Air Force Basic Training Packing List for Women

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Updated 12/28/2015: I graduated BMT in November, so I have updated this list so you will have absolutely everything you need. I was a bit taken by surprise on things they said you “should have.”

It is amazing how little information there is available for female trainees heading off to Air Force BMT. I have loved adding my voice with first-hand experience as I’ve enlisted, taken the ASVAB, processed through MEPS, and hung out in the DEP, all while working full-time. It’s been a real stress, but writing it all out here has been a huge relief and help! And I can only hope it’s given some relief to other men and women who are considering joining up as well.

But the point of today’s post isn’t to talk about how stressful everything has been. At my last recruiter meeting, I was 30 days out and he gave me my BMT packing list. It’s an excellent guide, but in reality, it’s not tailored to women and is very generic. That’s why I went over to Aunie Sauce’s blog and copied her BMT packing list. She went to Basic about a year and a half ago, so she has recent experience on how things go down in ole’ San Antone…


That being said, if you’re a female heading off to Air Force Basic Training soon, here’s what I am packing – adapted from Aunie’s.

NOTE:  Here are some things I wish I’d known before heading to BMT.

  • Taking one backpack with minimal items was a lifesaver. You will be issued uniforms in 0 week, so I recommend only bringing 1 pair of jeans and 2 shirts. Wear your running shoes down.
  • Have a bag packed with a few cute outfits that you can take to technical school, but keep it minimal. DO NOT pack your laptop or iPad. They will not let you keep it. You will have to have your family ship it to you once you arrive.
  • You really don’t need a lot of stuff for your trip down. You WILL buy everything at the mini-mall, but it won’t be for 2 weeks, so plan wisely.


  • 1 pair of jeans (no rips, holes, etc.)
  • 2 plain crew neck tees
  • Running shoes (ASICS Kayanu 21)
  • Plain black shower shoes (Old Navy flippies); you’ll want to take these with you because as noted above, you won’t get to go to the mini-mall for 2 weeks.
  • 10 pairs of underwear (you can never have too many)
  • 5 Sports bras
  • 2 Regular bras
  • 3 Pairs of socks


    • Bible (I didn’t end up taking mine. Glad I didn’t. They gave us a New Testament version at church)
    • Military ID (Only the Guard/Reserve have their IDs before they attend Basic)
    • Social Security Card
    • Driver’s License
    • Debit and Credit card (I used these more than you would think. Do not take cash unless you want to keep track of it on a money list. More on that in another post.)
    • Waterproof watch (this is a lifesaver. Have one from the beginning or you will NEVER know what time it is)
    • Small journal/address book
    • Pre-stamped envelopes (until you can buy some more)
    • 2 Ballpoint Pens (they issue you a set, but they get lost easily, and people are always wanting to borrow them)
    • 2 Sharpies (Same as ballpoint pens)
    • Cell phone & charger
    • Dr. Scholl’s insoles (I wish I’d had these for my boots. I finally bought some in the 4th week of training, but by then, the worst was over. Do yourself a favor and take some. You’ll thank me later.)

Folder containing:

  • 10 copies of orders (Guard/Reserve Only)
  • Unit personnel records (Guard/Reserve Only)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Certified copy of dependent’s social security card, license, and birth certificate etc. (You can have this copied, verified, and stamped at your MEPS location.) If you don’t have these copies, you can’t register your dependents in the system, meaning you’ll lose out on BAH until they can snail mail them to you.
  • Personal photos


  • Retainers (if you had braces)
  • Travel sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, etc.
  • Facial moisturizer w/ SPF
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant (the stick kind)
  • Razor
  • Bobby pins (matching hair color)
  • Tampons
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Tweezers

That’s about it. Let me know if you have any questions!

64 thoughts on “Air Force Basic Training Packing List for Women

  1. Really Enjoyed all your posts about joining! Thank you for the tips too. If its not too much to ask, can you post about your gas chamber experience? The gas chamber is the only thing I am dreading.
    I leave in March2016.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! And for sure! I’ll write a whole post about it as soon as I can, and definitely before you leave. I can tell you, it wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be. Some people handle it worse than others. It was my biggest fear too, but it hardly affected me. Just keep following along. I plan on posting a week-by-week play by play here soon.

    1. Wow! Good luck! Feel free to ask me any other questions! Just know, the PT is not that difficult, and the first week (0 week) is the worst!

    1. Oh, that could be misleading! No, it’s no specific pair. That’s the pair I bought for BMT. I just figured I’d include them on the list to show people the random colors you can have. Any pair of your favorite running shoes will do! Just make sure they are sturdy enough to handle running 2-3 miles every day for 2.5 months. Some people had to buy new pairs during BMT because theirs didn’t hold up.

    1. You know, I did not take a jacket with me because it was pretty warm when I went down. However, it was cold in November when I graduated so my family brought down a few civilian clothes for me. If you’re going in the wintertime, take a jacket. If you’re going in the summer, you won’t need it.

      As for underwear, I just wore my normal Aerie bikini-style. Some girls ended up buying grannie panties from the BX because they didn’t pack enough. They said they were pretty comfy, but I was happy with the underwear I had. On another note – don’t bring your favorite underwear, as it will probably get discolored due to a bad laundry crew. Plain grey would probably be best. And you can’t wear thongs, so don’t even try to sneak em’. Hope this helps!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I leave April 2016.

    I have long hair so I will have to put it up, can we bring our own gel or will we have to buy it there?

    1. Hi! So glad you stopped by! Yes. Definitely bring your own gel to start, because you will not be able to buy any for about 2 weeks. Bring enough of everything to get you by for at least 2 weeks, because that’s how long it will be before you make your first run to the little BX.

  3. Hi there! Nice page you have here. I just wanna ask if we are required to buy our own running shoes or the air force will issue one for us? And what color of the shoes do they require? Also, about sport bras, should it be color white/black/gray only? Thank you Im leaving this May 2016 :)

    1. Thanks! You need to buy your own running shoes, and they can be any color! They don’t care if they’re neon or black. Bras and underwear can also be any color you want. Good luck out there!

      1. Oh I see. Thanks for the infos! But do the AF people in bmt used to issue running shoes for the trainees back then? Should I buy them before I go to bmt or just buy there? Thank you for replying :)

        1. Buy them before you go and break them in just a bit. You need a good pair of running shoes, and their options are very limited. Buy the kind you like before. If you wait and don’t have great shoes, the MTI’s kind of get annoyed because it looks like you were unprepared. This is because they have to make a special trip to the BX for people who don’t have good shoes already. You don’t want to have to worry about that junk in the early weeks of training.

          I am not sure if they used to issue shoes for trainees, but I know they definitely don’t do it now. You have to pay for them yourself. Best to do it now so you can get the style you like.

  4. Hi. This post helps me so much. I leave April 2016. I have a question. Does the color of sports bra and regular bras matter? If so what color should I get?

    1. Hey! The color does not matter. They can be bright orange if you want, but if possible, make sure it’s a color that won’t show through heather grey. PT shirts are grey, so black, white, and gray bras work the best. You won’t get in trouble though. Any color works.

      1. Right, but would multi-colored sports bras be okay as well? Also, thanks for posting this information. It’s really helpful!!

        1. Sure! No, it doesn’t matter. Undergarment and shoe colors do not matter at all. Just take what you would normally wear.

    1. I don’t see why it would be a problem. If you think it’s a good option for you, I’d definitely bring some. My only concern would be if it is a time-consuming process, I would stick with easy disposables – simply because there isn’t a lot of time for yourself. I’ve never used a cup, but I think it has to be cleaned??? and that could cause issues for you – time wise. Overall, it’s your decision. I would get tampons or pads as a backup though – in case you feel like it’s not working out.

  5. Hello! I was wondering if it would be alright to bring moleskin and Vaseline with me to BMT? Or do you think they’d make me throw these things away during the shakedown? I just want to be prepared for blisters and dry, cracked skin as much as possible! Thank you!

    1. You know, I’m not sure. They probably wouldn’t take the Vaseline, but they might take the moleskin. I know that it was hit or miss with what they would take. They don’t like you to have your own health remedies – whether it be band-aids and Neosporin to aspirin. It’s worth a try though. If you get blisters, they will give you a blister pack, which is really only a bit of ointment and some band-aids. Around week 3 or 4, you might get to run to the mini-bx, and that’s when you may be able to buy your own mole-skin. They’re a lot more lax by then. Then again, most of the blisters have healed by that time…

  6. Ahhhh! So happy for you Liz! Long time, no chat haha. You’ve been busy with the AF and I just recently got approved to go in and I swear in tomorrow! Hope you’re well! I’ll send you an email again soon :)

    1. So great to hear from you! And guess what!? I’m in Colorado! Buckley, to be exact (Denver). WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!? Maybe we can find a way to meet up if there’s time! I’m so glad you finally got through the process! Can’t wait to hear more! Thanks for checking back in!

  7. Hi!! I’m thinking of my options for joining and reading this made me feel so much better because I always stress about packing. Definitely gonna read more of your blogs soon. Thank you so much, I love reading people’s personal experiences to help fill my overworrying mind with ease

    1. Hi Meg, I also did a lot of Googling for personal experiences from females who went through Basic and are not in the Air Force. It’s so helpful compared to what a recruiter might tell you. They tend to sugarcoat things. Feel free to ask me any questions, and you can always email me through my Contact page.

  8. This has been so great to read. I go to MEPS in two weeks. I have a question. When does the AF switch to the winter training schedule? It’s still warm in San Antonio until Dec/Jan. Thank so much for all the information you’ve provided!!

    1. Good luck at MEPS! It’s a real process! I shipped out on Sept. 21, and we switched to Winter Schedule during the first week of November, which was my last week before graduation. They considered it too cold to do PT in the mornings during that time.

    1. It really doesn’t matter. If you want to buy your own first, any kind will do, but it should be black. It can have a small emblem on it for the brand, but just some basic black one that comfortably fit while running. The problem with buying things there is that you may not like what they have to offer. They have one kind and they’re very basic. It really depends on your preference.

  9. Did you need a towel or do they supply them? I know that is such a random question, I saw it on another packing list and I leave in 10 days.

    1. You will have to buy their towels when you get down to BMT, but the first night or two, we had to use what we had… which was nothing. I recommend bringing a small microfiber type towel that you don’t mind tossing or can be packed small because you will want it that first couple of days.

  10. Are you allowed to keep your lotion and soap at BMT? I’m curious, because I heard they won’t let you keep your stuff. I want to take some of my nice ones in a travel sized bottled.

    1. They will let you keep it. You have to have something to wash your body with. There’s a lot of rumors like that floating around, and they are simply not true. You will also have the chance to buy new shampoo and conditioner, etc. at the mini-BX within your first couple of weeks – though they may not have the brand you want.

      1. Thanks, Liz. I’m glad to have found your blog.I heard so many stories, especially the one about not buying anything for BMT. The reason being they take everything from you, and everyone goes to the BX. It sounds kind of nuts, but I’m sure you’re used to hearing this. I almost forgot is it true that they take your spandex, sports bras, etc and issue new ones? People make it sound like enlisting is the biggest mistake of your life, and it’s something to dread.

        1. No problem! This is why I write. I thought the same thing about BMT. It is not that bad. They do not take your underwear or bras, etc, and they do not care what color they are, but Spandex must be black. They do issue the guys underwear. I do not know why.

          Enlisting was the best decision I have made and I never regret it. It has its struggles, but what job doesn’t? Good luck! Look me up if you get stationed at Buckley!

          1. Liz I cannot thank you enough. Writing, and even starting a blog was a great idea. Sometimes you want to ask your recruiter these questions, but don’t know where to start. You don’t want to make it sound like your that kid that needs hand holding. Half the time recruiter’s themselves cannot even provide you with accurate details. All they can tell you is what they know or might know. At times it can really suck, especially having a male as a recruiter and asking him female stuff, lol. Like this one time I asked him about birth control, boy that was awkward. Like you said every job has it struggles, but what job doesn’t. You can’t expect everything to be sunshine, and rainbows. I wish you all the best of luck on your military journey, and of course I’ll look you if I get stationed at Buckley. Once again thank you,so much! From one future airman to another.

  11. Maaannnn, I just spent a bunch of money buying all black sports bras because the list my recruiter gave me said black/white. Guess I won’t make that same mistake with underwear, haha. Thanks for the tips.

  12. Are you allowed to wear wedding rings in basic, specifically the qalo kind? Your blog has been super helpful and I am also located in Colorado. Congrats on your journey and where it has taken you thus far, you should definitely be very proud of yourself!

    1. Nice to meet you Shelby! Yes, you can wear your wedding ring. It doesn’t matter if it’s diamond or silicone. We had many girls wear silicone because you just never know what will happen at BMT, and it could get lost, stolen. You really never know. I left mine at home, but if I had known about the Qalo type beforehand, I would have bought one of those.

      Good luck!

      1. Hello! Not sure if you’ll see this but I leave in about 7 days and your posts have been VERY helpful. I am terrified and you have put me at ease! Especially about the gas chamber haha. I have been active but I’m stoll worried about PT so if you have any tips let me know. Again thank you so much!!

        1. Good luck Amelia!

          They will prep you physically, I promise! Very few people fail out of BMT because of PT. I’d love to know where you end up afterwards, so absolutely comment again after you make it through! You will do great!

  13. Amelia,

    I ship out the 19th as well. My real name is Cynthia. I’m not nearly as concerned about CBRN day as I am dreading having to run so much. Give me a stack of weights to life any day.


    Thank you so much for all the help and resources on your blog. I came to check your packing list because I feel like my bookbag it way to thick. I think that it is the undershirts I am bringing though since it is december.

    1. Cynthia,

      You’re already on the right track if you only have a backpack. You will be alright! I promise. I am not sure if you can wear undershirts under your sand tee… Just FYI. I could be wrong, but they might make you pack those away. Good luck, and please let me know where you end up after tech school!

  14. Hey Liz!

    I leave in 2 weeks.. I’m so nervous. I’m nervous to leave my boyfriend honestly. he’s not familiar with how the military works. But I do have a question about packing for tech school. Do I pack a basic before basic and bring it with me or leave it at home and have my parents bring it to my graduation or do they have to send it through the mail to my tech school? I’ll be located at Wright- Patt

    1. Hi Keely,
      I had a bag packed specifically for tech school that my parents brought down during graduation week. However, you cannot bring electronics, so I had to get that stuff later via the mail etc. I would pack a very small bag of things for tech school, because you won’t have much room to carry it all. You won’t need much stuff at tech school, to be honest – especially if it is a shorter technical school. You’ll be in your uniform most of the time.

      Hope this helps! Good luck!

  15. What about the clothes you sleep in? Ive read a lot of packing list posts and nobody ever mentions bringing clothes to sleep in..

    1. The first night, unless you bring some small sleep shorts and a tank, you won’t have anything to sleep in. However, the rest of the time, you are required to sleep in your PT gear (track shorts and t-shirt). It’s not the worst thing ever.

  16. Hey Liz,
    Does it matter what type of jeans I wear/bring? Will I get crap if I go in skinny jeans? Not TIGHT skinnies, but skinnies in general.

    TIA :)

    1. Hi Stacy,
      Nobody will care what kind of jeans you wear. They don’t yell about stuff like that anymore. Just make sure to take full-fit underwear (no thongs or string bikini style) and steer clear of leggings. Good luck!

  17. Hi Liz… Glad I came across your blog. I’m scheduled to leave on February 6th and I am just so scared and nervous. What kind of backpack should I use? Or buy? Am I not allowed to pack PJs? Also. When we get to basic, do they do a blood test like in MEPS? (I heard rumors.) Sorry for asking a lot, I’m terrified of failing. I really want to pass basic, but I’m so scared of getting sent home.

    1. Hi Chaveli,
      I understand your fear, but I promise – everything will be okay. I would take a big black backpack, that way you can use it at technical school too. You won’t have to buy a new backpack. You’ll always be in regs with a big black backpack. You can pack a set of PJ’s, but you’ll only wear them the first couple of nights during BMT – then you’ll be required to sleep in your PT gear. They will do a lot more blood tests, urine tests, and give you numerous shots, so prepare yourself for that. The whole first week is full of medical appointments, but you’ll be with everyone in your flight, so it’s not as scary as MEPS.

      Hope this helps. Nothing will ease your mind, and the first three weeks are tough, but most everyone gets through it together. It’s okay to cry at night. I cried several times during the first 2 weeks.

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