The greatest scourge of serving in the U.S. military is having uniforms with pockets but never being allowed to put hands inside them — unless, of course, you have the honor of serving in the Air Force. For everyone else, Fall is nearly upon us, and the temptation to slip those digits into the cozy fabric crevices of battle dress trousers will soon follow.

The U.S. Army is so concerned with this derelict behavior that it’s even trying to find ways to warm soldiers’ hands, without gloves or pockets, via the use of a forearm heater.

To avoid breaking this most sacred of uniform rules, we’ve compiled a list of things that can be stuffed inside pockets while simultaneously preventing the fit of one’s paws.

Dino nuggets

As any seasoned service member will note, chow hall food can be pretty gnarly. Luckily, thanks to pockets, you can stuff your slack sacks with a golden, crispy pack of dinosaur chicken nuggets for snacking purposes. Just make sure to avoid the barbecue sauce unless you want a sticky situation.


Though dust and fuzz typically collect in pockets during any dryer cycle, consider intentionally balling up everything from your lint trap and shoving it into your uniform pockets. It’s basically free insulation.

Energy drinks

Sleep deprivation goes hand-in-hand with military service. To compensate, shove a Rip It into your pocket to break out on that next 24-hour duty shift. Your shaky, over-caffeinated hands will want to be anything but confined.

Cigarettes and dip

Tobacco use isn’t among the healthiest of habits, but it’s still somehow more desirable to military brass than placing hands in pockets. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

A map

This one’s for all the LTs who can’t for the life of them pass land navigation. The map won’t help, but it can be used to dry up the tears that will result from failing in front of the platoon.

Mom’s spaghetti

When your knees get weak and your arms are heavy, a pocket is the best place for mom’s spaghetti. Sure, it’s a mess, but nothing else will keep you more calm and ready.

Fake DD-214 printouts

Line your pockets with these. It’s armor. The feelings of invincibility will follow.

State secrets

We’d tell you what that means, but then we’d have to ... you know.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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