Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. Benji is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Mar 4, 2022

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To Sum It Up

  • Sending an Army care package requires some strategy and lots of thoughtfulness
  • Make sure to follow USPS guidelines for timely delivery
  • Include essentials from home that your soldier misses and loves
  • Be creative and unique, and think about using themes in your package

When coming up with Army care package ideas, so many things come to mind. It is hard to send everything that you want to your soldier in one, small box. You might be feeling overwhelmed about what to send in a care package, especially if you have never done it before. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about how to send a care package to a soldier.

Even though there are a ton of choices out there to put into a military care package, there are essentials that you won’t want to leave out.

In this guide, you will find unique Army care package ideas that your soldier will use and enjoy. You will also learn how to package and ship your care package properly. Read on to get an idea of what troops really want in care packages.

How to Send Care Packages to a Soldier

Before you go rushing to the store to find care package items, you need to know the ins and outs of how to package and properly ship your soldier care packages. Following these steps will ensure that your care package arrives on time and intact.

Shipping Materials

USPS provides free materials for military care packages. The kit contains:

  • Six USPS Priority Mail boxes
  • Address labels
  • Priority Mail tape
  • Customs forms

Take advantage of using the free USPS materials instead of purchasing your own.

When you are shipping liquid or powder items, seal them into a ziplock bag for extra protection. Your Army soldier can reuse the ziplock bags as well.

Try to refrain from shipping anything that is fragile, especially if you are shipping overseas.

Shipping Time Frames

If you are shipping within the contiguous United States, expect seven to ten days for your package to arrive at its destination. If you are shipping overseas, it can take two weeks or longer to get to its destination, depending on the country.

Remember to ship well in advance of the holidays, especially Christmas. If you are shipping overseas, plan to send your care package six weeks in advance.

What Not to Pack in an Army Care Package

Make sure you are not packing anything hazardous, fragile, or perishable in care packages for military members. Some items that are restricted are tobacco products, medication, alcohol, lighters, and lithium batteries.

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Army Deployment Care Package Ideas

Sending a care package to your military loved one takes some thought and strategy. You can only pack so many things into one box, and you must consider the weight of the box once you have it all packed up.

You can always send more than one box. If you do so, number the boxes, so your soldier knows how many to expect.

Another tip is to send everything in travel sizes, including snacks and drinks. This way, you can put more variety into the box, and they can take the items with them when they are out in the field.

Essentials for Military Care Packages

Food and drink items are always a popular choice for soldiers, especially those that are deployed overseas. They may not have access to their favorite treats, so sending them things they enjoy boosts morale and reminds them of home.

When packing food and drinks, stay away from anything perishable or anything that could melt or explode, like carbonated beverages.

Food items could include roasted nuts, beef jerky, granola, oatmeal, canned meats, pretzels, sugar cookies, and ramen noodles. Soldiers like to use condiments on their MREs, so you can pack single serving condiment packets, like ketchup, mustard, mayo, and hot sauce.

Toiletries are essential to the health and well being of your service member. Although they have access to these items, they are usually generic. Send your troop the brands they love.

Toiletry items can include:

  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Mouthwash
  • Shaving cream
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soaps

You can also send brand name pain relievers, cough drops, and band-aids.

Entertainment items are a good way to pass the time and can help them from becoming bored or homesick. Some items they may enjoy are magazines, puzzle books, art supplies, adult coloring books, playing cards, frisbees, and footballs.

As you can see, there are so many Army care package ideas that you will never run out of things to send to your military loved one.

Unique Military Care Package Ideas

Sending the same basic essentials can get a bit boring over time. You can liven things up by sending care package theme boxes. This makes it fun for your soldier to open, as it will be a surprise every time they get a new box from you.

Christmas Holiday Care Packages

The holidays can be difficult for veterans, especially those who are deployed overseas. Being in a different culture over the Christmas season can make your loved one feel estranged and lonely. Send a thoughtful and personal Christmas care package for soldiers that includes homemade items, not just cheesy manufactured decorations you can buy from the store.

Patriotic Holiday Themed Care Packages

The Fourth of July is our biggest patriotic holiday that we celebrate here in the states, but there are other lesser known ones that can be celebrated too. Some holidays are Constitution Day, President’s Day, Flag Day, and Bill of Rights Day.

Some ideas for a patriotic themed care package are fun items like an American flag shirt, football, mini flags, patriotic balloons, and glow sticks.

Fitness Care Package Ideas for Soldiers

Help your service member keep in shape by sending them products that are related to health and fitness. This could be vitamins, protein powder, gym clothing, pre-workout powder, resistance bands, and fitness DVDs.

Military Care Package Ideas for Females

Providing your favorite female soldier with thoughtful essentials can help her feel pampered. Some items she may enjoy are:

  • Fuzzy socks
  • Soft warm robe
  • Face mask
  • Bath bombs
  • Scented candles
  • Body scrubs and lotions
  • Essential oils (packaged carefully)
  • Haircare items

Other Ways to Show Your Support for Troops

You can help deployed soldiers take care of their personal affairs while they are away. This is one of the biggest ways to show your support without having to send gifts.

Some ideas for showing support are finding competitive Army veteran’s auto insurance plans, helping maintain their vehicle, and filing taxes.

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Conclusion – Army Care Package Ideas

Putting together a thoughtful and useful military care package can be quite the challenging task, but it’s one of the best ways we can support our troops. It all starts with making sure you pack everything correctly, send it out in enough time, and use proper labeling.

Once you have the basics down, you can start gathering items for the care package. Just make sure to not pack anything perishable, fragile or hazardous.

Favorite foods and drinks are always a hit with Army soldiers, along with their favorite brands of toiletries.

Bring your care packages up a notch by using fun themes, such as holiday and fitness themes. You can also provide some extra pampering for your female soldier while she is deployed overseas.

Sending gifts is not the only way to support the troops. You can take care of your soldier’s personal affairs while they are away. That is one of the most helpful ways you can provide support.