Soldiers Explain Which Things They Wish Civilians Would Include In Care Packages
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While serving our country, soldiers are deprived of certain things that they were used to having as a civilian. They don't exactly have stuff like candy on the battlegrounds, so receiving packages with fun things is always a special treat. Here are some things that our troops crave the most while they're deployed.

u/ImNotF*ckingSerious asked: Soldiers of reddit, what are things that the military doesn't provide that would be good for people to send in care packages?

Thanks, Nigel.

My parents sent me a box just absolutely stuffed of snack sized "experimental" Taki flavors. Best thing I ever got. Next was a generic note from a 3rd grader named "Nigel" said "I hope you can see your family again". Kinda murdery, but the intent was good, everyone in the squad got a laugh.

Also disclaimer, I was only in Norway which made the note all the more hilarious.


The letters from kids are always the funniest. My favorite one was "Good luck in the next war." Little guy must have had some insider info...

Edit: found the letter


Good to know.


Make sure your care package isn't for someone in training, they might not be allowed to use those products.


My aunt sent me fuzzy pajamas and a box of chocolates to boot camp. She could not understand why I got in trouble for them and had to throw them away.


That's inventive.

I turned 40 while deployed and received a care package from my wife that had a fully inflated Mylar balloon, which I thought was pretty damn nifty and creative. The box had other stuff in it too, so it wasn't suspiciously light, yet when I sliced it open (thank god I didn't slice through to the balloon) up floated the colorful Happy 40th! balloon. Made my week.


Don't pack food with soap.

What ever you send PLEASE do not pack any soap or detergent in the same box as food. We got some really big boxes that had packages of detergent and lots of candy and all of the candy tasted like tide.


My father in law made me a few lbs of deer jerky long ago. The wife added a few bars of dial to the flat rate box and ruined every bite. I still ate it. I regret nothing.


Hot sauce makes everything better.


Condiments such as hot sauce.

Food is not always bad but it's very predictable. Hot sauce makes it much better.


Just make sure you wrap the bottles really well. Postal centers overseas tend to just ignore "fragile" during the shipping and handling process.

Also, the hotter the better. Daring each other to test the hottest sauces we can find is great entertainment.


The best care packages ever.

I've seen a few of these on here already, but I will reiterate for the important ones:

  • Beef jerky. Any kind of jerky, honestly. Tuna fish too. Sounds weird, I know. Sometimes that quick shot of salty, greasy fish will keep you going. It comes in single serving bags, way better in the field than cans.
  • Hot sauce. One of the best care packages I ever had the pleasure of was nothing but 16 bottles of different types of hot sauce one of my buddies got and we all shared. Not joking, seeing what was in that box when my buddy opened it is one of the best memories I have of the war.
  • Baby wipes. When I was deployed I went out on a few extended missions, sometimes for a week or two. I took a shower in the field once. One time.
  • Things have changed a lot in the last 14 years, but I loved getting DVDs. I don't know what the equivalent would be in 2020.
  • Visine. I discovered this too late for it to have been helpful for me. To this day I still occasionally have dreams where my mouth and nose and eyes are completely clogged with dry sand and no amount of me trying to get it out helps. My eyes at least would have loved me discovering visine long before I did.
  • Magazines. The print kind, not the bullet-holding kind. Anything from smut to housekeeping, it doesn't matter. National Geographic was my favorite, and it ages well.

This was specific for me, I just wanted to share it: My girlfriend used to put a small note on anything she sent me. Message simple and sweet, and she'd leave a kiss in lipstick on it and spritz it with her perfume. I don't think I ever told her how much that meant to me. But damn sometimes that really got me through. I still have some of those notes.



My parents sent me a care package full of cheap toys once. Dart guns, noise makers, little toy army men, a small etch a Sketch etc. We all played with the toys for a day or so and it was entertaining, and afterwards we gave all the toys to local kids who enjoyed the hell out of them.

Saw a kid 3 weeks later who made the etch a sketch into a weird necklace. Looked a little like a 3rd world version of Flavor Flav. Kinda made me feel like not all is bad in the world.


Now I'm just laughing my butt off thinking about some 3rd world kid running around shouting "FLAVOR FLAV!!!!"


Better than a woobie.


My all time favorite was a church group where each contributor made a blanket representing their home state. I still have that blanket and NO ONE, not even my girlfriend is allowed to use it. It's draped over the back of my reading chair in the library. It's even better than a woobie.


"It's even better than a woobie."

Now now now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.



Someone sent us two rum cakes. Wrapped in cellophane, still moist and delicious. That was a golden, sunlit moment amid a dreary and painful deployment.


We sent Christmas cake... It was so moist with the rum we got them merry....and then sick .... But they all loved it..


This is nice.

Send spicy ketchup from Whataburger

386 ELRS/CSS Unit 61408 APO, AE 09855/1408


I'm on it buddy, I have some time tomorrow. Anything else you want?

All needed items.


Batteries. You wind up having half as many as you need, and it gets you mad. Command want you mad, so you take it out on the enemy.

Cards, travel games, dice. Not only is it nice to have entertainment that doesn't need batteries, but can be stored in a pocket, and sometimes traded or gifted to a local as goodwill.

Baby wipes. Does it need to be stated why these are good and useful?


There's a reason why they have PTSD.

I knew someone who was infantry in Iraq so I sent his squad a crate of Gatorade powder. Like enough to make vast quantities of the stuff when mixed with water. According to him they had water but not nearly enough electrolyte replenishment. It was very well-received.

I also made the mistake of sending him a cheap digital camera (this was slightly before phone cameras were any good) for him to keep, and asked him to send pictures. He did, and some are horrifying beyond description. I have no idea how anyone can *not* get PTSD after living through that.



I was always grateful for care packages when deployed, but 2 hard lessons learned:

  1. Booze shipped in an emptied mouthwash bottle (like rum) still tastes like Listerine, no matter how many times you wash out the bottle prior. Made us super sick.
  2. Bar soap, included in box with food goodies, makes said goodies taste like soap.



Porn mags, loads and loads of porn mags.


Good point.

High quality toiletries.

Soldiers will generally always have access to basic hygiene supplies but rarely the nice, name brand stuff. Those sorts of things can really make someone's day.

When sending a care package remember that you're trying to make someone's deployment less miserable, not providing for their basic needs. Please don't send stuff like razors from the dollar store. While the thought is appreciated, that sort of thing usually sits unused in a pile at the MWR.

So things like nice, Gillette razors, electric toothbrushes, nice tissues that don't aggravate your nose, high-quality running socks and underwear, manicure kits (just the kinds with clippers and nail files, no polish), boot insoles, salon shampoo and conditioner, high quality skincare products, etc.

And don't forget the women. Tampax pearl tampons are extremely popular. Smaller sizes of nice socks and underwear. Brushes and hair ties. Face masks. But try to avoid super scented stuff.