Aim high erin 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.