my sister graduated BMT last October. I have a question about the underwear. My sister told me that they have to be plain, white briefs (granny panties!) You said they can be white, black or grey. I have a little confusion!

loreal duque said...

Hi Erin! I have a question about the sports bras... i bought some nike black ones but they have a white nike logo in the middle.... would that be a problem?

loreal duque said...

Another question.... for running shoes...what are the regulations on them if you bring your own? and during tech school are they strict on the running shoes too?

Erin said...

@Kyli Day - I was able to wear black and grey. Some MTIs will tell you otherwise and be stricter in their rules. I'd bring what you're comfortable in, and worse case scenario, you'll have to buy the white granny panties at the mini-mall.

@loreal duque - Nope, they weren't for a girl in my flight! Shoes need to be conservative in nature. Pick something without crazy/bright colors. The rules are the same at tech, but you can get away with a bit more color.

Elizabeth Victoria DK Waltz said...

Hey Erin,

I am leaving in about 3 days. I bought 3 pairs of black socks. I don't know if black would be an option or not.
Are we allowed to use lotion? How about disposable razors? Thanks.

Shy

Erin said...

@Sky - Sock color won't matter too much because once you get issued socks, you won't see your civilian socks until the end of BMT. Disposable razors are fine to bring - your MTI will let you know when you have permission to shave. Bring a travel lotion for the plane ride/TSA requirements, and you will be able to buy more at the mini-mall there. Heads up though, you really won't have too much time to moisturize in the beginning.

Elizabeth Vi DK Waltz said...

Thank you so much Erin.
You have been a very big help with my preparations. If I didn't see your posts on Youtube, I probably would be very nervous.

Thank you so much, I would recommend your site to others who are interested to enlist... Again, thank so much.

Shy

Erin said...

@Shy (Whoops! Realized I called you "Sky" above!) - Being nervous isn't a bad thing. It's a HUGE undertaking. Being anxious at least shows that you care about what you're about to do, as you should. Thanks for sharing the site! Best of luck to you, it's an amazing journey!

Sandy said...

Hey Erin I leave for BMT next month. I'm ecstatic, enlisted over 9 months ago and can't wait to do this! Haha. Because I'm sure it will be scorching hot when I get down there I'm wondering what is appropriate to wear for arrival and civi clothes until I get my uniform......conservative shorts? Or should I stick with pants? I know to wear plain simple clothing with no logos. Thanks for this blog it's been REALLY helpful!!

Erin said...

@Sandy - I personally went for a lightweight khaki pant. Honestly, your ABUs with the sleeves down during summer are going to be WAY hotter than any of your civilian clothes.

Miranda Doubek said...

Hi Erin! :)

Like everyone else said, thank you for taking the time to make this blog.

I was wondering about an alternative to gel/spray. Do you think it would be possible to put a conditioner or cream in my hair, after I am already out of the shower, and use that to slick my hair back?

My hair is really curly and dry, which results in lots of knots and tangles. In theory, the coditioner could help my comb my hair faster and save it at the same time.

What's your opinion? Everyone mentions only gel so there must be a reason...

Erin said...

@Miranda - That would be fine, I'm sure. :) Just remember the TSA regulations for when you're flying.

Miranda Doubek said...

Thanks ma'am!

Bianca said...

HI, Erin, thanks for all your blogging! I was recently told that theyve made some changes and that we cannot bring cell phones or an electronic device of any kind to basic with us... do you know if this is accurate?

Erin said...

@Bianca - I would think not. This is the most recent cell phone fact sheet on the official BMT website:

http://www.basictraining.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=20216

Aunie said...

Erin, I've heard a lot about wearing crew neck tees. Would it matter if I wore plain black scoop neck (not low) tees?

Aunie said...

Silly question, what about Q-tips? :)

Aunie said...

ANOTHER silly Q. Moisturizer... is it necessary? I heard I'll sweat like the dickens down there, but what about one with SPF? If it's not necessary, I'm not bringing it! :)

Aunie said...

Erin, I'd ask our BIT's, but none are married...

1- do you need to bring a copy of your marriage certificate to BMT? I already gave all that info to our people here at the ANG, but just curious if I'll need it again.

2- for the 20 copies of orders (this is the only resource that suggests that... so thank you!)should they be stapled? paper clipped? Don't want to be a perfectionist... just want to make sure I do it right!

Cheyenne Lanham said...

Hello Erin,
I was looking for some packing information before I leave on May 6th and your blog has been super helpful. I still have a couple inquiries though.

So, I was given a packing list my my recruiter but its not terribly specific.

*It says to bring hair nets. Is this something I'm going to actually need?
*I have a bunch of athletic socks (both white and black) but the white ones have the letter "P" on the toe in dark blue. Will this be a problem?
*For the compression shorts, I absolutely love these to begin with and have a pair but they are black. Black should be fine, correct?
*Do you have a suggestion as to what kind of bag to use for my civilian luggage? A large backpack or medium duffle perhaps?
*Do you have a suggestion as to what would be better, tampons or pads?
*Would having civilian clothing with the Air Force's emblem (such as a DEP shirt) get me called out?

Sorry if this seems like a lot but I really want to make sure I'm as squared away as possible when I leave :)

Erin said...

@Cheyenne Lanham - Thank you! No, you won't need hair nets. The "P" will be fine - you're only wearing civilian athletic socks for the first few days. Compression shorts HAVE to be black, so you're good there. I went for a medium duffle. If you do a black backpack, make sure it's a solid color and has no logos - you'll be able to use it at tech school if so. Tampons for sure, just due to the physical nature of BMT. I also wouldn't want to be sweaty and nasty with a pad on. Yes, don't wear your DEP shirt or anything with an AF logo. It would make you an easy target. Best of luck to you!

ShaneWM said...

Erin, you mentioned bringing a black watch. Is that the only color they will accept? I was wondering if any of these might be okay:
1) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Timex-Men-s-Ironman-30-Lap-Watch/13906102
2) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Timex-Men-s-Ironman-30-Lap-Sport-Watch/10727955
3) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Timex-Men-s-Ironman-30-Lap-Mega-Watch-Black-Resin-Strap/21125738

Thanks,

-Shane

Erin said...

@ShaneWM - The first two are the most appropriate. I would buy one of those before I bought the third, due to the blue trim. The silver trim is fine. Glad to help!

Erin said...
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The Long Awaited Home said...

My daughters list says to bring a belt. Plain black leather with a silver buckle?

Wesley said...

How available is petroleum jelly and talcum powder/corn starch? I tend to chafe and will use the jelly to lubricate and the powder to keep dry. Should I pack a small amount of these items or buy them?

Love the site!

ajnimmo96 said...

Thank you for all of the advice on this site! It has been extremely helpful, especially since my recruiter is a guy and relatively new to recruiting and hasn't been able to tell me much about basic from the female perspective. I was wondering what exactly you meant about bringing 20 copies of orders. My recruiter hasn't mentioned anything about bringing orders. What orders am I supposed to bring. I leave 2 weeks from tomorrow for bmt and I'm going open general.

Erin said...

@Wesley - I would say pretty available in the mini-mall. I might consider taking a travel size of each down there, and buying large ones later if needed. Thanks!

@ajnimmo96 - You're very welcome! Are you Reserve or Guard? We got copies of our orders prior to leaving. If you are AD, ignore, as it doesn't apply to you. I got my orders the day I left. Good luck to you!

basma gaber said...
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KellyHayden said...

Hello,
Question about the white socks... Can we bring over the calf white socks to PT in? I prefer to run in tall socks because they don't fall down and also add a little compression to my legs which is always nice. Is that typically allowed as long as they are plain white? Also, did you see shin splints as a common injury while you were at bmt? I get them sometimes so I am a little concerned. Thanks for the info.

Erin said...

Kelly, the problem is that they'll issue you your socks, so you have no choice. Shin splints and blisters as somewhat common, unfortunately. :(

Tiffani Smallwood said...

Hey Erin!

I had a question concerning about glasses. Do we need to bring a document from our doctor showing our prescription? I know you said that they can take it from our current glasses, but I was just wondering if a document is needed as well.

Thanks for all the info!

Ashley Rouse said...

Hi erin, I was wondering if tweezers would be allowed for eyebrows? Also how much time is allowed to get ready during bmt for females

Erin said...

@Tiffani Smallwood - I did, just in case, although I think they scan your glasses like most doctor's offices do these days. Keep in mind that it requires your glasses to be up to date to have a current prescription in your BCGs. Good luck!

@Ashley Rouse - I had them for both - for uniforms and my eyebrows. You will have very little time to get ready at BMT, so things like eyebrows didn't happen for me until trips to the "latrine" after lights out. ;)

Kimberly Benavides said...

Did you bring makeup to wear for your graduation pics?

Erin said...

@Kimberly Benavides - I did. I have a separate post about makeup and the breakdown of what I brought. I didn't end up wearing it for pictures, but for sure at graduation time.

cawaeli said...

Your blog is very helpful. can I carry my sunscreen in its normal bottle I bought it in? Its 8oz or sthin
Can I bring the dentex dental floss that's also a toothpick at the end? That's what I use as floss

cawaeli said...
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cawaeli said...

For the pantyhose can I bring black ones or what is the best color?
Can I go to BMT in cornrows? If so what size do they have to be? I have natural hair thought it would be easier to have them

cawaeli said...
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Erin said...

@cawaeli - Not if you're flying. The sunscreen must be in a 3oz bottle or smaller. You shouldn't have a problem with the floss, but they will take up space in the back of your drawer. Yes, black pantyhose are permissible, or one that matches your skin tone. Cornrows are always debatable - make sure you check AFI 36-2903 (it will pop up in Google) to see how wide they're allowed to be, otherwise you'd have to remove them. Good luck to you!

cawaeli said...

Thanks for your response. I'm carrying a small suitcase so I wont have any carry ons.I was thinking of putting it in that suitcase.Will that be a problem? Will the MTIs allow me to have it?

cawaeli said...

The sunscreen I mean...

Erin said...

@cawaeli - Did your recruiter give you the thumbs up for that, or the folks online at AF WingMoms (who are usually up to date on all of the new info)? When I went through it was highly discouraged, and we all did carry-on only. The MTIs are right there, and didn't want you retrieving bags from the luggage carousals - the idea was that you didn't want to run the risk of losing your bag. The sunscreen is not a problem, you can stash it in the back of your security drawer.

Taylor Gallman said...

My fiancé is in BMT right now he will be there a week Tuesday, should I send extra stamps and envelopes to him when I write him?

Erin said...

@Taylor Gallman - I wouldn't bother, he can buy them easily down there.

Erin said...

@Taylor Gallman - I wouldn't bother, he can buy them easily down there.

Ellie Zieg said...

I leave for BMT in 3 days. Do females shower right away in the morning, at night, or during some other time of day? Thank you!

Erin said...

@Ellie Zieg - I was there during the summer and we showered in the morning (after PT) and at night. Good luck to you!

Ellie Zieg said...

Thank you very much!

Ashley Le said...

Can I bring socks that cover my whole calf (compression socks/soccer socks) , or socks that cover at least half of my calf (men's crew sock) ? Those are comfortable for my legs when I run.

Erin said...

@Ashley Le - You can try, but they will issue you socks, so you probably won't be able to use them.

Angelika said...

For nail trimming equipment would I be able to bring a cuticle cutter like: http://www.medical-tools.com/manicure/images/products/cuticle-nippers/773.gif
and are nail files acceptable?

Thanks in advance for all the helpful information.

Erin said...

@Angelika - You can try. Worst they'll do it probably have you keep them in your civilian luggage. Nail files should be fine. I just went with standard clippers. They may give you crap about not having time to do your nails, and "What do you think this is, a beauty salon?" That sort of thing. :)

Emily Dickinsom said...

Hey Erin, I know this may seem like short notice. I leave in 10 days to Basic Training for the Air Force and I still need to get spandex shorts. You got the under armor ones, but were they the long or the short ones? I have big thighs (5 pounds under the max weight), so I was thinking the longer ones, but what should I get?

Thanks so much!

Emily

Erin said...

@Emily - I would go for the longer ones. Mine are probably 3-5" inseam, and they totally ride up when you're running. Longer may not be "cute," but they'll help your thighs in the long run (no pun intended), especially if you've ever had chafing before - ouch! Good luck to you!

Miranda said...

Hey! So I ship out in 4 days and I'm finalizing my packing now, I only wish I had come across this list last month! My big question is should I pack heels to wear with dress blues or will we be able to buy them there?

Emily Dickinson said...

Thanks so much!!

Erin said...

@Miranda - Totally missed your ship date, so I hope you're having a great time so far! No need for heels, you won't wear them until you're operational, most likely.

@Emily - You're welcome!

Blossomed Curiosity said...

I cannot describe the feeling of security I have after reading all of your advice, even fours years later. So I am hoping you still check here every once in a not-so blue moon. I am leaving in exactly two weeks, so I am trying to get my final preparations finished. The only thing I am primarily concerned with is the size of my pack I am taking. I bought a 50L pack from kelty. The redwing 50 to be exact, and I feel as though it might be too big? I got it on sale and I had to buy something because the only pack I had was neon pink. There is no way I was taking that. Any advice would be fantastic!

Erin said...

@Blossomed Curiosity - How sweet of you to say, thank you! Yes, I do check in. :) People bring all sorts of bags, and wheeled luggage as well. I think your bag will be fine, and should be a good piece to take you from BMT to tech school. I took a 24" duffle, so there's not much difference. Good luck to you!

Kierstin Mock said...

Hye Erin, officially in DEP and waiting for a job now. So crazy! Thanks for answering all the questions I've had so far. I'm sure I'll come up with a few more I've started packing and I also have 3 pairs of compression shorts. I was wondering how you went about rotating the 3 pairs throughout the week

Erin said...

@Kierstin Mock - Awesome! Glad to help. You rotate through laundry because you're doing it every day. So, one was always in my drawer, one in the laundry, and one on my body.

Kierstin Mock said...

I leave May 31! Thanks for putting all your BMT experiences out to help others. I fell a lot more prepared now!

Erin said...

@Kierstin Mock - That's the same day I left for BMT. :) You're in good company! Enjoy Lackland in the summer!

Nica Tiamzon said...
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Maria said...

Hi! I'm leaving on May 24th, i want to know if the backpack that I would have to bring should be black or could it be any color? Also, the sports bra and underwear if all could be any color too? Thank you

Erin Carpenter said...

If you want to get the most use out of it, solid black with no label, then you can use it at tech school. Otherwise, any color is fine these days. As for sports bras or underwear, stick to basics - black, grey, white, tan, etc.

Keren_ said...

Hi Erin!

I leave for basic training in June and I'm trying to pack early to make sure I don't miss anything and so I don't stress about it as my ship day gets nearer, and I was wondering about the compression shorts. I already have grey ones, would they be okay to bring or do they need to be all black?

Thank you in advance,
Keren

Erin said...

@Keren_ - Awesome, congrats! Way to get a jump start on everything.

AFI 36-2903, 7.1.5.2 states "Short, mid and full length solid black or dark blue form fitting sportswear (i.e. spandex, lycra or elastic) may be worn and visible under both the PTU/IPTU and optional IPTU running shorts." So, looks like your grey is a no-go, sorry.

Athena said...

Hello! I leave July 12th and had a question about the toothpaste that you were talking about, in the hard container. I thought you were talking about the squeeze bottle kind since i feel it would be easier to keep clean than the tube but it's 4.6oz :/ which kind are you talking about? Or did you get it at the mini mall run? Thanks so much! Your blog is very helpful!

Erin said...

@Athena - I'm talking about this kind. http://www.drugstore.com/crest-complete-multi-benefit-whitening-liquid-gel-toothpaste-minty-fresh/qxp73074 We did get it at the mini-mall run.

Shelby said...

So thankful that you have this blog and that you spend the time to answer every question! I'm curious what sort of "nice" outfit I should bring since we no longer can wear blues for graduation...at least that's what I've been made to understand. Would a pencil skirt and blouse be acceptable or is it more casual? Would I be able to bring ballet flats to go also with that outfit? Thanks again! You're a saint.

Keren_ said...

Thank you!!!

Unknown said...

I leave May 31, and I was wondering about sports bras! Glad I found this site. On the compression shorts are they allowed to have a color trim on the top? The rest is all black, I just rather not spend to get full black ones. Thank you.

Joy Kantenwein said...

The socks that you wear for the first three days, can they be the ankle white socks?
And what brand of sports bras did you wear?
This information is a huge help, especially with leaving in less than 3 weeks. Thank you!

Erin said...

@Shelby - My pleasure, seriously! Do you mean off-base? I think there's conflicting information about blues for graduation. I would check in at Air Force WingMoms on Facebook to get the exact answer to the blues questions first, before you determine if you even need a "nice outfit." Otherwise, the one you're describing seems totally appropriate/professional.

@Keren_ - You're welcome!

@Unknown - Great leave date! (I had the same one). Color trim at the top *should* be fine, since it's not visible. Worst case scenario, they have cheap ones you can buy down there.

@Joy Kantenwein - Yes, ankle white socks are fine for those first few days. I ended up getting cheaper bras from Walmart, possibly Champion brand, I'm not sure. Your needs are going to depend entirely on your support needs. Best of luck to you!

Unknown said...

I leave May 31 too!! I bought bcg black bike compression shorts at Academy Sports & Outdoors. They are long just above my knees. Very comfy when i run in them & only $10. They only sell them in stores not online, if anyone is looking for some without spending alot of $$. I think ur shorts will pass if its just the trim thats colored.

Unknown said...

Erin my ship out date is June 21st. I'm trying to get the under Armour hipsters that you recommend. I found some on amazon for $10 but I'm not sure if they are the same ones. They are listed as Under Armour Women's Pure Stretch Hipster Briefs and are listed as one size. Are these the correct ones and how many do you recomendamos to bring with you?
And thank you for the female perspective on BMT

Keren_ said...

June 21st is my ship date too!!!

Margaret Moore said...

@Keren_ that's awesome maybe we will end up in the same flight

Stylin' Binder's said...

Would you recommend not bringing padded sports bras?
What happens if you start your period some weird random place?

Erin said...

@Unknown #1 - $10 is a great price for them! Good luck to you - almost time!

@Unknown #2 - You could try them! I believe "mine" are discontinued now, sadly, as they were pretty awesome. I believe I had 6 pairs total. While you'll do laundry often in BMT, it's easier to do it once a week at tech school, so the 6 came in handy. You could probably get away with 4 in BMT. Glad to help, thanks for the kudos!

@Keren_ - Glad you found a buddy!

@Margaret Moore - Fingers crossed for you both, it's great to know folks in your flight before you get there!

@Stylin' Binder's - Go for it if it's what you have, you'll just want to make sure it folds as flat/flush as possible. Or, you could just always wear/wash that particular one and leave a different one in your drawer. As for starting gat a random place, that's why it might always be good to have a tampon/pad on hand in your pocket.

Kelsy said...

I read that we aren't allowed to bring makeup, but what about for official photos and/or graduation? Can we have it then? If so, how do we get it? I would assume we can't bring it and keep it in our personal luggage.

Athena said...

Hello. I will be leaving for basic in 2 weeks. I read your posts a few months ago and now I'm re reading it to make sure I have all the knowledge I can have prior to leaving. My question was, I remember you reading on here sphere the name of the gel spray that you had mailed down to you that you said worked well, what was the name of it again? Thank you in advance!

Erin said...

@Athena - It was one from Sally Beauty Supply - I am blanking now. Clear bottle with pink writing/cap. I typically use Herbal Essences Spray Gel now, which I buy from Walmart.

Erin said...

@Kelsy - Have you had the chance to read my separate post about makeup yet? Yes, you can bring it with you and keep it in your civilian luggage until it's needed.

Kelsy said...

No, I haven't read that yet. I stumbled upon your blog today and started binge-reading it at work. I read a lot but had to stop and get some actual work done eventually lol. I'll read the post tonight. Glad to hear it's allowed! Thank you!

Esther Cho said...
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Erin said...

@Kelsy - My pleasure! Happy reading!

prodabble said...

Would it be ok for females to wear boxers? Also, I don't wear bras now, just undershirts. Are you required to wear a bra?

Michelle Esquibel said...

Hello Erin I was wondering do we have to bring a sports bra or can we bring a regular bra I don't wear sports bra because I'm very self conscious about my breast one is bigger than the other I'm also nervous showering in front of everyone because they will notice .

Erin said...

@prodabble - Boxer briefs would be a lot easier to fold. I would assume the MTIs have seen it all, and there would be information in the dorm guide as to how to fold them. As for undershirts, there would also be information in the dorm guide as to how to fold them. I would just expect questions, although I don't think they would prohibit you from wearing them, or force you to wear a bra.

@Michelle Esquibel - Regular bras are fine! Have you tried a more structured sports bra? I understand being self-conscious, but they will force you into the showers with each other quickly, so to an extent that goes out the window. Fear not, we all have our "imperfections," and if someone is hung up on that, they're down there for the wrong reasons. Good luck to you!

Chastidy Gonzales said...

My recruiter said it didn't matter the color of my panties... dones this mean I need to go buy plane colored panties before I leave? What are the dress clothes that she's also telling me I need aside from the clothes I'll wear before we get issued clothes?

Aim High Erin said...

@Chastidy Gonzales - You may be able to get away with some patterns, but I had all neutral solids. You may be called out for having something outlandish - don't make yourself a target. As for dress clothes, I would ask in Air Force WingMoms on FB - I had previously heard that folks weren't wearing blues off base anymore. Otherwise, you don't need dress clothes.

AkilahWakiya said...

Quick question, and probably a more hopeful one than a realistic one: Regarding PJs, if I bring a black Under Armour hoodie to sleep in, will this be permitted? Thank you!

Bekka said...

If I were to bring my Victoria secret underwear that are all neutral colors except two, would that be ok to wear during BMT? Or should I buy new underwear all together?

Keren_ said...

For all those wondering about underwear. I just finished BMT and you can wear any underwear. We had people wearing thongs, g strings, lace, all that fancy stuff. It doesn't matter the style, the color, material or anything. Females are allowed to wear ANY kind of underwear.

Erin said...

@AkilahWakiya - Likely no. You'll be sleeping in PT gear. There's no room to store your hoodie when you're not wearing it, which is the issue.

@Bekka - Looks like Keren_'s got you covered, so go ahead and bring it.

@Keren_ - That is just crazy now! At least people aren't having to buy new stuff, although I can't imagine trying to fold a thong for inspection! Ha!

Alberto Galaviz said...

What if I take two of everything (hygiene wise)? One for display/inspection and the other for actual use

Erin said...

@Alberto Galaviz - I would wait on your display items, as your MTI might want you to standardize things across the flight, and tell you which to buy at the mini-mall.

Alberto Galaviz said...

Okay, thanks for replying!

Unknown said...
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cameron Mushi said...
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Alison Sowka said...

Crazy that you still keep up with this! So awesome how many people you've helped during this hectic time. I just bit the bullet and bought all my compression shorts, black UA brand (though I'm getting nervous I didn't buy long enough ones?). I am concerned about bras though, all my sports bras are padded but I'm worried about the folding, can you (or anyone?) recommend a brand or style that keeps chests "smooth" without padding? Or padded sports bras that still fold correctly? I've got plenty of time, but I don't have any current AF contacts that are FEMALE to help with bra questions. Also, underware and compression shorts, I was a cheerleader and we typically just wore nike pros by them selves, so can I just buy underwear for "show" in the security drawer and always wear my compression shorts? Or do you wear undies, com shorts, and PT gear all together? So glad to have found this and that is is maintained! ������
Thank you for sharing your experience (and your service)!!

Erin said...

@Alberto Galavis - No problem!

@Alison Sowka - I do! People visit all the time. :) You could always buy some cheap sports bras that fold well that you NEVER actually wear - they just sit there in the drawer. You could probably get away with compression shorts and no underwear under your PT gear. I typically wore them all together, but no one is checking. I would assume you'd wear normal underwear when in the ABU though. Glad to help, hope you saw this in time!

Alison Sowka said...

I did! Thank you for the response, I'm at my 30-day countdown mark!

Erin said...

@Alison Sowka - Awesome! Almost time!

Meggan S said...

You have covered BMT extremely thoroughly, but can you cover pictures? Is there an option to wear make up, fix eye brows etc? Is this the first week of training? Most photos I have seen look pretty nice and I am thinking I will look haggard and blotchy:/

Just another nail artist said...

Will there ever be a time where you are in a sports bra around men, in underwear around men, or even dressed immodestly or not dressed at all around men?

Just another nail artist said...

It maybe a silly question but it's a real fear of mine.

Meggan S said...

@justanothernailartist- I have been reading, a lot, and you are always fully dressed in ABUs or Blues when around men. Even only wearing the sand colored t-shirts is strictly in the dorm. You cannot even wear your sleeves rolled up. I think the most the opposite sex will see of you is during PT in shorts/t-shirt. MTIs have been in major trouble for accidentally seeing the opposite sex not fully dressed when it was the trainee's fault for not following protocol.

Just another nail artist said...

Wow thank you so much!

Alison Sowka said...

Yeah, I just graduated in April. Because of some issues a few years ago they take opposite gender situations VERY seriously. It's locker room style during changing times so you'll be undressed around all your flightmates, but they're all the same sex and all focused on changing, not you. "Night raid" MTIs and "wake up" MTIs are the same sex as the flight, and they close off all windows and doors (and yell warnings out) if anyone is even slightly undressed for any reason during the day.

Meggan S said...

@alison Sowka. Since you just graduated basic, you a re perfect for a question I have. With DEP, we are told that in basic a "situp" is when you cross your arms over your chest and rise off your back until your arms connect with your legs. This means your elbows can hit your mid thigh in what I would consider a crunch and be counted. I thought your elbows had to reach the top of your knees to count. Will the DEP version work at basic? Thank you!