The Mighty Sample Tube




About: General outdoors person

It's interesting seeing where inspiration can come from for our outdoor kits. In one of my introduction to cell biology labs, we used sample tubes containing various E. coli cultures... (I don't want to bore you with the experiment that followed so we will move on to the more interesting part).

A sample tube: hard plastic, compact, waterproof, spill proof, freeze proof, and, most importantly, inexpensive. This basic lab equipment is bound to find its way into your BOB, backpacking pack, and survival kits as it has for me.

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Step 1: Acquiring Your Sample Tubes

Fortunately, you don't need access to lab suppliers to procure sample tubes. A quick search on my favourite website for bulk items, Aliexpress, is the best way to find these tubes. Search "sample tubes (insert volume)" to find lots of 50 or 100 for less than 10 cents a piece, free shipping. There are various sizes including 1ml, 2ml, 5ml, and 10ml. I found that 5ml is the best to start with but I have other sizes coming in the mail soon.

Step 2: Some Dimensions

I've included some pictures of 5ml and 2ml sample tubes so you have a better idea of what you'll be buying.

Step 3: Fishing Kits

I found that these tubes are amazing at storing various fishing tackle. Split shot sinkers, swivels, snap swivels, hooks, and small lures fit perfectly in these tubes. You'd be surprised at the size of hook you can fit in a 5ml sample tube. On top of that, hooks will never pierce through the tube to injure you (unlike a small ziplock bag or loose in your kit). Small artificial bait can be stored in these tube with the scented liquid they often come from, as well.

Step 4: Spice Kit

These sample tube are great for keeping spices, herbs and various other powders. I carry salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and crushed chili to name a few. A small variety can make trail food much more enjoyable and improve overall health. Baking soda is also a useful item to carry and can be used for cleaning teeth, relieving sunburn or stings, and so on.

Step 5: Fire Kit

You can store over a dozen matches and homemade cotton firestarters in these tubes. You'll never have to worry about moisture stopping you from your next fire again.

Step 6: First Aid Kit

Various tablets and pills can be stored in sample tubes for your first aid kit. I found that my medication often would get crushed when they were in plastic ziplock bag but in these tubes, they'll never be crushed again.

Step 7: Needles

You can store over 100 needles in one 5ml tube. A safe way to store them at home and on the trail. Of course you don't need that many needles in a backpacking kit, a 1ml or 2ml would be more effective.

Step 8: Seeds

These tubes are great at storing extra vegetable seeds. Make sure that the seeds are completely dry before storing them to prevent mold growth or sprouting.

Step 9: Your Suggestions?

These are the ideas I could come up with. I'd love your input and ideas for these little tubes. Thanks for reading!

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    15 Discussions

    rc jedi

    3 years ago

    Eyeglass repair kit, for those who wear glasses. You can be a hero for others who need it! tiny tube super glue, small screwdrivers, screws, heat shrink tubing, the 2 part putty.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! Can you tell us the length and diameter of each size tube? That would be useful in designing carriers for the tubes.

    1 reply
    Duct tape 101

    4 years ago

    I bet you could take your altoids tin and char wood chips instead of cotton just a comment:) great idea i just might try it:)