Fire Tube - Drinking Straw Hack





Introduction: Fire Tube - Drinking Straw Hack

About: I am a Biologist by training, a zombie prepper in my spare time. Plus, I like to be outdoors.

That’s right. Fire Tubes. These little guys are a great backup to keep with you camping or on the run from zombies. Keep in your bag or pocket. Currently, I am making these with two matches, a cottonball in petroleum jelly and a bit of strikepaper/sandpaper for striking. But these can be hacked to store anything you want to keep dry.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

plastic straw (I prefer clear)

cotton ball (any tinder)

petroleum jelly

waterproof matches (Strike Anywhere)

sandpaper strips



small stick or rod that fits inside straw

Step 2: Tinder First

Tear each cotton ball in half and coat each with petroleum jelly. It shouldn't be gobbed on there, a little will do.

Seal one end of the straw by holding the end to be sealed with pliers, leaving little plastic to melt with the lighter. The pliers pinch the ends while you melt them together and it acts as a shield to the rest of the straw.

Step 3: Add the Ingredients

Using your rod or stick, push the petroleum cotton ball in the straw and pack near the sealed end. (Not too hard or you might break your seal).

Now drop in matches and striker/sandpaper strip (cut to size). I like to keep the match heads away from petroleum cotton balls to prevent too much moisture absorption. This is also why you don’t want to soak the cotton balls in petroleum jelly.

If you plan to store these, it might be wise not to use any petroleum on the cotton.

Step 4:

Cut straw above the matches leaving enough space to grab with pliers and seal the end as before.

If do it correctly, you have a little waterproof fire starter to take with you. A pretty handy little item for very cheap! And you can use these for other things. I have made some for just tinder (dryer lint), salt, pepper, and sugar. I think the sugar is a great one to have a few in case you need the calories.

Hope you enjoyed. Good luck survivors!

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29 Discussions

so cool, could use straws to "blister pack" stuff in the first aid kit, cheaper than small tubes of ointment, vaseline . Would it hold liquid I wonder? Thanks for this!

1 reply

holds liquid very well. do one side, then pour in the liquid, then do the other. 1 great use for it is storing honey as an emergency provision.

You could package shampoo and conditioner in single use packs. This helps regulate the size of each use and prevents the tops from opening and getting it everywhere.

I haven't tried it but i'm sure you could just bend the straw wear you want the seal and hold it with pliers to seal it, it might want to bend over so you could do it on both sides.

Great ultra-lightweight backpacking hack. Thanks for the instructable!

This has to be one of the best posts on this site! I love to camp and the spices one is such a great space saver!

1 reply

You could try soaking the matches in turpentine to waterproof them and see if that helps with the moisture issue.

For fire

To catch a spark, whether you are using a fire rod, or even a match. I lightly coated mine in petroleum jelly to get a larger flame.

An Item that I keep in the handle of my survival knife is a few of those "trick" birthday cake candles {bought from the $1.00 store} that have to be put out manually in addition to the matches. Once you ignite (match, magnifying lens, friction) one of those, they burn much longer than a match and can be reused several times to help start several fires!

1 reply

love it. I made a few, and made salt, pepper, match, sugar, and Q- tip packs. Can't wait to use them for scout camp!

1 reply

For more storage you could use the straws they serve in Bubble tea drinks. They are very wide. 6-8 matches I'm guessing.

I would think the jellie would soak into the matches making then unable to light?