What Soldiers Really Want in Their Care Packages

How do you know what a soldier really wants in a care package? If you're not in the position to ask the recipient what they need, use this list of care package ideas for soldiers to help you figure it out. You should ask yourself a couple of questions before putting the box together: Where is the soldier stationed? How long will they be there? What would you want to receive if you were trapped in a remote space without access to all your favorite things? And most importantly, what can you send a soldier that will boost their morale? 

Being in the military is one of the toughest jobs in the world, so the best care packages for soldiers include items that are absolutely necessary, like toiletries, personal hygiene items, and medical products (mostly foot repair items), as well as entertaining and/or personal items like comic books, a deck of cards, or memorabilia from home (letters, drawings, mixtapes, etc.). You want the recipient to be able to take care of their physical needs and discomforts by sending products they can't buy when they're away from the commissary, and you want to promote some light-hearted interaction by sending games or puzzles.

You don't need to have a friend or a family member in the military to send some care packages for troops - there are plenty of groups and websites that will guide you through the process of how to properly pack and ship care packages to soldiers. Vote up the items you consider the most important, and add any items you don't already see listed here. If you've been on the receiving end of one of these packages, please add items, and leave any relative comments in the comments section below.

  • 1
    461 votes

    Baby Wipes

    On the go, moist wipes help keep soldiers clean, especially if there isn't readily-available access to full facilities.

  • 2
    476 votes

    Hardy Snacks (Granola Bars, Chips, Crackers, Nuts)

    Portable, protein-rich snacks are convenient for soldiers on the go.

  • 3
    417 votes

    Foot Powder

    Foot powder mitigates the risks of common afflictions - like athlete's foot and other discomforts - that can happen when you're on your feet in hot conditions for long periods of time.

  • 4
    463 votes


    In some parts of the world, electricity isn't accessible. Soldiers rely on batteries to keep their portable devices juiced.

  • 5
    578 votes

    Flavor Enhancers (Seasoning Packets, Hot Sauce Packets, BBQ Sauce)

    Flavor Enhancers (Seasoning Packets, Hot Sauce Packets, BBQ Sauce)
    Photo: Checkingfax / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Adding heat or spice to their ready-made meals helps to add flavor variety.

  • 6
    443 votes

    Reading Material (Comic Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Paper Back Books)

    When there's downtime, soldiers can enjoy the written word, especially easy-to-transport materials like comics.