Tips for Packing Your Bags for an Upcoming Deployment

Tips for Packing Your Bags for an Upcoming Deployment

Posted by MLC Secret Squirrel Blog Writer on May 17th 2024

Now that you’ve chosen your duffle and other bags for your deployment, it’s time to start packing. However, packing for a trip for a minimum of several months can be intimidating, even if you’ve done it before.

Military Luggage Company has you covered with our guide for packing your bags for your next deployment. Below, you’ll learn more about what you can bring during a deployment, what bags you might be packing, and how you should pack to make the most of the space available to you.

What Are You Allowed to Bring During Deployment?

You’ll usually have a packing list when you’re scheduled for deployment, and your command will likely advise you to pack as lightly as possible to save space and meet weight requirements. Most of the items you pack will be related to the work you’ll do overseas, such as uniforms, PTS, and important documents. However, you’ll also need to pack essentials, including medications, toiletries, sunscreen, sleeping items, and more.

Other items that aren’t necessary but might be nice to have on a deployment include:

●A few comfort items, such as a family photo

●Reading materials

●Stamps and envelopes

●Multi-outlet cord


●Chewing gum

●Shower shoes


Remember that you want to pack light, so try not to load your bag down with any extra or unnecessary items if you don’t have the room.

There will also be items you’re not allowed to bring or should leave at home during a deployment, such as:

●Alcohol or illegal drugs


●Expensive jewelry or clothing

●Glass bottles

●Pressurized containers

●Meltable items, such as gummy candy or chocolate

●Any items you don’t want stolen or lost

●Any items you can’t carry for more than a mile

These items can either pose a risk during the flight to your destination or could create more stress than necessary during your deployment. If you’re not sure if the item you want to bring is okay, you can always ask your command for verification.

What Bags Should You Bring With You?

In general, there are two bags you’ll want to take with you on every deployment, which includes a wheeled loadout bag and a three-day backpack or assault pack. These bags will help you carry your gear and supplies and offer the resiliency needed for military operations.

You can also bring other types of bags to make your time overseas more efficient and easy. Some other bags you might consider bringing include medical bags, first-aid kits, toiletry bags, and helmet bags. You may also need specific luggage accessories, such as luggage markers, rain covers, and MOLLE-compatible pouches.

How to Pack Your Deployment Bag More Effectively

Packing for deployment doesn’t have to be hectic. Use our tips below to pack more efficiently as you prepare for your upcoming deployment.

1. Don’t Start Without a Plan

Before you start packing, create a list of everything you plan to take, from the biggest items to the smallest accessories. Having a list means you won’t have to try to remember what you need, and you’ll be less likely to forget something at home you need.

Once you have your list, you can start packing by first creating a staging area. This process involves laying out everything you plan on bringing, seeing if anything’s missing, and determining what order you should pack everything. Ideally, you’ll want to pack items based on the importance and what you’ll likely need to access first once you reach your destination.

2. Consider Weight and Bulk

Weight and bulk play a significant role in packing. You don’t want to pack all your heavy items at the very top of your bag as it can mess with the balance of the bag and damage some of the lighter items underneath. You also don’t want to pack your bulkier items at the top since you may run out of space or create other problems in the packing process.

When packing, start with the shoes or other similarly bulky items first. These take up the most space, and you can always pack items around them rather than trying to stuff them in at the end of the packing process.

When it comes to weight, you’ll want to keep the heaviest weight towards the center while keeping the lightest items on top. This method prevents lighter items from becoming damaged and helps create the best balance possible to make it easier to carry your gear and belongings.

Since you’ve created a staging area, it should be easy to sort items by size and weight. Separating your items by weight and size before they start going into the bag can prevent you from missing items during the packing process.

3. Make Clothing Items as Small as Possible

Your clothes and uniforms will be a significant portion of your packing list. You can make it easier to pack and save space by making items as small as they can get. While you can’t fold shoes or other rigid items, clothing can be rolled so they take up less space. Rolling your clothing also has the benefit of reducing wrinkles compared to folding, as long as you roll them as tightly as possible.

4. Take Advantage of Compartments and MOLLE Webbing

Organizing your gear is important when you’re packing for a deployment. You’ll want to have quicker access to some gear over others, especially in intense situations or while traveling. Organizing your supplies into different compartments can make it easier to access what need at a moment’s notice.

You may also want to find a bag with plenty of MOLLE webbing since there may be times when you run out of space inside your bag. You can use MOLLE webbing to attach more gear or storage pouches to increase your overall carrying capacity.

You’ll want to pack your extra compartments with your smaller items at the end of your packing process. Anything you’re attaching to your MOLLE webbing should also go last since you don’t want to make your bag too bulky before you’ve even finished packing the interior.

5. Consider Using Freezer Bags

It’s not a necessary step, but you can use freezer bags or ziplock bags to store some of your loose items or your clothes before putting them inside your deployment bag. Using these bags adds an extra layer of protection against the elements, especially if your bag gets left out in the rain or other wet conditions during transit.

Plastic bags can also be an effective way to travel with your loose items, such as chargers, toiletries, medications, boot polish, sewing kits, paracord, and more. You should also be using these bags to store your shoes to prevent them from damaging your uniforms, civilian clothing, and other important items.

If you’re not a fan of freezer bags, you can also use Tupperware or other similar plastic containers to store loose items and fill any extra space you might have with these containers.

6. Finish it Off with a Luggage Marker

Once your bags are packed, there’s only one step remaining. The last thing you should do is secure a luggage marker or another identifying piece to the handles or straps of your bags so they’re easier to identify on a pallet. Without an identifying marker, you can waste a lot of time trying to find your bag in a sea of bags of similar size and color. A luggage marker can make it significantly easier and faster to locate your luggage and head on your way once you reach your destination.

Discover Your Next Deployment Bag Here at MLC

If you’ve been looking for a high-quality deployment bag, look no further than Military Luggage Company. We offer a wide selection of deployment bags, including wheeled loadout bags, three-day packs, and assault packs. We vet each of our bags to ensure they meet the quality requirements of tough military operations, so you can trust that our bags are built to perform.

We also offer a comprehensive selection of bags for every military application, whether you’re heading on a mission, participating in training exercises, or going to work. Our bags also make excellent casual-use bags for tactical enthusiasts, hikers, campers, travelers, and more. Get started by browsing our complete selection or contact us with any questions!

Share this!