This is a recommended, unofficial packing list for Officer Candidates School. This list started as what I was glad I had, or what I wish I had. Over the years, many OCS graduates have helped refine it to its current comprehensive update.
If you’re looking for gifts to get for your candidate who is successfully completing OCS, look at our Commissioning/OCS Graduation Gift Guide.
If you have a new Second Lieutenant en route to The Basic School, check out our TBS gift guide.
-1 wrinkle free polo shirt
-1 pair dress shoes and belt
-2 pair dress socks
-2 pair white wash cloths
-1 pair compression shorts
-4-6 pair Thorlo combat boot socks (coyote) Please get yourself good boot socks. Issued socks are underweight, aren’t modern material, and don’t protect your feet nearly as well. One Lieutenant told us “Candidates should bring 5-6 pairs of thorlos. The brown socks you get issued are horrible.”
-2 packs extra blades
-1 small towel to use for showering before your gear issue
-1 nail clippers (essential for inspection)
-1 tube deodorant
-1 bottle antibacterial body wash and scrubber
-1 small mirror such as this for field hygiene and camo paint application
-2 small travel bottles of mouthwash (essential for inspection)
-1 tube Lotrimin Ultra
Female candidates, I recommend adding a travel size hairspray to put in your cargo pockets in case you’re told your hair is busted and you don’t have the ability to get your hygiene gear from your locker.
-2 Sharpie Rub-A-Dub markers
-6 in. ruler
-1 roll of clear packing tape to “laminate” things such as the covers of your candidate regs, your liberty buddy card, etc.
-2 small notebooks (Rite in the rain 3×5 tactical)
-1 box erasable black pens. Recommended: frixion
-2+ red pens
Red pens are used for peer evals. You won’t feel like waiting for another candidate to finish before writing an eval for everyone in your squad. Especially since those who finish evals early are usually allowed to study, square away gear, or even prepare for inspection.
-2 mechanical pencils + lead
-1 red LED headlamp (some candidates recommend having a backup pair)
Something for your packing list is one inch wide Kendall Covidien Waterproof tape. They’ve changed how sleeping works, which puts an absolute premium on night time time management and subsequently, gear markings. That tape, coupled with a waterproof map pen, will save candidates at least an hour of sleep during the first several weeks when sleep deprivation injuries are at their highest. -2ndLt Will
Check out our Amazon Store for some more ideas for gifts, pre-OCS gear, and of course, nifty gifts to get your sweetheart as thanks for all she does
Lastly, it can’t be reiterated enough, mark your trash before you show up. You’d be surprised at how much stuff will get stolen or lost anyway, but if your name isn’t on it, chances are you will never see it again after pickup.