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Pack list for OCS at Openbah / Journal of a Marine Officer Candidate

Pack list for OCS

First of all, you are to show up at OCS in proper civilian attire. Don’t obsess over this; nobody will care as long as you don’t look disgusting. I wore khakis, a collared long sleeve shirt, a belt, and dress shoes. I wouldn’t wear anything too nice, you’ll be wearing the khakis for at least a 2-3 days. I wore a coat because it was winter.

Pack your gear in a sea bag or a big duffel bag. Don’t bring a suitcase. I brought a large hockey-style duffel bag and it worked perfectly.

Mark everything you bring with your last name. You can either write directly on the item, or write on a piece of tape and stick it to the item. Marine OCS Pack ListNext, pack everything in labeled Ziploc bags. It is easier and faster to pick up 10 Ziploc bags off the ground than 50 individual items scattered around.

Bring 10 pre-labeled Ziploc bags for the items you are issued during large and small bag issue. The night before pickup, make sure everything has your name on it, and everything is in a Ziploc bag. You should be able to fit almost everything in your duffel bag, instead of having to use the issued laundry bags (which can tear in the middle of the parade deck in the middle of the night).

At the end of pickup, you will be told to put your civilian gear in your bag, which will go in the civilian gear room. Put your nasty civvies that you’ve been wearing (including your shoes), your 1 set of nice civvies, and your civilian underwear in your bag. You will get it back before liberty. Put your cell phone and other contraband you brought in the contraband locker, it does not belong in your civilian bag. The reason I say to put your cell phone in the contraband locker instead of leaving it in your car is if you have a family emergency, the staff will give you your phone and let you talk on it outside, giving you some privacy.

Here is what I would suggest you bring to OCS. The required items are marked accordingly, the rest is optional. If you want to bring as little as possible, bring only what is required. In my opinion, the items listed below will not be too much to haul, and will make your time at OCS a little more pleasant.

The following list was compiled using the OCS Shipping Guide, other blogs, and input from newly commissioned 2nd LTs. A giant thank you to John G. for bringing this list up to date for those shipping in 2013.

CLOTHING:
Required:

  • 2 collared shirts (1 worn)
  • 2 undershirts (1 worn)
  • 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 pairs of serviceable running shoes (purchased within 3 months, 1 worn)

Recommended:

  • 1 pair of broken-in boots
  • 2 pairs of dress socks (1 worn)
  • 1 towel (small for travel)
  • 1 pair of compression shorts
  • 4-5 pairs of Thorlo Boot Socks (black or coyote)
  • 1-2 pairs of good boot insoles (I highly recommend SuperFeet)

Optional:

  • 1-3 pairs of white running socks (don’t bring super low-cut, and no logos)
  • 1-3 Skivvie/PT shirts
  • 1-3 Skivvie/PT shorts

HYGIENE:
Required:

  • 1 toothbrush
  • 1 tube of toothpaste
  • 1 razor
  • 1 can shaving cream (travel size)
  • 1 stick of deodorant
  • 1 bar of soap or bottle of body wash

Recommended:

  • 2 packs of extra razor blades
  • 2 bottles of travel mouthwash
  • ChapStick
  • Female hair supplies
  • Manicure Kit (for inspections)
  • Hygiene Bag

Optional:

  • 1 tube Lotrimin Ultra
  • 1 tube sunscreen
  • 1 stick of BodyGlide
  • Antibiotic ointment

MISC:
Required:

  • 1 rugged, water resistant watch
  • At least $450.00 of cash or credit/debit for initial issues
  • 1 pair of eyeglasses as required (2 recommended)

Recommended:

  • 1 Red Lens Headlamp (I brought a Petzl and loved the red filter on it)
  • 2 Wide-tip Sharpie markers
  • 2 Sharpie Rub-A-Dub Laundry markers
  • 2 small all-weather notebooks (Rite in the Rain – small enough to fit into a cargo pocket)
  • 6-inch ruler
  • 2 erasable pens – black
  • 2 mechanical or #2 pencils
  • Personal name stamp kit (1/2 in. capital letters with tape)
  • 4 rolls of 1″ white athletic tape
  • 1 roll of electrical tape
  • 1 pair of small scissors
  • 10 Ziploc bags – Quart
  • 10 Ziploc bags – Gallon
  • 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)
  • Cell phone and charger (will be turned in to the staff and given back at liberty)
  • Photos of your family

Optional:

  • 2 rolls of 1/2″ white athletic tape
  • 1 roll of duct tape
  • 2 erasable pens – red

 
  1. Chris
    December 2nd, 2010 at 03:06 | #1

    Hey, thank you for this fantastic write up. I noticed you mentioned dental and shot records – are any shots given to the candidates when they arrive at OCS?

  2. December 4th, 2010 at 21:15 | #2

    @Chris
    Went I was at OCS, we were brought to the medical building one of our first days there. The floors were padded so when candidates passed out they didn’t crack their skulls. There were a bunch of ‘stations’ set up, each injecting something different. Nobody told us what we were getting. All I know is I gave them my shot records and I received about half as many shots as the other candidates. Oh, and if you haven’t heard by now, they make you do your first PFT soon after you get all those shots, I think the next day.

  3. Daniel
    December 26th, 2010 at 13:20 | #3

    Thanks for the awesome info. Just a question regarding socks: will the boot socks need to be black? I just bought 8 pairs of Fox River tan socks.

  4. December 26th, 2010 at 13:58 | #4

    @Daniel
    I just happened to buy black socks when I went to OCS, but the socks you are issued are brown. So either black or brown socks are fine. I corrected the list, thanks.

  5. TomWilson
    January 5th, 2011 at 12:30 | #5

    Just wanted to say thank you for all this info. The official list is pretty basic so it was good to have a list from someone with past experience. I’m leaving for OCS tomorrow and am currently using this list to double check my items.

  6. Sharon
    January 7th, 2011 at 16:02 | #6

    Hi guys,

    I was curious to know when is the first liberty once arriving OCS. Thank you. =)

  7. January 8th, 2011 at 18:13 | #7

    @Sharon
    My first liberty was after our 3rd week of OCS, but I am not at all sure how it’s done these days.

  8. Jim
    March 27th, 2011 at 20:55 | #8

    What happens at medical in-processing when you arrive at OCS? I just got done with MEPS and was qualified. Is there any chance at medical in-processing they might NPQ you before OCS even starts?

  9. March 29th, 2011 at 19:01 | #9

    @Jim
    While I don’t think it’s very common, I’m sure it has happened before. OCS in-processing isn’t like the MEPS physical at all.

    As long as you aren’t hiding something major (and I’m not implying you are), I wouldn’t worry about it. But if there is something you need to get off your chest, it’s best you talk to your OSO now before you arrive at OCS. Best of luck.

  10. Garrett
    May 18th, 2011 at 17:02 | #10

    Hey,

    Heading down to OCS and wanted to know your take on running shoes. Just got fitted for a new pair, my question is, now that they require two pairs of running shoes (OCS website packing list). Do you think it is necessary to go buy another new pair? or just bring an old pair to use from time to time?

  11. May 18th, 2011 at 21:07 | #11

    @Garrett
    I just brought an older pair. As long as the second pair can pass for only a few months old, go for it. If they’re really nasty you should probably spring for another pair, not worth the ass-chewing.

    Good luck & have fun! ;)

  12. John
    May 26th, 2011 at 02:26 | #12

    Question regarding In Processing to Medical/Dental:

    Did you have additional Dental records aside from the form they provide to you that needs a dentists signature? That is the extent of the ‘dental records’ that I have.

    As far as I know, that’s the OSO requested paperwork wise.

    I’ve got my immunization records, and MEPS paper work as far as Medical goes.

    Thanks.

  13. May 26th, 2011 at 06:49 | #13

    @John
    I think that’s all I brought. Maybe copies of my x-rays? If you don’t have anything else I would not worry about it. Once I got to OCS, I don’t remember them ever talking about our teeth. They make big deals about stuff before hand but it’s probably just to cover their ass.

    You sound like you’re ready to go. Good luck!

  14. Jonathan
    August 31st, 2011 at 11:47 | #14

    Hey,

    I am getting set to head to OCS in October. I am getting my gear ready to go and I found your information of great help. The question I have for you is about some of the stuff considered contraband such as my cell phone. Are you allowed to use it on liberty at all? I will be flying and will not have the ability to stash things in my vehicle. Do you have any suggestions for the items you left in your car until after the first liberty?

    Thanks

  15. Jonathan
    August 31st, 2011 at 11:50 | #15

    Oh and could you possibly explain the name stamp?

    Sorry to bother you with all of these questions.

  16. September 16th, 2011 at 20:51 | #16

    @Jonathan

    Yes! If you bring your cellphone to OCS, just have it locked in the platoon’s contraband locker. You will be able to get it on liberty or emergencies. If you’re flying and won’t have a place to store anything, don’t sweat it. You don’t really need any of the junk on the list. It would just help a little to replenish your supplies.

    The name stamp is the kind you get at Staples or other office store. You tell them what you want on it, and they make a self-inking stamp out of it. I recommend a font like this one:

    http://openbah.com/gouge/font.zip

    Best of luck in October!

  17. Daniel
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:19 | #17

    Like @Jonathan, I too will be attening OCS in October, leaving in about 2 weeks. Just saw this list and I feel like every time I see a new list I find something I had not previously seen.

    My question is how much literature and studying to do prior to leaving. I am memorizing all the little things my OSO gave me, such as ranks, leadership principles and general orders ect., but I have been reading a lot of Marine history along with the Marine Corps Officer´s Guide. I also have books on Marine Leadership, War fighting, and Marine Troop Leader´s Guide. Is there something I should prioritize in my last 2 weeks before taking the drive to Quantico? Thanks for all your help -Daniel

  18. September 19th, 2011 at 18:46 | #18

    @Daniel
    I’m not really sure what will be most beneficial, since I think knowledge expectations change over time. If I were leaving for OCS in two weeks, I would relax, spend time with family/friends, and sleep in until noon. I would learn the basics for sure, especially ranks. Learn to recognize all the Marine Corps enlisted ranks inside and out so when you approach someone you won’t hesitate to address them by their proper rank. I wouldn’t worry too much about the history and war fighting topics, you will learn all that at OCS and TBS. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  19. Dylan
    September 26th, 2012 at 20:06 | #19

    Thanks for all the good info. This site is really helpful. I’m leaving for OCS in two weeks and my question pertains to boots. The official letter I was given recommended that I buy a pair before I leave, run in them a few miles, and bring them with me to OCS so that I’ll have a pair that is broken in. The problem is that boots are kind of expensive. What are your thoughts? Do you recommend buying a pair or just waiting until I arrive and using the two pairs that we buy?

  20. Bill Thomas
    October 13th, 2013 at 07:27 | #20

    Ok so I’ve been at Ocs for three weeks now and here is the low down. Ocs provides/makes you buy superfeet inserts, plastic bags, foot powder, sewing kit, white tape…basically everything you need. They only things you want to bring are a head light and good set of small scissors. Also the two pair of running shoes doesn’t make sense because you have to pack one pair away so just bring one. Furthermore if you bring an extra set of boots those have to be packed away as well so just don’t waste your money on them. Ocs does a great deal at injury recovering but you really need to come prepared to train with pain…whether from sins, ankles, elbows, or even feet. At this point in my plt there is about 70 percent of guys who are busted up and working through it.

  21. Mike
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:38 | #21

    In response to Jonathan’s question (Aug 2011) – what size stamp do you suggest getting made at Staples? I understand the stencil font and last name only but what items would this stamp be used for? I’m shipping to Winter OCS in 2 weeks and making sure I’m squared away. Thanks.

  22. December 24th, 2013 at 07:31 | #22

    @Mike
    The stamp will mainly be placed on 1″ white tape. The letters should be able to fit without being too close to the top or bottom. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Good luck at OCS!

  23. BobMar
    November 28th, 2015 at 21:31 | #23

    What is a personal name kit – is it last name in BLOCK letters, or is it something different? What did you use?

  24. November 29th, 2015 at 07:14 | #24

    Correct. It’s your last name. Check out this reply to get more details on the last name stamp.

    http://openbah.com/marine-ocs-articles/pack-list-for-ocs#comment-35206

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