Introduction: Ultra-Lightweight Backpacking Spice Kit (only 1oz.)

Picture of Ultra-Lightweight Backpacking Spice Kit (only 1oz.)

I like to cook, and I like to hike, so naturally I like to cook while I hike. In order to make some interesting and tasty meals on the trail, I put together a small spice kit. I decided to make my own kit mainly because I could not find anything i liked available commercially. That and it was super easy and cheep to do.

Just as a side note, some of my favorite trail recipes are available at:

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

Here is a list of what you will need to make this kit:

1. 1 pack of m&m;'s minis
Not only is this a great container for the kit, but you get a snack while you make it.

2. 8 large straws
I like straws from Jack in the box, they are very durable and slightly larger than typical. You can use smaller straws and get more variety in your kit, or you could use bubble tea straws if you want a lot of something.

3. Scotch tape

4. White colored tape for labeling.
I used medical tape i had in my first-aid kit. If you have a label maker that would be great too.

Step 2: Mark & Cut the Straws

Picture of Mark & Cut the Straws
1. Unwrap and mark all of the straws as shown in the following picture
2. Cut on the marks.

You should end up with the following:
  • 1x 4.5" piece
  • 1x 0.5" piece
  • 1x 1.0" piece

the last piece can be discarded

Step 3: Assemble the Packets

Picture of Assemble the Packets

To assemble the packets:

1. Fold back a 1/4" at the end of the longest piece
2. Pinch this section and fully insert it in to the 1" piece of cut straw. (this will be the lid of the packet)

3. Repeat steps 1&2 on the other end, and use the 0.5" piece of cut straw.
4. Tape the end with the short piece of straw in place. (this will be the bottom of the packet)

Step 4: Pick Spices, Fill and Lable Packets

Picture of Pick Spices, Fill and Lable Packets
The spices I chose for my kit are these:
  • Lemon Pepper (excellent for fish if happen to be hiking near a lake or river)
  • Cajun Spice Blend
  • Ground Cumin
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper

Once you have picked your spices, fill and label your packets and you are done. My kit came out to exactly 1oz, and I would guess this would be pretty typical.


rspen46 (author)2016-02-03

My Wife does a lot of Crafts and uses Glitter, so I found a 12 pack of small Glitter Shakers at Walmart for $5.97 they have an attached top, and inside a Built in 5 hole shaker, 3 large holes and 2 small, it's a perfect Spice container, I use a small CD/DVD zippered case,to carry them in, they usually have pockets to hold them and I also use Velcro to add more holders and you can also Sew more in to hold them, I use this for longer trips and for my BOB, I use the Straws in the Altoid for 1 day and short trips.

Tiwillow (author)rspen462016-04-05

I like this idea; you can reuse them as you go. I do a lot of fishing; and use a lot of slip stops.. the containers they come in have a flip top that locks back down.. Those would work as well! Thanks for sharing!!

TheGeek1984 (author)2011-11-16

I finally got around to making one of these, only I had too many spices in my cupboard and had to use an empty Altoids tin. I used a different method to close it though. I held the end in my pliers, and then melted the protruding end with a lighter. I then made a little sleeve to keep the tin from opening up in my pocket or backpack.

heartatk83 (author)TheGeek19842015-04-04

I love aloud tins, but I take an old tire inertube and cut pieces of it off, the rubber is flexible and won't degrade from sun exposure, unlike a rubber band. "Ranger bands" is what they're called

chabias (author)TheGeek19842014-03-23

That's a great idea too. I currently have an Altoids tin with some restaurant packets in it. This makes me want to add my own spices to it. I've been keeping my tin in a ziploc bag in my pack. Your sleeve idea is awesome too. Thanks for sharing!

lharry1 (author)2014-12-19

awesome idea can't wait to do this

millenialinmotion (author)2014-12-08

I love repurposing my dank tanks there so useful for so many things!!!!

chabias made it! (author)2014-03-23

I used small freezer labels to write the names of the spices on.

frogmama (author)2012-08-23

Great Ible! Thanks! I've seen this done for a medicine cabinet kit too - sealing shorter straws like sour-cream packets. That could be modified for this application possibly too. (just keep it away from the spices! Hopefully the ointments wouldn't leak in the heat).

I could have a lot of fun with this one!

MrMakeveli (author)2012-02-26

Love it. I've used other containers but this is light and easy.

hweiss (author)2011-09-21

Try slurpee straws, you can use the scoop end to pick up the spice and shake it to work in the spice. You can also use the McDonald's coffee stirrers to scoop in the spice for regular straws.

jreifsnyder (author)2011-06-08

another idea...craft funnel... usually for glitter, etc but should work just fine for spices! :0)

jpix (author)2011-06-06

Wow that is a really cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

shadekat (author)2011-03-31

Two thoughts, if you want to melt your straws, heat up something metal, possibly ridged, as opposed to direct heating.

Second, while not as long, camelbak elixir or other hydration tablet containers would be good for this as well, good to reuse these.

chabias (author)2011-03-19

I absolutely LOVE this!! Thanks for sharing!

bingo1912 (author)2011-02-24

As was stated earlier by the author, bubble tea straws will work well, they are a very large diameter straw, :)

malibu66 (author)2011-02-24

You don't have to heat up the pliers. just use a pair of needle nosed pliers and pinch all but about am 1/8" from end and use a lighter match to melt it. Make the original straw length long enough to snip off a little and reseal if needed after each use... lots of other applications to using straws for storage too

twighahn (author)2011-02-24

airborne/walborne/air health has the same type of containers

amfisher (author)2011-02-24

Wow! Thanks for the great idea! I can't wait to use it the nest time our Explorer Scouts go camping. Remeber to make sure you bring the straws home with you and don't leave them in the forest. Protect those little creatures of our environment. Very handy!

SasquatchKid (author)2010-06-25

I made like 10 of these wow only 10 ozs to fit my entire spicecloset

ZEarwood (author)2010-05-14

totally awesome!!!

ZEarwood (author)2010-05-14

Wow! This is def genius! I'm using this on my trip into the woods!!!

threadbare (author)2009-07-31

We did it!!! We all made our pocket spice kits today. The lighting the bottom worked like a charm. I would highly recommend it. It was fun to see what spices each kid chose and how each decorated their tube. And the kids have been toting them around showing them off which is nice. Thanks for such a great idea!

threadbare (author)threadbare2009-07-31

But I definitely like the tucked in lid idea better for the top. We plan to use ours in urban settings and my kids are too young to be toting lighters. I think it's a slick and easy resealing idea.

threadbare (author)2009-07-30

My kids and I are making these today. They are making theirs not for camping but for bland cafeteria food. I thought that was smart of them. So far their favorite part is eating the M+Ms, I'll get back to you on the rest.

supersith22 (author)2009-07-25

I'm not sure if anyone else said this yet but you can also seal the bottom of the straw with a lighter by melting it shut. But that way i suppose you loose a little bit of the straw.

Very cool idea! =)

threadbare (author)supersith222009-07-30

Oh that's a great idea about melting the bottom. We are making these today so we will be able to try out both.

jimtran93 (author)supersith222009-07-26

i just tried that 5 mins ago, it doesn't work. the straw peels outward on itself as it heats up. doesn't seal. =(

you have to melt it with the heat from the lighter, not the flame, and then squeeze it shut before it dries (un-melts) :)

ooh. i got it to work. thanks to myckro for the video in your instructable! i'll use melting to seal the bottom and the cap from this instructable for the top! great timing, im off to a 50 mile backpacking trip in a week! thanks everyone. hella help me a ton!

supersith22 (author)jimtran932009-07-27

Weird, it usually worked for me. Maybe I used a different kind of straw. Like a thick McDonalds one.

myckro (author)supersith222009-07-28

Yes, it works, I have a video of that here... check it out... just don't light it on fire... just hot enough...

kyannik (author)2009-07-15

I'm going on a week long portage trip in a few weeks and this is just perfect for it! I love it. I haven't seen any of those m&m; minis tubes around here in awhile. If I can't find one I'll put my straws in a ziplock bag and roll it up and put an elastic around it. I'll still end up with a tube like thing but won't be as durable.

thatoneguydavid (author)kyannik2009-07-15

yeah i had a bit of trouble finding them too, try Fred Meyer, that's where i found mine.

kyannik (author)thatoneguydavid2009-07-15

I'm Canadian (southern Ontario), so I'm not sure what Fred Meyer is but I'll start my search tomorrow or the next day. Actually some brands have plastic tubes of gum now. Not the big cup sized ones but some similar in size to the m&m; minis tube. They just have a weird lip at the top which might make getting the tubes in and out a little harder. Whatever happens, I'll definitely end up with better spice containers than I would have before. Thanks!

swimtrunks (author)2009-07-02

I made one of these last night and it turned out really well (despite the chili powder in my eye)! Goin to make the stove and pot after my backpack trip this weekend. Mt. Whitney!!!!!

PKTraceur (author)swimtrunks2009-07-12

*clap at fail* -PKT

PKTraceur (author)2009-07-12

You forgot the Old Bay! -PKT

kosmo0483 (author)2009-07-04

Old film canisters, while slightly bulkier, also make really good spice jars for traveling. When I bicycled the west coast that's what I used. Nice instructable. And any kind of instant sauce is a perfect way to soak up the remaining water in your pasta/rice/quinoa mixture and make a yummy cream/gravy/whatever you like sauce.

Many years ago I was able to visit the LLBean store in Maine and found a set of snap on shaker tops made to fit the film canisters. I worked on the road for two years and kept my two canisters filled with salt and pepper plus one filled with garlic powder. If I have those three items and some soy sauce I can eat anything LOL.

villagecraftsmith (author)2009-07-02

Awesome 'able!! Thanks for sharing. With everyone carrying lunches to save money I was thinking this would be the ideal thing to tuck into a lunchbox or keep in the desk at the office. I'm thinking stocking stuffers for office buddies.

una pena no poder ver la web en castellano

Locogus (author)2009-07-02

This is sweet! I take my chef roll with all my necessary cooking tools, but haven't been able to take spice (except in ziplocks-those things still take up a lot of space.) Thank you. Now I am inspired to invent an ultralight pepper mill...

will1225 (author)2009-07-01

Try using a flask funnel. They are usually small enough to fit in a straw.

ccyg8774 (author)2009-06-27

Due to the small size of the straws, the process of filling them would possibly drive me crazy... Is there a easier way? I used to find straws that are about 1.2 cm thick, but they are no longer available... sigh...

NL_Buddha (author)ccyg87742009-06-27

Go to McDonalds and get a few straws there if you want larger straws.

McDonalds straws are white so you can not see how much you have left without looking in to the end. that is why I use Jack in the Box

thatoneguydavid (author)ccyg87742009-06-28

I folded a piece of paper in half, put about a table spoon of the spice in the fold and pushed the open end of the straw in to it like a bulldozer. It took about 45 sec. to fill one.

thepelton (author)2009-06-29

You can funnel dry stuff with a cone of paper like thatoneguydavid was probably doing.

thepelton (author)2009-06-29

I have been saving plastic easter eggs from a store that had them on sale after the aforementioned date, and I was thinking that spices for a campout would be a nice use for them. You could fill an entire one with salt, and put smaller amounts of the more volatile spices like cayenne pepper in straws in another. I also have a number of those M&M; mini tubes.

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