The best energy drinks for life in the military

Because getting adequate sleep is not an option.

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Let’s be real: energy drinks are the lifeblood of the U.S. military. Generals and politicians (but I repeat myself) can say all they want about decentralized command and the latest gadgets from the defense industry, but we know that it all comes down to 20-year-olds pumped full of enough stimulants to put a horse in cardiac arrest. How else are you supposed to shake a night of drinking in time for unit PT? What else is going to keep you awake during the 3 a.m. firewatch? Not your inner passion for general orders. No, you need pure, unadulterated caffeine in amounts that push the limits of FDA regulations and human decency.

But which one should you choose? We brought the Task & Purpose gear team together to round up our favorite energy drinks. Pick up one of each and have a little tasting one evening to find out which one suits your palate. Which is your favorite? Did we miss any? Drop your favorite energy drink in the comments section and share the wealth.

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Monster Energy (Lo-Carb)

See It

Red Bull (Sugar-Free)

See It

Bang Energy

See It


See It

Starbucks Tripleshot Energy Extra Strength Espresso

See It

Ghost Energy Swedish Fish (Sugar Free)

See It

Rip It

See It

FAQs about energy drinks

Q: Are energy drinks bad for you?

A: They’re probably not great in large quantities, but they sure are good for productivity.

Q: Do energy drinks work?

A: Yes. Good heavens, yes.

Q: How many energy drinks is too many?

A: Oh, you’ll know when you get there. Probably two. Maybe one.

Final thoughts

These are all great picks, but I have to agree with Paul O’Leary that Rip It holds a special place in military history. It’s the official energy booster of a generation and multiple wars. It’s questionably fit for consumption and definitely not great in the flavor department. But it will jack you up (in a good way) and I love it for that. Every service member should be issued one Rip It a day and receive a lifetime discount. Until that happens, you know where to get your fix.


Identifying the best energy drinks for life in the military couldn’t have been easier. I rounded up our motley crew of active-duty, veteran, and civilian gear testers to see which caffeinated concoctions they reach for when their eyelids get heavy. The result is a greatest-hits list of energy drinks that spans our combined decades of globe-trotting for Uncle Sam. The beverages you see here have been enjoyed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and numerous other foreign lands. They’ve been sipped in Air Force transport planes, Army tanks, and holes in the dirt the Marine Corps calls forward operating bases. There’s a chance that (off the record, of course) they’ve even been mixed with liquor for levels of debauchery we’re not at liberty to describe.

The result of all this brainstorming is a great shopping list for you and a whole lot of wild flashbacks for us. Crack a cold one and raise it high, because you certainly need it. Cheers.


Scott Murdock Avatar

Scott Murdock

Commerce Reporter

Scott Murdock is a Task & Purpose commerce writer and Marine Corps veteran. Since 2020, he’s selflessly committed himself to experiencing the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader.