Christmas is around the corner, and you might have a loved one serving in the armed forces who is stumping you on a gift. For parents, especially, it’s often the first time your kiddo is no longer at home, and you may feel a bit disconnected from their needs and wants. Today I’m here to help by providing you with a Christmas gift guide aimed specifically at military members.
Admittedly, the armed forces are a pretty diverse group with a variety of jobs. With that in mind, I crafted this gift guide from my own experiences and what helped me when I was in the military. The lessons I learned in my service follow me to this day, and even now, I make use of the same gear I did back then.
Rite in the Rain book and pen
On my first day in the fleet, my machine gun section leader hit me with a “Do you have a notebook? Well, why not?” He then told me exactly what to buy and where to buy it. I marched my butt to the 7-Day store and purchased a Rite in the Rain book and Rite in the Rain pen. To this day, I still use Rite in the Rain products, so thank you, Corporal Drury.
As its name implies, the notebook features water-resistant paper and the pen water-resistant ink designed to write on wet Rite in the Write paper. It’s simple but very effective. The books are made to last. I wish I could find my previous books full of notes from missions, patrols, training briefings, and more. I do know I chewed through these books during my time in service. From improvised maps to silently passing messages when noise discipline was absolute, I always had one on me. To this day, I still do.
Related: Writing and sending deployment letters to your loved one
Good socks – Darn Tough socks
I used the cheapest boot socks out there until, midway through my first deployment, I got an Any Marine box. These were donated care packages that packed all manner of donated goodies. In mine, I found a pair of high-quality socks that changed my life. After that, I learned the importance of good socks. Nowadays, my current daily wear always includes a piece of clothing made of merino wool, with Darn Tough socks being my absolute favorite.
Merino wool socks, in general, are fairly affordable these days and do seem to last for a long time. Darn Tough just takes it a step further. If your loved one is in any combat arms field, Darn Tough socks will survive the hikes, patrols, and rigorous training they are put through. Honestly, if you are scrambling for something and nothing else on this gift guide works, get them good socks. Everyone can appreciate good socks.
A decent multitool – Gerber Suspension
Multitools are a godsend for your servicemember. While the military has plenty of office jobs, the majority will require some form of grueling work. In that case, a multitool is one of the handiest pieces of gear someone can ever have. There are lots of great tools out there, and I’d suggest any made by Leatherman, Gerber, or SOG. For the purpose of this gift guide, I’m suggesting the Gerber Suspension.
The Gerber Suspension is a medium-sized tool that covers all the basics of everyday carry. It’s easy to pack but gives you a ton of different tools in a fairly small package. This multitool is tough and made to resist corrosion. Plus, it tends to be on the affordable side.
A good watch – Casio G-Shock
The military officially endorses nothing, but the Casio G-Shock might as well be the official watch of the United States military. The Casio G-Shock lineup offers you an affordable but robust digital watch that will easily go through everything your servicemember goes through. A good watch can be a huge help when in the military.
Even though we all have phones that double as clocks, there is a reason a watch makes its way to our military gift guide. Phones aren’t tough, and you likely won’t be bringing one on deployment. Their batteries also die quickly compared to a watch and they have giant screens that light up, which is a great way to reveal your position. A phone can’t go into a secure area like a SCIF. In summary, watches are still very much needed by the average military member.
A robust flashlight – Streamlight Sidewinder
Throughout my entire time in the Marine Corps, I carried a Streamlight Sidewinder. It proved to be excessively handy. Dealing with the dark is part of military life, and so is dealing with the lack of civilization. A good light goes a long way, and the Sidewinder provides you with a rock-solid light for admin uses like reading a map, setting up a bivouac, or just finding your boots so you can stand watch.
You wouldn’t use the Sidewinder’s light to search for a bad guy but for the more common tasks it works great. It offers you a white, red, blue, and IR floodlight. You can easily change the brightness of the light and even set it to SOS mode. It’s also tough. As I said, it made it through two deployments, including trips up mountains, through the Helmand river, and plenty of ship-to-shore excursions.
The military gift guide for all servicemembers
I hope you’ve been able to find a thing or two from our gift guide for the military member in your life. If your loved one is an experienced servicemember they might have some of this good stuff already, but maybe not, and even when all else fails everyone loves good socks.
Happy holidays everyone. I hope your Christmas is merry and bright.
Patricia Hunter says
Thank you for the suggestion they will be waiting for him when he graduates for boot camp And thank you for explaining why and what they do .