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: Apr 19, 2022

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To Sum It Up

  • Sending a Navy care package requires attention to the details of their situation
  • Send your sailor things they can use while serving on a ship or aircraft carrier
  • The ship store only carries the basics, so send their favorite essentials
  • It takes more lead time for packages to arrive at sea, so ship packages in plenty of time

When you are thinking about Navy care package ideas, the items you send will depend on if they are out to sea or not. This makes for a unique situation as they don’t have the options like they would if they were on land.

Getting mail while deployed on a ship is very exciting for the sailors. It takes special deliveries from helicopters to get the mail out to the ships and aircraft carriers. This gives you a chance to send your sailor something really special that can brighten their life.

In this guide, you will get some great ideas for what to send your Navy service member while they are away, and also how to package and label your shipment, so they receive it in a timely manner.

Deployed Navy Care Package Ideas

It’s always fun to receive mail from a friend or family member while serving our country, but it is even more exciting to receive mail when you are a sailor who is on the open sea.

When deployed on a ship, there are special necessities you can send the sailors that will help their everyday comfort and morale. Think about what it would be like to be at sea for months at a time, and send them appropriate items. Some helpful essentials you can consider packing are:

  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Dramamine
  • Patriotic hat
  • Chapstick
  • Moisturizing cream
  • Aloe gel

You can send all of their favorite toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soaps, deodorant, and razors. Send the toiletries in a mesh bag, so they have something to carry them to the showers. Throw in a couple of extra towels and wash cloths, and a pair of new shower shoes now and then.

There are more essentials you can send to your sailor that you wouldn’t normally think they would need. Sailors can always use “Battle Rolls” which are toilet paper rolls. Sometimes the berthing cleaners forget to restock toilet paper on the ships. You can also send wet wipes, just make sure your sailor knows not to flush them, as they can gum up the plumbing, especially on the smaller ships.

Food and Drink Care Package Ideas

There is usually a store on the ship for military members, so they can get some snacks and drinks. However, your sailor might be missing their favorite items, as the stores only provide the very basics.

Some food and drink ideas:

  • Beef jerky
  • Roasted nuts
  • Chips and dip
  • Pretzels
  • Canned meats
  • Ramen
  • Mac ‘n cheese
  • Granola
  • Oatmeal
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Kool-Aid packets
  • Water flavorings

Make sure that when you are packing food and drinks, that you do not send anything that can melt or spoil, or any beverages that are carbonated.

Clothing Care Package Ideas for Deployed Sailors

There won’t be any shopping options for clothing when your sailor is deployed on a ship or aircraft carrier. They will need extra clothing essentials if the washers break down on the ship, and some outfits for when they visit port. They will also have downtime and will need casual clothing as well.

Make sure your sailor has plenty of clothing essentials, such as several pairs of socks, underwear, and undershirts.

Khakis, non-offensive shirts, and jeans are good choices for when they are at port.

You can also send them things they can relax in during downtime while on the ship, such as shorts, sandals, and t-shirts.

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Boredom Busters for Navy Sailors

When out to sea, service members face the challenge of going stir crazy. Although they will be busy most of the time while onboard, they might start to develop cabin fever, especially over long periods of time.

You can help them fight boredom by sending them thoughtful entertainment items that they can do on their own or share with their fellow service members.

Sporting balls are very popular among sailors. While on deck, they can throw around the ball with their friends and have some friendly sporting competitions. Baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, frisbees, and tennis balls are good boredom busters. Make sure to send several as they tend to go overboard quickly.

Games are always fun entertainment that your sailor can share with comrades. Playing cards, dice, small board games, and poker chips are a hit.

You can send them entertainment items that will remind them of home and bring them to a different space in their mind. Some ideas are:

  • Comic books
  • Fiction novels
  • Puzzle books
  • Hobby magazines
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Art supplies
  • Adult coloring books

Themed packages are a lot of fun for them to open, such as a Christmas themed military care package ideas.

How to Send a Care Package to a Sailor

You will want to take extra precautionary steps when sending your care package to your military member, especially for those at sea.

There will be extra handling of your care package while being delivered to the ship, so make sure to package everything with extra care. Use lots of cushioning, so items don’t break in transit. Avoid shipping anything that is fragile, and place liquid or powdered items in a ziplock baggy to deter any leaks.

Always use the USPS Priority Mail materials for your care package. USPS offers a free Military Care Package Kit that includes several Priority Mail boxes, tape, labels, and customs forms.

Be aware of restricted items, so your package does not end up delayed or returned. Restricted items include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Lighters and lighter fluid
  • Tobacco products
  • Alcohol
  • Perishable foods

Shipping Lead Times for Care Packages

For typical Priority Mail care packages, soldiers receive them within three to seven days while serving in the contiguous United States, and around two weeks while serving abroad, depending on the country.

However, there are many extra steps taken to deliver mail to aircraft carriers, ships, and submarines. If you are sending a care package for soldiers that you want to arrive before a specific date, add up to two weeks of lead time.

The holidays get very backed up in the shipping system, so add even more time during the holidays. It is recommended to add one additional week for domestic shipments, and two additional weeks for international shipments, on top of the additional time needed to reach the ships.

Conclusion – Navy Care Package Ideas

It is always exciting for service members to receive care packages for military from their loved ones, but it is especially exciting for a sailor to receive a care package while they are out to sea.

Sailors don’t have access to shopping other than the ship store, so pack their favorite toiletries, essentials, and snacks.

Send items that will be beneficial while on a ship, such as sunglasses, sun block, and moisturizers.

Cabin fever can be a big problem for sailors deployed at sea, so send boredom busters like games, movies, magazines, and sporting goods.

Always follow the most up-to-date guidelines from USPS and use their free packaging. Add extra cushion inside your package as there will be more handling than normal.

You can always provide additional support to your sailor by helping them with their personal affairs while they are away. This could be anything from maintaining their vehicle while deployed to insuring their car while overseas.

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