When packing for Officer Candidates School (and TBS), candidates should adhere to the 6-Ps – Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The 6-Ps adage will save a candidate a lot of frustration and set them up for success.
Below is a summary of the gear candidates must bring when reporting to Officer Candidate School and a few recommended items. Each incoming candidate should carefully read and abide by the Officer Candidates School Candidate Pre-Ship Preparation and Requirements Letter for their particular course. Mark all your clothing, baggage, and personal items before reporting to OCS.
(2) collared wrinkle-free shirts (1 worn)
(1) pair wrinkle-free khaki slacks
(2) undershirt (1 worn)
(2) pair dress socks
(2) pairs of slacks, pressed, with belt (1 worn)
(1) pair of dress shoes (clean, worn)
(5) pairs of underwear
(5) sports bras (females)
(2) pair white washcloths
(1) pair of shower shoes, aka flip flops
(3-4) pair of extra PT shorts
(1) rugged, water-resistant watch (82% of our fans recommend the Suunto Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch)
Shoes, Boots, and Socks
(1) pair of Bates lights PT/Garrison boots
(2) pairs of running shoes, preferably purchased within three months.
(10-20) generic sets boot bands (you can never have enough)
(5 – 10) Hook & Loop Blousing Garter
See our review of Fox River Socks vs Thorlo:
(10) Ziploc 6 1/2″ x 5 7/8″ Sandwich Bag
(10) Ziplock Storage Quart Bags
(5) Small bungee cord (for OCS and TBS)
(1) Bore snake (a lifesaver and will save you many hours cleaning your weapon at OCS, TBS, and throughout your career)
(1) packs of extra blades
(1) hygiene bag
(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
(1) can shaving cream (medium size)
(1) bottle of shampoo+body wash combo
(1) tube of Body Glide
(1) bottle of 4 oz hand sanitizer
(2) quick-drying towels (small for travel)
(1) pack of 40-count moist/baby wipes
(25) black hair ties (females)
(2) travel-size hair spray (females)
(2) travel-size hair gel (females)
(2-3) cycles of feminine hygiene (females)
Banking and Cash
Cash or credit/debit for initial issues in the amount specified on the 60-day letter. At least $500.00 of cash or credit/debit ($400 in 100’s, $100 in 1’s and 5’s)
Prior Enlisted and PLC SR Candidates and other
All PLC SR Candidates will bring their complete initial uniform issue they received during PLC JR.
** All non prior-service candidates will be issued and properly fitted for boots at Officer Candidates School. Candidates are also encouraged to purchase USMC regulation boots prior to arrival at OCS in order to begin a break-in period (they may also bring this pair of boots with them, but they will still be issued boots). Candidates are recommended to become accustomed to wearing boots prior to arrival. USMC Boot Fit Guide
In addition to the above requirements, all prior enlisted active or reserve Marine candidates and those Marine reservist, MECEP and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) candidates who will report to OCS within 90 days of his/her End of Active Service (EAS) will bring the following: 2 sets of Woodland MARPAT Combat Utilities2 set of Desert MARPAT Combat Utilities2 pairs of seasonal boots1 Woodland Digital Cover1 Desert Digital Cover1 Woodland Digital Boonie Cover1 Sea Bag2 Web Belts2 belt buckles1 green USMC sweatshirt1 green USMC sweatpants2 pairs of green PT shorts6 green t-shirts (no unit logos)6 white drawers6 pairs of boot socks
Upon arrival, two additional pairs of Woodland MARPAT Combat Utilities will be issued at no cost to candidates who are prior enlisted Marines still considered on active or reserve status, or IRR Marines less than 90 days past their EAS. Prior enlisted Marines will not receive a new issue of boots. These candidates will purchase (credit/debit card, cash, NAVMC 604 form) all items that are not brought in order to complete the total purchase.
- 1 six inch ruler
- 2 Mechanical or #2 pencils
- 2 Highlighters
- 1 Pack of 4 fine point map pens
- Personal name stamp kit (1/2 in. capital letters with tape)
- 1 Roll of electrical tape
- 1 Pair of small scissors
- 10 Ziploc bags – Quart
- 10 Ziploc bags – Gallon
- 1 Roll of duct tape
- 2 Erasable red pens
- 4 Cheap dish rags
- 1 Box of 375 count cotton swabs (short handle)
- 1 Pack of 100 count cotton swabs (long handle)
- Shipping packet from your OSO (including copies of your orders to OCS)
- Copies of all dependent’s papers (marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificates, and
- adoption papers)
- Health, dental, or shot records
- Drivers license
- Cell phone and charger (will be turned in to the staff and given back at liberty)
- Photos of your family (or have them send you full-color photos via Sandboxx)
- Sharpie Rub-A-Dub marker
- 1 roll of clear packing tape to “laminate” things such as the covers of your candidate regs, your liberty buddy card, etc.
- 3 small notebooks (Rite in the rain 3×5 tactical). Don’t worry about having too many. You’ll use dozens across TBS and deployments!
- 1 box erasable black pens. Recommended: frixion
- 1 red LED headlamp (some candidates recommend having a backup pair)
- 1 rugged waterproof watch
- 82% of our fans recommend the Suunto Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch
- This is the #1 most recommended item to bring with you by former candidates:
At least four rolls of 1” (preferably waterproof) white athletic tape (hockey tape).
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.
If you have a new Second Lieutenant en route to The Basic School, check out our TBS gift guide. If you’re looking for gifts to get for your candidate who is successfully completing OCS, look at our Commissioning/OCS Graduation Gift Guide.