Best Gifts for Soldiers

Best Gifts for Army Soldiers according to Military Veterans


Even if I'm myself a military veteran I thought it would be a great idea to ask other vets to establish the ultimate list of Best Gifts for Army Soldiers. This way, you can get a good insight on what will really please your lucky soldier.

Having served 11+ years as a Mountain Infantry man in one of the world's greatest country I can guarantee that my contacts and I have been through enough sh*t to know what a soldier really needs.

Soldiers are a particular kind of people: they aren't like normal humans... they embrace pain and when their mind and body orders them to stop they just ignore it.
They are asked to always better themselves, physically and intellectually. Determination is one of their greatest qualities and you admire them for that. You want to let them know you do by offering a unique gift. From which they will both appreciate your consideration and benefit from.

Types of Gifts for Army Soldiers

So first and foremost you have to know there are different types of gifts that you can offer to a military man:

  • The Utility / Practical Gifts (best for serving soldiers)
  • The Memorabilia Gifts (best for vets - retiring soldiers)
  • The Care Packages (best for the away from home soldier)

In this post we'll dive into the first category: the gifts that your soldier really needs, those that will make his life easier and make him thank you everyday for it.
If you are interested in one of the other categories just click on it 🙂

We opened our soldier notepads where we used to write down our shopping list and selected the must buys while leaving on the side the items that are not worth it.
Indeed, the tactical market is big business and products come out everyday, but what are those that actually bring value to the soldier ?

Let's find out !

Short on Time? Here Is The Bullet List:

Tactical Backpacks

Hydration System

Tactical Gloves

Gadgets

Best Gifts for Army Soldiers
(Voted by 17 Military Veterans)

After interviewing many trusted brothers in arms we organized all the data into categories and came up with an idea of what type of gifts soldiers are into, check it out:

Wearable Essentials
56%

Gadgets
49%

Learning Experience
37%

Competitive Experience
32%

Weaponry
20%

It is no surprise to find Wearable Essentials at the number one spot, as this category includes all the stuff we carry all day and what we have has a lot of room for improvement (technology, weight, aesthetics, customization, etc).
At second place comes what most people think of buying at first: Gadgets, they can bring a lot of comfort in the life of a soldier and make it much more pleasant.
The bronze medal goes to Learning Experiences from which soldiers can improve their skills and have a great time doing it.

But what does these broad categories include ? Let's see what the veterans have to say !

Best Wearable Gift Ideas for the Military

 

We originally compiled all the votes and ordered the gift ideas by order of recurrence but it make little sense since what you should buy depends on the needs of the soldier.
Did he just tore his combat gloves ? Does he own the latest Camelbak or will he benefit from an upgraded version ? etc.

In any case, you can't go wrong with the best wearable gifts for a soldier, as they have been mentioned by the vast majority of veterans:

Any of this kind of gift is very likely to please the lucky soldier.
But once you settled for one (or more) gift category you still need to find what's the best item in the said category. This is where our knowledge and field experience comes into play, check it out:

The Best Tactical Backpacks

 

There are so many tactical backpacks out there but the thing is, many of them are just cheap copies of quality brands. Unfortunately many websites tend to recommend some of these replicas for profit gain instead of promoting the stuff that will last a lifetime and that your soldier will always keep.

When choosing a tactical backpack it is of paramount importance to consider it's versatility, comfort, weight and design.
Indeed, all of these domains allows us to analyze the smart design of the pack and its pockets, the fact that it is designed for the field and/or urban environments, check the airflow, the shoulder straps padding, the customization options, and much more.

This list is updated as soon as necessary to consider new products, brands and technology innovations.

5.11 Rush12 - Best Every Day Tactical Backpack

The 5.11 Rush series (12, 24, 72) are overall great backpacks their difference being their size, each being designed for 12 hours, 24 hours or 72 hours on the field.

The Rush12 and Rush24 are particularly interesting as everyday backpacks thanks to their adaptable size and excellent versatility.
You can easily carry this pack on the streets without getting weird looks, it's highly customizable thanks to it's molle webbing all over it and it's full of well-thought pockets (16 compartments !).
It also includes an admin panel for organizing and a hydration pocket which are not included in all backpacks.
It is made from 1050Denier nylon fabric, which is one of the toughest fabrics in the world. On the less brighter side it also means the fabric is heavy.

To sum it up, the 5.11 Rush12 is a great durable and quality all-in-one solution at a great price.


TAD Fastpack EDC - Most Versatile Tactical Backpack

The Triple Aught Design (TAD) Fastpack EDC is a bigger backpack but it has every option you can think of, even a roll top waterproof compartment !

You can see at first glance that this backpack is the king of versatility, it was designed with combat and mountaineering in mind. You can attach stuff pretty much anywhere and even bulkier items like a rifle or helmet can hold between the backpack and the added molle panel.
One of our favorite characteristics of this pack are probably the concealed ambidextrous "Flashlight Caves" that give you immediate access to key items without removing the backpack. 

However the TAD Fastpack EDC lacks some basic features like a hydration pocket or just even separation pockets in the main compartment. You'll have to buy a "Control Panel" for that adding to the cost of an already expensive bag ($340-$390).


Maxpedition Riftcore - Best Organizer Backpack

The Maxpedition Riftcore has a unique design thanks to it's semi hard front pocket and the ATtachement LAttice System (ATLAS) that Maxpedition developed to better weather resistance.

This backpack features all the latest improvements and raises the bar for the next tactical bags to come.
It includes a multitude of compartments, pockets and straps, two hydration bladder ports, and a stowable padded waistbelt.
And that's not it, what we liked even more about this backpack was the molle with velcro inside the bag and the CCW compartment with double security closure in which you can safely store a gun or get to it quickly.

There's not much space for custom patches though, but some might argue that it's more than enough.
The Maxpedition Riftcore is priced just between the Rush12 and the TAD Fastpack EDC.

The Best Hydration Systems

 

There are two kinds of hydration system setups: those you carry in a bag and those you attach to the plate carrier.
Buying the latter is the smartest move because it will also be useable in a backpack.

The best setup to have is:

  • Durable hydration bladder
  • Insulated pouch
  • Hydration bladder pouch

There are a lot of hydration packs out there but the truth is it's unnecessary weight and wasted space. With a hydration bladder pouch that you settle on your plate carrier you can carry a backpack over it with no problem.
Now imagine having your hydration system in a backpack during a mission, you never know what can happen and if your bag is not with you for whatever reason you're f*cked.

Our recommendation is to get this minimalist but durable setup:

Source Razor 3L - Best Hydration Bladder + Pouch

The Source Razor 3L includes a pouch and a hydration bladder. The bladder is one of the most durable in the market but that's not the only reason why we recommend it.
The fact that it has been designed in a square form instead of the common vertical rectangle allows a slimmer design increasing comfort while riding or under a backpack, and makes it easier to operate in tight spaces.

The pouch itself is already insulated and has an easy disassembling system if you need to get it quickly. You've probably also noticed the MOLLE webbing on top of the pouch allowing you to add other accessories.
The Razor carrier can attach to the plate carrier using the MOLLE system, or thanks to it's 4 D-rings.

Check out this video for a more in-depth review:


To sum it up, the Source Razor 3L is an excellent all-in-one solution and there's even a velcro strip to hold ID tags or small patches. It is available in coyote and multicam.

The Best Tactical Gloves for Soldiers

 

The main difficulty when buying tactical gloves is to know whether your soldier prefers full fingered or fingerless gloves.
So pay attention to his equipment or simply ask him what he likes.

When choosing a shooting glove you need to consider the fit, the durability and the ability to keep as much dexterity as possible.
Using bad gloves will make getting into pockets, writing, dialing, handling doorknobs, etc,  slow, unreliable and frustrating.

Here's our list of the top 3 tactical gloves for soldiers:

This list is updated as soon as necessary to consider new products, brands and technology innovations.

Mechanix M-Pact
The Best Overall Tactical Gloves

Magpul Technical
The Best Technical Tactical Gloves

Ironclad Tactical Operator
The Best Underrated Tactical Gloves

Best Gadget Gift Ideas for the Military

In the military, we love gadgets, they have an essential role in what we do but there's an infinity of them and focusing on those that are worth it can be quite difficult at times.

We brainstormed it and came up with a list of the best gadget gifts for a soldier.
You'll find the best item of each category next to it:

Best Experience Gifts for Soldiers

 

As we've seen at the beginning of the post, one-time experience gifts are a great idea !
Whether it's a skill learning experience or a competition a soldier will always want to improve himself so why not encourage it ? It requires a bit more planning and organization, but if you have time this can be a great unique gift.

Here are our recommendations:

Best Learning Experiences

Best Competition Experiences

  • Tough Mudder
  • GoRuck Challenge
  • Marathon

The End !

A MASSIVE thanks to the veterans who contributed to this roundup!
The objective was to answer a very requested query: "What are the best gifts for soldiers ?"
We are happy to provide valuable insight from competent and experienced vets to guide you through your choice.

Please share and comment if you think we forgot something !

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