While the western world seems to be moving away from the proliferation of single-use plastic drinking straws, they are still commonly used, and in most of our junk drawers, I’m sure they can be found. When we are done with them, we will usually either recycle or dispose of these drinking implements, but in our different survival kits there are other uses for these.
This article is a list of plastic drinking straw survival uses and all of these uses come down to converting the straw into a watertight container that is used to store products for survival.
Plastic drinking straws that come in a range of colors and sizes are the first thing we need. I prefer to pick the largest straws in diameter I can find because with materials it is easier to ‘load’ them up.
A pair of pliers, scissors, and a lighter are other tools that you’ll need to obtain.
Making the Straw Containers
What we’re going to do here is melt the ends of the straws to form a sealed tube that stores our survival products in it. Take these basic steps to do this:
1. With a pair of needle-nose pliers, pinch one end of the straw. You’ll want a small amount (approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch) of the pinched straw sticking out.
2. Using the lighter, melt the pinched end of the straw that protrudes through the pliers.
3. Cut the straw to the desired length using whichever container that you want to house it in as a template.
4. Load your survival supplies into the straw.
5. Melt the open end just as you did in step one.
6. Test the water-tightness before loading it into your kit.
Related: Five Emergency Survival Tools
Types of Drinking Straw Kits
Your imagination is the only limit for what types of kits you can construct from the simple drinking straw. These are six such kits that I either use currently, or have used in the past.
When hunting, I like to tuck a couple of these into my binocular harness because they are a simple and very compact way to prepare some fire tinder.
All I do is take a dab of Vaseline with some cotton balls and compact them as tightly as I can into a drinking straw container.
I get two cotton balls into a straw that fits into a mini-Altoids container. You can either cut off the end and take the tinder out to use it, or you can light up the whole straw fire kit.
You can also use these containers to store matches inside as well. These matches should be strike anywhere so you don’t need to also include a striker.
You’d be impressed by how much fishing tackle you can cram into a drinking straw. I developed a little emergency fishing kit that has a 10-pound test fishing line of about thirty feet, two hooks, a swivel, and five spit shot weights. This kit isn’t much, but it’s going to make a primitive fishing rig and catch dinner entirely.
With larger straws, you could build more comprehensive kits or you can use these drinking straw containers to store individual supplies of fishing gear.
If you like to use Altoids tins to make fishing kits then using these straws to store hooks, swivels, weights, line, etc to keep all your gear nice and organized inside the tin.
Try to find the largest possible straws for this use, trust me when I say, it’s a real pain to try and get spices funneled into a drinking straw with a tiny diameter. As it reduces the weight and bulk of conventional sized containers, this is a good choice for carrying spices. Either color code or label the straws so you don’t end up with salt in your tea.
You can also make honey, olive oil, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, etc. straw containers, but you will have to take even more care in sealing these containers because you are not only holding water out, but also trying to hold liquid in.
One use of these drinking straw containers that I am a huge fan of is storing medications. I tend to store them in drinking straw containers instead of carrying a small pill bottle of medication, with each container being one dose of whatever medicine is inside.
Because these bundles are so small, not only a first aid kit, but even some other survival kits can be slipped into them. It is also perfect for vitamins because you can store the vitamin value of a day in a straw, making it easy to remember to take your vitamins.
Create your own single-use packets to save space instead of bringing a large tube of antibiotic ointments or other creams, ointments, and gels. A Q-Tips drinking straw bottle is also helpful, and you can also pre-load it with an antibiotic ointment. In case you need to wash out debris from an eye or a wound, Visine or a saline solution is also convenient to have on hand.
A needle or two and some thread is all you need to make a tiny sewing kit that you can stash damn near anywhere in your gear. Pre-thread the needle to make life a little bit easier when you need to repair clothing and gear in the field.
- Water purification tablets
- Hand lotion
There are many more small drinking straw kits that you can make, and these are just the six that I used and found useful in my survival kits and preps. Not to forget that you have them stashed away is one of the most critical aspects of micro survival kits like these.
From experience, I can tell you that it is easy to have a tinder straw, medication, or even a fishing kit hidden in the bottom of a potential pocket or haversack and, when you need it, become oblivious to its presence.