Marine Corps Boot Camp: Top 5 Tips For The Crucible

Marine Corps Letters From Boot Camp
Written by Kevin Webb

The hardest aspect of my Crucible was the weather. Read my story here. Outside of the fact that the puddles turned to ice and the mud was frozen… the actual Crucible isn’t that bad. I can’t say whether going through in the extreme cold is worse than going through in the extreme heat, but going through the Crucible in January was no fun. If you’ve never felt the beginning stages of frostbite, just imagine sticking your feet in a bucket of broken glass, and then churning it.

At any rate, here are a few tips for the Marine Corps Crucible.

#5 – Drink Water
You’ll be told this more times than you care to hear, and they will make you sick repeating it, but the last thing you want is to dehydrate 3 days before getting your Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

#4 – Come Together As A Team
The Crucible is testing you… and the recruit next to you. Teamwork is essential in completing the crucible and overcoming the various mental and physical obstacles that you will face. Don’t try to meet the challenges alone.

#3 – Wear Mole Skins
Elbows, knees and feet. Trust me. Your elbows will get rubbed raw from all of the low crawling, especially once sand starts getting in your sleeves. This is probably the best advice that I was given before boot camp. I’m just passing it along.

#2 – Take Care Of Your Feet
Ever hiked 50+ miles with giant blisters on your feet? Don’t take care of your feet during the Crucible and you’ll know exactly what that feels like. Change socks, keep your feet clean and dry. Wipe them down with baby wipes and change socks at least once a day. Two to three times a day during hot or wet weather.

#1 – Don’t Quit
You’ll at least think about it at some point, especially in two degree weather. Just stay focused on the goal of beating the Crucible and crossing the finish line. It’s really not that bad if you have fun while you’re out there.

About the author

Kevin Webb


  • thanks for the tips! I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog. It’s been good to get a firsthand insight into what I’ll be facing in the coming months.

  • I am the Mother of a current Marine Recruit at MCRD San Diego. He will facing the crucible in a few weeks so I will pass your advice on to him. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your world.

  • I enjoyed reading the blog, from a person who just experienced it first hand.
    I shop out to Parris Island in June.
    So i’ll be doing the crucible in more than likely 95 degree weather

    • I’m not sure what’s worse… freezing weather or 100 degree weather. I will say that I have never felt pain like I did training in below freezing temperatures. Your feet, hands and face feel like someone is crushing glass through your skin.

      The heat will bring the sweat. BE SURE to hydrate or you’ll become a victim of the silver bullet. You can guess where they stick it.

  • Shannon – I’m also a ‘recruit mom’! What platoon is your son in?
    Kevin – thank you SO much for sharing your experiences! I can’t believe you broke your foot, but it’s even more incredible that you continued on in that condition! I pray God’s blessings on you and your family, and for a speedy recovery! Enjoy your time home! 🙂

  • Kelly – Hotel Co. Platoon 2163 Grad. Date 3/5. You can connect with my e-mail address if you find some of my posts on the web-site. (screenname sdmPDX)

  • i just graduated from parris island on september 3rd platoon 3068 mike company, and the crucible for me was definetly the worst thing i have ever experienced. looking around into everyones eyes and just seeing defeat was bad, but the fact that it was hot, then it rained both thursday and friday made the pain in your feet so much worse because you could not keep them dry. the drill instructers loved yelling “INCOMING” right when we were in a giant puddle. when my platoon got back to the squad bay after the eagle globe and anchor ceremony, i think it was 15 people that were bedrest for that day and a handful were on crutches for a day or two. three people were dropped as heat casualties, and one guy, went through the whole crucible (including the hike back) then once we got to the ceremony, just pretty much passed out, and we found out later both of his kidneys failed and he spent the next week in medical. thank god he still graduated with us. just thought i would share my experience in the crucible in the summer as opposed to the winter i really don’t know which is worse. now i just have mct to look forward to haha

  • Drink water drink water and drink more water. I didn’t and I paid the price I was so worried about staying busy and going 100 mph all of day 2 that I let myself get dehydrated which left my legs cramping up so bad I could barely make it up the reaper and ended up finishing behind my platoon. As far as the temperature goes I’d much rather do it in 100 degree weather than suffer the cold you went through.

  • By the time you make it to the Crucible you should be mentally and physically prepared for the harsh ordeal. I graduated from Mike Company, Plt. 3048, June 22, 2007, Parris Island. My biggest problem during the Crucible was lack of sleep. I only got about 4 hours of sleep during the entire 54 hour time period (really it is longer than that because after completing the 54 hour exercise it is morning upon arriving back at the barracks and you have another 16 hours or so before hitting the rack). Main thing to keep in mind during the crucible is taking care of your feet and drinking about 1 canteen per hour of water. Also, take each obstacle one at a time and do not concern yourself about being tired or hungry. Focus on what needs to be done and helping your fellow recruits and the Crucible will fly by and not be that bad. Also, advice for the hump back to the barracks at the end of the Crucible: make sure your Mollypack is as tight as you can get it without cutting off circulation and wear at least two pairs of socks to avoid painful blisters.

  • My Son is at Parris Island now and i want to thank you for your personal tips I will pass them on to him.

    Thank you so much. This site helps mother’s cope and understand what they can do for their son/daughter and understand what they are going through.

  • My 22 year old son is in Day 1 of the Crucible today. He is starting it with a bruised ankle. I hope and pray that it holds up and he finds the strength to see it through to the end. The waiting and not knowing is going to be difficult but is nothing compared to what he is doing today, right now, as I am typing.

  • My son is at Camp Pendleton and he is 3rd Battalion Mike Company, Platoon 3267. In the letter I received yesterday he asked if I could let him know how many miles the crucible is. This was more than enough information and I thank you for this blog! I got tears reading it! He graduates July 22nd! I’m so very proud! Thanks again!!

  • my son starts the crucible 6 hrs time . God knows it is and sounds harder then anything I have put my self through . . but with the bootcamp letter we have sent and recieved . I know he will do very well . Damn proud of ya son !

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