What is Pogey Bait in the Army: Snacks for the Field

Pogey Bait

What is “Pogey Bait”?

Pogey Bait is any type of non-issued food snack or candy used in the field to supplement meals, give a quick boost of energy, or to use as a bartering tool.

Some say the term comes from things you could bribe supply guys with to get something you wanted or needed (i.e., Hey sergeant I will give you a bag of skittles for some new eyepro). The term pogue or POG is a derogatory term used by combat arms Soldiers to refer to someone that never leaves the wire, and thus doesn’t see as much risk/danger as the infantryman or tanker.

I never go to the field without pogey bait of some sort. I can eat MREs just fine, but some flavored water, skittles, or a slim jim really does provide some comfort when everything else is miserable.

Pogey Bait Tips

I have a few tips for pogey bait that will help you in trying to decide what to bring:

Don’t bring chips or crackers unless you have something hard to pack them in, they will just get crushed. They make these hard plastic sleeves that are awesome if you love tuna, chicken, or peanut butter and crackers. Check the price on amazon by clicking here.

Pack spices or condiments like Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, Mexican blend, Italian blend, Greek blend, or bacon bits (I know not a spice) to help season bland army chow.

Use water flavor enhancers for a different flavor. You WILL get tired of drinking only water after about a week. I like powdered Gatorade and Mio Energy. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Don’t bring chocolate or things that will melt. M&Ms are my go to chocolate, they will get soft but not runny when hot.

Keep a fork or MRE spoon handy to eat peanut butter, veenas, sardines, etc.
I sat down and talked with some buddies and we came up with the below list of pogey bait. I think there is something here for every taste.

Note: There is not much here for healthy eaters (sardines?) but it is all about the calories when you are working your butt off in the field. Caloriesperhour.com calculates that an average man will burn up to 6,000 calories in a day backpacking under a 42 lbs load, I couldn’t find any reliable data on Soldier calorie burn, but I would guess it is close to that figure.

  • Beef Jerky
  • Slim Jims
  • Vienna Sausages
  • Sardines
  • Beanie Weenies
  • Pop Tarts
  • Instant Coffee (If you prefer REAL coffee check out my post about different coffee options by clicking here)
  • Crystal Light packs
  • Mio Energy (Water enhancer)
  • Werthers Original
  • Skittles
  • M&Ms
  • Tobacco (not food, but still a luxury item)
  • Caffeine Granola Bars
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tuna in a bag
  • Salmon in a bag
  • Chicken in a bag
  • Honey packets
  • Hard Cheeses
  • Tortillas
  • Protein Bars
  • Slim Fast Bars
  • Trail Mix
  • Pork Rinds
  • Peanuts
  • Chex Mix
  • Easy Cheese
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Ramen Noodles (Again for more about Ramen Noodles check out my post on camp stoves)
  • Triscuits
  • Almonds
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Airheads
  • Clif Bars
  • Cashews
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins
  • Swedish Fish
  • Twinkies

In closing, pogey bait makes your time in the field, on a deployment, or out on patrol much more enjoyable. Just remember pogey bait adds weight to your ruck (especially canned items), so don’t leave out a piece of vital equipment so you can fit one more box of twinkies in there. Did I miss something? Leave your tips in the comments below and share the knowledge…

Chris Mathis

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