OK, nobody wants to be cheap when it comes to sending loved ones in the military a present, but when the rule of thumb is that you need to send enough for the whole group to enjoy the cost can add up. A mother contacted us yesterday that needed a little help in figuring out what to send for her son and how much. We figured she wasn't the only one who needed some help so we took the time to write this little guide. 

How many soldiers are you buying for? 

It's a good idea to find out how many people you are actually buying jerky for. The number of people in a unit varies depending on the type of unit your soldier is in. A fairly company platoon size in the Marines is 48 people. I grabbed these numberr off a forum. If someone knows of some more accurate numbers for different unit types please let me know. 
A fire team of 3-5 soldiers is the most basic unit 
There are 2-4 teams in a squad 
There are 2-4 squads in a platoon 
There are 2-6 platoons in a company 
There are 2-6 companies in a battalion 
There are 2-5 battalions in a brigade 
There are 2-4 brigades in a division 
Someone mentioned that a Marines infantry platoon will commonly have 48 soldiers so that is what we will use. If you can find out exactly how many you need to buy for it helps a lot. 

How much/soldier is enough? 

Generally they are going to be happy to get anything that doesn't come out of the mess hall but you can imagine jerky can go pretty fast. You will hear it referred to as "Pogey Bait" or "Geedunk" because outside foods is banned on active missions and can anyone who has it can basically use it to bribe others and "Pogeys" (non infantry personal that are generally thought of as annoyances to general infantry) to do things for them. Of course the absolute cheapest option would be to get 50 sticks of 1 or 1.5oz jerky and send those, but giving a loved one on deployment a single stick of jerky is the worst tease in the world. A typically convenience store jerky bag is roughly 3oz. We typically recommend to send at least 3oz per soldier. 

Get the most bang for your buck

The best option to get the most bang for your buck is to opt for several of our 1lb (16oz) bags and have them share. Our cheapest 3oz bags start at around $6 a piece. To feed five soldiers a 3.2oz snack you are looking at $30. By going with 1lb bags instead you get more meat and less packaging for your money. This way you save a total of $5/1lb. Since you need about 51lb to give a 3oz snack to 50 people, you will need about 10lb's of jerky. By opting for 1lb bags you save $50 before we even apply any of the bulk discounts. 

At the publishing time of this article are 1lb bags are $24.99. A 10lb order will also get you a 5% discount which would save you another $20+ for a total savings of $70. In my sample order The total cost including free shipping is $237.40

What flavors should you send?

Even if you don't know what flavor your soldier loves its tough to go wrong when you are sending them meat. But these are some general guidelines that may help. 80% of jerky eaters prefer either an original/traditional style, teriyaki, or a peppered jerky. Other flavors like hot are good, but less commonly noted as a favorite by most. If you are sending 10lb's you have the option to send a variety of flavors . I would recommend that 90% of what you send be a mix of these three flavor profiles and you can be adventurous with the last bag (someone will always enjoy the hot). You can do both turke and beef if you want as well. There are no rules around that. 

One thing to be aware. Our bacon jerky is a huge hit, but it's not supposed to be shipped to many of the country's in the middle east because of their views on pork. If your recipient is stationed in that area, I would recommend not sending bacon jerky because it may risk the packages safe delivery. 

Final thoughts

To make it easy we have put together a platoon package that makes ordering what you need extremely easy. If they fall in love with it, maybe next time they can request specific flavors (it's pretty common they will want you to reorder).