Deployment Essentials for Women

My first deployment was to a rather “easy” location located in Southeast Asia. Let me put it this way: I had the opportunity to live in a dorm. That’s right, an actual building, with air conditioning and the best part- I shared a bathroom with just three other women. But I didn’t get off that easily; I had to rough it in the trailers for the first couple of weeks. I was blessed with a roommate who had deployed a few times before and she taught some tricks only a seasoned vet would know.

As a woman, I am an over-packer. But what if I need this? What if I’m near someone who might need something? It must be a maternal instinct to be prepared for anything at all times. Here are some items you should bring on your next deployment and why:

Food Additives

Sometimes the food at deployed locations leaves something to be desired. Why wouldn’t it? Mass produced food that is required to be made with regulated amounts of salt and fat doesn’t quite make a recipe for tasty cuisine. Adding hot sauce or BBQ sauce will help you scarf down any meal at the dining facility. If you have a favorite brand, bring your own from home, or have it sent to you. Most facilities carry one, maybe two, brands of hot sauce, and one choice for BBQ sauce, ranch, jellies, and peanut butter.

Shower Shoes

You need to bring a cheap pair of shower shoes; rubber flips flops work best. Even though the bathrooms are cleaned regularly, public showers are a breeding ground for bacteria and foot fungus. Not only do you need them while in the shower, but for walking back and forth between the bathroom and your room. You do not want to put on socks and boots to walk back to your room after a shower.

ToiletriesWork Out Gear

Most of your time off will be spent sleeping, catching up with loved ones, and working out. Everyone’s goal while deployed is to get in the best shape. If you’re deploying somewhere that now allows “civilian clothes,” pack enough sports bras, tank tops, and yoga pants to get you through laundry day.

Personal Bedding

This is one trick my savvy roommate taught me. You’re given all of the bedding you need upon arrival including sheets, one blanket, one pillow and case. It’s sufficient. But, if you’re like me, you value your sleep. Bring your own pillow at least, and some quality bedding. There’s nothing that will transport you home like a nice, warm bed at the end of a hard day.

Don’t be fooled by the weather in most deployment locations. Sure, it’s hot during the day, but that means that air conditioning units are cranked to full capacity. There were times I woke up shivering in my small room.


If you need your Aveeno Organic face wash and lotion, you better pack it in your luggage before you leave because you will not find it while deployed. At some of the bigger deployment locations you will find a wider selection of lotion, shampoos, and body wash, but don’t count on it. Some women need to have specific hair and skin care products. Bring enough for your entire stay, or have someone send you refills.

Things like pedicure kits and facial masks are great to have when you need to feel like a woman again. After months of stuffing your feet into hot boots, sweating all day, and being recognized as just “one of the guys” for the hundredth time, it’s nice to use some downtime towards personal pampering.

Don’t forget items you need on a daily basis to stay in uniform regulations. Whether it’s a hairbrush, hairspray, ponytail holders, or bobby pins, pack more than you think you would need. There’s nothing worse than needing to put your hair up and not having enough ponytail holders. These are the types of things you carry extra of in case someone around you desperately needs one.

Your deployment will be challenging enough; don’t make it more difficult by sacrificing your small comforts. Pack your essentials, specialty items, and comforting pieces to make your bunk or dorm room a little homier. Don’t forget to bring items that can make you feel just a touch more feminine and enough for the girls who didn’t read this article.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emily Ruch

Emily Ruch

Emily Ruch was born in Minnesota and raised in central California before joining the Air Force at the age of 17. While serving in the Air Force, Emily worked in the Base Command Post specializing in Emergency Management. She didn’t travel the world as expected, but spent time in west Texas, Washington D.C., plus a short deployment in Southeast Asia. Instead of traveling, Emily spent most of her time on education, cultivating friendships with coworkers, and enjoying her surroundings. She was lucky enough to meet her husband of seven years while serving in Texas. Emily left the service after six years and began working as a correspondence coordinator for the Department of Energy. Now she is a stay-at-home-mom with her 10-month-old son and three dogs.
Emily Ruch

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1 thought on “Deployment Essentials for Women

  1. I love how you did share your great experience, and make it easy to the women who are interested to know what life is for women during the deployment time . Thank you !

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