9 Essential Items Soldiers Should Have in Their Barracks Rooms




1. Water filter


Photo: Youtube.com

Soldiers drink enough crappy water in the field when a lieutenant decides the platoon needs to practice using iodine tablets. While relaxing in the barracks, they need a decent filter. Pitcher filters allow the water to chill in the fridge, but faucet-mounted units provide water on demand.

2. Headphones


Photo: US Army

No one wants to hear their roommates’ music, movie, or video game, so headphones should be on everyone’s list.

3. Coffeemaker


Photo: Youtube.com

For a cup of coffee before PT, the DFAC is no help. Plus, coffee in the room is great for troops during lazy weekends when throwing on a hoodie and walking to chow is too much work. A cheap coffee maker allows a soldier to create their own brew on demand. For those under strict barracks policies against coffee makers, French presses aren’t forbidden and are nearly as easy to use.

4. Hot plate


Photo: Flickr.com/George Alexander Ishida Newman

The DFAC won’t serve grilled cheese at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning when soldiers are craving it. Hot plates with a couple of pans allow for diner quality meals at home. For those who only grill, griddles allow for mass production or George Foreman grills are good for chicken and hot dogs. Keep an eye out for inspections however, since few commands allow hotplates. Some barracks now have stoves, so troops there can just buy pans.

5. Rugs (or a carpet for the swanky)

Rugs and carpets hide a lot of the stuff first sergeant looks for on the floor, and they grab up lots of the hair and debris that forms dust bunnies. Plus, carpet is more comfortable on sensitive toes after a long ruck march.

6. Vacuum


Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nohau

Of course, carpets and rugs necessitate vacuums. There’s only a few hundred square feet to cover though, so a cheap vacuum is generally fine. Roombas can wait until the soldier marries out of the barracks.

7. Family photos, whether of a real family or not


Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Evil Erin

Units want to see that soldiers are settling into the barracks, and that means personal items should be up on the walls. If the family is normal, the trooper can put up actual photos. For those with hot sisters and creepy roommates, a trip to a stock image site could be helpful. Just print and frame.

8. Plunger/Toilet Brush


Photo: Youtube.com

Troops go to the field, even the human administration folks. They are fed MREs. They need a plunger, and they need a toilet brush.

9. Tons of cleaning wipes and air fresheners


Surprise inspections center on a few things. 1. Dishes in the sink. 2. Dust accumulated on ledges. 3. Smells. The dishes are simple enough. The best way to deal with dust and any odd smells is to stock up on cleaning wipes and air freshener. The wipes make cleaning the lips of door frames and the fridge easy, dealing with the dust. Air freshener helps the room at least smell clean so first sergeant will move on to the next area.

EXTRA BONUS: A hot tub.


Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

Because that’s how you win at barracks life.

classedit2 David Nye – Staff Writer at We Are The Mighty

David is a former Fort Bragg paratrooper who deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.


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  • Joe BLow


    • Narmvyguy

      Double dat!!

      • Maniac

        When soldiers complained about being uncomfortable we were told that we weren’t in the comfort buisness, suck it up and move out.

    • wgi5491

      Huh is right. – In my time (in service) I had my weapons, a bunk, cloths and a compact stereo. WE had to travel light and quick. No computers, no fancy smanchy nothing. WE had to survive on our ability and creativity which meant – No toys.
      (which meant) – ” if you had anything to play with – it was with yourself.

  • Wtf

    I can post about this pointless dribble while you shut comments off on the important topics.

  • retired462

    Had to laugh at the first picture of the DI pointing the bunk out, and the kids standing there with their hands in their pockets. Maybe it was just a tour (hopefully), but, would never happen in the real world. At least not the world I knew,

    • Lucas

      They look like parents to me.

    • Dawn

      Absolutely not, that DS would have been all over them..

    • Justin

      Definitely not a Drill Instructor. That’s a Drill SERGEANT. If you called a Drill Sergeant a Drill Instructor in the Army they will crawl down you’re throat rip your tonsils out then the punch them back in so you can scream Yes Drill Sergeant!

    • guest

      The ladies are wearing name tags,so my guess is they are visitors.

    • Andy Anderson

      That is for Damn sure, even inthe Air Force.

    • Korea 52

      Amen to this Brother. There must be a bunch of puds in the Army now.

  • 11CP5

    Seems the military has sure changed from my day.

    • clay

      I just finished basic and AIT last year and I assure you, this has got to be some kind of satire.

      • htlk

        Never had anything like that back in 1966..man you slept with 60 other guys in the room..

      • Leonard


    • Andrew

      I think it’s decetive since they used a basic training picture when they’re talking about actual duty stations.

  • clay

    I think that’s my freaken drill Sargent from basic at Fort leonard wood!

  • Ret MSG

    Sounds like they are wanting to be in the boyscout instead of the Army! They need to quit babying these troops and train them old school!

    • Dennis

      I agree. The old school way is the BEST way.

    • michaelzwilliamson

      This isn’t basic, it’s regular duty stations, and the barracks are much better than they used to be.

      Yes, yes, we know you ate dirt and were proud to eat it, after sharpening your flint spear by hand and mucking out the mammoth stalls uphill both ways on the glacier.

  • EdC

    You get caught with any of these in your barracks other than the photos and you got a lot of ‘splaining to do. I saw ‘dishes in the sink’ and almost fell out of my chair. Maybe Mr Nye had that with the 82d Airborne, but those of us that were in SAC only had a sink to shave in. It wasn’t big enough for dishes. Has the military really gotten that soft?

    • Fred

      Not solders anymore, it’s a civilian with an army job.

    • Dan

      They have 4 bedrooms connected to a common kitchen now.

      • Lenny’s Mom

        HUH? I was a WAC back in the day. We did not even have it that soft.

  • Cat

    I never pass the inspection hahaha

  • Cat

    I would never pass it that is. haha

  • Whiskey

    Fairly certain this is meant for laughs. And looks like parents… They can get a tour of the barracks at bct after family day.

  • Gaspipe

    I was on active duty during the Vietnam era when the US military was treated like trash by the American people and during the hippie movement. One thing we always had in the barracks back then were plenty of rolling papers and roach clips. Some of you old people remember those days.

    • Lee

      Yes- smoking on the porch steps of the wooden barracks.

    • James

      Gaspipe, don’t bogart that joint, pass it over to me.

      Jim E. Novak

      • Lenny’s Mom

        Puff, puff, pass ;-)

  • FichenDich

    I see the “problem” ! The date line is July 1, NOT April 1 ! Is it three months late, or nine months early ?

  • ssg,H L. gipson USAR

    What army is this, I have never heard of such things we had what we were issued or we did not have it.
    there are things that are more important and if you did not go to the chow hall you did not eat, things are too slack.

    • michaelzwilliamson

      Fun fact: Nobody cares what you were issued.

      Not all posts have a DFAC.

      Troops work duty shifts that don’t match a DFAC schedule.

      Soldiers are human beings and eat snacks on occasion.

      I guarantee there were hot plates, microwaves, toaster ovens and coffee pots as far back as 1983.

      So you’re either full of crap or full of crap.

      • Lenny’s Mom

        You are VERY wrong. The only way we made grilled cheese sandwiches was on an ironing board with aluminum foil and an iron.

        Wherever you were (dreamland) it was the Army I knew (Viet Nam Era).

  • Dave Lower

    No wonder the incidence of PTSD and Suicide in today’s military is so high. Our tent at Keesler Field
    in Feb of 1942 didn’t have a floor to put a carpet on—-just cold wet sand with water puddles here and there. We didn’t even have a light bulb, not to mention a place to plug in a coffee maker. At Keesler If you qualified for a tech school you were out there. As a result I went through World War II and the Korean
    War without ever having any basic training. In addition to that, they military had the wrong blood type
    on my dog tags for both wars. Dave Lower

  • Ed Zachary

    In the late 60s and early 70s USAREUR decreed that all soldiers needed to have a can of tooth powder as part of their field kit. Of course, this was only there for field gear inspections, because (1) the only place you could buy tooth powder was at the PX, (2) No one actually used tooth powder, nor had anyone actually used it since maybe World War II, and (3) Since no one used it, and a full can of tooth powder would leak messy white powder on your field gear, all the cans were empty, or if the 1st Shirt was a dufous and picked up the cans to see if they were empty, they were refilled with sand.

  • Ed N.

    It’s got to be a joke. Coffee makers & hotplates? Those were fire hazards. Candles? Open flames?

  • Mike Mahar

    Since when did soldiers wear class A rank on field uniforms? Look at the E-5 in the picture about headphones.

    • Todd Lower

      Maybe squad leader during basic training? I seem to remember sleeve rank armbands.

      • SFC Perez

        They are attending a military school looks like Warrior leadership course WLC. Students attending that type of course wear that type of rack, looks like he is in a teamleader position.

    • Linda Lou

      I’m not sure what to make of that. It seems to me, he is out of regulation. They have their rank sewn in the front.

    • Greg

      Acting sergeant in Basic or AIT.

  • RedWolfeXR

    Actually a small kitchen area wouldn’t be a horrible idea. Its another area they have to keep CLEAN so its not like its that big of a deal. You do see them on remote stations, just not that often otherwise.

    We had small fridges back in the 80s, but no hotplates, coffee or froufrou water filters. We did have a coffeemaker in the platoon office though.

    Headphones WOULD have been nice, but most of the troops when I was in had pretty serious systems with big speakers. More than one set of stereo wars — the PX did good bidness in speakers. That was pre-flatscreen TVs so it was a big stereo and a little TV.

  • GeoW

    Mop and bucket, dust mop, buffer, wax, no female DI’s, foot lockers, inspected regularly, wall lockers, inspected regularly, fire guard, Kiwi, smoke em if you gottem… Am I dating my service?

  • patrick

    I think this is actually a commercial designed to sell this crap……who needs it.
    Patrick Hughes
    Lt.Colonel, (Ret)
    27 years Service.

  • rickb54

    I can’t believe that you actually wasted your time writing this crap, and I wasted my time reading it. However, if this is todays Army.. I am glad I retired back in 1991.. when we had a “real Army” Just saying!!!

  • Rich

    Iodine tablets? Really? What, did this guy serve during the Spanish-American War?

    • BILL P.


      • Rich

        Everybody knows what they were used for. Nonetheless, iodine tablets haven’t been used in decades. Do you really think they’re still running around “practicing using iodine tablets”? This article was supposed to be about TODAY’S military, not the Army from half a century ago.

  • Marilyn G.

    Women Marines back in the early ’50s didn’t have it easy, either. But we sure were proud to be among “The Few, The Proud”.

  • Chester Field

    Never saw this in my day in the military. It seems as if they want the men to still believe there are at home.

  • Fastphil

    What happened to my army? It looks like it’s full of candy asses. Is Being in the barracks full of guys swearing, farting and talking about getting laid a thing of the past?

  • Jo

    All you guys (an assumption…
    re: gender) crack me up !
    I’m a previous Air Force RN ()(female) reservist so I always had it easy as it was a time of peace.
    But… as I read, I thought this has sure changed (!).
    But…OK…if that’s what they want !…I could send them one of those, and one of these, and Ooo that would be nice too !
    So gentlemen, (I assume again )
    be careful what you wish / ask for. There are way too many of us out here just wantin’ to help out our strong brave SERVICE MEN + WOMEN ! Just saying. And of course, always THANK YOU !

  • Edward

    Ur kidding. Not in Vietnam —spoiled bunch!

  • tony g

    you got to be sh–t-ng me.we had it tough at fort dix,we should have got a medal copared to what hey have now!

  • David

    You young pups and your fire sticks that make loud noises and shot metal balls! In my day, we had hard tack and hand to hunt for our meat. We slept under the stars and had to provide our own uniforms! You guys with your rations and field gear. I wish I had all of those luxuries.

  • JP

    It’s 2015 of course things are going to change… Sucks you had a rough time…

  • Chuck

    I am not surprised at the girlie items in the barracks. Gee, I never heard of queer Generals either.

  • The Mess Sergeant

    What do you mean by rooms? In my army, only officers and top three grades had rooms. Everyone else shared an open bay barracks. If you were lucky you had dividers between the bunks for a little privacy and a chance to be away from all the chatter. And you had a bunk, a wall locker and a foot locker, that was it. Sure has changed over the years.

    • Patricia Cole

      Yours is the only response that sounds like it was when I was in the barracks, beginning 1974.

  • SGM, USA (Ret)

    9 Essential items…thank you for sharing military.com. How about a 9 Essential Items list for the ISIS or the rest of the combatants out there?

  • CG REUS USMC/ NavAir

    – as the kids say “Really” ?
    – creatinly (sp ! ?) this isn’t the old Army (where is the Confederate wall flag ?)
    – For me racks & plywood footlockers @ MCRD P.I. in ’83 (u-rah)
    open bay (& later brks rooms) in the Airwing “Fleet” of my youth (with
    all the Mr Monk style “inspections” that DID Not repesent how any human
    really lived) – you just knew, all-along that the inspecting martinet really lived like
    quite a “ua” pig in his “quarters”
    (or just “ordered” his wife to cleanup after him)
    – on the “boat” (aircraft carrier) it was not any of this Army & Air Froce Brks
    /Apartment living (who-ah) (again (the USN) with the all the Mr Monk
    obsessions with “gear-adift”, (only E-7 & above get lockers that realistically hold
    a seabag – let alone anything else – FTN) & the assorrted ridiculous “humans
    don’t/ aren’t supposed to actually live here” mentality
    (white ONLY pillowcase on the racks – boys !)
    (if you were caught with “any of this mess” you (male cau) were keel hauled
    (unless you were in one of the protected class, were female, etc… – in which case
    you were “counseled”, but not on paper)
    – I guess before “going over the top” in some latest Middleeastern s-hole, you
    need “creature comforts” . . .

  • Dick

    I think the author is confused. The title of this article should be “9 Essential Items Students Should Have In Their Dorm Rooms.”

  • Don

    We weren’t aloud to have any open burners including coffee pots.

  • Patty Simms

    Hi there! I’m prior Army/RA. It’d been nice to have those luxurious living! Really? Toughen up boys/girls. Home sweet home… huh? Keep God close… and a Bible. Not all those other useless things. Patty

  • Lisa

    The article just seems weird. Never mind anyone’s claims that the Army is getting soft. I did have a small Afghanistani tribal rug on my barracks room floor back when the Mujahadeen were our “friends” and not our declared enemies. Some guy in Monterey (at the mall–not on post) was selling them ostensibly to help fund them to fight off the Soviet invasion. And yeah–some places had foul water, so since we were allowed to have small refrigerators, I had a filter pitcher. Come to think of it, since I was a linguist, I had headphones while in the language school. Army Issue, no less.

    As for the rest–nope, nope and nope. I was generally thrilled with functional curtains or blinds and functioning desk lamps. I did have a small assortment of tools, and generally repaired small things in the barracks myself. I knew that if I turned in a request to the supply sergeant or to post maintenance that it wouldn’t ever get fixed. It was faster and easier to hide the “contraband” tools (hammer, screwdriver, slip joint wrench, pliers) than it was to deal with regular repair channels.

  • Darrion

    Hi I’m really interested in joining the military but i do not have a high school diploma. However i do have my GED as well as many college credits. Am i still eligible?

    • Patricia Cole

      Go see the recruiter. How much do you like dirt and grime?

  • Chief

    As an enlisted, don’t remember having my own room. Did share a room with other NCOs.

  • Mike11C

    I’m so glad I’m retired from the, now candy-a$$ed, Army. A water filter, really? We would have found more use for one of those little refrigerators that holds a keg of beer, a life sized knife throwing target, or a foot locker large enough to hide a dead hooker.

  • G@ry

    Most would never be in a barracks. You mentioned headphones. I agree fully, but the air freshener would fall into the same category of not all people would like the same fragrance. There are other issues with this list, but that’s enough from me.

  • Ali

    You’re forgetting one other item curtains so you can have privacy from your bunk mates… Specially during deployment

  • Carma Carmon

    9 Essential Items Soldiers Should Have in Their Barracks Rooms, the Key word here is Should have…I believe those that commented have had your dog tags pulled….my favorite is #7…the family picture…now that I am sure of is real……Thanks David….cute article…you did get their blood pressure up..good job..


    How about having the Clinton’s incarcerated as it is long over due for all their crimes including murders. and allow military members to be fully licensed to carry a concealed firearm

    When I was in the navy as a teenager (17 years old) some of the guys I went on liberty call in other countries were packing (personal firearms) bought in Europe

    Enlisted members of the armed forces traveling in other countries are easy targets and hand to hand combat does not work well against several armed attackers

  • MAJ (Ret) USA

    You folks are funny! After spending the last 30 years in the Army I can tell you much has changed over the years. The mangement of the barracks has changed drastically. “Back in the day ‘1983” if you were a “Recruit” in Basic Training, you did not have those items you lived in a bay with other recruits and it was a very strictly inspected environment. It was also non-integrated (males and females were trained separately , clear across post)..These were the days when Drill Sergeants can beat the crap out of you if you got out of line, curse at you and tell you, you are a F&^%$%^ dirtbag. These days training environments are integrated and Drill Sergeants can’t do business the same way anymore. They must be “sensitive” to gender issues, can’t curse, can’t touch you without permission etc. “Do any of you remember the Stress Card??? We can go on and on…Most Drills today will tell you that their hands are tied and they are by SOP and Policy.

    The author should have researched a bit more. There is a big difference between being in the training environment, and being a Soldier permanently stationed at an installation. Single Soldiers these days don’t live in an open bay environment. They are more like apartments with all kinds of extras, like kitchens, full or 1/2 baths etc.

    These apartments are not managed by the First Sergeants like in the old days, where when you show up at a unit, the First Sergeant/Platoon Sergeant gave you a key and can move you at a whim…Now Soldiers get a key from the Installation Housing Office and the First Sergeant has little or no say…much depends on the installation…ie. Privatized Housing etc . Much of those items in this article would be allowed. Plus a Soldier can get cable installed, telephones, internet service and whatever else…So even command directed moves are difficult to accomplish.

    Don’t get me started on the differences between officer basic and enlisted basic…for 4 months during my OBC 1999…I didn’t even live on Post…I lived in a hotel and had virtually no restrictions…the biggest issue I had was making sure I showed up for PT and Work-Call on-time!