This US Air Force BMT packing list guide will make it easy for you to pack everything you need to thrive in Air Force Basic Military Training in a single carry on backpack or a small suitcase.
Shipping off to Air Force Basic Military Training can be a stressful time. During this time, you will be busy with background checks, dealing with emotional family members, telling your friends that you will be off social media for a couple months, and the last thing you need to do is to be worrying about if you need to pack flip flops or not.
The Air Force will provide you with items such as a black backpack, shower shoes, dental floss sticks, laundry soap, laundry bag, and mesh bags so do not stress over what you need to pack.
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Personal Hygiene Products
Do not overpack your hygiene products! This personally happened to me when I shipped out because I did not know TSA guidelines. TSA confiscated my soap, shampoo, and shaving cream as I went through security. An important thing to remember is that what you pack must go through TSA, and a good idea is to buy travel sized liquids such as soap and shampoo.
If you have sensitive skin like me, you should consider aluminum free deodorant. Tom’s of Maine deodorant is my go to.
However, when I went through Air Force BMT, I used Old Spice.
Men, you will not have to worry about having hair for very long because it is going to get buzzed off. Women, you’ll have the opportunity to buy full sized shampoo and conditioner.
You’ll have the opportunity to buy full sized body wash within the first few days. I would recommend that you keep the travel sized bottle, and refill it throughout your training. Its easier to carry back and forth from the showers.
- Shaving Cream and Disposable Razors (two-week supply)
Having a two week supply of shaving cream and disposable razors is important. Be careful not to buy cheap razors and shaving cream that will tear your face up. You’ll be shaving every day for two months. I only use Cremo shaving cream and Gillette razors.
Pack at least one toothbrush and a container of travel sized toothpaste. This will get you through the first few days before you get to purchase a full sized tube of toothpaste. Do not bring mouthwash. Since it has alcohol in it, it will be confiscated.
- Body or Foot Powder (travel-sized)
You can buy travel sized Gold Bond body powder at your nearest Walmart or Target. You’ll be surprised at how much this stuff helps in the hot Texas heat at Lackland AFB. Stock up on this during your first stop at the shoppette.
Additional Items to Pack for Female Trainees
- Hair Ties, Bobby Pins, or Clips (same natural hair color)
- Hair Gel
- Feminine Hygiene Products (two-week supply)
Clothing and Accessories
Before you decide on the clothing that you are going to pack to go to Air Force Basic Military Training. Do yourself a favor and look up the weather for San Antonio, Texas. Make sure you pack clothing that is relevant to the temperatures in the local area because Lackland Air Force Base can be scorching hot during the summer months.
Do not pack any clothing that will draw unwanted attention to yourself. Trust me, you do not want it. This includes anything frayed, ripped, torn, skintight, patched or revealing. Additionally make sure that you do not pack or wear anything that has profanity or inappropriate designs.
- Prescription Eyeglasses (bring copy of prescription)
- Three Simple Sets of Civilian Clothes (shirt and pants)
Again, keep it simple. Do not wear or pack civilian clothing that will attract unwanted attention to yourself.
- Three Pairs of Boxers or Briefs (male)
- Three Pairs of Black or Navy Spandex Shorts (compression shorts with no visible ornamentation used during physical training)
This is not mandatory but it is highly encouraged. You will be able to wear black compression shorts under your physical training gear instead of the underwear you are issued. It will be far more comfortable.
- Running Shoes
You will have the opportunity to purchase running shoes when you arrive at basic training. However, you will not have the option to select which kind you want. You will be allowed to purchase a pair of Asics running shoes. I recommend purchasing a good set of running shoes before you leave, and wear them on your way to basic training. I like to run in Altra running shoes. They have a wide toe box, and they are extremely comfortable. I have friends that I run with that like Hoka’s, Saucony’s, and Brooks’ running shoes. Remember, keep simple colors. You can’t go wrong with plain black or white.
Additional Items to Pack for Female Trainees
- Six pairs of black or white underwear (non-thong-style)
- Six black, white, or blue sports bras without logos or branding
- Hair Bands and Bobby Pins (same natural hair color)
- Nylons/pantyhose (not mandatory)
Financial Items and Information
Your recruiter should help you set up direct deposit to your bank account. This will require a void check. The following financial items and information are vitally important to ensure that you get paid and are taken care of in case of any travel delays.
- Debit / ATM Card
- Cash (under $100)
- Name of Your Bank
- Your Bank’s Routing Number
- Your Account Number
Your recruiter should verify all of your documentation and information is in order. If this isn’t the case, double check all of your paperwork. Make copies of all of your important paperwork and keep it at your home of record if you can. Carry your paperwork in a sealed folder INSIDE of your backpack or suitcase so you don’t lose it.
- Social Security Card
- Birth Certificate
- Enlistment Contract
- College Transcripts
- Civil Air Patrol Certificates
- JROTC certificates
- Driver’s License or State Identification
- U.S. Citizenship Information (if applicable)
- Marriage License and Dependent(s) Birth Certificates (if applicable)
- Completed Visitor Access Request Letter. (Used to get your family into graduation ceremonies)
- List of All Important Contacts and Contact Information
- Two Copies of Orders (guard and reserve)
- Common Access Card (guard and reserve)
These items are not mandatory, but they will make your time at U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training easier.
Stop by the post office and buy yourself a book of stamps to take with you. Writing letters is how you will communicate with your loved ones over the 2 months you are at basic training. Make sure you have the address to everyone that you will want to write while you are there.
- Active or Prepaid Cell Phone (you may use this during an authorized phone call)
Depending on your situation, you may want to have your phone deactivated while you are at basic training to save money. Keep in mind that most of the time, trainees are authorized to use their cell phones to make their phone calls home. Make sure you have a working phone to be able to utilize if given the chance. It will be worth it.
- Prescription Glasses and Case (contacts are not allowed)
One of the most important things that will be driven into you at basic training is being on time. By that, I mean being 15 minutes early to wherever you need to be. A cheap watch that has a basic alarm clock and a stop watch will be a lifesaver for you at basic training. Everyone that didn’t bring one when I went through, bought one the first chance that they could.
You will be using a shared bathroom space. You’ll most likely be walking a pretty good distance to and from the bathroom every time you utilize it. A bag to carry your stuff in will make it very easy. You can store it in the back of your wall locker, and keep inspection ready toiletries in the front.
Do Not Bring List
Do not pack these items. During the first week of training, your Military Training Instructor will go through everything that you brought. If they find any of the following items, you will get in trouble. New recruits can start their military careers off on the wrong foot if they bring these items.
- Tobacco Products
- Vape Products
- Over-the-Counter Medication
- Expensive Jewelry
- Smart Watches
- High Value Electronic Items
- Anything Containing Alcohol (aftershave, mouthwash)
- Fake nails
- Electric Face Exfoliators
- Inappropriate Pictures or Viewing Material
If you have followed this packing guide, then you are well packed up for United States Air Force Basic Military Training. Remember, the rigorous training cycle will not last forever. US Air Force BMT is 8 and a half weeks long so you don’t need to pack a whole luggage set for it. Besides, you’ll have a duffel bag full of dress uniforms, duty uniforms, boots, and PT gear when you leave.
Before you know it, you’ll be at technical school learning how to do your job. Check out Air Force Basic Training Survival Guide for more tips. Welcome to the club, and good luck at boot camp.