Serving in the military is something that more and more women are doing these days – and we thank you ladies for your service! But going off to Basic Training means a lot of changes, including very regimented rules about what you should bring with you. Things are a little bit more complicated for women, as there are things that set us apart from men – breasts, for example – so if you’re a woman who’s joining the military, here’s what you should pack:
Contraband items are taken away when you arrive on base, so it’s a good idea to confirm this list with your recruiter – but here are the basics of what many women bring when they join the military:
- Eyeglasses (most Services don’t permit contacts)
- Athletic socks
- Casual clothes for leisure time
- A pair of comfortable shoes
- A small suitcase or gym bag for luggage
- Any paperwork pertaining to prescriptions
- Between $10 and $50 in cash (not more than $50, though)
- Your ATM or debit card
- Mailing information to keep in touch with your family
Things like expensive personal items, such as cameras, laptops, etc. are prohibited. Likewise, there’s a long list of taboos on things like cigarettes, alcohol, playing cards, dice, etc. Stick with the basics and you’ll be in good shape.
Bras are a tricky topic. What you wear during basic depends on where you end up. In some places, women are issued sports bras, but they have to pay for them. In other places, if women bring their own bras, they can keep them – as long as they’re the right color.
In general, women are required to have a certain number of regular white bras and white sport bras for basic. The regular bras are for wearing under a dress uniform, and the sports bras are for everyday physical training. Other sources say that beige bras will pass muster, so check with your recruiter to find out the specifics for your service and region.
Women who have served in the military recommend bringing breathable, moisture-wicking sports bras. Basic can be very physically demanding, and breathable fabrics can help prevent heat buildup while you’re exerting yourself. Moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabrics are best in the event that you need a clean bra but are unable to get to the laundry – wash in the bathroom and you’re good to go the next day in a pinch.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re wearing a supportive sports bra in the appropriate bra size! If your bra size is wrong, you won’t get the support you need from your bra – which is even more critical in basic. Check out our instructions on Getting Measured for a Bra to make sure you’re wearing the right bra size.
For the physical exertion, look for a high-impact sports bra. Some of our top sports bras for military service include:
After basic, most women in the military agree that you can wear whatever bra you prefer.
Best of luck to all of the women in our armed forces – we thank you for your service!