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For any student interested in attending ranger school, it can be a daunting task to know what to pack. What are the best items you should bring? What if something isn’t allowed? We have compiled a list of the top things that you’ll need for your packing list. Here’s what we recommend:
-Backpack: It is important to pack some food and water for this long journey, but it can be difficult to carry all of that weight on your back. A backpack will allow you to keep everything close by in a balanced way so you aren’t having shoulder pain halfway through the day.
-Dress clothes or uniform: You’ll need something formal enough for being inspected at the end of ranger school as well as while in garrison (the camps).
-Boots with inserts: Between ruck marching and running around all day wearing boots takes its toll on feet after awhile! Make sure they are comfortable throughout your stay with lots of cushioning and arch support if necessary–you don’t want any blisters before graduating.
-Uniform: You’ll need a uniform for the first few weeks of ranger school as well as while in garrison. It’s easiest to get this before arriving, but if you don’t have one already just take your dress clothes and add service patches or badges (such as Airborne) sewn on them. Uniforms are also available at Ranger Outfitters.
-Basic toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush hair daily with conditioner, lip balm with SPF protection..etc. Don’t forget lotion! And keep it all together so they’re not cluttering up your bag during ruck marching day(s). Pack travel size everything whenever possible because weight is important when packing for ranger school.
-Dress casual clothes for the ceremony in Fort Benning and graduation day, but also dressy clothes if you know your family wants to take pictures before or after (military families love this). Think polo shirts with a blazer and khaki slacks for men; sundresses with flat sandals are popular choices, too. Ladies might want to pack heels depending on their size – they’re very helpful when it comes to walking around campus because there’s no sidewalk! For ladies who wear dresses: don’t forget sneakers that can be hidden under the skirt.
-Pack as many pairs of socks/underwear as possible because laundry is limited at Ranger School. The days of living out of one pair go away at Ranger School, and you’ll be grateful for an extra pair!
-Bring a Kindle or iPad loaded with your favorite books. You will not have access to the internet at any point during ranger school – it’s strictly forbidden by the instructors. However, there are periods of downtime in between physical training sessions and patrols where having something to read is nice (especially if you’re feeling homesick). I would also recommend packing some pens/journal as well as small notebooks so that you can keep track of thoughts when they come up throughout the day rather than waiting until bedtime because sleep comes quickly once boots hit the ground. They make noise in close quarters which means no snoring allowed, especially on patrol. And bring plenty of pencils for pre-mapping missions.
You Might Be Thinking: Why Should I Go To Ranger School? What Exactly Is It Like? Will This Help With My Career In The Military or Civilian Sector?
Ranger school isn’t for everyone but if you’re up to the challenge, it will change your life in ways that are both challenging and rewarding (in a way few other jobs can). You’ll be pushed physically and mentally like never before – much more than any of those cringe-worthy boot camps most people have gone through as kids/young adults. But when you see yourself on top of that mountain with stars twinkling overhead, looking down at what feels like acres upon acres below..well then all is forgiven because no matter how challenging the climb, it’s worth it.
This guide is meant as an addition to any of your own research on ranger school and what you need for packing – not a replacement. To be honest, there are some things I wish I’d known before starting that would have made life (and post-ranger school) much easier. Hopefully this can help make sure you don’t forget anything important!
What You’ll Need: Clothing & Footwear 【Other Items】o A Ranger Handbook or something similar o Facial hair with beard trimmer o Shower kit w/lotion and shampoo 【Personal Gear】o Toothbrush + toothpaste (travel size if possible)
a pen and journal paper for map sketching
a deck of cards or a set of dice for entertainment in the field 【Kitchen Gear】o A can opener o Aluminum foil and plastic wrap (travel size if possible) 【Personal Care Items】o Insect repellent with DEET, sunscreen, chapstick. Pack these items in small containers so that you don’t have to carry around an entire bottle! 【Clothing & Footwear】- One pair hiking boots – Two pairs long underwear tops and bottoms – A hat with brim – Rain gear: poncho/rain coat/rubber boots; capris are helpful when wet weather arrives
*If your Ranger Handbook is not available online, it might be worth investing some money to buy a copy of the latest edition. This will save you time from carrying around a weighty tome in your pack every day and can be used as an additional reference for any questions that may arise during training.
*The Ranger Handbook is not available online, but it might be worth investing some money to buy a copy of the latest edition if you want one or know someone who does. 【This could help save space in your bag】+ It has all sorts of helpful information inside like topographical maps and photos which are easier than looking at them on your phone’s screen! + You can also use it as another resource when studying map sketching (in case something comes up).
*If there isn’t enough room in your kit for a field manual, you might want to pick up a copy of the Ranger Handbook and use it as an additional reference for any questions that arise during training.
*The Army’s Field Manual 21-18 is not online, but if there isn’t enough room in your kit for a field manual, then picking up this book could be worth investing some money into as an additional resource when studying map sketching (in case something comes up). 【This could also save space in your bag】+ It has all sorts of helpful information inside like topographical maps and photos which are easier than trying to map read from a book.
*Maps: You should bring one set of the most current USGS quadrangle maps available for where you will be training or likely patrol routes. They can range anywhere between $25-$40 depending on how many sheets. If you need a cheaper option, the military sells them at their post exchanges. *Binoculars: You should bring binoculars with no less than 20x magnification and preferably ones that are waterproof in case they get wet. *Knife: A good knife is important to have for patrols as well as general use out on base or when recreating if there’s time between training days. 【Here are some more things I would recommend bringing】+ Knife (to cut brush), first aid kit, flashlight with red light setting, multi-tool battery operated saw, magnesium fire starter rod. A knife can also be used for hand-to-hand combat so it could be helpful to buy one before Ranger