recommendation for a "kit" gift....


July 10, 2008, 09:36 PM
We all knew it was coming sooner or later, and today was the day. One of the guys who works for me (and is in the USMC reserve) just got his notice that he's going to play in the sand box come the end of '08.


This will be his first deployment.

I've taken him shooting a couple times now and have been trying to get him more trigger time, as his units proficiency shoots are few and far between. I also introduced him to the AK platform, thinking that I'd sure want to know how to run one if I was going there.

Fortunately he maintained his expert marksmanship qualification this May and put a bar on his badge, and in doing so was picked up for marksmanship coach school.....three weeks of fun in the sun at Camp Lejeune. So he'll go into his pre-deployment training about as ready as he can be.

Now my question:

I'd like to send him off with a really nice gift to round out his "kit" when he deploys. He obviously can't take any guns or ammo. But I've read some posts by guys getting ready to deploy, where they described spending several hundred dollars to get needed items that Uncle Sam won't spring for. I'm thinking .... lights, knives, breatheable T-shirts, etc...

I'd really like to get some specific (make and model) recommendations from guys who have been there, who can tell me what items are:
1. very usefull
2. not issued
3. 'legal' for him to take.

Thanks in advance,


If you enjoyed reading about "recommendation for a "kit" gift...." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 10, 2008, 09:51 PM
A good knife is always appreciated. My cousin (2Lt, infantry) is currently deployed to Iraq. I "lent" him a knife his father carried in Viet Nam, and had passed on to my father. They do not seem to be issued good knifes.

Another cousin gave him a Gerber multi tool, that has come in handy I am told.

His mom's company recently bought his entire platoon Eotech sights for their weapons. Another item not issued to everyone, he actually took of his govt. issued ACOG for the Eotech.

His former church got the money together and sent the platoon Surefire flashlights. They really appreciated those.

We also have had a local coffee shop ship pounds of ground coffee to them, for free. They say the coffee there sucks.

I also have taken up a collection of movies and sent them over, DVD's are appreciated. Included were instructions to pass the movies, they don't want to bring home, on to the next unit when they leave.

These folks are doing a great job over there, and anything you give them means a lot to them.

Remember him after he has been there a few months and surprise him with regular care packages.

July 10, 2008, 10:22 PM
+1 to a good multi tool

tank mechanic
July 10, 2008, 10:31 PM
I would hold off on the breatheable T-shirts. When they are around flame they tend to melt, which can make a bad situation worse.

I would buy him a good folder and a surefire flashlight. I haven't used one with the led lamp replacement, but if you ask around and get a thumbs up, then you should replace the regular filament bulb. It is very annoying when the regular filament burns out.

As for the folder I would recommend a Spyderco, because they look rather stylish and are very good cutting tools.

July 10, 2008, 10:31 PM
Send them a coffee grinder (the burr type...) and a good french press.

Remember - it's all in the grinds.

July 10, 2008, 10:36 PM
Send them a coffee grinder (the burr type...) and a good french press.

that would be high on my priority list....but this young man doesn't drink coffee (yet)

any thought on a "the real deal" Kabar?

July 10, 2008, 10:43 PM
For what you'd spend on a ka-bar, you can get a better knife. Today, they're a lot of advertising.

He -will- drink coffee. He likely just hasn't had the good stuff yet. (I never understood the film Baghdad Cafe until I figured out that coffee didn't need to come in a jar).

Knife-wise, something sturdy, good steel, that he's not going to break from using it as a pry-bar...

July 10, 2008, 10:44 PM
There's a local restaurant here that has started a donation where they send hot sauces to the troops. The walls of the building are positively plastered with grateful letters from the troops for the hot sauces. I buy a few of them and eat it on everything. It can save a questionable meal, for sure.

The restaurant, for those interested, is Tijuana Flats. Delightful food, and good hot sauces. I think you might be able to donate online. I give a few bucks every so often.

July 10, 2008, 11:15 PM
Uh Packman, you might want to let us know what city your are in, if you want us to support Tijuana Flats.

July 10, 2008, 11:25 PM
It's right next to The Wal-Mart, across the street from The Gun Show.

July 11, 2008, 10:19 AM
Thanks Bogie, If it is the place that serves free chips, I know exactly where it is.

July 11, 2008, 11:10 AM
Man I thought I was going to die from eating "the hottest" hot sauce at Tijuana flats. It felt like my throat was closing up. :what:

They are a chain that I believe just moved into the Hampton Roads area. Atleast there were none that I knew of prior to my 07 deployment. Now they seem to be all over the place.

July 11, 2008, 11:20 AM
Do some surchning for both.

July 11, 2008, 11:36 AM
A good tactical carry sling is always useful. Some folks like single point slings, some like 2-pt Giles style slings.

A good sized everyday knife is a Spyderco Delica or Benchmade 530. A couple of Swiss Army Classics are always handy.

An LED light is useful. If the Surefires are too steap, the Fenix lights with Cree high output LEDs are very nice, especially as a small, non-weapon-mounted light. A small headlamp with low output and red LEDs is also useful for chores or reading without disturbing others.

Merino wool sox are feet savers; thin running or cycling style for that climate. They stink less, absorb more. Good sunscreen. One that blocks UV-A (those rays don't burn but are more energetic at causing kin cancer). Neutrogena ultra dry lotions with Helioplex, or Blue Lizard with titanium or zinc pigment are a good way to go. Several pairs of cheap clear and tinted safety glasses as they will get lost, broken, or borrowed. Spare camelback tubes, bite valves, and bladders. Electronic earplugs.

For downtime, a small short wave radio might be nice.

July 11, 2008, 11:37 AM
This is based on an Army deployment, I'm not sure what exactly the Corps get issued.

Things I bought, or wished I had, prior to coming here:

Good Gerber. (the issue one is horrible)

Good Folding Knife. I like spring assisted, and nothing more then about $60. It needs to be good, but you're gonna mess it up so don't bring an Emerson.

Holster. M9 holsters as issued blow. I like my Blackhawk SERPA, (and it comes in USMC tan).

Optics. I got an ACOG, and love it, but I know some guys that got the CCO and bought an EOtech.

Good Socks. 'Nuff said.

Cofee Grinder. Definatlly. Everyone laughed at my hand crank untill I made coffe on the exhaust manifold of a HMMWV in the middle of nowhere.

IPod. The 160 GB one. And all the music and movies I can stuff on it. Seriously it's more boring over here then anything else.

Good hot sauce and condiments. If it aint Texas Pete, It ain't in the Mess Hall. And they don't cook for flavor here.

Books are always good if he likes to read. (Can Marines read?)

SureFire. Lots of bulbs and batts for it over here.

Also the mag pouch that goes on an M4 buttstock seems to be popular.

July 11, 2008, 11:40 AM
Wasn't there a big deal recently about how they liked BoreSnakes over there? Maybe a couple of them would be nice.

July 11, 2008, 01:03 PM
I would go with the a good head wrap/ baklava type of thing and wrap around shades. The green tinted goggles they issue are near worthless after the first sandstorm.

July 11, 2008, 01:45 PM
1. Knife (useful)
I have a Kersahw folder that you couldn't pry away.

2. Multitool (very Useful)

3. I-pod (legal to take & gift card for more songs works too)

4. Journal (Legal)

5. Quality Flashlight. (essential & impossible to get - there)

- Semper Fi -

July 11, 2008, 03:14 PM
After he gets there, send cookies, lots and lots of cookies. We had a friend that went a couple of years ago and my wife sent him 6 dozen or so every month, his whole outfit was VERY grateful!

El Tejon
July 11, 2008, 03:20 PM
The multitools I have been sending over have been extremely well received. The boys all write and say they that send have several so they can trade.

The biggest hit I scored was when I sent an entire box of those Photon II lights. Get a cardboard box lined with bubblewrap and buy some of those "bug" lights or their knockoffs and fill up the box.:D

Bailey Boat
July 11, 2008, 03:31 PM
I had a niece over there and she (and her friends) appreciated "fresh" fruit. We would buy it here and then vac pack it and ship. She said it always arrived in very good condition and was a treat. Before she was shipped over I made sure she had the Surefire LED, spare batteries and a Leatherman Wave. She knew if she could think of anything else all she had to do was to drop Uncle Bill an email and it magically appeared...... The least I could do, considering what she was doing for me.......

July 11, 2008, 03:38 PM
As controversial as it sounds, my buddy said send american cigarettes. Even if you're friend doesn't smoke (he's a Marine, so I'm sure he does haha) My friend said good American smokes are tough to find so he can trade with them.
He's spooling up for round two, and he has been all over the Blackhawk website. He got a different drop-leg holster (I don't think his unit carries M-9's though. they're Spec Ops) and a Blackhawk compatible, camoflauged pouch for his digital camera.

July 11, 2008, 04:25 PM
How are they as far as hydration purposes and such go... Would Camel backs be appreciated... Quality cleaning materials for their firearms would have to be a top on their lists... Some break free and bore snakes would probably be a God send when out and about...

El Tejon
July 11, 2008, 04:30 PM
I sent an s load of cleaning stuff to the 1st Cav when that article in SGN came out. I would think cleaning supplies would be appreciated as well, patches, Q-Tips, lube and bore cleaner.

July 12, 2008, 01:16 AM
read through a long kit post on ARFCOM and got many good ideas....

I suspect some of the items desperately needed in 2005 are now issued.

Also sounds like many opportunities to blow money on stuff that doesn't get used or worse, gets in the way.

I'll have to ask him Monday whether he's thinking this far ahead yet. (He just found out Thursday and is still trying to calm down his women folk).

He seems very level headed about the whole affair.

I'm trying to encourage him to look at the deployment as an opportunity to see the best of the corps. and to re-discover the reasons why he joined up. Up to the present time, he's been pretty discouraged by his experiences at his reserve unit.

Just Jim
July 12, 2008, 02:24 AM
Well the PX at most of the bases has anything someone could need like knives and tools etc. Unless it is a special order. Life there is a day to day grind with alot of heat and long hours of work. Carrying anything extra really drags on you.

Things I saw that the troops should have is alot of money cause things at the PX cost alot more than here. Also Phone cards for calling home, minutes out of the px are four times more bucks than you pay here. I took a costco phone card and used KBR lines and saved myself a ton of money.

Lot's of baby wipes to give yourself a fresh cleaning when you can't get to the shower is handy (on the road). Everyone who goes over there comes down with a flu called the Iraqi crud but I bet the military will give antibiotics for that.

Lot's of insects that bug repellent would help ward off. The bugs give you disease over there and you want to make sure you give em repellant. Good sunglasses that keep the dust out really helps, the glare at 117 degrees is unbelieveable. I bought some that had interchangeable light and dark colored lenses for night missions, Wiley X.

Tell him thanks for his service.


July 12, 2008, 03:37 AM
I don't dip, but as an Air Force guy attached to Army units I bring two or three logs of stateside Copenhagen and Skoal in the cardboard cans when I link up with a new unit. Kind of a peace offering to the Army guys as most don't really think too much of getting AF EOD types until they work with us for awhile. For some reason dippers love the stuff in the cardboard can.

Cigars/cigarettes packed in the small Pelican 1040 and 1060 cases. Pelicans keep them from dying out in transit. When they are gone the Pelicans are good for storing stuff.

Got any old board games you aren't playing? Axis and Allies has always been popular. In fact we have a running game going on right now. Anything that takes days or weeks to play.

Tactical gear is kind of a personnal thing but most companies offer gift certificates, go in with a bunch of other folks for them as $20 doesn't really get you much.

Knives are the same as gear and really fall down to personal preferance. Spyderco has always been a favorite of mine for folders but I have been known to carry anything from a CRKT to an Al Mar. Benchmade Nimravus for a fixed blade, I have found that to be about the perfect size for most of my military needs. It replaced a Cold Steel SRK that has seen so much use cutting explosives that you can't get it within 100 feet of a K-9 EDD. Poor dog doesn't know weather to sh1t or go blind after one whiff of that thing.

For Surefires, the Aviator with the red LEDs is very popular but expensive. I loved mine until I left it on the roof of my HMMWV and donated it to the local Afghan Army guys. The smaller E1 executive is a GREAT little light. I have used that little light more than all my other thousands of dollars worth of Surefire goodness combined. Just make sure you get them the RED or BLUE filter caps too.

Ziplocs, magazines and hard candy as padding. I use car air freshners for my hootches, yup just regular old green pine trees hangin' infront of the AC or Heater. Helps cut down on the smell of sweaty FAB.

As for the synthetic clothes like Underarmor. That is up to him. I have personnally say to heck with it and wear them anyway. If the blast and frag of the IED doesn't get me than the 2 frags, 1 thermite, 1 smoke, penflares, 500plus rounds of ammo and the 2.5 lbs of C4 on my body is going to make sure the UA doesn't have much time to melt. I weighed the risk vs the gain and made my decision. But I get to play by big boy rules and as he might not be so lucky your best bet is to just ask them.

It may sound strange but if he is operating way out in the middle of no where some collapsable pails and a no kidding washboard with good old fashioned clotherspins. Been there, done that; burned those t-shirts and uniforms before I came home.

Food for thought.

If you enjoyed reading about "recommendation for a "kit" gift...." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!