Care Packages for Deployed Marines: Content Suggestions


Avoid sending toiletries with pump-style dispensers. For many Marines, travel-size toiletries or smaller containers are prefered for storage and easy portability.

  • Baby Wipes for personal hygiene
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Liquid body wash
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Shaving cream
  • Disposable razors, electric razors, battery-operated razors
  • Toilet Paper
  • Kleenex (Travel size packets)


  • Sunblock, Aloe Vera
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Eye Drops (to relieve irritation from blowing sand)
  • Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex
  • Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers
  • Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages
  • Q-tips
  • Feminine hygiene products for women Marines
  • Jock itch spray
  • Boot liners/insoles
  • Lotrimin AF or other anti-fungal creams for athlete's foot
  • Foot Powder
  • Moleskin


  • Envelopes, paper, pens
  • Small pads of paper
  • Preaddressed labels and/or envelopes
  • Notebooks (a size they can keep in a pocket and keep dry)
  • Postage stamps if they want to mail items larger than an envelope & letter


  • Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
  • Photos from home
  • Cigarettes, chewing tobacco
  • Newspaper clippings, comics from Sunday's paper, news from home
  • Books, Magazines
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglass wipes
  • Socks, Socks, Socks!
  • Underwear, socks, T-shirts
  • Boot socks
  • Boot laces
  • Tactical Duct Tape (try to send military green, tan, black, dark gray; avoid lighter colors)
  • Electrical tape
  • Flashlight with a red lens
  • 1- and 2-gallon ziplock plastic bags


  • Frisbee, Nerf Footballs, Hacky Sack
  • Deck of cards
  • Handheld games


Please send non-perishable foods only. Send small containers of items. Large packages won't stay fresh and are harder to ship. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil or MELT, it's a good thing to send! Downplay the sugar. Items that are hydrated are heavier; i.e. ravioli versus ramen noodles. Some camps have methods to heat and hydrate, others do not.

  • Coffee, hot cocoa mix, coffee mixes, tea
  • Lemonade mix, Koolaid mix, Tang mix, Gatorade mix (pre-sweetened)
  • Gum, Lifesavers, Mints
  • Nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, trail mix
  • Power bars, protein bars, nutritional bars
  • Beef jerky, beef summer sausage (non-perishable; labeled USDA Beef)
  • Small bags of snacks or individually wrapped snacks
  • Pop Tarts, cereal bars, "milk & cereal" bars, granola bars
  • Cookies, Homemade Cookies
  • Candy and candy bars (chocolate will melt)
  • Torengos and canned nacho cheese dip
  • Jalapeno velveeta and crackers


Pocket Size, Travel Size

Keep the items small: pocket-size, travel-size, sample-size are ideal. Remember your Marine has to pack this around, and if he/she is in a unit that may be mobilized, they're going to travel light.

Foot Care Is Crucial!

Send socks, socks, and more socks! Check with your Marine for color and style. You'll be safe with black, boot-cut socks. However, in many locations Marines are asking for white, boot-cut socks. Also send anti-fungal creams and powders for athletes foot.

Pack Items in Individual "Lock-Style" Baggies

Use plastic bags with zip-style closures for everything (like ziploc™ bags). The "freezer" bags seem to be more sturdy than regular storage bags. These will keep items from spilling and/or keep leaks from other care packages out of the items YOUR Marine's package.

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