Military Care Package Ideas



What do soldiers really want in care packages?

Below is the answer to what gifts are the best care package idea for Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen... yep, the best things to send troops.


Great Military Care Package Ideas for Troops Overseas!


The Question:


“What to put in a military care package to my Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine?”, differs slightly in different situations, but if you want to just make sure the troops gets what they want or need in any situation, then skip to the 3rd category… “Gift Deployment Ideas to Send to Troops All Year Round

It’s easy to take the little things for granted. For most Americans stocking up on snacks, writing paper, handy wipes or Pop-Tarts is as simple as heading to a convenience store, but for troops stationed around the world - nothing is easy about it most of the time.


Pack for Travel


When choosing gifts, make sure you choose the travel sizes when possible.

If sending any type of bottle or liquid, make sure it is a travel size TSA approved. - No Aerosols please.

There's also a good website at  that shows great insight into what TSA will approve.


“... limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.” ~ quoted from


Fantastic Feelings


Getting a care package from home can be a SUPER morale booster for any deployed service member.

Your service member will loooove anything you send, but some things are more useful than others and some things can't be sent at all.


What Deployed Troops Really Want in Their Care Package


Before putting together your service member's care package, find out what he or she wants. Then check to see if there are restrictions on what you can send in that country…. See USPS restrictions by country and USPS general restrictions.

Below are ideas that service members have already stated that they want or need..


Cold Weather - Deployed Care Package Ideas


Send these items if your service member is stationed in a cold climate.


  • Disposable hand/foot warmers.
  • Long underwear
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Stocking caps
  • Chocolates are fine only during this time. Otherwise they melt.
  • Hot beverage mixes like:
    • Cocoa
    • Instant coffee
    • Tea bags
    • Creamer


Hot Weather - Gifts for Deployed Soldiers


Send these items if your service member is stationed in a hot climate.


  • Powdered drink mixes or flavored Mio
  • Bandanas
  • Wash cloths
  • Wipe rags
  • Handy Wipes - Baby Wipes
  • Sunscreen


Gift Deployment Ideas to Send to Troops All Year Round


BEST OF ALL - Military Gift Ideas


A LETTER, from you, your children, the kids at church or school, is THE BEST THING to send. So the following list represents the good juicy stuff:


  • Hand-written letter
  • Children’s drawing
  • Photos
  • Jokes you know
  • Your children's art projects or schoolwork.
  • A small scrapbook filled with mementos from home.
  • The Sunday comics from your local newspaper


Materials for troops to write back


  • Writing Paper
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Envelopes  (Don’t worry about stamps, they have free postage back to the US)




  • Coffee - Instant, unless you know they have a coffee pot
  • Coffee Creamer
  • Powdered drink mixes - single serve Gatorade
  • Mio or other liquid drops
  • Tea
  • Electrolyte replacement drink mix




Travel size - Well packed from manufacturer - Don’t send pork products


  • Snacks/Energy Bars - Balance or Clif brands
  • Tuna fish kit
  • Sardines
  • non-perishable beef jerky
  • beef summer sausage - label must say USDA Beef
  • Breath mints
  • Canned cheese
  • Canned chips
  • Canned salsa
  • Dips
  • Nuts
  • Microwave popcorn - if they indicated they have access to microwave
  • Dried fruit such as raisins and apricots
  • Pretzels (canned)
  • Pudding
  • Fruit cups
  • commercially packaged trail mix
  • Cereal - Single serve
  • Hard or non-melting candy
  • Oatmeal (instant)
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Soup mix
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Chex Mix
  • Granola Bars
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Canned Fruit (pop top cans)
  • Cereal (in small boxes)
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Twizzlers
  • Sugar packets
  • Ravioli (pop-top cans)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Small bottle of barbecue sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Individual packets of condiments


Games - R&R (Rest and Recreation)


Find the small travel versions


  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Dice
  • Frisbee
  • Nerf footballs
  • Yo-yo’s
  • Dominoes
  • MP3 Player
  • Headphones - Ear buds
  • Paperback books
  • Magazines - CAR, Popular Science, Woodworking - learning subjects - non-religious
  • Puzzle books
    • Sudoku
    • Crossword
    • Seek and Find
  • Playing cards
  • media storage disks
  • Board games
  • Velcro dart game
  • CD Fanny Packs
  • CDs
  • Tapes
  • DVDs - new and used
  • Hand held electronic games
  • Books (novels, short stories)
  • Newspapers (local)


Toiletries - Hygiene 


Send in ziplock bags and purchase travel size (TSA approved) - push air out of Ziplock bags before sealing.


  • Baby Wipes
  • body wash
  • Vapo-Rub
  • Lip balm
  • Halls throat drops - Cough drops
  • Pain-relieving topical cream
  • Tylenol, Motrin, Advil or Aspirin (Packets Only)
  • Feminine Hygiene Products (for female soldiers)
  • Nose spray
  • Eye Drops  - non-prescription, moisturizing
  • Deodorant
  • Foot Powder - is always a hit
  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Hairbrushes
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hair brush/comb
  • Hand Sanitizers (waterless)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Manicure Kit
  • Q-Tips
  • Razors (disposable)
  • Shampoo
  • Sunscreen
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • soap
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash (without alcohol)
  • Deodorant
  • Neosporin
  • First aid kit
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Mole skin and blister packs
  • Cotton Balls





Please do not send religious or bright colored items


  • Boot Socks(cushioned thick soles high calf ) [black, green, brown, tan… NOT white]
  • Shoe Insole Cushion
  • Bandanas
  • Sunglasses
  • Pajamas
  • Boots
  • Underwear
  • Baseball caps
  • Gloves
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Tshirts - [black, brown, tan… NOT white]


Other - Miscellaneous good stuff to send


  • Plastic utensils
  • Febreeze - travel - water based
  • Journal to write in - small - Flight Deck Cockpit Journal is often requested
  • Beanie babies - The troops hand them out to the local children sometimes
  • Travel pillow
  • Sheets - twin
  • Small Flashlight
  • Balloons
  • Can Opener
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Lens cleaning cloths
  • iPod loaded with movie or music
  • Phone cards - AT&T, cards from AAFES work the best
    • (The AAFES Exchange not only supports active-duty service members, but also military retirees and families.)
  • American Flags (small)
  • Plastic Bags (with zip lock)
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, D, C or 9 VOLT)
  • Sewing kit
  • Small digital camera with extra sd card
  • Duct Tape
  • Disposable Cameras
  • Flashlights (mini/mag lite, extra bulbs, lots of batteries)
  • Headlamp Flashlight - fits on head - with extra batteries
  • Fans (battery powered – small – with extra batteries)
  • Fly Strips
  • Fans - battery powered (small) with extra batteries
  • Insect Repellent - travel size (must be packaged in Ziplock bag [which can be re-used])
    • - DO NOT send items or repellent with DEET. DEET is dangerous. Instead please send items that contain a non-harmful bug repellant such as Citronella, which is easily purchased as oil or spray.
  • Fly Swatters
  • Mouse traps
  • 13 gallon white trash bags
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Laundry detergent tablets
  • Flash Drives or Thumb Drives (for computer)
  • Wind-up alarm clock
  • Multi-tool



So, this should give you a good idea of military care package ideas you could send. Go ahead and make a checklist. Purchase those items, and I’ll guide you through the rest…

Here's the link on How to Pack a Military Care Package


Military care package restrictions... what NOT to send.