Tag: care package for basic training

Working In The Winter

A Life Outside

Most people only have a vague idea of what servicemembers actually do day in and day out. Images of the men and women of the US armed forces tend to be centered around battles, boot camp, and maybe even a half-remembered episode of JAG. And although all of those things do happen, aside from JAG officers who look like Catherine Bell and David Elliot, they only tell a small part of the story. In order for any of the exciting heroics people associate with the military to happen, a lot of preparation must come first. And most of that preparation happens outside.

Train as You Fight

To begin with, it’s important to remember that the military is basically always training. They train with firearms. They do physical fitness training. They run obstacle courses. They conduct drills, field ops, and all manner of training exercises to ensure their bodies are ready when they’re needed. On my scariest day in Afghanistan, I could tell you almost word for word my entire panicky inner monologue. I was in the kind of situation where people freak out, and I was freaking out. Without proper training, I would have been a liability. I would have gotten myself hurt or killed at best, somebody else hurt or killed at worst. But because of the constant training, my body was able to act independently of my panicking brain. I didn’t need to think about what I needed to do. I just did it automatically while I was losing it.

Command Maintenance

The only thing that might be more important than constantly training is constantly maintaining equipment. A panicking soldier can drive away from a firefight. A broken vehicle can not. Every day, the military is inspecting, maintaining, and repairing equipment. Everyone from the official mechanics to the desk sergeant of the S-1 has had to do their part in maintaining the equipment that has been assigned to them. 


Almost all of this work is done outdoors, regardless of the weather. A common NCO joke is that “if it ain’t raining, we ain’t training,” meaning that unless training is happening in a torrential downpour, then it doesn’t really count as true training. During the winter, that means soldiers are out all day in the cold. Military-issued fleece caps and jackets, as well as long underwear, help to keep service members warm as they work. There are two major challenges this causes though. 

Limits of Protective Gear

First of all, not all of the work is conducive to protective winter gear. Some nuts, bolts, and screws need to be screwed into hard to locate places soldiers have to find by feel. That means no gloves. And if it is wet at all where a soldier is, whether by snow, ice, or rain, the protective gear becomes useless quickly.

Cold Weather, Hot Work

The other challenge is that the gear that keeps a service member warm can cause them to overheat when doing physical labor. If it isn’t safe to remove a jacket due to it being below freezing, a soldier has to deal with all the problems of hot weather and cold weather all at once.

Helping Our Heroes

Winter is a tough time for our men and women in uniform. They will have to work in the cold, all season long. Sending them a nice gift of tea or coffee could go a long way towards helping them get warm after a long day’s work. And a nice soothing bath can warm them up and let them fix any of the skincare issues the cold causes. Our heroes are working hard this winter. Help them take care of themselves with My Hero Crate.

Basic Combat Training Care Package Wishlist

Send a Military Care Package to Your Hero

When you dropped your son or daughter off at basic combat training, the first step in their military careers, you probably wondered what their next 10 to 16 weeks would be like. You hoped they were prepared and had everything they needed to succeed.

Now that they’re on base, you treasure the brief phone calls or quick letters you receive from them. Of course, you want to send them surprises to keep their morale up as they work hard at boot camp. But not all units allow care packages–and some put strict limitations on what can be in them.

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of items your new military member would like to and can usually receive in care packages during basic combat training. Remember that your soldier has limited space to store their possessions.


Clothing Items and Accessories for a Soldier Care Package

  • White calf-length socks without logos of any kind
  • Brief underwear in white (Some units allow for brown, tan, or black as well, so check with your trainee)
  • Sports bras for women (Check for specific color requirements, but usually white, brown, tan, or black are acceptable)
  • Digital watch (black watch bands only)


Army Care Package Hygiene Items (for Navy, Air Force, and Marines, too!)

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Unscented hair gel
  • Unscented, unflavored lip balm
  • Unscented hand lotion or body lotion
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers, without a built-in file
  • Facial tissue
  • Disposable razors for men only
  • Unscented baby wipes or flushable wipes
  • Unscented bar soap
  • Dental floss
  • Unscented stick deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Unscented laundry soap
  • Moleskin patches for blisters (available at your local drugstore)
  • Black hair ties/ponytail holders for women only
  • Lotion-style shaving cream (not in cans)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Foot powder


Stationery Items for Military Care Packages

  • Small address book, pre-filled out with family and friends’ mailing addresses
  • Black ink pens
  • Pencils
  • Journal
  • Black permanent marker
  • Plain white lined paper
  • Plain white envelopes (you can self-address and stamp them, if you’d like)
  • Stamps


Other Great Items to Include in a Care Package for Basic Combat Training

  • Religious medallions or a rosary
  • Plain black or silver combination lock
  • Cash ($50 or less)
  • Shoe inserts
  • Sugar-free menthol cough drops
  • Sewing kit
  • Tasteful personal photos
  • Bible, Quran, Torah, or other religious text
  • Icy Hot
  • Petroleum jelly


Prohibited Care Package Items

The military does not allow soldiers to possess certain items during basic combat training. Do not send these items, because they will be confiscated.

  • Ammunition or explosives (live or expended)
  • Cameras or other electronic items, including MP3 players, and radios
  • Food or beverages of any kind
  • Flavored cough drops
  • Flavored lip balms
  • Cosmetics of any kind
  • Scented lotions, colognes, perfume, or after-shave
  • Civilian clothes or eyeglasses
  • Hair products aside from shampoo or clear hair gel, including hair dryers or curling irons
  • Jewelry (wedding bands are approved)
  • Matches, lighters, and tobacco products
  • Weapons or sharp objects of any kind, including pointed scissors and pocket knives
  • Medications or health supplements, including eye drops
  • Braces (for knees, ankles, wrists, etc.)
  • Books or magazines
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Liquid bandage
  • Games or gambling items (including dice, playing cards, etc.)
  • Any item valued more than $50
  • Military memorabilia 

The list of prohibited items is not comprehensive, and allowed items vary by unit. A good rule of thumb is, if your soldier asks for a specific item, he or she is probably allowed that item, and it is OK to send it.


Choose My Hero Crate

When your soldier-in-training graduates from basic combat training and heads off to their assignment, send them a gift from My Hero Crate! Your newly-minted soldier will know you’re thinking of them as they protect and serve their country. Shop our thoughtfully-curated collection of military care packages.