DIY Survival Drinking Straw Containers

You may have seen this improvised “survival drinking straw container” idea before… but not like you are about to see it here on this page, you haven’t. The basic “survival straw” concept has been floating around on the internet for a few years now, but we thought it was about time someone took the idea and really racheted it up… so we did it ourselves! While we did not come up with the original “survival straw” idea (We don’t like taking credit for ideas that aren’t our own. That’s not how we roll), we are the ones who decided to take this simple yet clever idea and really push it… and that’s what this page is dedicated toward demonstrating. We are going to show you how to leverage this clever concept on steroids for your own kits, packs and bags!

These little improvised plastic straw containers are a fantastic for carrying small items and small amounts of substances (fairly comprehensive list below) and protect them from air and moisture. They are perfect for EDCs (every day carry), camping, backpacking, day hikes, biking, luggage & toiletry bags, bug out bags, survival kits, 72 hour kits, road trips, diaper bags, purses, desk drawers, glove boxes, key chains and more!

A DIY survival straw packet spice and cooking kit perfect for survival, disaster preparedness, hunting, camping, backpacking, bushcraft and more!

DIY survival straw container spice kit! It’s the perfect solution for carrying small amounts of spices, condiments, sauces, syrups and more! Great for survival kits, bug out bags, hiking, backpacking, EDCs, purses, office drawers and more!

So… how does one take such a simple yet clever idea (like melting each end of a section of drinking straw and crimping it together to make heat-sealed container that protects its contents from both water and air) and really “push it to its limits” exactly? Well… how about we start off by making them BIGGER?

“Bigger?? But isn’t the point (or at least part of the point) of these little improvised drinking straw containers to be compact?” Absolutely. We aren’t going to go too crazy here. But moderately bigger in this application can actually be advantageous as you are about to see. We don’t necessarily need/want to put more of what we were already putting in these things previously (although you absolutely can), but because making these little containers a bit bigger opens up some new possibilities in terms of types of items we can store inside of them!

In the interest of accuracy, “bigger” may not the best word to use to characterize our version of these little improvised packets. Instead, let’s go with “larger in diameter”. You see, regular drinking straws are only about ¼ of an inch in diameter and… simply put, this relatively small diameter opening can only accommodate a small number of items. The smaller diameter straws work great with liquids and powders, but only a handful of small solid items will fit into a 1/4 inch hole.

Now, what if we say… DOUBLED the diameter of our drinking straw? NOW we are getting somewhere! So that’s exactly what we did. We ordered a bag of Extra Wide Smoothie, Milkshake & “Bubble Tea” Straws to get the job done (they are also sometimes referred to as “Boba Straws”). These bad boys are 1/2 inch in diameter making them large enough in diameter to fit many more different kinds of items inside of them!

An example of the proportional difference between a standard 1/4″ straw and a 1/2″ super straw! Notice the difference in diameter and length! Which is better? Depends on what you want to put in them and what you plan to put them in!

The red straw packet on top is made from a standard 1/4″ diameter straw cut to size to fit one typical packet of sugar. The straw below holds the contents of an identical packet of sugar, but the clear straw below is 1/2″ in diameter. Notice the difference in length between the two packets. Both diameters/lengths have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the application you use them for.

The nice thing about these large diameter straws is that you don’t have to make your little containers twice as large if you don’t want to. You can simply cut down the length of your straw section to keep your straw packets the same size, just different proportions!

Now the larger diameter milkshake straws are not always an improvement over the standard drinking straws for this application. Sometimes the standard straws are a better choice depending on the specific application. Similarly, clear straws aren’t always better than colored or white straws. For example, if you label your straw containers with a fine point Sharpie and your straw container is clear and the contents are dark (like black pepper or activated charcoal for a couple of examples), it’s going to be pretty difficult for you to read your Sharpie label. Black on black is pretty hard to read. We still like having the standard sizes and colors of drinking straws available to use for this purpose too. Getting multi-colored straws can be helpful to if you are interested in “color  coding” your drinking straw containers. Which straw you choose for the job  really depends on what you put inside of them, but it sure is nice to have more  than one option available in terms of size/diameter and color for your drinking  straw containers.

Some substances like standard lubricants, oils, bug spray with DEET in it and other harsh chemicals can corrode your plastic straw and create a big mess of whatever was in your little drinking straw container! So be careful with what you put in your drinking straw containers. If you are unsure about whether or not a liquid or substance is safe to store in a straw container, test them carefully before you overl-rely on them and end up ruining clothing, gear, packs, tents and more!

Fire

  • Matches
  • PJCBs
  • Wax and Lint
  • Birthday Candles
  • Sawdust and Wax

Water

  • Water purification tabs
  • Bleach
  • Iodine
  • Flavored drink mix (like Gatorade or Crystal Light)
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Electrolytes

Food

  • Fishing Kit
  • Spices & Herbs (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, chili, basil, red pepper flake, parmesan cheese and more!)
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, bbq, soy sauce, etc.)
  • Hot Sauces
  • Cooking Oils
  • Baking Powder
  • Corn Starch
  • Candy

First Aid

  • Pills (pain killer, antihistamine, prescriptions, etc.)
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Bandages (rolled up)
  • Healing Salve
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Creams & Ointments (anti-itch, anti-inflammatory, etc.)
  • Sun Screen
  • Aloe Gel
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Iodine
  • Bleach

Light

  • Birthday Candles (“Magic Relighting Candles” are the best because the wind can’t blow them out!)

Hygiene & Sanitation

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Bleach

Repair and Fabrication

  • Tiny Sewing Kit! (Needle and thread at a minimum. Could include safety pins)

Safety & Security

  • Ammo (larger diameter straws in particular)

Comfort

  • Coffee & Sugar
  • Cigarettes
  • Tobacco

Other Straw Uses (after container is opened):

  • Access water in tight places!
  • Blow air into your fire (don’t get straw too close!)
  • Take a drinking straw and a hot glue gun and make a WAPI (water pasteurization indicator)!
    (Bend straw and glue ends together with a hot glue gun. Put glued straw in a pot of water that you want to pasteurize. As water heats up, glue begins to soften. When glue heats up enough for straw ends to separate again on their own, your water is pasteurized!)
  • Improvised fishing bobber!
  • Wind duct tape around to make a smaller diameter spool of it.

Author: Josh Nieten

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6 Comments

  1. Pixie sticks might be used as an option for this same idea. Just a thought.

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  2. How did you seal the straws?

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    • Hey Candy! Great question. When I first started making these I simply used a multi-tool (needle-nose pliers or hemostats work also) and pinched off the straw leaving a bit of the very end exposed, then melted the end with a lighter. Let your melted straw end cool for a bit before you release the straw from the pliers otherwise the straw will just pull the melted end open again. If you get your timing down right, you can actually release the straw from the pliers and it will stay shut but the melty part will still be soft enough to crimp down with the pliers for a broader seal. Just a quick tip. Takes a little practice. Or you could just use a second set of pliers if you want.

      After a while it occurred to me that I actually had a heat sealer in my possession from another project, so I decided to try it for sealing the straws. Needless to say, it works extremely well and is very fast.

      That being said, a heat sealer is not required for this survival drinking straw project. Most people who make them simply use the pliers and lighter technique. I just happened to have something a little fancier. 😉 You could also try a Food Saver if you have one! It likely won’t vacuum the straws air tight, but the heat sealer on your Food Saver might seal your straws shut! Worth a try! I have a Food Saver as well but have never tried it on these survival drinking straw containers.

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  3. When you want to light a birthday candle with a ferro rod spark, you will find it much easier if it has been previously lit. Like a bit of char cloth on the end! Of course with the re-lighting candles, you need to pinch them out with wet fingers and then let them dry before sealing them up.

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  4. Hey, thanks
    Great idea, I bought the giant clear straws dirt cheap 100 pack off Amazon, a little too many but that was the smallest pack I could get,
    Already have started sealing some random stuff, it’s really easy to do and I tested it with water it’s definetly sealed.
    Thanks for your page, I never would have thought to do it myself, such a simple idea.

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    • That’s fantastic Michelle! We’d love to see what you do with these if you ever get a chance to send us some pics of your survival straws! The possibilities are endless! I am so pleased that you found some inspiration here at E2S!! Please keep in touch and feel free to send us some photos of your survival straws! Take care! Josh

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