Straws Paper and Plastic

Survival Uses for Drinking Straws

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Those of you that are on the fence about prepping and have considered the cost that goes with it, know this. A survival kit doesn’t have to cost you a bunch of money like you’re thinking. Sometimes it’s the small things that seem insignificant to you and me that can make all the difference in getting through that next disaster or major emergency. For instance, you probably didn’t think that a drinking straw has many purposes besides its original use, but you’d be wrong! Check out these survival uses for drinking straws.

Survival Uses for Drinking Straws

Survival Uses for Drinking Straws

Just a regular paper drinking straw can assist you with starting a fire. If lit, it can also help you signal for help when you’re in trouble, and provide a compact way to hold all of your first-aid ointments and creams. Are you curious about what else they can be used for? Keep reading to find out other surprising survival uses for drinking straws.


If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, being able to start a fire is definitely something you’ll need to be able to do. It’s entirely up to you what type of firestarter you go with. I’ve found that dryer lint works great. So, you could always cram some into a paper straw and then seal off the ends. Others like to use cotton balls that have been dipped in Vaseline and then you can fill your straw with it. There’s no need to take the contents out when you’re ready to start your fire because the paper straw should light right up. Types of Fire Starters to Stock

Match Holder

Want really cool survival uses for drinking straws? Matches can be a real pain if you’re trying to start a fire on a windy day, and they can be entirely useless for you if they get wet. This is why keeping them in a straw might be a great solution for you so that they work when it matters most. Forget Your 72-Hour Bug-Out Bag You Need More

First Aid Kit

Create your own single-time-use first aid kit by taking several straws and filling them with first aid items like Vaseline, baby oil, hydrocortisone, sunblock, and antibacterial cream. Just be sure that you seal off one of the ends of your straw first and then close off the other end when you’ve filled your straw and write down what contents are in each of them. Plastic straws get a bad wrap for the environment, but as you can see it’s a great addition to your emergency kit. First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive

Medicine Holder

Besides creams and ointments for first aid use, straws can also be used as a medicine holder when you don’t want to bring all of your pill bottles with you. Consider adding medicines like pain relievers, allergy medicine, anti-diarrheal, and cold and flu medicine. Again, just be sure that you label what each of them is. First Aid & Medicine

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Straws do come in different diameters, so if you have pills that are larger, look for straws that have a larger capacity for not only liquids, but also those medicines.

Medicine Dropper

A straw can be used just like an eye dropper or medicine dropper when you need it. So if you find yourself needing some liquid medicine, just put the straw in your glass of water or any other type of beverage and use the end to suck up what you need.

Snack Holder

Long-lasting snacks like nuts, seeds, crackers, and dried fruits can be stored inside a larger drinking straw and sealed off at both ends so that they don’t get wet or crushed. Next time you need a snack holder, think about how a straw can be used for everyday use and emergency use. They are lightweight and have different uses. Don’t Forget to Stock Your Favorite Snacks

Emergency Signaling Device

In case you ever need help in an emergency situation, especially during the night time when you are out on a camping trip, just take one of your paper straws and wrap it with aluminum foil. When light hits it, it’ll reflect back as a bright object that can help signal for help. 5 Vital Wilderness Survival Skills For Teens

Fishing Kit

If you find yourself in need of a fishing kit, straws can come in handy here too. Just use one of your straws to carry around small hooks, wrap some leader fishing line, and store some sinkers. The purpose of the straw is to keep you from getting poked or snagged by the hook because that can be painful, besides being able to carry some in a smaller container if needed. Take Your Kids Fishing: 11 Amazing Reasons Why

Spice Rack

Whether you’re out camping underneath the stars or actually dealing with an emergency scenario, you still want your food to taste good to keep everyone’s spirits up. Besides salt and pepper, I’d also include spices like garlic or onion powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and rosemary that can be stored in straws. You can even combine them all in one straw depending on the size of the straw or use several to make a mini-spice rack. Plastic straws also have an unlimited shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad from wet weather! 33 Essential Spices I Recommend Stocking Up On

Sewing Kit for Your Essential Survival Kit

It’s entirely possible that your clothes may get ripped or torn during an emergency. Once the threat has passed, you’ll be needing to sew them back together because chances are, you’ll already be limited on clothing as it is. You can make a sewing kit by adding some thread and needles and placing them in the straw. Just be sure to use a bigger straw for this one to fit all of your items. How to Put Together a Pill Bottle Survival Kit

Fire Extinguisher

If you ever run into an emergency situation where you need to put out a small fire, it’s possible that you don’t have access to any water or sand. No problem! Consider using either baking soda or flour (depending on what type of fire you’re trying to douse) and wrap it up in some tinfoil before stuffing it inside your straw. When the time comes, just throw the contents onto the flame and watch it put that small fire out! Fire Extinguishers: More Important than a Gun?

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Water Purification for Drinkable Water

You may run into a situation where you’re not able to bring all your bulky drinking water containers that you’ve stocked up on with you. Or, even worse, run out completely before the emergency is over. But if you have several water purification tablets tucked away in a straw or two, you’ll be able to drink from many water sources that become available to you. In a survival situation, you’ll be glad you thought of emergency preparedness and how to drink safe water. How to Make Your Water Safe

Whistle for Emergency Situations

I mentioned this trick in a previous article, but I’ve decided to include it just in case you missed it. If you’re ever in a pickle and don’t have an actual whistle to signal for help, you could always use a straw to make a whistle. As long as you have a pair of scissors, you should have no problem making one! Here’s how to make a lightweight, tiny, and easy-to-store whistle. Straws are one of those everyday items you can pack with you and have for ease of use! 45 Survival Items You Need To Stock NOW

Can Using Straws Protect Me from Disease?

In a culture and time when new diseases seem to be common, it makes sense to do all you can to keep from sharing from the same drinking container spout. You’ll often see people passing a container from person to person so they learn what that brew tastes like. There’s no better way to spread contaminations like waterborne bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminated water challenges. If the water has been treated, at least the use of clean straws can minimize the spread of disease.

There are products from various manufacturers like Lifestraw Personal Water Filters that allow you to filter the water on a personal basis. Of course, these have an expense regular straws don’t have, but they have a portability factor since they can be easily carried in a backpack. They also provide some protection from certain chemicals, heavy metals, sediment, and germs like giardia that could be found in unfamiliar water sources.

There are more sophisticated water purification options that by using carbon filtering systems protect you from even more risk. The carbon filter cleans the water down to the micron level, giving you that extra layer of protection you may want that straw filters might not provide. They are also able to filter multiple gallons of water in an hour’s time. I like the PortaWell Filtering System and it is a fairly high-volume solution.

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Final Word

These are just some of the ways that you can get creative with drinking straws when you’re a prepper. Whether it be for firestarter materials or creating your own spice rack in the wild, drinking straws have many uses that might get you out of a jam someday! So don’t forget to keep a package or two of them handy! Which of these uses for straws surprised you, or can you think of any other ways to use them in survival situations? May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. LOL! You’ve been looking in my kitchen. I have quite a few straws stored in my kitchen. No paper ones, though. All are either soft plastic or hard plastic that came with plastic cups with lids. And I do use the hard ones sometimes. I do have a couple of life straws. I really need to get a couple more. You can never have too much preps for whatever happens! Just my humble opinion. I’ve always hear in prepping, “Two is One and One is one.”

  2. I love this! I get teased for washing straws on the rare occasions we eat out fast food. Even in a sit-down place, I’ll pick up the wrapped straws that are put on the table and they go in my purse. LOL. I have an old glass straw dispenser that belonged to my grandmother and that’s where the straws go. The grandkids love to get their straws out of it because it’s different.

  3. You don’t have to remove the straw from the fire starter even if it’s plastic. It’ll burn. Whatever residue is there will be long gone by the time there is a useful fire.
    I’ve been chastised before by greenies saying by burning plastic and petroleum I’ll get cancer and blahblahblah. Can’t have cancer tomorrow if I die from hypothermia today.
    Smoke’em if ya gottem

    1. Hi Matt, great comment, you know it’s all about commonsense. Nailed it on this one: Can’t have cancer tomorrow if I die from hypothermia today. Thank you, Linda

  4. I’m working on a First aid kit in an empty meds bottle. I’ll be using some plastic straws for antibiotic ointment and other meds.

  5. While requiring somewhat advanced medical skill, straws (large, sturdy, steel, etc) can also be improvised and used for tracheostomy, pneumothorax, and large wound drainage. Yep, straws are handy little thingies.

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