Unlike OCS, students at The Basic School (TBS) have much more latitude in regards to the personal items they can bring. Most LT's (unmarried) live in the student quarters on base in what can be compared to college dorm rooms. The following list with explanations tells you what you need to succeed and live well at The Basic School.
1. Two pairs of boots. One pair of PT boots (to be worn during O-Course, E course, and Boots and Utes PT). Danner Reckonings are the way to go for comfort and quality. Alternatively, Bates Lites work as a cheaper option.
One pair of heavier boots for hiking. I wore Danner Reckonings for all the hikes and never had a problem, however some people prefer a heavier duty boot.
Boots are expensive but are the single most important piece of gear you will use at TBS. Two pairs minimum.
2. Six pairs (minimum) HIGH QUALITY BOOT SOCKS. The hikes at TBS are significantly longer than the ones at OCS and taking care of your feet is paramount. High quality socks will help your feet significantly.
3. Two pairs of athletic shoes.
One pair of running shoes. Check out our full review here.
One pair of cross-training shoes (see our Nike MetCon review)
4. Low socks (white, no logos). To be worn with PT uniform (green on green).
5. Compression shorts or athletic underwear.
6. Tactical gloves and winter gloves.
7. Cold weather base layers. If you will be at The Basic School over the winter months, these are essential.
8. Woodland MARPATs.
9. Dress Blue Uniform .
10. Service Alpha Uniform (you might have to report to The Basic School in your alphas, depending on the policy specific to your company)
11. USMC PT uniform: skivvy shirts and skivvy shorts.
12. Shower shoes.
13. Civilian clothing.
2. Printer. The one that I linked is the one I use because it is small, simple and affordable. You will be printing a lot of documents at The Basic School.
3. Laminator. The one that I linked is also small, no frills, and cheap. It works.
4. Sheets, blankets, and pillow for extra long twin bed.
5. Red Lens Headlamp.
6. Durable, waterproof, digital watch (black). From my experience most Marines have a G-shock. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and reliable. No need to spend hundreds of dollars on this. Don't overthink it. This is the one I use and I recommend it.
7. Bore-snake (.556).
8. Black electrical tape.
9. Duct tape. When is duct tape not helpful?
10. Pack of map pens .
11. High quality protractor. Very important for accurate land navigation.
12. Highlighters .
13. Ten pairs boot blousers. You will lose these. They are cheap and something you never want to have to think about.
14. Rite in the rain protective cover, three notebooks .
15. Ziploc bags large and small. These will be a lifesaver when packing for FEX.
16. Q-tips. Very important for rifle cleaning, these will help you clean hard to reach spots.
17. Field mirror (for shaving and applying camouflage paint in the field).
18. Bodyglide. Very helpful during hikes to prevent chafing, specifically when applied on hips to prevent chafing from hip belt of ILBE pack. Hikes at TBS are significantly longer than the hikes at OCS. Prepare accordingly.
19. Black or white 3 inch and 1 inch binders.
20. Multi-tool. Two good options linked below.
21. Black sunglasses.
22. 550 cord.
23. 2nd LT oxidized rank insignia.
24. Camouflage paint.
25. Mouth guard.
26. Baby wipes.
27. Combination lock.
28. Grinds. Like dipping, but with coffee instead of tobacco. Great for FEX.
29. Foam roller. This will significantly aid your recovery after hikes.
30. Dry sack. It will rain on you when you're in the field. Guaranteed. Buy a few of these in various sizes to keep your stuff dry.
31. Waterproof iPhone Case.
1. Hard copies of official orders.
2. Official college transcripts.
3. Medical and dental records.
4. Vehicle registration and insurance along with notarized power of attorney if vehicle is registered to someone else.
Things to Improve Your Quality of Living at The Basic School
1. Blender. You can't cook in your room but smoothies are a great way to quickly consume a meal. Protein shakes will be your friend at The Basic School. Below are two options.
2. TRX suspension trainer. Time is at a premium at the Basic School and PT time is not built into the schedule. TRX bands provide a small, portable, solution for your room. It can be anchored over the door (with the door attachment) and used to make bodyweight exercises significantly harder. Originally developed for use on military deployments, it provides a great home (room) workout solution. See our full review here.
3. AeroPress Coffee Maker. Marine Officers drink a lot of coffee. The AeroPress works as well in your room as it does in the field. Cheap, packable, and makes a great cup of coffee. See our full review here.
4. Electric Kettle. Very convenient for your room. Use it to make coffee, oatmeal, etc.
5. Wireless workout earphones. Contrary to what people say, you will have time to workout at TBS.
6. Resistance bands. However, if you are running short on time, you can use these in your room.
7. Jetboil. An absolutely essential piece of gear. See our full review here.
8. Mountain House Meals. These will significantly improve your quality of life in the field. Use them with your Jetboil .