What They Really Need: 60 Military Care Package Ideas

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It has been a long time since we wanted to do this post. 

While your loved ones are deployed overseas or currently in bootcamp, sending a care package is one of the best way to show the love and care to them. 

Getting a taste from home in a care package is a pain reliever for both the soldiers and their family. 

We’ve listed all the things in our mind that your military spouse may need physically and mentally.

If you have no clue what to pack in the care package for your sweetie or for soldiers you’ve adopted, you will find some inspirations in this post.

We’ve also gathered some valuable ideas scattered around forums, social media and random places on the web from veterans or their family. (The details surprise us a lot.)

If you are a new or future Milso, you will have a better understanding of what they really need and get your military care package ready in no time. 

So let’s dig in.

1. Food and Snacks

Cookies – Nothing’s better than homemade cookies. When it comes to sending them overseas, packing is the key. You would not want your hubby to open the box and find them in pieces. Here’s a post from Heather that demonstrates how to pack them perfectly.

Chocolate Bar Hot cocoa – We’ve originally put chocolate at top of the list because of it’s tasty and can lift up one’s energy level pretty fast. Unfortunately, we’ve seen soldiers complaining about how chocolate melts and get messy in hot weather. So we’ve changed it to hot cocoa that is easier to carry around but still tasty.

Hard candies and gums

Life Savers 5 Flavors Hard Candy Rolls, (Pack of 20)

Sauces and seasoning – It depends on what your sweetie love that he/she may not be able to get overseas. Sauces from his frequent local restaurant will also be great for it will remind your soldier the taste of home. Preferably sauces in small packs for easier consumption and storage. 

Most popular: Taco Bell hot sauce / Ketchup / Salsa

Tea bags – To add flavor to the water and also help to keep them energized and in a clear mind
Protein bar

Iced oatmeal cookies – Rich in carbs and fiber and they won’t melt in hot weather)

Beef jerky

Instant soup in a cup – fast, easy to make and store.

Snack crackers – Choose the favor his love

Breakfast cereal – better go for those with individual packs

Mixed nuts – Choose those that are packed in small bags like this one from Nut Harvest
Sunflower seeds

Energy drink – Better go for those that are in smaller containers

Granola bars – We love those from Nature Valley with a whole bunch of different flavors to choose from
Ready-to-eat dry salami – pick those that don’t need refrigeration (like this one)  because fridges are not accessible in some troops.
Small tins of salmon, saline or oyster

Dried fruit mix – preferably packed in small bags. (we love those from Sun-Maid)

Water flavor packets –  the place where your loved ones are deployed to may not have clean and pure water supply and the taste of water can be unbearable. So getting a little extra flavor to it will be a great help.

Peanut butter
Ramen noodles – Who doesn’t love ramen. It will be even better to send it with the instant ramen cooker that gets everything done in a minute in microwave.

2. For Entertainment

Books – Novels, comic books and anything that may take the stress off temporarily or give them a great laugh. 

Be extra cautious about sending a bible. Due to religious policies, it is NOT allowed in some countries and will get your whole package hold up.

Kindle – Fill it with the books he may love in case no wifi is available in troops. (compare models and price here)

Cellphone hard-drive – Loaded with his favorite movies and music and photos from home 


Board games –  Those like the Voting Game is not only a great pass-time but can also strengthen the bonding among soldiers.

the voting game - board games for deploy soldiers

3. Personal Hygiene

We’ve noticed that some soldiers and their family complaint about the shortage of hygiene products in troops, especially in the recent 2 years. 

So here’s a list of everything they may need including the very basics. (Tell us in the comment if we miss anything:)

Paper Tower

Toothbrushes / Toothpaste 

Toilet paper

Body wash 

Shampoo / Conditioner

Hand sanitizer

4. Personal Care


Body powder


Lucas Papaw Lip Balm – Can be used as a lip balm but can also treat insect stings, heat rash and cracked skins. Definitely a must-have.
Tide Pods

Scentless baby wipes – for wipes and deodorant, it’s better to go for the scentless ones for strong scent may expose the soldiers in the field.

Nail clippers
Lens cleaner – For keeping the goggles clean and clear
Q-tip – For cleaning the rifles 
Decorate your box with creativity (image source)

5. Clothing and Linen

Boot Socks 


Multiple packs of clean underwear


Clean sheets

Pillows –  It is said that some troops are now not offering pillows and sheets anymore or those provided are of poor quality. So if possible, send them clean and comfy ones to ensure a good night of sleep.

6. First Aid

Zinc Oxide Ointment – in tubes, never send them a large jar

Eye drops / Eyewash 

Contact lenses – It depends on whether they wear them as a habit. Get those that they used in the past but also send daily disposal lenses as well.

Hand and foot warmers – Temperature could vary immensely in certain areas. It’s considerate to send them warmers in the care package. Always choose something that is easy to carry and activate like this one. Shake to activate and the warmth lasts for up to 10 hours.
Pain relieving cream – Icy hot or any other good-quality brands
Waterproof bandages 

7. Sentimental Things For Mental Support

A hand-written letter – We know that if your loved one has access to a cellphone, it would be easier to keep in touch with them. But it’s always a good thing to write them something that they can touch and feel. It would bring tears to their eyes.

An Open-when Package –  Life in troops can be difficult and there will always be ups and downs. Though you are not there with them, you can still cheer them up.

You can DIY your own or get this done-for-you printable open-when letters.

A calendar filled with your pictures together
Drawings from kids – Nothing tops this for a father or a mother.

Skype gift cards –  If they have access to the Internet, you can now video chat with each other. 

8. Military Care Package Restrictions

There are something that you cannot include in the care packages for troops.
In most cases, when you use USUP, things like alcohol, cigarettes and any kind of explosives are 100% prohibited
Check out the full list of USUP shipping restrictions here.

9. How To Send Out Your Military Care Package?

The first thing you want to have is the free USUP care package kit. 

The kit will contain flat rate boxes, tape, address labels and custom forms.

Click here for more information.

So here you go. We surely hope that this post help you to get your military care package done. 
Have anything else to add? Leave us a comment!

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  1. Pingback: Military Care Packages – Modern Latina Mommy

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