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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Survival kits don’t have to cost a fortune. You can make a variety of survival items from a simple drinking straw. In this article, we’ll take a look at some interesting ways you can use a humble, plastic drinking straw to create a medicine holder, spice rack, fire starter, and more.
Straws come in a variety of sizes, from very thin to broad milkshake straws. You might have to experiment to find the right size for what you need. Small straw pieces can be stored in an empty Altoids container to keep them from getting lost.
You can seal a straw by crimping the end with a pair of needle-nose pliers, then melting the tip with a lighter to create a seal. Be sure to label every straw container you make so you don’t forget what’s inside!
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The Alaskan Granny gives a short tutorial on how to create reusuable straw containers here:
Now let’s look at some specific ways to use drinking straws in a survival scenario:
A little Vaseline on a cotton ball can be squished into a milkshake-sized straw and sealed to create a waterproof Firestarter. Then, to start your fire, you can simply light the straw with your lighter or match, and it will burn.
You can find a great video here that shows you how to crimp and seal the ends of your straw as well create your own firestarter:
2. Match Holder
If you don’t want to carry an entire box of matches with you, you may want to use a straw. You can slide several waterproof matches into a flattened straw. Remove the striker from the box and slide that into the straw as well, being careful to turn the striker away from the matches so they don’t rub accidentally. Trim off any excess straw material.
Crazy Russian Hacker offers a quick tutorial here:
3. For Visibility
Neon-colored straws are easier to see under UV light. They almost glow! Slide pieces of straw onto things you might need to find in low light such as a key fob, a pen, or other small items.
4. Medicine Holder
If you take prescription medication regularly, you might want to set up daily packets of your medication. For example, seal one end of a straw and fill it with your day’s medication.
5. Spice rack
If you are camping or bugging out, you might want to bring along a few spices without bringing the entire kitchen cabinet. Instead, use a funnel to put some oil or herbs into a small section of straw and you’ll have single-use portions of whatever spices you wish to bring.
You might want salt, pepper, olive oil, turmeric, or even garlic salt. You might also want to include some baking supplies such as baking soda or sugar in your straw containers, as well. You could use liquid or dry spices. It is up to you!
6. Drink Mix Holder
Powdered drink mixes can provide extra vitamins and nutrients as well as flavor when you’re bugging out. First, create single-serve packets by sealing one end of a straw, and use a tiny funnel to fill the straw with enough powder for one serving. Next, cut the straw to the appropriate size and seal. Finally, you can use the straw piece to stir your drink after you’ve poured the powder into your water.
7. Fishing Kit
You can create a tiny fishing kit with a straw, a hook, a fishing line, and a sinker. First, create your simple fishing setup. Next, attach the fishing line and sinker to the hook and carefully coil the finishing line into an oval shape on top of your hook.
Next, carefully slide the hook and line into a straw. Leave a little extra space when sealing up the ends so that there is room to cut the straw open without cutting the fishing line by accident. The goal is to be able to carry this mini fishing kit without getting caught on the hook.
8. Protect Ammunition
You don’t want your ammo getting wet in a bug-out situation. Instead, slide a few rounds into a dry drinking straw and seal it up. This will help keep your ammunition safe and dry.
9. First Aid kit
Make single-serve uses of first aid cream, hydrocortisone cream, or Vaseline with your drinking straws. You might also need to bring along small containers of baby oil, sunblock, Visine, or contact lens solution. First, seal off one end of a drinking straw and carefully fill it up with whatever first aid cream you choose. Then, seal up the other end for single-use first aid.
10. Water Purification System
If you need to purify water, you can store water purification tablets inside a sealed straw to keep them dry. Don’t forget to label them!
11. Sewing Kit
Drinking straws can make a holder for a quickly accessible sewing kit. You might want to thread a few needles ahead of time with white or black thread. Coil up the thread carefully so it doesn’t get tangled. Slide the needle and thread sets into a straw and seal both ends. This will protect you from getting poked by a needle and allows easy access to your needle and thread in a hurry.
12. Storage Tubes for Safety Pins
You don’t want your safety pins getting lost in your gear bag, popping up and poking you, or putting holes in waterproof items. Instead, slide your safety pins into a straw to keep them safely closed and easy to find.
13. Safety Whistle
There may be times when you want to attract attention, and a safety whistle will help. You can create a lightweight, tiny, easy to store whistle from a simple straw. Check out this video here:
14. Bag Deflator
You might want to remove the air from plastic ziplock bags to make them more packable. Slide a straw into the bag and zip it closed, allowing part of the straw to stick out. Suck out the air to deflate the bag, then pull out the straw and finish closing your baggie.
15. Cherry Pitter
If you find yourself bugging out and need to remove the pits from cherries, use a short piece of straw to push the pit out of the cherry.
16. Medicine Dropper
If you need to transport a few drops of water or medicine, you can use a straw. First, dip the straw into the liquid and put your finger on the top to hold it in like a vacuum. Then, quickly remove and replace your finger to allow the liquid to fall out one drop at a time.
17. Bag Clip
If the zipper wears out on your plastic bags, you can create a new one with a straw. With scissors or a knife, create a slit straight down the length of a straw. Then, slide the straw over top of the open end of the bag to close it and keep it closed. You could use this to protect uneaten food, supplies, or other small items.
If you don’t have a spoon, you can make one from a sturdy straw. A heavy-duty milkshake straw works best. Cut a slit at the end of your straw about half an inch. Snip a tiny notch at the top of the slit to open up your straw into the shape of a spoon.
Don’t forget the importance of entertainment in a survival situation or even just family camping. Keeping kids busy can help prevent them from suffering from anxiety or boredom if they don’t have their favorite electronics! Use a pack of drinking straws and string to build, make necklaces and bracelets, or even create musical instruments. Let kids use their imagination, match colors, or even practice counting. Straws are so light. They won’t weigh down your pack.
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