DIY – Single Use Antibiotics Packs

DIY single use antibiotic packets

The ongoing trend in the consumer market of providing small, ready-to-go, individual size packages of consumables has been a win-win for the lightweight and ultralight backpacking communities. Always looking to shave a few extra ounces or grams off of our overall pack weight, these individual servings are the perfect fit for trail snacks, drinks, condiments – you name it.

However, these nicely packaged individual servings can come at a premium. They can often be pricy or difficult to find without going online and ordering in bulk +shipping. That’s when the creative types among us come up with ingenious solutions that lets us make our own alternatives using things we usually have lying around.

Which brings me to today’s topic – individual size packages of antibiotics cream. I’ve carried a few of the Neo-to-go (Neosporin) packets with me as part of my first aid kit for quite some time. They’re small, handy and easy to use, but they have some downsides. Firstly they are expensive, secondly each packet contains way more ointment than I need for a small cut or graze – an awful lot more and once it’s been opened it shouldn’t be reused or saved.

Here is a really clever solution to this problem that involves a tube of antibiotics ointment (generic), a plastic drinking straw, a Bic lighter and a pair of needle-nose pliers (I use my Leatherman Squirt PS4). We’re going to make very small, single use packets of antibiotic ointment using a generic alternative to Neosporin and a clean (unused) drinking straw. If you’re like me and have kids, chances are very good that you have an open tube of antibiotics ointment in your medical cabinet. On its own it is too large to carry on a backpacking trip, so we’re going to re purpose it.

Place the straw over the opening of the ointment tube and carefully squeeze in a small amount of the ointment that is approximately one quarter of an inch in length. You’ll notice that transparent straws work best for this.

Use you fingers to squeeze the end of the straw so that it pushes the ointment further up inside the plastic straw. This will provide a clean area for sealing the end of the straw without having the ointment ooze out while you are holding it with your pliers.

Hold the end of the straw with your needle-nose pliers so that a small amount of the straw is protruding. This will be used to melt and seal the end of the straw. Take your Bic lighter and carefully melt the end of the straw so that it forms a seal. I like to quickly pinch the melted end with my pliers to ensure a good seal.

Turn the straw around and find the point where the ointment went up to inside the straw. Pinch just past that with your needle-nose pliers and cut off the excess straw with a pair of scissors making sure to leave a small amount of the straw protruding for sealing with your lighter just as you did in the first step.

Now you have a single use packet of antibiotic ointment that you can carry with you as part of your UL backpacking first aid kit. These are also perfect for EDC carry in a pocket or even your wallet.

I’ve yet to have one of these burst or fail on me. Simple, affordable, and very convenient. A great way to make use of those open tubes that are lying around with just a small amount of ointment left in them. Pretty clever idea that can be used for other purposes, what do you think?

Update: Easy Open Hack

The question I get asked about this hack more than any other is “how easy these little packs are to open?” Here’s a clever little hack that I came up with makes these packets quick and easy to open whenever you need to: Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

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  • Bster13

    Very cool idea….does the ointment break down with exposure to sunlight?  Would an opaque straw be safer way to go?

    • ole survivor

      Normally, we would probably have these in a first aid kit which is totally opaque.

  • Bster13

    Very cool idea….does the ointment break down with exposure to sunlight?  Would an opaque straw be safer way to go?

  • JJ_Mathes

    excellent!  I’ve been looking for a way to carry a small amount of aloe gel. Probably a good idea to label each with a Sharpie pen or other method.

    Bster13, I would think you would keep these in your first-aid kit inside the pack where sunlight would not be a problem, just my thoughts anyway.

    • Bster13

      My first aid kid rides on an outside mesh pocket ATM for easy access to water purification tablets and such.  But an opaque/translucent straw should be easy enough to find.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sacorarwoods Sacora Rose Woods

      @JERMM you could always use an old amber prescription bottle those are UV resistant containers :) hope you find this useful in the future.

    • jcroucher56

      You could color code your straws, too. Clear = neosporin. Pink = Aloe. etc.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Exactly. There are so many ways you can customize these it’s amazing. The comments are filled with lots of great variations and alternatives ways to use this simple packaging trick.

    • Crowebarinc

      Use different color straws. And Have a key on a note card

      • Quiltie

        That is what I plan to do.  Have you thought about using them to hold pills (waterproof)?  Good for watersports and such.  Again the colorcoded straws and also you can keep a selection of them in a sucrets or altoids box with the card in the top of the can.

        • S Duncan

          just don’t use an option like this for pills when travelling internationally!!!! you may have a lot of questions to answer :)

  • JERMM

    excellent!  I’ve been looking for a way to carry a small amount of aloe gel. Probably a good idea to label each with a Sharpie pen or other method.

    Bster13, I would think you would keep these in your first-aid kit inside the pack where sunlight would not be a problem, just my thoughts anyway.

  • Bster13

    My first aid kid rides on an outside mesh pocket ATM for easy access to water purification tablets and such.  But an opaque/translucent straw should be easy enough to find.

  • http://twitter.com/TrailSavvy Jake Willits

    Great Idea! Thanks for sharing. My problem is finding refills for my first aid kit. This is the solution I was looking for. I may even use different colored straws if I need another gel type med, such as Ivarest. Nah, that’s pink. Bad example. My only question is dosage size. Is that just a guess? Or are you a Pharmacist, too?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m definitely not a pharmacist. The good thing about antibiotic cream is that there really isn’t a dosage size to speak of. If you are looking to use this solution for real meds then you have to be very careful about dosage size. I’m sure it could be done though.

      • Momofour

        You can get a dosage syringe if you want to insert a precise amount.  I LOVE this idea for air travel, in the car, sports bags, any time.  Even for lotion, toothpaste about anything!  And you can make the ‘dose’ any size.  Thanks.  

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Don’t tip off the TSA, but I carry these with me when I travel all the time. Ssshhh!

          • Audrey LaCrouix

            (I saw that, Brian!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/sacorarwoods Sacora Rose Woods

      One idea is to use an infant medicine plunger with the measurements on it to determine dosage size that would be my only useful suggestion.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        That’s not a bad idea at all. It would take a little extra time, but if dosage is important to the item you are repackaging then this would most definitely help. Great suggestion.

    • Ikaties

      “Or are you a Pharmacist, too?”

      Wow!  When is the last time you measured out the exact dram measure of neosporin?   Get over yourself!

  • http://twitter.com/TrailSavvy Jake Willits

    Great Idea! Thanks for sharing. My problem is finding refills for my first aid kit. This is the solution I was looking for. I may even use different colored straws if I need another gel type med, such as Ivarest. Nah, that’s pink. Bad example. My only question is dosage size. Is that just a guess? Or are you a Pharmacist, too?

  • guest

    Great idea. I’ve seen something similar done with spices. My concern here is, will the heat from the lighter have any effect on the ointment?
    Info on the spices…
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultra-Lightweight-Backpacking-Spice-Kit-only-1oz/

    • Diygrrl

      Agreed with the concern – neosporin separates over 85 degrees. Neat packaging though

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Hmm, with all of the ointment on the other side of the needle nose pliers and away from the flame, do you still think that would be an issue? Also, the typically daily temperature here in Charlotte NC is far above 85 degrees. More often than not in the high 90s. Would that mean that Neosporin could not be used or was ineffective? That would be a huge product failure.

        • adnama79

           Good point!  I have a first aid kit in my car, and temps OUTSIDE THE CAR were triple digits for more than 70 days or something equally intolerable this past summer.  Should I replace my neosporin packs?  That would be a huge fail.

        • Kate

           I’m thinking that maybe it separates over 85 degrees Celsius? Because that would make a bit more sense, especially since there are places south of North Carolina that are even hotter. :)

    • Cupebill

      The pliers act as a heat sink and plastic is an extremely poor condutor.  Little heat,  if any, will reach the ointment on a very short exposure necessary to melt the tube.

  • guest

    Great idea. I’ve seen something similar done with spices. My concern here is, will the heat from the lighter have any effect on the ointment?
    Info on the spices…
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultra-Lightweight-Backpacking-Spice-Kit-only-1oz/

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    Sweet! Just did this (with optional caps) for toothpaste and alcohol sanitizers

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Toothpaste is a great idea!

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    Sweet! Just did this (with optional caps) for toothpaste and alcohol sanitizers

  • http://eBooklesegeraet.com/ Christian Schilling

    Great idea and great post with the visuals :) Thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I was tempted to shoot a quick video but didn’t have time. I’m glad the photos help.

  • christian_s

    Great idea and great post with the visuals :) Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1847169238 Ken Jones

    This is why I love this site.  I’m not an ultralight backpacker, but I do like adventuring.  I’ve found plenty of useful tips on this site and this is yet another unique, useful tip to add to my arsenal.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Ken! If you ever find a good use for these tips and tricks outside of backpacking and want to share on here let me know.

      • Grandma Cat

        Awesome!  I’m making small first aid kits for Boy Scouts.  The price of a tube of anti-bacteria ointment was cost prohibitive and too big for the small pouches so I hopped on line looking for single use packs and came across this wonderful, inexpensive solution idea.  I’m also going to test the same technique on crafting supplies for the kids at school…single use glitter packets (no more wasting tons of glitter).  Great way to store sewing needles safely too!

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          I’m glad you found it and that you thought it was useful! It really does have so many practical applications and it’s quick and inexpensive.

          I particularly like sealing the ends at opposing right angles to on another. Makes them so much easier to pick up :)

      • Crazythread

        This would be great to use when I walk in this years avon walk for breast cancer. My team ALWAYS has blisters after about 20 miles (sometimes sooner) and keeping these small packets instead of a larger tube would be great!!! Those ounces add up after carrying them for a few miles :).

        Thanks again for posting

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1847169238 Ken Jones

    This is why I love this site.  I’m not an ultralight backpacker, but I do like adventuring.  I’ve found plenty of useful tips on this site and this is yet another unique, useful tip to add to my arsenal.

    Thanks!

  • http://thehikehouse.com/ Donna Walken

    Very cool indeed! Ingenious. And no wastage. Exactly what to bring to Sedona. Hiking within those rocks and trails, it’s always likely to cause minor to major scrapes that need instant attention.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I have the same issue going anywhere with small kids. I tend to have two or three of these in my pocket that I can use at any time.

      • M. Demetrius

        What, 2 or 3 kids in your pocket? What kind of jacket do you wear?? : P

  • http://thehikehouse.com/ Donna Walken

    Very cool indeed! Ingenious. And no wastage. Exactly what to bring to Sedona. Hiking within those rocks and trails, it’s always likely to cause minor to major scrapes that need instant attention.

  • John Roan

    Brilliant Brian, another one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” ideas. Well done as usual!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks John, but as I said I actually saw this somewhere else I’m pretty sure. It is one of theose types of ideas though. Has a lot of uses.

  • John Roan

    Brilliant Brian, another one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” ideas. Well done as usual!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks John, but as I said I actually saw this somewhere else I’m pretty sure. It is one of theose types of ideas though. Has a lot of uses.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I have the same issue going anywhere with small kids. I tend to have two or three of these in my pocket that I can use at any time.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Ken! If you ever find a good use for these tips and tricks outside of backpacking and want to share on here let me know.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I was tempted to shoot a quick video but didn’t have time. I’m glad the photos help.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Toothpaste is a great idea!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m definitely not a pharmacist. The good thing about antibiotic cream is that there really isn’t a dosage size to speak of. If you are looking to use this solution for real meds then you have to be very careful about dosage size. I’m sure it could be done though.

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    I get the antibiotic cream from work first-aid, but I tried this with Toothpaste, and Alcohol gel. Great!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Laural, watch out using alcohol gel. That’s highly flammable! But I can totally see the use of it in small sealed doses.

    • SW

      Isn’t the alcohol gel flamable? I’d be VERY CAREFUL with that one.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        I agree with SW, alcohol gel is highly flammable, be very careful doing this – if you have to.

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    I get the antibiotic cream from work first-aid, but I tried this with Toothpaste, and Alcohol gel. Great!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Laural, watch out using alcohol gel. That’s highly flammable! But I can totally see the use of it in small sealed doses.

  • Dbluez

    great idea! the ends of the straw could also be melted with a soldering gun/iron to keep the flame away. still not a safe way to use with flammables such as alcohol based substances, but easier to concentrate the heat. 

  • Dbluez

    great idea! the ends of the straw could also be melted with a soldering gun/iron to keep the flame away. still not a safe way to use with flammables such as alcohol based substances, but easier to concentrate the heat. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Arsenault/100000437282087 Craig Arsenault

    Studies show over use of hand sanitizer is actually bad for you. Especially kids.

    • Shelbyrr

      Yes! Thank you! Most people do not realize that hand sanitizer makes children’s immune systemn unable to combat even the weakest viruses! Germs are not these scary monsters trying to kill you! 

      • Daniel Yates

        Unless they are eating it, it will not affect their immune system.  It does kill the bacteria on the skin, but beyond that there are plenty of bacteria on the rest of their stinky little bodies to more than make up for it.

    • adnama79

       It’s bad to use hand sanitizer any time running water is available, simply because running water (even without soap) is more effective.  And there is some concern over resistant bacteria.  Backpacking is the perfect time to use hand sanitizer.  The only time it should be used, and what it was invented for.

      • Daniel Yates

        Hand sanitizer is alcohol, it doesn’t actually kill all bacteria, it works by denaturing the cell wall and dehydrating .  Washing is best, but to be as effective as alcohol, it takes lather, time and hot water.  Sanitizers do just that, sanitize, they are not however a cleaning agent.

    • Soldierzgirl

      @craig if there is no clean running water, sanitizer is the way to go. usually the case when backpacking or at the beach. jmo

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Arsenault/100000437282087 Craig Arsenault

    Studies show over use of hand sanitizer is actually bad for you. Especially kids.

  • http://www.fajascolombianas1.com Vedette

    Im thinking of different things to place in these ingenius straw storages.

  • http://www.fajascolombianas1.com/ Vedette

    Im thinking of different things to place in these ingenius straw storages.

  • MacGyver

    How extremely smart and creative! Thank you for this and thank you to the originator as well!

  • MacGyver

    How extremely smart and creative! Thank you for this and thank you to the originator as well!

  • http://twitter.com/AdamNYCBC Adam NYCBC

    Brilliant!

  • http://twitter.com/AdamNYCBC Adam NYCBC

    Brilliant!

  • Person

    Just don’t try to go through the airport with them!! :)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Actually, I recently traveled on four flights with three of my home-made antibiotic ointment packets shown in the photo in the front pocket of my shorts without any incident. Two of the flights required me to go through the body scanners and still not a problem.

    • Soldierzgirl

      actually as long as the container is under 3 fl oz, and all containers are in a quart zip bag, there is no problem

  • Person

    Just don’t try to go through the airport with them!! :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Actually, I recently traveled on four flights with three of my home-made antibiotic ointment packets shown in the photo in the front pocket of my shorts without any incident. Two of the flights required me to go through the body scanners and still not a problem.

  • Rjducky

    This is an awesome idea, but how do you get them open? Would I need a scissors or knife with me, or do they easily split open?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Rjducky: Yes, yes, and yes! I may be the wrong person to ask because I like to have a small knife with me wherever I go, so I simply use that to slice off the top or a corner. A knife or pair of scissors are the cleanest and easiest option, but you can also just squeeze the two corners of a sealed end together to force it to “pop” open – that works pretty well.

    • Royce Rowan

      I would think a pair of nail clippers would be handy

    • http://homespun-threads.com/ Aimee Larsen

      I was wondering the same thing…thanks for asking.  And I think the nail clippers would be perfect.  They are cheap and safe.

  • Rjducky

    This is an awesome idea, but how do you get them open? Would I need a scissors or knife with me, or do they easily split open?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Rjducky: Yes, yes, and yes! I may be the wrong person to ask because I like to have a small knife with me wherever I go, so I simply use that to slice off the top or a corner. A knife or pair of scissors are the cleanest and easiest option, but you can also just squeeze the two corners of a sealed end together to force it to “pop” open – that works pretty well.

  • Leena

    How genius!

  • Leena

    How genius!

  • Oden_son

    definitely gonna try this on my camping trip this weekend. but did anyone else notice that it’s not a bic lighter in the pictures?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha. Does it matter that it’s not a Bic lighter? It’s just what I happened to have handy, in this case it’s a cheap Scripto disposable lighter. I use the term “Bic lighter” generically I guess.

  • Oden_son

    definitely gonna try this on my camping trip this weekend. but did anyone else notice that it’s not a bic lighter in the pictures?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha. Does it matter that it’s not a Bic lighter? It’s just what I happened to have handy, in this case it’s a cheap Scripto disposable lighter. I use the term “Bic lighter” generically I guess.

  • http://twitter.com/SteppinMassive Steppin
  • dapotpie

    lol this is interesting… but also a waste of time.  Get a small tube of antibiotic cream and you don’t have to squirt it into tiny pieces of straws. LMAO it’s pretty funny to think of someone meticulously making little straw packets.

  • anametocomment

    Sweet Lighter

  • anametocomment

    Sweet Lighter

  • http://bsimeltingpot.blogspot.com Freethinker

    That’s why most bacteria became resistant to most antibiotics: we slap them wherever we can, including food. Why on earth do you need antibiotics for small cuts and grazes (unless you go hiking in tropics or your defences are low)? A little alcohol, hydrogen peroxide solution or tincture of iodine would do just as well without side effects. A small bottle of alcohol and cotton wool was the only first aid kit we carried just in case when I went backpacking as a child (started as early as at 3 years).  Of course, the society of overmedicated weaklings is highly profitable for the Big Pharma.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Growing up in the UK in the 70′s meant that all we had for wound cleaning was Witch Hazel. If you’re not familiar with that it’s pretty much just rubbing alcohol. At school and at home that was all we used, we rubbed that crap into every cut and scrape! And it hurts, but we survived.

      Times have changed, over the counter medications have come a long way. I can still buy rubbing alcohol and even Witch Hazel, but I would never subject my two young kids to that sort of pain because there is no need. I’m not being soft on them, it’s just unnecessary.

      With regards to antibiotics; for medical prescriptions I agree with your statement 100%. The use of antibiotics as a first line of defense is totally overused, but to combat the possibility of a small infection on a cut or scrape, especially in small children, I think it is justifiable.

      I’ll also add that alcohol and liquid based treatments are a lot less suited to carrying around than an ointment or gel. Try putting a liquid on a small kids cut when it stings and you’ll find that they squirm, making the whole exercise near to impossible. By using a gel it makes hitting the mark a lot easier.

      The point of this blog post was to share a way of repackaging an ointment for easier transportation and to shave weight when ultralight backpacking. I was not advocating one form of medication over another, but see where you are coming from. I do appreciate your feedback though, thanks for commenting.

    • Rweaver

      Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and iodine all cause more problems, by killing your own skin cells, than they solve—slowing healing, leaving a longer time for infection to start. Soap and water is the best choice, plain water would be next. If you’ll be home, with access to easier cleaning and medical care if necessary, within a couple days, that’s all I’d use; on a longer trip, an antibiotic cream is a sensible choice

      • http://www.scandinavian-hiking.com Tomás

        That’s not true at all. Wound healing doesn’t start for a few days after a cut, the cells that reepithelise the skin are not from the skin surface anyway and won’t be affected by topical treatments. Soap and water work fine, but if you’re worried about infection some iodine and scrubbing with a wire brush are also fine. 

        I really don’t get people using antibiotics on scratches though. 

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          These packets could just as easily contain small portions of iodine for wound cleaning. Don’t get hung up on the anti-biotic ointment issue. These types of creams are far more pervasive here in the US than they are in Europe based on my experience.

          However, scrubbing *ANY* wound with a wire brush is completely insane. A small nail brush or something less abrasive yes, but a wire brush – no freaking way!!!

          I’m hoping that the term “wire” brush was a result of English as a second language, so giving you the benefit of the doubt.

          Tiny iodine packets would be a great idea though :-) Thanks for your feedback.

          • http://www.scandinavian-hiking.com Tomás

            I guess a wire brush would be too heavy for the ultralighters anyway! A toothbrush would be a better solution.

            I dig the packets idea, whatever is put in them. I will give it a go with Jamesons and Baileys, which would probably also be good for wound cleaning too. 

          • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

            Just be really careful with flammable liquids like alcohol :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dinisha-Rogers/757982577 Dinisha Rogers

      Alcohol & hydrogen peroxide are no longer recommended for “cleaning” cuts.  They can damage the good tissue.  Good ‘ole soap & water works just fine & usually more readily available.  As for the ointment… Aquaphor or even cheaper Vaseline work great on abrasions (yes, I know they are petroleum-based, but so is the antibiotic ointment). 

    • BlessedArk2010

       Anti-bacteria gel doesn’t kill bacteria it covers the bacteria wit a thin protective layer until you can get to soap and water.

    • adnama79

      I dislike the over-reliance on hand sanitizer and over-use/improper use of antibiotics, too. However, I don’t think this particular thread is a cause for concern on that issue. 

      Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can have the same effects you listed – any bacteria that isn’t killed could be or could become resistant.  Since the target audience is backpackers, this is the appropriate time to use these types of products. Any other time, running water is best because it washes away, rather than kills or weakens (and typically washes away 100% of germs, rather than 90-99%).

      Concern at resistance isn’t that it’s caused by treating cuts and scrapes with prophylactic antibiotics, but 1) prescribing them orally when not warranted; 2) people not completing their prescribed course when symptoms abate and 3) over-reliance on hand sanitizer when running water is available.

      My grandfather was born before penicillin and he thinks that we are soft on our kids because we treat strep throat, rather than allowing it to turn into scarlet fever. In his words, “only 3 of my friends died before we turned 10 from scarlet fever. I survived just fine.” I suppose it’s all in your perspective.

      Iodine isn’t generally recommended any more because it kills good cells as much as bad cells and can slow the healing process when other products (peroxide, neosporin) are available.

      • Tawna Morris

        As someone who survived scarlet fever, in 2009, at age 27, I wouldn’t subject my worst enemy to that. I nearly died after being misdiagnoist as nasal drainage. I lived alone and in my state was over medicating to get relief. If it wasn’t for an ex boyfriend and army medic checking on me, I’d died. So yea sometimes antibotics are good. Aside note, I get chronic ear infections (about 8-10 per yr) and I haven’t taken antibotics for it except 1x in 10 yrs.

    • Soldierzgirl

      if you don’t like it why are you hear reading? LOL 

    • Lanna

      So make your own salves and package them up how you see fit.  I have a homemade herbal salve we use fairly frequently (a house full of kids), and little tiny one-use tubes of them (vs. the 4oz tubs) in my purse and in the car would be lovely and certainly take up less room.  As would little one-use tubes of arnica cream (comes in 2oz and 4oz tubes usually). 

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Lanna, are you planning to use this for your homemade salves? Would you mind sharing more information about your homemade salve? I’m curious as I am sure others are too.

    • Sydnismommy

      I’ll bet this idea would work for iodine, peroxide or alcohol too :)

  • http://bsimeltingpot.blogspot.com/ Freethinker

    That’s why most bacteria became resistant to most antibiotics: we slap them wherever we can, including food. Why on earth do you need antibiotics for small cuts and grazes (unless you go hiking in tropics or your defences are low)? A little alcohol, hydrogen peroxide solution or tincture of iodine would do just as well without side effects. A small bottle of alcohol and cotton wool was the only first aid kit we carried just in case when I went backpacking as a child (started as early as at 3 years).  Of course, the society of overmedicated weaklings is highly profitable for the Big Pharma.

  • Spencer

    Hey, sorry this is kind of random but… i was searching the Klymit website and found out that they came out with a new pad, the Inertia X Lite. Its a torso pad. You should check it out.

  • Drea

    are they hard to get into?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Drea, there is a comment just above that covers this, Rjducky asked the same thing. In short, you can cut them open if you have a small knife or scissors handy or (and this is what I do) you can squeeze the opposing corners of one end quickly and it will pop the seal and let you squeeze out the contents. The consistency of plastic straws is almost perfect for this.

      Please note: I would not recommend this solution for the long term storage of medical ointments. I tend to make just enough for what I need on a trip. I also doubt the long term durability of the plastic straw as a storage medium. Just sayin’ :)

  • Drea

    are they hard to get into?

  • JustSayin

    this seems insanely frugal and time/patience consuming.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Well, there are lots of things that take a little extra time, but the few seconds it takes to make these is definitely worth the effort to me. With regards to being frugal, I think you may be missing the point. I’m not trying to save ointment, I’m trying to carry exactly what I need and save weight. The store bought single packs that I show have a ridiculously large amount of ointment for one serving, it’s wasteful. I don’t need close to one eight of that for even the largest scrape or cut and once the single dose packet is open it’s essentially no good for anything else. Taking two or three minutes to make a handful of these allows me to carry less (saving weight) and open up a small dose as and when I need it ensuring I have other sealed packs for future use. This works 100% for what I am trying to do, I’m not suggesting it’s the answer for everyone. Just sharing information – use it if it helps, if not then no worries.

    • Soldierzgirl

      not any longer than working to make the $8 for the neosporin and gasoline and the time to drive to the pharmacy and buy it…. 

  • JustSayin

    this seems insanely frugal and time/patience consuming.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Well, there are lots of things that take a little extra time, but the few seconds it takes to make these is definitely worth the effort to me. With regards to being frugal, I think you may be missing the point. I’m not trying to save ointment, I’m trying to carry exactly what I need and save weight. The store bought single packs that I show have a ridiculously large amount of ointment for one serving, it’s wasteful. I don’t need close to one eight of that for even the largest scrape or cut and once the single dose packet is open it’s essentially no good for anything else. Taking two or three minutes to make a handful of these allows me to carry less (saving weight) and open up a small dose as and when I need it ensuring I have other sealed packs for future use. This works 100% for what I am trying to do, I’m not suggesting it’s the answer for everyone. Just sharing information – use it if it helps, if not then no worries.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s a great idea…. No idea why people feel the need to be so negative and pissy… Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Drea, there is a comment just above that covers this, Rjducky asked the same thing. In short, you can cut them open if you have a small knife or scissors handy or (and this is what I do) you can squeeze the opposing corners of one end quickly and it will pop the seal and let you squeeze out the contents. The consistency of plastic straws is almost perfect for this.

    Please note: I would not recommend this solution for the long term storage of medical ointments. I tend to make just enough for what I need on a trip. I also doubt the long term durability of the plastic straw as a storage medium. Just sayin’ :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Growing up in the UK in the 70′s meant that all we had for wound cleaning was Witch Hazel. If you’re not familiar with that it’s pretty much just rubbing alcohol. At school and at home that was all we used, we rubbed that crap into every cut and scrape! And it hurts, but we survived.

    Times have changed, over the counter medications have come a long way. I can still buy rubbing alcohol and even Witch Hazel, but I would never subject my two young kids to that sort of pain because there is no need. I’m not being soft on them, it’s just unnecessary.

    With regards to antibiotics; for medical prescriptions I agree with your statement 100%. The use of antibiotics as a first line of defense is totally overused, but to combat the possibility of a small infection on a cut or scrape, especially in small children, I think it is justifiable.

    I’ll also add that alcohol and liquid based treatments are a lot less suited to carrying around than an ointment or gel. Try putting a liquid on a small kids cut when it stings and you’ll find that they squirm, making the whole exercise near to impossible. By using a gel it makes hitting the mark a lot easier.

    The point of this blog post was to share a way of repackaging an ointment for easier transportation and to shave weight when ultralight backpacking. I was not advocating one form of medication over another, but see where you are coming from. I do appreciate your feedback though, thanks for commenting.

  • Yorren

    Is it easy to open the seal ?(the burnt straw)

  • Yorren

    Is it easy to open the seal ?(the burnt straw)

  • P0t$m0k3r

    people do that with weed and plastic bags. its not a cool idea at all

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1850305281 Wendy Bernstein

    Flipping brilliant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1850305281 Wendy Bernstein

    Flipping brilliant.

  • sarcastic_asshole

    Yes, the bulk and weight of one tube of antibiotic ointment is indeed a huge problem that needed to be solved. You sir, are a genius of unparalleled proportions!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FDBTJPUHJZRG7AAKVIBFPNW6A4 Phoretuna

    Great idea..gives the cops something to ponder as they conduct the inevitable search in my V.W bus.:)

  • Lukacsdad

    What a great idea! I can see many endless uses with this staw idea thing for our great outdoors.

  • Lukacsdad

    What a great idea! I can see many endless uses with this staw idea thing for our great outdoors.

  • Diygrrl

    Agreed with the concern – neosporin separates over 85 degrees. Neat packaging though

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Hmm, with all of the ointment on the other side of the needle nose pliers and away from the flame, do you still think that would be an issue? Also, the typically daily temperature here in Charlotte NC is far above 85 degrees. More often than not in the high 90s. Would that mean that Neosporin could not be used or was ineffective? That would be a huge product failure.

  • Cupebill

    The pliers act as a heat sink and plastic is an extremely poor condutor.  Little heat,  if any, will reach the ointment on a very short exposure necessary to melt the tube.

  • Sfeted

    Think this article is really dumb as the this system leads to all kinds of ways for contamination let alone the fumes you inhale when cooking the end of the straw.

    What is too expensive if you use a safe system that stops a infection.  Also, what happens if you hand over your homemade none tested first aid system to someone else and they get infected?

    As a member of a Wilderness SAR team I have seen so many hikers get into trouble because of a craze to save a small amount weight!

    I agree that lighter packs are better and saving weight in a well stocked personal first aid is super.  What I would have given for small prepackaged safe items for my kit 20 years ago so I wouldn’t have to carry tubes and containers!

    - Ted Liversidge

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Sfeted, thank you for your comments. That’s the first time I’ve heard ultralight or lighter weight backpacking referred to as a “craze” :-)

      Firstly, this is not meant as a replacement for a professional and “safe”, as you put it, first aid kit. If that’s a priority for you then by all means buy the off the shelf pre-packaged products and use them instead, there are lots of great options available.

      This is simply what I do to carry less weight with me on the trail. It’s for my own personal use. It’s not for a group or for any SAR mission where I would be applying first aid to someone else.

      Is there a risk of contamination or cross-contamination? Sure, a miniscule one IMHO. How is using a small home-packaged amount of ointment in a sealed straw any worse than handing over a pre-opened tube of the same ointment? In fact I would think the tiny package is preferable to the tube which after use could continued to be carried and re-used for a long time and by multiple people.

      As for the risk of inhaling the fumes of the cooking straws, well I’m melting them slightly and not burning them – there is a considerable difference. I doubt that the risk of inhaling fumes from less than 20 seconds of a melting (not burning) straw is even as bad as crossing a busy road and inhaling all the exhaust fumes.

      Bottom line: If using this solution is of any concern, don’t do it. Go and buy the little Neosporin packets and be happy. It won’t hurt my feelings at all. But, if you think that this is a useful way to take only what you need in a sealed one-time-use packet and it will work for you – feel free to use it.

      I appreciate your feedback and understand your concerns, that’s why I approved your comment so that everyone else can read it and make their own determination on the associated risks.

      Thanks again!

    • adnama79

       What if the straws were boiled first?

  • Sfeted

    Think this article is really dumb as the this system leads to all kinds
    of ways for contamination let alone the fumes you inhale when
    cooking the end of the straw.

    What is too expensive if you use a safe system that stops a infection.  Also, what happens if you hand over your homemade
    none tested first aid system to someone else and they get infected?

    As a member of a Wilderness SAR team I have seen so many hikers
    get into trouble because of a craze to save a small amount weight!

    I agree that lighter packs are better and saving weight in a well stocked personal first aid is super.  What I would have given for
    small prepackaged safe items for my kit 20 years ago so I wouldn’t
    have to carry tubes and containers!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Sfeted, thank you for your comments. That’s the first time I’ve heard ultralight or lighter weight backpacking referred to as a “craze” :-)

    Firstly, this is not meant as a replacement for a professional and “safe”, as you put it, first aid kit. If that’s a priority for you then by all means buy the off the shelf pre-packaged products and use them instead, there are lots of great options available.

    This is simply what I do to carry less weight with me on the trail. It’s for my own personal use. It’s not for a group or for any SAR mission where I would be applying first aid to someone else.

    Is there a risk of contamination or cross-contamination? Sure, a miniscule one IMHO. How is using a small home-packaged amount of ointment in a sealed straw any worse than handing over a pre-opened tube of the same ointment? In fact I would think the tiny package is preferable to the tube which after use could continued to be carried and re-used for a long time and by multiple people.

    As for the risk of inhaling the fumes of the cooking straws, well I’m melting them slightly and not burning them – there is a considerable difference. I doubt that the risk of inhaling fumes from less than 20 seconds of a melting (not burning) straw is even as bad as crossing a busy road and inhaling all the exhaust fumes.

    Bottom line: If using this solution is of any concern, don’t do it. Go and buy the little Neosporin packets and be happy. It won’t hurt my feelings at all. But, if you think that this is a useful way to take only what you need in a sealed one-time-use packet and it will work for you – feel free to use it.

    I appreciate your feedback and understand your concerns, that’s why I approved your comment so that everyone else can read it and make their own determination on the associated risks.

    Thanks again!

    • Anonymous

      Just found your site- I appreciate your kind and upbeat responses to some of the more negative things people post. You’ve got a nice- live and let live attitude. Thanks for the great ideas!!

    • Anonymous

      Such a great idea! I just did this with straws and my Food Saver to make the seals – left a little longer end on the tubes so I’d have a clean area to cut or snip and so the heat wouldn’t get the ointment, hand gel, liquid soap, toothpaste, shampoo, baby wash, diaper ointment … How sweet!!! Not a hiker, but I am a Nurse and LOVE the idea of portable & single doses!!! However, I need to open them with scissors or nail clippers with the Food Saver seal – which are always in my diaper bag! :) THANK YOU!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1442395269 Esther Dodson Adkins

    Awesome idea and just what i’ve been looking for.  Planning to do this with aloe and sunscreen!  Perhaps some homemade bug repellant, too. (i’m testing recipes) 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Home-made bug repellant? You’re gonna share that right?

      • Lori Vintilescu

         I recently made a home made bug repellant recipe I found on line.  Not tested enough to recommend it yet or not, but here’s what I found: 14 ounces witch hazel, 20 drops citronella oil, 20 drops lemongrass oil, 10 drop “any other oil” for fragrance if you prefer.   Shake in a spray bottle and use directly on skin, clothes or surrounding area.  Again, not sure if it really works, but it’s better on my mind than deet on my kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1442395269 Esther Dodson Adkins

    Awesome idea and just what i’ve been looking for.  Planning to do this with aloe and sunscreen!  Perhaps some homemade bug repellant, too. (i’m testing recipes) 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Home-made bug repellant? You’re gonna share that right?

  • Andrew Downie

    This would also work really well for small amounts of things such as seasonings, Cholula hot sauce, etc…  Awesome idea.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Oooh! Hot sauce, now you’re on to something.

      • Justin_blair

        No no no, hot sauce is the last thing you want to put on a cut :-P

    • Darrell Baxley

      Can’t get enough Chollula in that little space. I carry 2 bottles, to heck with the weight.

  • Andrew Downie

    This would also work really well for small amounts of things such as seasonings, Cholula hot sauce, etc…  Awesome idea.

  • Kjsgardn

    Brian, I like this idea to use for storing all the possibilities mentioned here…  Thanks!

    I wonder if cutting the straw to the desired size and sealing one end before putting the ointment, (or spice, or whatever) would be a good idea – less likely to have stuff on the inside of the straw interfere with the seal…  ??? Though it may create the same problem on the end remaining to be sealed…  

    Home made bug repellent from Mother Earth News:
    2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils (available at health food stores): basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary 1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores) 
    Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.
    The article also mentions plants you can grow and use for repellent, lemon balm and certain types of geraniums.
    Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/2003-08-01/Outsmarting-Mosquitoes.aspx?page=6#ixzz1SUxBRBhn

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha, I sort of tried that. I tried sealing one end first, but then had a heck of a time trying to squeeze the ointment into the straw because the sealed end was causing a vacuum. You might be able to do it that way, but it was a lot harder than the way I showed in the photos.

    • Ekmixer

      I can see putting this in an emptied travel size spray bottle.

  • Kjsgardn

    Brian, I like this idea to use for storing all the possibilities mentioned here…  Thanks!

    I wonder if cutting the straw to the desired size and sealing one end before putting the ointment, (or spice, or whatever) would be a good idea – less likely to have stuff on the inside of the straw interfere with the seal…  ??? Though it may create the same problem on the end remaining to be sealed…  

    Home made bug repellent from Mother Earth News:
    2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils (available at health food stores): basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary 1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores) 
    Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.
    The article also mentions plants you can grow and use for repellent, lemon balm and certain types of geraniums.
    Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/2003-08-01/Outsmarting-Mosquitoes.aspx?page=6#ixzz1SUxBRBhn

  • himd

    i think this would also be good for tooth paste

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Yeah, a couple of people have said that they would use this for toothpaste, makes perfect sense.

  • himd

    i think this would also be good for tooth paste

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Yeah, a couple of people have said that they would use this for toothpaste, makes perfect sense.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha, I sort of tried that. I tried sealing one end first, but then had a heck of a time trying to squeeze the ointment into the straw because the sealed end was causing a vacuum. You might be able to do it that way, but it was a lot harder than the way I showed in the photos.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Oooh! Hot sauce, now you’re on to something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

    what leatherman is that?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Evan, it’s the Leatherman Squirt PS4. Almost identical to the Squirt P4 but now with a super small set of scissors. It’s perfect for lightweight backpacking or EDC in your pocket. I highly recommend this model.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Evan-Lomas/100000279430614 Evan Lomas

    what leatherman is that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sacorarwoods Sacora Rose Woods

    @JERMM you could always use an old amber prescription bottle those are UV resistant containers :) hope you find this useful in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sacorarwoods Sacora Rose Woods

    One idea is to use an infant medicine plunger with the measurements on it to determine dosage size that would be my only useful suggestion.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Evan, it’s the Leatherman Squirt PS4. Almost identical to the Squirt P4 but now with a super small set of scissors. It’s perfect for lightweight backpacking or EDC in your pocket. I highly recommend this model.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That’s not a bad idea at all. It would take a little extra time, but if dosage is important to the item you are repackaging then this would most definitely help. Great suggestion.

  • Ben

    This is so wasteful, so much unnecessary plastic. You can pretty much guarantee whoever uses this would just toss it on the ground.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ben, I disagree. Less than half of one plastic straw is not wasteful. Unfortunately I see significantly worse than that on some of the most prestigious of trails. Besides how is this any less wasteful than the Neosporin single use packets?

      Personally I practice LNT, so any and all of the gear and products that go into the outdoors with me come back with me too – usually even more because I take the time to clean up the mess that others leave behind, the OCD in me I guess.

      I can’t speak for everyone, but would hope that the majority of my reader audience would feel the same way about this.

      • Ekmixer

        Absolutely, I ALWAYS leave a place in as good as or better than I found it.  I’m a visitor in Mother Nature’s yard, and respect accordingly.  

    • Ohplease

       As opposed to the bigger store-bought tubes, sealed in even more plastic?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I totally disagree. It’s a small enough piece of plastic that I can easily put it in my pocket or trash bag without any issue. It depends on the person I think. If they are responsible in general and practice LNT, then they’ll pack out their trash regardless of how small it is – if they’re not responsible then this is probably the least of the damage they are already doing.

      For the record, I can make about 15 of these tiny packets out of one straw that would have normally been thrown away in the trash anyway – that’s a pretty frigging good use of one drinking straw IMHO.

    • Brionna

      I don’t know about it. You can’t “pretty much guarantee” anything. Don’t people who are passionate about the outdoors usually pack out what they pack in? What a small amount of room a couple of empty pieces of straw are going to take up.

      On another note, it really is a smart idea. Even to keep in my purse – especially with a two year old skinning her knees all the time and whatnot! This question may seem ridiculous; but are they easy to pop open when you need to use them? Or would they need to be cut?

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Brionna, this has been asked above and answered by me several times, but it is a great question. In short, you don’t need to cut them open at all, a firm pinch against the flattened corners usually ‘pops’ them open for me. Read above in the comments for more details. Glad you like them, we have two small kids and carry a few of these with us at all times :)

  • Ben

    This is so wasteful, so much unnecessary plastic. You can pretty much guarantee whoever uses this would just toss it on the ground.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ben, I disagree. Less than half of one plastic straw is not wasteful. Unfortunately I see significantly worse than that on some of the most prestigious of trails. Besides how is this any less wasteful than the Neosporin single use packets?

    Personally I practice LNT, so any and all of the gear and products that go into the outdoors with me come back with me too – usually even more because I take the time to clean up the mess that others leave behind, the OCD in me I guess.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but would hope that the majority of my reader audience would feel the same way about this.

  • Spencer

    Hey Brian, Another idea that came to me during a water balloon fight was using water balloons to store stuff. They are very light and pretty durable. Try it and please post your results. Thanks :) 

  • Srfndad

    Brilliant

  • Srfndad

    Brilliant

  • Alan R

    I would like to add my “brilliant” to yourself and the original. In the end the bit of straw left will burn to nothing. fantastic.

  • Alan R

    I would like to add my “brilliant” to yourself and the original. In the end the bit of straw left will burn to nothing. fantastic.

  • Lake District Walks

    Great blog and I just love the outdoors and you have some real interesting ideas, although most of my walks are completed in a day for Lake District Walks and weight of rucksack is not so critical. A very popular walk here is the Alfred Wainwright Coast to Coast walk and when your carrying a pack for approximately 120 miles weight is then a major issue.
    Alistair.

  • guest

    i am an avid backpacker and i hate how you refused to mention in your post under your reasons for disliking individual packets, the fact they are awful for the environment.  as a nature enthusiast, i would hope one of your primary concerns is the earth, not your convenience lugging weight around.  personally, i’d rather carry a larger tube that weighs a bit more than burn plastic, or use individual servings.  wanna save weight? cut it elsewhere in things like clothing, things that don’t impact the environment nearly as much.  also, if you look at a neosporin bottle, you are NOT supposed to heat it, it has temperatures to store it right on the label.   yes i know the heat is temporary, but im sure putting heat thousands of degrees fahrenheit is worse than storing it above 120 degrees.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=758069702 Tony Bothwell

    See this is what happens when NASA lays people off.  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=758069702 Tony Bothwell

    See this is what happens when NASA lays people off.  :)

  • Brett Carstens

    What a fantastic idea!  It gets me thinking of spin-offs, using other plastic disposable containers and other “ingredients.”

    I do know that the bags that fancy coffee grounds come in work well as little trash bags for packing it out, and the twisty-ties on coffee bags become my ear-bud wraps (to keep them from getting tangled).

  • Brett Carstens

    What a fantastic idea!  It gets me thinking of spin-offs, using other plastic disposable containers and other “ingredients.”

    I do know that the bags that fancy coffee grounds come in work well as little trash bags for packing it out, and the twisty-ties on coffee bags become my ear-bud wraps (to keep them from getting tangled).

  • http://thefrugalreport.blogspot.com Amanda Talbert

    I love this! I am going to do this to unburden myself of the heaviness of my diaper bag for two kids still in diapers… no one above has mentioned diaper rash cream, do you think that would be okay to do in this? Sometimes they just have a small red spot that this would be perfect for. Thank you for sharing!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You bet it would work! In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret but don’t tell anyone else… I use A&D diaper cream! After having two kids and seeing first hand how amazing A&D was for rashes and such, we now keep a big tube handy for rashes or sore bottoms.

      I’d even recommend A&D for an affliction very well known to hikers, called monkeybutt – that’s probably TMI, but it works! Having a small little handy packet of diaper rash cream or similar would be very handy. Just make sure you LABEL it clearly!

    • http://profiles.google.com/honeynbennkids Honey Rowland

      I used those little “pill” bottles that come in ‘travel gear’ they’re round about an inch tall…anyways, I’d add one with some cream for bottoms and one with arrowroot as we don’t use talc/baby powder.  I could refill them from my ‘bulk’ at home and I only put a wee bit in so no wasting. 

  • http://thefrugalreport.blogspot.com/ Amanda Talbert

    I love this! I am going to do this to unburden myself of the heaviness of my diaper bag for two kids still in diapers… no one above has mentioned diaper rash cream, do you think that would be okay to do in this? Sometimes they just have a small red spot that this would be perfect for. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You bet it would work! In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret but don’t tell anyone else… I use A&D diaper cream! After having two kids and seeing first hand how amazing A&D was for rashes and such, we now keep a big tube handy for rashes or sore bottoms.

    I’d even recommend A&D for an affliction very well known to hikers, called monkeybutt – that’s probably TMI, but it works! Having a small little handy packet of diaper rash cream or similar would be very handy. Just make sure you LABEL it clearly!

  • Bgweist

    Save yourself a little time if you are making many of these and light a candle and keep it in front of you.

    • AmyW

      Great idea. Any suggestions for labelling straws with different contents? Different colored straws will help and I’ll remember what color goes with which ointments, but my husband won’t.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Amy, I can sympathize with your husband because I wouldn’t remember either, but my wife would. There are several things you could do and I’ve been thinking about it too.

        1) Use different color straws for different ointments AND carry a small piece of paper or card with them as a cheat sheet (red=antiseptic, green=butt cream, blue=toothpaste). Put them all in a tiny snack size ziplock baggy and you’re good to go.

        2) Still use different colors as a simple visual differentiator and also make the straws a little bit longer so that you can write on them with a black Sharpie. I’d recommend using all CAPS and printing carefully.

        3) Different colored straws plus small lengths of Duct tape that you have written on with a black Sharpie. That might work better than writing on the straws as you can write on the tape when it’s flat and then move it onto the straw.

        4) Use a small labeling machine to add sticky labels to each packet. This would probably be the clearest labeling system for reading clarity, but would be very time consuming and expensive if you don’t already have a labeling device (although I highly recommend getting one).

        That’s just a few ideas that I’ve come up with. I’m sure that there are a lot of other good ideas that I haven’t even thought of and hope that others chime in with suggestions.

        • Shan

          I would get some of those clear address labels that come 80 on a sheet and use the Avery 5167 template to print little labels for them.  Thanks for the great idea, Brian!

          • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

            Are those size labels small enough? I’d love to have transparent tape for my Brother electronic label maker :)

  • Bgweist

    Save yourself a little time if yo are making many of these and light a candle and keep in in front of you.

  • Tonyxfranco

    Hi Brian, It was the video I posted on youtube that you viewed and learned of the method. Thanks for sharing the info . Your blog is a great service to the adventure community.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6FNCS7de_A

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Tony – yes that’s it! Great video and fantastic idea. Check it out people.

      • AmyW

        Absolutely brilliant! I can see so many practical uses for this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tonyxfranco

    Hi Brian, It was the video I posted on youtube that you viewed and learned of the method. Thanks for sharing the info . Your blog is a great service to the adventure community.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6FNCS7de_A

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Tony – yes that’s it! Great video and fantastic idea. Check it out people.

  • LauraS829

    Brian- GREAT idea. So sorry some people feel the need to pick apart your post. Come on people the guy is just trying to share a fantastic idea do you really find it necessary to pick it apart? If you don’t like the idea for what ever your reason, don’t do it. Simple as that. Bravo Brian.

    • AmyW

      I completely agree. Thanks Brian (and Tony).

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thank you! Remember, Tony was the real brains.

  • LauraS829

    Brian- GREAT idea. So sorry some people feel the need to pick apart your post. Come on people the guy is just trying to share a fantastic idea do you really find it necessary to pick it apart? If you don’t like the idea for what ever your reason, don’t do it. Simple as that. Bravo Brian.

  • AmyW

    Absolutely brilliant! I can see so many practical uses for this. Thanks for sharing.

  • AmyW

    I completely agree. Thanks Brian (and Tony).

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thank you! Remember, Tony was the real brains.

  • AmyW

    Great idea. Any suggestions for labelling straws with different contents? Different colored straws will help and I’ll remember what color goes with which ointments, but my husband won’t.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Amy, I can sympathize with your husband because I wouldn’t remember either, but my wife would. There are several things you could do and I’ve been thinking about it too.

    1) Use different color straws for different ointments AND carry a small piece of paper or card with them as a cheat sheet (red=antiseptic, green=butt cream, blue=toothpaste). Put them all in a tiny snack size ziplock baggy and you’re good to go.

    2) Still use different colors as a simple visual differentiator and also make the straws a little bit longer so that you can write on them with a black Sharpie. I’d recommend using all CAPS and printing carefully.

    3) Different colored straws plus small lengths of Duct tape that you have written on with a black Sharpie. That might work better than writing on the straws as you can write on the tape when it’s flat and then move it onto the straw.

    4) Use a small labeling machine to add sticky labels to each packet. This would probably be the clearest labeling system for reading clarity, but would be very time consuming and expensive if you don’t already have a labeling device (although I highly recommend getting one).

    That’s just a few ideas that I’ve come up with. I’m sure that there are a lot of other good ideas that I haven’t even thought of and hope that others chime in with suggestions.

  • Trudy Shallow

    What a great idea. I plan to implement this for a trip we are planning to take. On another note, I compliment you on your patience in dealing with the few negative comments you received. Most bloggers would be tempted to just delete those comments, or post a nasty response, sinking to their level. Kudos to you for your great responses.

  • Trudy Shallow

    What a great idea. I plan to implement this for a trip we are planning to take. On another note, I compliment you on your patience in dealing with the few negative comments you received. Most bloggers would be tempted to just delete those comments, or post a nasty response, sinking to their level. Kudos to you for your great responses.

  • Trudy Shallow

    Oh….and one other thing I forgot. I’m going to try this with my vacuum sealer, to see if it will work. That would eliminate the flame.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Trudy, thanks for your nice comments. I post pretty much all comments that are not just total spam. Good or bad, everyone is entitled to their opinion, I may not agree with them and will tell them why. It’s okay to disagree, it doesn’t hurt my feelings – we just agree to disagree.

      I don’t have a vacuum sealer (crazy right?) so I’m very interested to hear how that works out. Can you post an update comment to let us all know?

  • Trudy Shallow

    Oh….and one other thing I forgot. I’m going to try this with my vacuum sealer, to see if it will work. That would eliminate the flame.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Trudy, thanks for your nice comments. I post pretty much all comments that are not just total spam. Good or bad, everyone is entitled to their opinion, I may not agree with them and will tell them why. It’s okay to disagree, it doesn’t hurt my feelings – we just agree to disagree.

    I don’t have a vacuum sealer (crazy right?) so I’m very interested to hear how that works out. Can you post an update comment to let us all know?

  • Jamie

    silly..i mean how much can a small tube weigh?! seems a bit sillt 2 me.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Jamie, you’re missing the point. It’s not only about carry less and saving a little bit of weight (which by the way may seem trivial by itself, but across several items can really add up), it’s also about carry the right amount needed for one use. I like the idea of the single use Neosporin packets – but for a single use pack there is 7 or 8 times more antiseptic cream that I would need for a single application.

      These little packets not only allow me to carry less, they are a more efficient use of the product itself. It’s just a suggestion of how you can repackage items, if it’s not for you that’s perfectly fine. Thanks for commenting.

  • Jamie

    silly..i mean how much can a small tube weigh?! seems a bit sillt 2 me.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Jamie, you’re missing the point. It’s not only about carry less and saving a little bit of weight (which by the way may seem trivial by itself, but across several items can really add up), it’s also about carry the right amount needed for one use. I like the idea of the single use Neosporin packets – but for a single use pack there is 7 or 8 times more antiseptic cream that I would need for a single application.

    These little packets not only allow me to carry less, they are a more efficient use of the product itself. It’s just a suggestion of how you can repackage items, if it’s not for you that’s perfectly fine. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://profiles.google.com/honeynbennkids Honey Rowland

    I used those little “pill” bottles that come in ‘travel gear’ they’re round about an inch tall…anyways, I’d add one with some cream for bottoms and one with arrowroot as we don’t use talc/baby powder.  I could refill them from my ‘bulk’ at home and I only put a wee bit in so no wasting. 

  • KarenR

    Brian, this is an awesome suggestion, and thanks for sharing it! I have some “single use” packets of BioFreeze, but same as the polysporin, way too much at once, and can’t be kept afterwards. I’m thinking of opening those up and immediately squeezing them into straws…

    For AmyW’s question about labelling – you could use masking tape, the same way you would label cords. Have the ends meet together, and the middle of the tape wrap around the straw. You’d have a larger writing area to lable it with a permament marker.

    And on the side, I wanted to say you’ve done an awesome job at replying very pleasantly to some not so pleasant remarks. Quite frankly, you are simply sharing a neat trick that works for you. It is neither a diss nor an endorsement of other options or products. It really isn’t for every product, every situation, or every person, but it’s still worth sharing. Thank you for all of your effort in blogging this, and for your continued monitoring of answering everyone’s questions.

  • KarenR

    Brian, this is an awesome suggestion, and thanks for sharing it! I have some “single use” packets of BioFreeze, but same as the polysporin, way too much at once, and can’t be kept afterwards. I’m thinking of opening those up and immediately squeezing them into straws…

    For AmyW’s question about labelling – you could use masking tape, the same way you would label cords. Have the ends meet together, and the middle of the tape wrap around the straw. You’d have a larger writing area to lable it with a permament marker.

    And on the side, I wanted to say you’ve done an awesome job at replying very pleasantly to some not so pleasant remarks. Quite frankly, you are simply sharing a neat trick that works for you. It is neither a diss nor an endorsement of other options or products. It really isn’t for every product, every situation, or every person, but it’s still worth sharing. Thank you for all of your effort in blogging this, and for your continued monitoring of answering everyone’s questions.

  • KarenR

    Just thought of something… could you use this same technique on a pre-existing bottle? If you had a travel sized tube of toothpaste that was done, could you snip off the end, wash it out, refill it with more toothpaste from a larger tube, and re-seal the end? I wouldn’t think to put oinment in an old toothpaste container since I’m not confident I could get it clean enough with home methods, but to refill it with the same product…

  • KarenR

    Just thought of something… could you use this same technique on a pre-existing bottle? If you had a travel sized tube of toothpaste that was done, could you snip off the end, wash it out, refill it with more toothpaste from a larger tube, and re-seal the end? I wouldn’t think to put oinment in an old toothpaste container since I’m not confident I could get it clean enough with home methods, but to refill it with the same product…

  • tamara terra

    para eso me llevo el pomo entero y listo (for that I take the whole jar and I’m good to go)

  • tamara terra

    para eso me llevo el pomo entero y listo

  • Dartymarty

    My concern is, how difficult is it to open the small capsule without scissors, after you made it? Have you ever tried to rip/tear open a straw before? its not simple.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Yes I’ve tried it many times and it is simple, but there’s a trick to it. As you said there’s almost no way to tear a straw with your bare hands, you’d need a pair of scissors or a small knife to do that, BUT if you squeeze together the two corners of one of the sealed ends it will ‘pop’ open along the seal making it easy to dispense.

      I’ve done this several times and never had a problem. I typically always have a small knife with me, but prefer to just squeeze the corners and pop open a packet to use one that way. If you make any give a try, it’s very easy and effective.

  • Dartymarty

    My concern is, how difficult is it to open the small capsule without scissors, after you made it? Have you ever tried to rip/tear open a straw before? its not simple.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Yes I’ve tried it many times and it is simple, but there’s a trick to it. As you said there’s almost no way to tear a straw with your bare hands, you’d need a pair of scissors or a small knife to do that, BUT if you squeeze together the two corners of one of the sealed ends it will ‘pop’ open along the seal making it easy to dispense.

    I’ve done this several times and never had a problem. I typically always have a small knife with me, but prefer to just squeeze the corners and pop open a packet to use one that way. If you make any give a try, it’s very easy and effective.

  • Rweaver

    Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and iodine all cause more problems, by killing your own skin cells, than they solve—slowing healing, leaving a longer time for infection to start. Soap and water is the best choice, plain water would be next. If you’ll be home, with access to easier cleaning and medical care if necessary, within a couple days, that’s all I’d use; on a longer trip, an antibiotic cream is a sensible choice

  • jazret

    Well Brian… Well!

  • Mrslee6286

    This is great!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’re welcome. If you think of any other clever uses let us all know!

  • Mrslee6286

    This is great!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You’re welcome. If you think of any other clever uses let us all know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Regallis/1390311204 Joseph Regallis

    I think it would be easier just to bring the tube of antibiotic cream. Joe from Backpack and Gear

    http://www.backpack-and-gear.com

  • Carol N

    For larger amounts you could use “bubble straws.”  These are used for drinks containing tapioca pearls and are sold in asian markets.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ah, nice! Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Goddessofmock

      I was going to suggest this.  The bubble or Boba straws would be great for this:)

  • Carol N

    For larger amounts you could use “bubble straws.”  These are used for drinks containing tapioca pearls and are sold in asian markets.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ah, nice! Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Lucybeat

    If you’re concerned about the sunlight and breakdown, use a black sharpie and color the outside.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Exactly. I ended up buying a can of the black Krylon spray paint that is formulated to stick to plastics and sprayed a couple of the bottle with it – done! Touch is easy too :-) Thanks for the Sharpie tip too.

  • Lucybeat

    If you’re concerned about the sunlight and breakdown, use a black sharpie and color the outside.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Exactly. I ended up buying a can of the black Krylon spray paint that is formulated to stick to plastics and sprayed a couple of the bottle with it – done! Touch is easy too :-) Thanks for the Sharpie tip too.

  • Bster13

    FWIW, using electric burners or your stove don’t work well, it melts sthings too quickly.  Def use the lighter.  GL!

  • Bster13

    FWIW, using electric burners on your stove don’t work well, it melts sthings too quickly.  Def use the lighter.  GL!

  • Des

    BRILLIANT! thank you for sharing! this can be used for a variety of things. thank you!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Des, you’re welcome. There have been lots of great comments and feedback with suggested uses I wouldn’t have thought of. If you have any feel free to share them with us.

  • Des

    BRILLIANT! thank you for sharing! this can be used for a variety of things. thank you!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Des, you’re welcome. There have been lots of great comments and feedback with suggested uses I wouldn’t have thought of. If you have any feel free to share them with us.

  • jcroucher56

    You could color code your straws, too. Clear = neosporin. Pink = Aloe. etc.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Exactly. There are so many ways you can customize these it’s amazing. The comments are filled with lots of great variations and alternatives ways to use this simple packaging trick.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02139190022476409282 My Cottage Charm

    Brilliant! I’m thinking this might also work for powdered drink mixes :)

  • Royce Rowan

    I would think a pair of nail clippers would be handy

  • Nathan

    Sterile straws……………..

  • Nathan

    Sterile straws……………..

  • Emily in TN

    I love this! I am traveling with my husband and three year old on a two week vacation and looking for ways to pack less. This is great! Going to pack neosporin and diaper cream too. Thank you!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I use this to carry small packs of A&D diaper cream all the time. Great to have when out with the kids and I also find that A&D is the best lip balm available. So good for many things :)

      As others have mentioned, make sure you clearly mark what they are or use different colored straws to identify what’s in each one.

      If you have time after your trip, let me know how they work out for you!

  • Karen

    Don’t you need a knife or scissors to open them?

  • Emily in TN

    After making my antibiotic packs I had the brilliant (or so I thought) idea of making some with anti-chafing cream for my long runs. Not such a great idea because some ingredient in the cream prevents the straws from sealing. If anybody has any ideas on how to overcome this I would love to know. They would be great while I’m training for my first half marathon next month.

    • Jb

      Try contact lens cases. I cut them into and us one for lip balm.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Emily, I experienced the same issue with Hydropel anti-blister cream. So instead I put it into a small eyedropper bottle that made it very easy (and mess free) to dispense. Still lightweight, but sealed and ready to go in a dash!

  • Jaron Hendrix

    I’d recommend a different alternative altogether.  Still in the Neo To Go line, the company offers a spray with ~140 applications in a handy little package.  Prices range from $4-6 depending on where you buy.  Googling Neosporin Spray will get you plenty of online options, but every major drugstore in North America should have it, as well as Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Jaron. I actually carry a Neosporin spray in the first aid kits that reside in each of our family vehicles as well as the first aid kit I carry with me when scouting with kids.

      The sprays are superb and perfect for all the cuts and scrapes that children manage to get while playing in the outdoors. A great suggestion and alternative, thanks!

  • http://homespun-threads.com/ Aimee Larsen

    I was wondering the same thing…thanks for asking.  And I think the nail clippers would be perfect.  They are cheap and safe.

  • efficientmommy

     What about pre-measured doses of, say, Children’s Motrin?  Or for a 10-day round of antibiotics?  My daughter recently took amoxicillin for 10 days, two teaspoons each day.  I’m thinking it might have made our mornings easier if I had made packets ahead of time and I could have just popped one open for her and she could “drink” the meds right out of the straw.  You would, of course, have to label them and put the individual doses into a container that a child couldn’t get into…like an empty prescription bottle. 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      It would be a little bit of additional up-front effort, but it would work and make the delivery much easier. You’d also have to keep them in the refrigerator right? I’d never really thought about how easy this would be for dispensing liquid medicines to children – there’s a whole new use for this. Thanks for your comments :-)

  • MariahG

    This is a really great concept!  I don’t hike, but I do horseback ride and being able to keep small amounts of antibiotic cream, for times when me or even the horses get torn up by thorns on a trail ride will be invaluable! 

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Well as many folks have said, it can be antibiotic cream or just about anything that you might need a small handy dose of. There have been so many suggestions in the comments here that I’ve lost count :-) Thanks for leaving a comment.

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    If you found this blog post useful or helpful in any way, you can show your support by voting for it in the Instructables.com Pocket-Sized Project Contest.

    Every vote counts, it doesn’t cost you anything, and it’s easy! Thanks :)

  • Melinda

    So cleaver!  I love the idea and trying to think of more uses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1580895465 Stephanie Sutton Reed

    My neice is allergic to cats and i think this would work with benedryl and keep in glove box for emergencies…  put the right dose into it — leaving extra room at the top and all she would have to do is break the seal and tip the straw….    This is brilliant because she cannot take a whole dose yet of the convenient travel packs they make and this would control the dose so much better and they wouldnt have to carry a measuring spoon and bottle.   Just another use for a brilliant idea…..PROPS TO YOU GUYS for thinking this up =)

  • marcelle

    With 4 kids constantly going in different directions, I’m always scrambling to find an extra tube of toothpaste to send them off to an overnight with. And then there’s the oldest with a $20 tube of prescription toothpaste – I guarantee he would lose it. I see straw filling in my near future! Ugh, now I’m going to make myself crazy thinking of all the many things I could put in those little babies. Lotion… face cream… ooo, I like to keep craft supplies in the camper for the kiddies (what’s more fun than decorating rocks, sticks, and pinecones?) – no more leaking glue or spilled glitter… Oh, oh, how about DIY drink mix singles – just enough to mix into bottled water? Just use a bigger portion of the straw. Sorta like pixie sticks.

  • marcelle

    With 4 kids constantly going in different directions, I’m always scrambling to find an extra tube of toothpaste to send them off to an overnight with. And then there’s the oldest with a $20 tube of prescription toothpaste – I guarantee he would lose it. I see straw filling in my near future! Ugh, now I’m going to make myself crazy thinking of all the many things I could put in those little babies. Lotion… face cream… ooo, I like to keep craft supplies in the camper for the kiddies (what’s more fun than decorating rocks, sticks, and pinecones?) – no more leaking glue or spilled glitter… Oh, oh, how about DIY drink mix singles – just enough to mix into bottled water? Just use a bigger portion of the straw. Sorta like pixie sticks.

  • Melinda

    So cleaver!  I love the idea and trying to think of more uses.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    If you found this blog post useful or helpful in any way, you can show your support by voting for it in the Instructables.com Pocket-Sized Project Contest.

    Every vote counts, it doesn’t cost you anything, and it’s easy! Thanks :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Jaron. I actually carry a Neosporin spray in the first aid kits that reside in each of our family vehicles as well as the first aid kit I carry with me when scouting with kids.

    The sprays are superb and perfect for all the cuts and scrapes that children manage to get while playing in the outdoors. A great suggestion and alternative, thanks!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Emily, I experienced the same issue with Hydropel anti-blister cream. So instead I put it into a small eyedropper bottle that made it very easy (and mess free) to dispense. Still lightweight, but sealed and ready to go in a dash!

  • Jb

    Try contact lens cases. I cut them into and us one for lip balm.

  • Jaron Hendrix

    I’d recommend a different alternative altogether.  Still in the Neo To Go line, the company offers a spray with ~140 applications in a handy little package.  Prices range from $4-6 depending on where you buy.  Googling Neosporin Spray will get you plenty of online options, but every major drugstore in North America should have it, as well as Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc.

  • Emily in TN

    After making my antibiotic packs I had the brilliant (or so I thought) idea of making some with anti-chafing cream for my long runs. Not such a great idea because some ingredient in the cream prevents the straws from sealing. If anybody has any ideas on how to overcome this I would love to know. They would be great while I’m training for my first half marathon next month.

  • Goddessofmock

    I was going to suggest this.  The bubble or Boba straws would be great for this:)

  • Justin_blair

    No no no, hot sauce is the last thing you want to put on a cut :-P

  • Stefanie

    Karen, Brian answers that question in the comments above – he says that if you just squeeze together two corners on the same end, the seal will usually pop open.

    http://www.briangreen.net/2011/07/diy-single-use-antibiotic-packs.html#comment-286774742

  • Karen

    Don’t you need a knife or scissors to open them?

  • Emily in TN

    I love this! I am traveling with my husband and three year old on a two week vacation and looking for ways to pack less. This is great! Going to pack neosporin and diaper cream too. Thank you!

  • Ekmixer

    Absolutely, I ALWAYS leave a place in as good as or better than I found it.  I’m a visitor in Mother Nature’s yard, and respect accordingly.  

  • Grandma Cat

    Awesome!  I’m making small first aid kits for Boy Scouts.  The price of a tube of anti-bacteria ointment was cost prohibitive and too big for the small pouches so I hopped on line looking for single use packs and came across this wonderful, inexpensive solution idea.  I’m also going to test the same technique on crafting supplies for the kids at school…single use glitter packets (no more wasting tons of glitter).  Great way to store sewing needles safely too!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m glad you found it and that you thought it was useful! It really does have so many practical applications and it’s quick and inexpensive.

    I particularly like sealing the ends at opposing right angles to on another. Makes them so much easier to pick up :)

  • marcelle

    One more… I was happy when they came out with travel packets of coffeemate so I could always have my vanilla cream with me. But, the packets are several servings, and way too expensive. Yup, gonna be making me a few to keep in my purse.

  • marcelle

    One more… I was happy when they came out with travel packets of coffeemate so I could always have my vanilla cream with me. But, the packets are several servings, and way too expensive. Yup, gonna be making me a few to keep in my purse.

  • Lauri

    This is absolutely the best idea I have come upon in over ten years!!!!  The uses are endless.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Lauri, if you take a look through the comments here you’ll see all sorts of great suggestions and ideas of how to use this. If you come up with any good ones yourself, please share. I’m glad you found this useful and took the time to say so! ^Brian.

  • Lauri

    This is absolutely the best idea I have come upon in over ten years!!!!  The uses are endless.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Lauri, if you take a look through the comments here you’ll see all sorts of great suggestions and ideas of how to use this. If you come up with any good ones yourself, please share. I’m glad you found this useful and took the time to say so! ^Brian.

  • JEFL

    Great tip, can’t wait to try it!And I have some comments for those posting about over-use of antibiotics. Yes, I do agree they’re over-used…..but….out backpacking/camping, get a cut, scrape or bug bite you can’t keep clean, sometimes they tend to get infected! Even if you keep the dirt out,sometimes when you sweat a lot, that in itself can cause irritation and/or infection. Having an antibiotic out in the middle of nowhere can at the least give some relief,at most it can prevent something more serious. Not to mention that if you use the generic pain relieving neosporin,it can get rid of the annoying pain & irritation from small cuts & scrapes,this can be a big bonus when you have kids along.

    • JEFL

      btw-saw this on pinterest, I’m obviously not the only one interested in this. And glad to find it, this is a great website. My son’s getting ready to go to Philmont with Boy Scouts this spring, maybe we’ll learn something that will help him.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        Well welcome to my blog and I’m happy to hear that you found this little hack useful. Have fun with the Boy Scouts, if you have a good leader it will be a lot of fun and educational.

  • JEFL

    Great tip, can’t wait to try it!And I have some comments for those posting about over-use of antibiotics. Yes, I do agree they’re over-used…..but….out backpacking/camping, get a cut, scrape or bug bite you can’t keep clean, sometimes they tend to get infected! Even if you keep the dirt out,sometimes when you sweat a lot, that in itself can cause irritation and/or infection. Having an antibiotic out in the middle of nowhere can at the least give some relief,at most it can prevent something more serious. Not to mention that if you use the generic pain relieving neosporin,it can get rid of the annoying pain & irritation from small cuts & scrapes,this can be a big bonus when you have kids along.

  • JEFL

    btw-saw this on pinterest, I’m obviously not the only one interested in this. And glad to find it, this is a great website. My son’s getting ready to go to Philmont with Boy Scouts this spring, maybe we’ll learn something that will help him.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Well welcome to my blog and I’m happy to hear that you found this little hack useful. Have fun with the Boy Scouts, if you have a good leader it will be a lot of fun and educational.

  • SW

    Isn’t the slcohol gel flamable? I’d be VERY CAREFUL with that one.

  • Katie

    Wow! Really. Wow! This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen
    in a long time. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I’m going to try it
    this weekend.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You are most welcome! Please, let us know how it goes and if you come up with any cool variations.

  • Katie

    Wow! Really. Wow! This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen
    in a long time. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I’m going to try it
    this weekend.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You are most welcome! Please, let us know how it goes and if you come up with any cool variations.

  • Crowebarinc

    Use different color straws. And Have a key on a note card

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristi-Paul-Chapin/803779893 Kristi Paul Chapin

    Awesome…thank You!  My boys are moving to Glacier National Park this summer and I think I’ll make up a huge batch of these for their backpacks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      What are they moving to Glacier National Park to do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristi-Paul-Chapin/803779893 Kristi Paul Chapin

    Awesome…thank You!  My boys are moving to Glacier National Park this summer and I think I’ll make up a huge batch of these for their backpacks!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    What are they moving to Glacier National Park to do?

  • Quiltie

    That is what I plan to do.  Have you thought about using them to hold pills (waterproof)?  Good for watersports and such.  Again the colorcoded straws and also you can keep a selection of them in a sucrets or altoids box with the card in the top of the can.

  • Jackiebum71

    LOVE IT!!! Would make a great idea for the ballpark. Can’t wait to make some for my little first aid kit!!  Thanks for sharing!!

  • Jackiebum71

    LOVE IT!!! Would make a great idea for the ballpark. Can’t wait to make some for my little first aid kit!!  Thanks for sharing!!

  • Jackie

    LOVE IT!!! Would make a great idea for the ballpark. Can’t wait to make some for my little first aid kit!!  Thanks for sharing!!

  • Jackie

    LOVE IT!!! Would make a great idea for the ballpark. Can’t wait to make some for my little first aid kit!!  Thanks for sharing!!

  • Aunt_beth

    This IS really cool.  But I’m a little confused on how to get them opened after sealed… do you need to take scissors to clip off the tip?

    • Daniel Yates

      Everyone should carry a pocket knife, you might need to do an emergency tracheostomy someday.

      • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

        That’s a very low likelihood, but I can think of many other more viable reason to need a knife or sharp tool while on the trail.

  • Aunt_beth

    This IS really cool.  But I’m a little confused on how to get them opened after sealed… do you need to take scissors to clip off the tip?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachel-Anderson-Patrick/100001084860705 Rachel Anderson Patrick

    I love this idea. My son recently had a major medical scare and as a result him and his dad have decided to start biking. I don’t mean just normal around the neighborhood bike rides either. (LOL)  My hubby is obsessed with keeping everything light as possible.  I can’t wait to show him this idea.  I am thinking that what I will do is put different straws in different zip lock bags and then label the bags.  My girls and I can do the project together to help the guys get ready so they don’t feel left out.  

    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’re welcome! There are a lot of parallels between lightweight cycling and backpacking. In fact many of us are lightweight bikers as well as backpackers so if you have any questions you might be able to ask them here and get some great responses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachel-Anderson-Patrick/100001084860705 Rachel Anderson Patrick

    I love this idea. My son recently had a major medical scare and as a result him and his dad have decided to start biking. I don’t mean just normal around the neighborhood bike rides either. (LOL)  My hubby is obsessed with keeping everything light as possible.  I can’t wait to show him this idea.  I am thinking that what I will do is put different straws in different zip lock bags and then label the bags.  My girls and I can do the project together to help the guys get ready so they don’t feel left out.  

    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity.

  • Shelbyrr

    Yes! Thank you! Most people do not realize that hand sanitizer makes children’s immune systemn unable to combat even the weakest viruses! Germs are not these scary monsters trying to kill you! 

  • mochacoffeequeen

    Brian – I found your post by doing a search for “ideas for soap box first aid kit.” I clicked on images and after scrolling down a while – I saw a picture of the little straw and ointment. I was curious and clicked on it and have now read the entire thread. First off I just have to say how excited I am.  I am doing a project with a bunch of homeschool kids ~ making personal first aid kits and I was totally bumming about the price of the Neosporine travel packs (haven’t purchased them yet) and now ~ thanks to you (and the other guy with the youtube video) I don’t have to spend that money! I am going to make up all the little tubes at home ahead of time and have them ready to hand out to the kids for their boxes! Thanks!
    Also – I just have to tell you how encouraging it has been to read you responses to people who (for whatever reason) feel the need to make ridiculous comments.. you stay professional and kind and respectful which must be hard to do at times when people can be that way. Anyway – your mama raised ya right!! :) Thanks again!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great to hear that this is going to help you and all the kids you are working with – that makes it all worthwhile. It is hard to stay civil when folks get carried away, but it’s just not worth getting all fired up.

      At the end of the day this is MY blog. I decide what goes and I prefer to let everyone have their say as long as they play nice. If they can’t be civil I’ll delete their posts and/or block them. If they can be constructive and fair then they can have their say :)

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. I really do appreciate the feedback and hope you’ll stick around to read more, share it with friends, and stay active via the great discussions we have here. Thanks, Brian :)

      • Daniel Yates

        We have used these for years as firestarters, coat jute with wax and cram it in the straws, seal them off ,if you are a purist you can pull the jute out, but being irrisponsible polluters, we just light the whole straw, puts out a good hot flame and can be lit with a match.

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          ‘Irresponsible polluters’ – hmm…

  • mochacoffeequeen

    Brian – I found your post by doing a search for “ideas for soap box first aid kit.” I clicked on images and after scrolling down a while – I saw a picture of the little straw and ointment. I was curious and clicked on it and have now read the entire thread. First off I just have to say how excited I am.  I am doing a project with a bunch of homeschool kids ~ making personal first aid kits and I was totally bumming about the price of the Neosporine travel packs (haven’t purchased them yet) and now ~ thanks to you (and the other guy with the youtube video) I don’t have to spend that money! I am going to make up all the little tubes at home ahead of time and have them ready to hand out to the kids for their boxes! Thanks!
    Also – I just have to tell you how encouraging it has been to read you responses to people who (for whatever reason) feel the need to make ridiculous comments.. you stay professional and kind and respectful which must be hard to do at times when people can be that way. Anyway – your mama raised ya right!! :) Thanks again!!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Great to hear that this is going to help you and all the kids you are working with – that makes it all worthwhile. It is hard to stay civil when folks get carried away, but it’s just not worth getting all fired up.

    At the end of the day this is MY blog. I decide what goes and I prefer to let everyone have their say as long as they play nice. If they can’t be civil I’ll delete their posts and/or block them. If they can be constructive and fair then they can have their say :)

    Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. I really do appreciate the feedback and hope you’ll stick around to read more, share it with friends, and stay active via the great discussions we have here. Thanks, Brian :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You’re welcome! There are a lot of parallels between lightweight cycling and backpacking. In fact many of us are lightweight bikers as well as backpackers so if you have any questions you might be able to ask them here and get some great responses.

  • Astackr2

    Differentiating between products…one piece of duct tape say about 4 inches long…place the straw sections of say, all the “neosporin” side by side then fold the remaining piece of duct tape over them…write on the piece of tape what it is and there ya go…

  • Astackr2

    Differentiating between products…one piece of duct tape say about 4 inches long…place the straw sections of say, all the “neosporin” side by side then fold the remaining piece of duct tape over them…write on the piece of tape what it is and there ya go…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dinisha-Rogers/757982577 Dinisha Rogers

    Alcohol & hydrogen peroxide are no longer recommended for “cleaning” cuts.  They can damage the good tissue.  Good ‘ole soap & water works just fine & usually more readily available.  As for the ointment… Aquaphor or even cheaper Vaseline work great on abrasions (yes, I know they are petroleum-based, but so is the antibiotic ointment). 

  • Ikaties

    “Or are you a Pharmacist, too?”

    Wow!  When is the last time you measured out the exact dram measure of neosporin?   Get over yourself!

  • Crystal

    I’m a wild life photographer and have to say this is a fantastic idea! I’m always getting cuts and scrapes as I climb through brush or climb on rocks (anything to get the shot!). For me, my camera and equipment is heavy enough, so anything that will help lighten my load is always welcomed! Thank you so much for this brilliant idea!

  • Crystal

    I’m a wild life photographer and have to say this is a fantastic idea! I’m always getting cuts and scrapes as I climb through brush or climb on rocks (anything to get the shot!). For me, my camera and equipment is heavy enough, so anything that will help lighten my load is always welcomed! Thank you so much for this brilliant idea!

  • Lesleykyates

    It’s also a great idea to give kids instead of giving them the whole tube. My kids squeeze way too much everytime. They know they’re only supposed to put a little on, but for some reason, they can’t manage just squeezing a little out…so this would be awesome for them!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Exactly. Weight and wastage were my two main concerns. This addresses both :)

  • Lesleykyates

    It’s also a great idea to give kids instead of giving them the whole tube. My kids squeeze way too much everytime. They know they’re only supposed to put a little on, but for some reason, they can’t manage just squeezing a little out…so this would be awesome for them!!

  • Anonymous

    Brian, thanks so much for posting this idea! I am excited to try this for my sons that are junior golfers. Carrying their golf bags for 18 holes filled with clubs, balls, tees and such, it is very important to lighten their load as well as save space. This would be great for sunscreen, powdered drink mixes, antibiotic ointment, ‘monkey butt’ ointment. I don’t believe I have ever seen the bubble straws that were mentioned. I will definitely check those out.

    Also, I commend you on how you handle the negative comments. That’s an area I struggle with myself. Not only did I learn a handy-dandy helpful tip, I got a life lesson too :)

  • Cstroud710

    Then you have to carry scissors with you to open it if you need it. I love the idea, but I would hate to be be able to open the stuff when needed.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Cstroud – you don’t need scissor or a knife! Others have asked this and I explained that with a quick squeeze of the opposing corners you can ‘pop’ these little suckers open as and when you need ‘em. Easy!

  • Cstroud710

    Then you have to carry scissors with you to open it if you need it. I love the idea, but I would hate to be be able to open the stuff when needed.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Cstroud – you don’t need scissor or a knife! Others have asked this and I explained that with a quick squeeze of the opposing corners you can ‘pop’ these little suckers open as and when you need ‘em. Easy!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Exactly. Weight and wastage were my two main concerns. This addresses both :)

  • Darrell Baxley

    Can’t get enough Chollula in that little space. I carry 2 bottles, to heck with the weight.

  • BlessedArk2010

     Anti-bacteria gel doesn’t kill bacteria it covers the bacteria wit a thin protective layer until you can get to soap and water.

  • Sheila

    I love this idea!!  I have a small tip for you (someone else may have already posted this but I didn’t read the previous ones).  As antibiotic ointment has an expiration date, it would be nice to write it on each tube so you could be sure to use them before they expire.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Sheila, I’m not sure anyone did mention that but it makes perfect sense! :)

  • Sheila

    I love this idea!!  I have a small tip for you (someone else may have already posted this but I didn’t read the previous ones).  As antibiotic ointment has an expiration date, it would be nice to write it on each tube so you could be sure to use them before they expire.

  • Kelsey Munroe

    I love this. I am an Independent Scentsy Consultant and in doing this we hand out samples. We have a new line coming out that is lotions and bath stuff. This is an amazing idea to use for those samples. I could think of a million other uses too though. Like powdered flavor for water (coolaid and such), well lotion, shampoo etc. Even spices. It definatley decreases weight though. I use to hike all the time and my bag would be way too heavy. Thank you and I love how well you handle people.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thank you for the kind words Kelsey. Not long after posting this I started using the same method for sugar free Cool aid for trips with my kids. The beauty of this is that the uses are only limited by your imagination. Have fun with it :)

  • Kelsey Munroe

    I love this. I am an Independent Scentsy Consultant and in doing this we hand out samples. We have a new line coming out that is lotions and bath stuff. This is an amazing idea to use for those samples. I could think of a million other uses too though. Like powdered flavor for water (coolaid and such), well lotion, shampoo etc. Even spices. It definatley decreases weight though. I use to hike all the time and my bag would be way too heavy. Thank you and I love how well you handle people.

  • Marionendress

    what about not cutting the straw, but make pockets of the ointment along the length of the straw and then heating the needle nozed pliers and squeezing them in between the pockets of ointment? Just a thought that you could carry 1 straw with the ointmnet in sections and then just cut off a segment as you use it. You’d probably have to get the pliers pretty hot, but I’d think that it might work. Also, then you can just lable one end with what it is in the tube and cut from the other end.

  • Marionendress

    what about not cutting the straw, but make pockets of the ointment along the length of the straw and then heating the needle nozed pliers and squeezing them in between the pockets of ointment? Just a thought that you could carry 1 straw with the ointmnet in sections and then just cut off a segment as you use it. You’d probably have to get the pliers pretty hot, but I’d think that it might work. Also, then you can just lable one end with what it is in the tube and cut from the other end.

  • adnama79

     It’s bad to use hand sanitizer any time running water is available, simply because running water (even without soap) is more effective.  And there is some concern over resistant bacteria.  Backpacking is the perfect time to use hand sanitizer.  The only time it should be used, and what it was invented for.

  • adnama79

     Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can have the same effects – anything that isn’t killed could be or could become resistant.  Since the target audience is backpackers, this is the appropriate time to use these types of products.

    Iodine isn’t generally recommended any more because it kills good cells as much as bad cells and can slow the healing process when other products (peroxide, neosporin) are available.

  • adnama79

     Good point!  I have a first aid kit in my car, and temps OUTSIDE THE CAR were triple digits for more than 70 days or something equally intolerable this past summer.  Should I replace my neosporin packs?  That would be a huge fail.

  • adnama79

     What if the straws were boiled first?

  • Crazythread

    This would be great to use when I walk in this years avon walk for breast cancer. My team ALWAYS has blisters after about 20 miles (sometimes sooner) and keeping these small packets instead of a larger tube would be great!!! Those ounces add up after carrying them for a few miles :).

    Thanks again for posting

  • Conniepentecost

    Great idea but instead of cutting the straws and filling them with ointment, just leave them whole and fill them with liquor.  YAY!  instant disposable shots!!!!

    • Daniel Yates

      Need some of those giant pixie stix they guys sell on streetcorners for the booze!

  • Conniepentecost

    Great idea but instead of cutting the straws and filling them with ointment, just leave them whole and fill them with liquor.  YAY!  instant disposable shots!!!!

  • Renee Pray

    Love your idea Brian!!  Thank you for sharing…Renee Pray, Independent Scentsy Consultant.  If you’d like to know what I’m going to do I’d love to share with you.  email me at apray2@cox:disqus .net.

  • Renee Pray

    Love your idea Brian!!  Thank you for sharing…Renee Pray, Independent Scentsy Consultant.  If you’d like to know what I’m going to do I’d love to share with you.  email me at apray2@cox .net.

  • LollyPopMom

    If you are worried about burning the straw you could use a low temp glue gun to fill in the ends.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      That would work. It’s a little more effort and not everyone has a glue gun, but I can see where you’re coming from. Endless possibilities :)

  • LollyPopMom

    If you are worried about burning the straw you could use a low temp glue gun to fill in the ends.

  • Soldierzgirl

    @craig if there is no clean running water, sanitizer is the way to go. usually the case when backpacking or at the beach. jmo

  • Soldierzgirl

    actually as long as the container is under 3 fl oz, and all containers are in a quart zip bag, there is no problem

  • Soldierzgirl

    if you don’t like it why are you hear reading? LOL 

  • Soldierzgirl

    not any longer than working to make the $8 for the neosporin and gasoline and the time to drive to the pharmacy and buy it…. 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Sheila, I’m not sure anyone did mention that but it makes perfect sense! :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thank you for the kind words Kelsey. Not long after posting this I started using the same method for sugar free Cool aid for trips with my kids. The beauty of this is that the uses are only limited by your imagination. Have fun with it :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That would work. It’s a little more effort and not everyone has a glue gun, but I can see where you’re coming from. Endless possibilities :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/addie.george.327 Addie Kane George

    I just found this and as a youth soccer coach, this will be great! I use neosporin like it is going out of style. This is great! I was out of the individual packs that came in our first aid kit and I didn’t want to have to buy more, but this sounds good! There are scissors in there anyway, so I’m not too worried about the opening.

    I wonder if the straws you get with like frozen cokes or whatever would be better? Slightly bigger?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hi Addie. I’ve used the jumbo straws and all different size straws for this and they’ve all worked great. And you don’t need scissors to get these little suckers open.

  • http://www.facebook.com/addie.george.327 Addie Kane George

    I just found this and as a youth soccer coach, this will be great! I use neosporin like it is going out of style. This is great! I was out of the individual packs that came in our first aid kit and I didn’t want to have to buy more, but this sounds good! There are scissors in there anyway, so I’m not too worried about the opening.

    I wonder if the straws you get with like frozen cokes or whatever would be better? Slightly bigger?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Hi Addie. I’ve used the jumbo straws and all different size straws for this and they’ve all worked great. And you don’t need scissors to get these little suckers open.

  • Anne

    Nathan:  Yeah, sterile straws???
    Also, how do you open  these things without the stuff inside going all over your fingers?

  • Anne

    Nathan:  Yeah, sterile straws???
    Also, how do you open  these things without the stuff inside going all over your fingers?

  • Cgavrilles

    This is very cool! I will definetly be making up some of these. Thank you

  • Cgavrilles

    This is very cool! I will definetly be making up some of these. Thank you

  • Lanna

    So make your own salves and package them up how you see fit.  I have a homemade herbal salve we use fairly frequently (a house full of kids), and little tiny one-use tubes of them (vs. the 4oz tubs) in my purse and in the car would be lovely and certainly take up less room.  As would little one-use tubes of arnica cream (comes in 2oz and 4oz tubes usually). 

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Lanna, are you planning to use this for your homemade salves? Would you mind sharing more information about your homemade salve? I’m curious as I am sure others are too.

  • Leader99

    For people thinking of foods…I’ve seen straws filled with flavored honey and sold at fall festivals. If it’s safe to eat honey out of a straw, I would think it’s safe to put a little neosporin on a cut. Thanks for the idea!

  • Leader99

    For people thinking of foods…I’ve seen straws filled with flavored honey and sold at fall festivals. If it’s safe to eat honey out of a straw, I would think it’s safe to put a little neosporin on a cut. Thanks for the idea!

  • Sydnismommy

    I’ll bet this idea would work for iodine, peroxide or alcohol too :)

  • Vicnic

    Wow! My mind is a buzzin with the possibilities.  I am going to make some individual servings of the hazelnut syrup I like to put in my occasional cup of coffee. I never seem to remember to bring some of it with me to work. And of course, the neosporin,  toothpaste, creams, body wash. Such a great idea. Going to go to the Asian grocery store too, and look for Bubble Straws. I like to camp out too,  and have small ones around at times. No more toothpaste eating for them!! They will have just what they need.

  • Vicnic

    Wow! My mind is a buzzin with the possibilities.  I am going to make some individual servings of the hazelnut syrup I like to put in my occasional cup of coffee. I never seem to remember to bring some of it with me to work. And of course, the neosporin,  toothpaste, creams, body wash. Such a great idea. Going to go to the Asian grocery store too, and look for Bubble Straws. I like to camp out too,  and have small ones around at times. No more toothpaste eating for them!! They will have just what they need.

  • Pigsnfish

    Excellent!  I may actually shove a couple of ibuprofen pills into a straw, too.  I work for our state’s environmental agency in the summer and always carry a first aid kit.  Making these will take up less space in my kit.  Thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha yes. It doesn’t have to be a cream or ointment – thousands of uses! Thanks.

  • Pigsnfish

    Excellent!  I may actually shove a couple of ibuprofen pills into a straw, too.  I work for our state’s environmental agency in the summer and always carry a first aid kit.  Making these will take up less space in my kit.  Thanks!

  • Daniel Yates

    Hand sanitizer is alcohol, it doesn’t actually kill all bacteria, it works by denaturing the cell wall and dehydrating .  Washing is best, but to be as effective as alcohol, it takes lather, time and hot water.  Sanitizers do just that, sanitize, they are not however a cleaning agent.

  • Daniel Yates

    Need some of those giant pixie stix they guys sell on streetcorners for the booze!

  • Daniel Yates

    We have used these for years as firestarters, coat jute with wax and cram it in the straws, seal them off ,if you are a purist you can pull the jute out, but being irrisponsible polluters, we just light the whole straw, puts out a good hot flame and can be lit with a match.

  • Daniel Yates

    Unless they are eating it, it will not affect their immune system.  It does kill the bacteria on the skin, but beyond that there are plenty of bacteria on the rest of their stinky little bodies to more than make up for it.

  • Daniel Yates

    Everyone should carry a pocket knife, you might need to do an emergency tracheostomy someday.

  • Dmdflyer

    Suggest using a candle rather than a lighter.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m not sure I even own any candles, but I get your point :)

  • Dmdflyer

    Suggest using a candle rather than a lighter.

  • ole survivor

    Normally, we would probably have these in a first aid kit which is totally opaque.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m not sure I even own any candles, but I get your point :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That’s a very low likelihood, but I can think of many other more viable reason to need a knife or sharp tool while on the trail.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    ‘Irresponsible polluters’ – hmm…

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha yes. It doesn’t have to be a cream or ointment – thousands of uses! Thanks.

  • BabsMc

    Not only can you use the straw-method but a Food Saver would come in handy for individual medicine pouches – (store in original container/won’t be concerned about spilling the entire prescription, OTC’s or liquids)

    One other comment about carrying the tube instead of making small packs.  The little doses can be placed in designated areas and w/in arms length instead of waiting for the med to be retrieved.

  • BabsMc

    Not only can you use the straw-method but a Food Saver would come in handy for individual medicine pouches – (store in original container/won’t be concerned about spilling the entire prescription, OTC’s or liquids)

    One other comment about carrying the tube instead of making small packs.  The little doses can be placed in designated areas and w/in arms length instead of waiting for the med to be retrieved.

  • Lori Vintilescu

     I recently made a home made bug repellant recipe I found on line.  Not tested enough to recommend it yet or not, but here’s what I found: 14 ounces witch hazel, 20 drops citronella oil, 20 drops lemongrass oil, 10 drop “any other oil” for fragrance if you prefer.   Shake in a spray bottle and use directly on skin, clothes or surrounding area.  Again, not sure if it really works, but it’s better on my mind than deet on my kids.

  • Singlemomprep

    Well I’ve been trying this for 40 min.  Can’t get the end of the straw after the ointment is in to seal all the way.  There’s always some little spot that still lets stuff escape, no matter how many times I seal it.  Don’t know if it’s the brand of straw or what.  :(  I really wanted to put my silver ointment in these!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      What kind of straws are you using? I’ve done this hundreds of times with various brands of straws, most of them dirt cheap, and never had a problem. You are squeezing the melted ends with pliers as you do it right?

  • Singlemomprep

    Well I’ve been trying this for 40 min.  Can’t get the end of the straw after the ointment is in to seal all the way.  There’s always some little spot that still lets stuff escape, no matter how many times I seal it.  Don’t know if it’s the brand of straw or what.  :(  I really wanted to put my silver ointment in these!

  • http://hiking26.blogspot.com/ Jeremy Platt

    Just came upon this. Awesome Idea!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Jeremy!

  • http://hiking26.blogspot.com/ Jeremy Platt

    Just came upon this. Awesome Idea!!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    What kind of straws are you using? I’ve done this hundreds of times with various brands of straws, most of them dirt cheap, and never had a problem. You are squeezing the melted ends with pliers as you do it right?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Jeremy!

  • Karen H

    OMGosh, how cool are you?

  • Karen H

    OMGosh, how cool are you?

  • cbinky

    I’m not a back packer per se… but I do have to carry a diaper bag…  This is awesome!!!!  I’m on my way to go make some of these with coconut oil (great for diaper rash and any other skin stuff).  I can see this coming in handy for a lot of the stuff that i have to carry around!!

  • cbinky

    I’m not a back packer per se… but I do have to carry a diaper bag…  This is awesome!!!!  I’m on my way to go make some of these with coconut oil (great for diaper rash and any other skin stuff).  I can see this coming in handy for a lot of the stuff that i have to carry around!!

  • Kate

     I’m thinking that maybe it separates over 85 degrees Celsius? Because that would make a bit more sense, especially since there are places south of North Carolina that are even hotter. :)

  • Ohplease

     As opposed to the bigger store-bought tubes, sealed in even more plastic?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I totally disagree. It’s a small enough piece of plastic that I can easily put it in my pocket or trash bag without any issue. It depends on the person I think. If they are responsible in general and practice LNT, then they’ll pack out their trash regardless of how small it is – if they’re not responsible then this is probably the least of the damage they are already doing.

    For the record, I can make about 15 of these tiny packets out of one straw that would have normally been thrown away in the trash anyway – that’s a pretty frigging good use of one drinking straw IMHO.

  • greenidmama

    What a great idea totally need to share this idea!

  • greenidmama

    What a great idea totally need to share this idea!

  • Brionna

    I don’t know about it. You can’t “pretty much guarantee” anything. Don’t people who are passionate about the outdoors usually pack out what they pack in? What a small amount of room a couple of empty pieces of straw are going to take up.

    On another note, it really is a smart idea. Even to keep in my purse – especially with a two year old skinning her knees all the time and whatnot! This question may seem ridiculous; but are they easy to pop open when you need to use them? Or would they need to be cut?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Brionna, this has been asked above and answered by me several times, but it is a great question. In short, you don’t need to cut them open at all, a firm pinch against the flattened corners usually ‘pops’ them open for me. Read above in the comments for more details. Glad you like them, we have two small kids and carry a few of these with us at all times :)

  • Tawna Morris

    As someone who survived scarlet fever, in 2009, at age 27, I wouldn’t subject my worst enemy to that. I nearly died after being misdiagnoist as nasal drainage. I lived alone and in my state was over medicating to get relief. If it wasn’t for an ex boyfriend and army medic checking on me, I’d died. So yea sometimes antibotics are good. Aside note, I get chronic ear infections (about 8-10 per yr) and I haven’t taken antibotics for it except 1x in 10 yrs.

  • MaryGunnFUNN

    Clever points off the scale to you! Very smart!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Mary :)

  • MaryGunnFUNN

    Clever points off the scale to you! Very smart!

  • Findintime2

    what an awesome idea! Thank u so much 4 sharing. I can think of atleast a dozen things 2 put in these. Like toothpaste, make-up(foundation), lotion, hand soap, etc. Again, thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      No problem :) In fact if you go back through the comments on this post you’ll find a whole list of ideas and ways to leverage this simple little hack.

  • Findintime2

    what an awesome idea! Thank u so much 4 sharing. I can think of atleast a dozen things 2 put in these. Like toothpaste, make-up(foundation), lotion, hand soap, etc. Again, thanks!

  • Frostha

    I love this idea I am always looking for ways to shrink the size of my backpacking first aid kit.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’re welcome :) Sometimes the best ideas are the easiest ones. Can’t believe how useful this is. ^BG

  • Frostha

    I love this idea I am always looking for ways to shrink the size of my backpacking first aid kit.

  • Janet

    This would work for glue too. Sometimes when I send a customer an order it would be nice to send glue with the order rather then telling them to purchase glue…I will so use this idea!!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Janet, that’s a brilliant idea. I guess it would work for small packs of grease or lube/oil too. I cycle a lot and having a small package of lube on me would be great. You kust gave me another idea! Thanks :)

  • Janet

    This would work for glue too. Sometimes when I send a customer an order it would be nice to send glue with the order rather then telling them to purchase glue…I will so use this idea!!!

  • SHERILI

    do they open easily?  Or do you have to have to cut them?  I don’t usually have scissors on the go with me…

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Sherili, I typically have a small knife with me wherever I go, so I simply use that to slice off the top or a corner. A knife or pair of scissors are the cleanest and easiest option, but you can also just squeeze the two opposing corners of a sealed end together to force it to “pop” open – that works pretty well.

  • SHERILI

    do they open easily?  Or do you have to have to cut them?  I don’t usually have scissors on the go with me…

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Sherili, I typically have a small knife with me wherever I go, so I simply use that to slice off the top or a corner. A knife or pair of scissors are the cleanest and easiest option, but you can also just squeeze the two opposing corners of a sealed end together to force it to “pop” open – that works pretty well.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Janet, that’s a brilliant idea. I guess it would work for small packs of grease or lube/oil too. I cycle a lot and having a small package of lube on me would be great. You kust gave me another idea! Thanks :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You’re welcome :) Sometimes the best ideas are the easiest ones. Can’t believe how useful this is. ^BG

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    No problem :) In fact if you go back through the comments on this post you’ll find a whole list of ideas and ways to leverage this simple little hack.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Mary :)

  • Proudmommapete

    I am going to make a bunch of these filled with shampoo for my kids to take to summer camp. What a great idea! they always use WAY to much and dont get it rinsed out!

  • Proudmommapete

    I am going to make a bunch of these filled with shampoo for my kids to take to summer camp. What a great idea! they always use WAY to much and dont get it rinsed out!

  • Machilliard

    Great idea and could be used for other uses I’d need a lot of something, a long straw. So easy to transport, love this idea!!!

  • Machilliard

    Great idea and could be used for other uses I’d need a lot of something, a long straw. So easy to transport, love this idea!!!

  • peggyann

    enjoyed the post (and the idea) but the comments are, well, entertaining.

  • peggyann

    enjoyed the post (and the idea) but the comments are, well, entertaining.

  • rachelcotterill

    This is such a smart idea – definitely something to consider! I’ll be keeping an eye out on your blog for other smart tricks :)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Rachel! I don’t know if I can take that sort of pressure, but I’ll do my best ;)

  • rachelcotterill

    This is such a smart idea – definitely something to consider! I’ll be keeping an eye out on your blog for other smart tricks :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks Rachel! I don’t know if I can take that sort of pressure, but I’ll do my best ;)

  • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

    Ha! Yes people can be very opinionated in comments can’t they. I’ve done my best to keep things civil and remind them that this is my blog and my rules :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Ha! Yes people can be very opinionated in comments can’t they. I’ve done my best to keep things civil and remind them that this is my blog and my rules :)

  • Neecie

    What an awesome idea…for lots of things! Thanks for the idea and tutorial. For those who are negative and (some) just plain rude, keep it to yourself. No-one appreciates it! Go Brian!

  • Neecie

    What an awesome idea…for lots of things! Thanks for the idea and tutorial. For those who are negative and (some) just plain rude, keep it to yourself. No-one appreciates it! Go Brian!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003731587584 Diana Holt

    OMG ~ YOU ROCK! Thank you much I always like little things liek this to take with me on trips and my BIGGEST pet peive is when someone touches the tube to the wound, this will fix that issue all around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003731587584 Diana Holt

    OMG ~ YOU ROCK! Thank you much I always like little things liek this to take with me on trips and my BIGGEST pet peive is when someone touches the tube to the wound, this will fix that issue all around.

  • mythyme

    What a great idea thank you we kayak and are always getting scratched up or small cuts and this will help us to take care of it before it can get infected. Thank you

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You are most welcome, stay safe!

  • mythyme

    What a great idea thank you we kayak and are always getting scratched up or small cuts and this will help us to take care of it before it can get infected. Thank you

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    You are most welcome, stay safe!

  • Sarah

    this is so clever! perfect for camping/backpacking. I wonder if TSA would have issues with this for air travel? because this would be great!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hi Sarah, thanks for the kind words. I’ve carried these through TSA check points dozens of times on work travel and backpacking trips and have never had any issues.

      I’ve even had them in the pockets of my shorts (by accident) and gone through the scanners with no issue. If you’re not sure, just put them in your ziplock bag with your other toiletries.

  • Sarah

    this is so clever! perfect for camping/backpacking. I wonder if TSA would have issues with this for air travel? because this would be great!!

  • bob

    You could use these little containers for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, all sorts of uses!! Thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Bob, I had not thought of that originally, but I believe an earlier commenter also said that and since then I’ve done exactly that – works great, just needs a longer section of straw or those cool fat ones!

  • bob

    You could use these little containers for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, all sorts of uses!! Thanks!

  • K

    The National Outdoor Leadership Wildlife Medicine course discourages the use of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It does damage to the leading edge of your living tissue, which slows healing. Instead, they strongly recommend polysporin (some people have allergies to neosporin). In lieu of antibiotic, they recommend good old soap and water.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks for the information. Luckily, if you really wanted to, you could carry a soapy water mix in these tubes too and solve that problem! Works for just about every variation. Just have to make sure you label the straws very clearly!

      • Amy

        Hey, you could even make these up with a little bit of liquid soap!

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Sure why not? I have friends that fill them with honey for treats along the trail or sweeteners for coffee and tea.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.stormer.3 Jeff Stormer

            @brian: Raw honey would be most UL friendly–in addition to the ‘usual’ sweetening uses most folks today know about, it is also excellent for wound treatments. The Romans were issued honeycomb as part of their first aid kits. Antiseptic, antibiotic. “Just a dab will do ya”. Needs to be raw (i.e. unpasteurized, *unheated*) honey. Heating (as used in the pasteurization process) destroys the natural goodies that make honey a good option to consider…

  • K

    The National Outdoor Leadership Wildlife Medicine course discourages the use of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It does damage to the leading edge of your living tissue, which slows healing. Instead, they strongly recommend polysporin (some people have allergies to neosporin). In lieu of antibiotic, they recommend good old soap and water.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks for the information. Luckily, if you really wanted to, you could carry a soapy water mix in these tubes too and solve that problem! Works for just about every variation. Just have to make sure you label the straws very clearly!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Bob, I had not thought of that originally, but I believe an earlier commenter also said that and since then I’ve done exactly that – works great, just needs a longer section of straw or those cool fat ones!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Hi Sarah, thanks for the kind words. I’ve carried these through TSA check points dozens of times on work travel and backpacking trips and have never had any issues.

    I’ve even had them in the pockets of my shorts (by accident) and gone through the scanners with no issue. If you’re not sure, just put them in your ziplock bag with your other toiletries.

  • Toes

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m coming to it late but wonder… why not seal the end of the straw first then when cool squeeze a portion of ointment in? Also, homeopathic calendula gel/cream would be a good alternative.

  • Toes

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m coming to it late but wonder… why not seal the end of the straw first then when cool squeeze a portion of ointment in? Also, homeopathic calendula gel/cream would be a good alternative.

  • Mary Ellen

    I think this is GREAT….I’m going to make a few to put in my cars first aid….
    Thank you.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I usually make a whole bunch at once, like a dozen or so and put 2-3 in several on-the-go locations like our cars and backpacks. Hope it proves to be useful :) ^BG

  • Mary Ellen

    I think this is GREAT….I’m going to make a few to put in my cars first aid….
    Thank you.

  • Kerry

    WHAT! You didn’t have Bactine? When I was a kid in the 60′s in the US, we always used Bactine, an antiseptic, pain relieving liquid. My kids think it stings a little, but it’s NOTHING like alchohol or witch hazel. My hubby says his mom believed that campho-phenique could cure pretty much everything. It is an oily liquid with camphorated phenol as the active ingredient. One of those two first aid ointments and a bottle of Listerine was in the medicine cabinet of most homes of our era. I am just saddened to learn that kids “across the pond” were still being subjected to the sting of Witch Hazel twenty years after the 1950 introduction of Bactine.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I believe that the Queen did not allow it and preferred her royal subjects to suffer quietly! We may not have had “Bactine” but we did have Brasso, Salad Cream, and Weetabix – you didn’t back then :-p

  • Kerry

    WHAT! You didn’t have Bactine? When I was a kid in the 60′s in the US, we always used Bactine, an antiseptic, pain relieving liquid. My kids think it stings a little, but it’s NOTHING like alchohol or witch hazel. My hubby says his mom believed that campho-phenique could cure pretty much everything. It is an oily liquid with camphorated phenol as the active ingredient. One of those two first aid ointments and a bottle of Listerine was in the medicine cabinet of most homes of our era. I am just saddened to learn that kids “across the pond” were still being subjected to the sting of Witch Hazel twenty years after the 1950 introduction of Bactine.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I believe that the Queen did not allow it and preferred her royal subjects to suffer quietly! We may not have had “Bactine” but we did have Brasso, Salad Cream, and Weetabix – you didn’t back then :-p

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I usually make a whole bunch at once, like a dozen or so and put 2-3 in several on-the-go locations like our cars and backpacks. Hope it proves to be useful :) ^BG

  • jmtk99

    This is an awesome idea! I plan on trying it very soon! Thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Let me know how it goes! ^BG

  • jmtk99

    This is an awesome idea! I plan on trying it very soon! Thanks!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Let me know how it goes! ^BG

  • KF

    Tawna,
    Your chronic ear infections could be due to a persistant and possibly resistant strain of strep which, in addition to causing scarlet fever, could lead to long term cardiac problems by infecting your heart valves. I am typically not a proponent of antibiotic use, but strep is serious. Please treat your infecton aggressively.

  • KF

    Tawna,
    Your chronic ear infections could be due to a persistant and possibly resistant strain of strep which, in addition to causing scarlet fever, could lead to long term cardiac problems by infecting your heart valves. I am typically not a proponent of antibiotic use, but strep is serious. Please treat your infecton aggressively.

  • Amy

    Hey, you could even make these up with a little bit of liquid soap!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Sure why not? I have friends that fill them with honey for treats along the trail or sweeteners for coffee and tea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.voegele Casey Voegele

    are these hard to open on the go?

  • http://www.facebook.com/casey.voegele Casey Voegele

    are these hard to open on the go?

  • Emikat

    WOW! Thank you to you and the original author. So many uses and to all those worried about the antibiotics fill them with what you use!

  • Emikat

    WOW! Thank you to you and the original author. So many uses and to all those worried about the antibiotics fill them with what you use!

  • ashley

    like tawna, I would love to know as well

  • ashley

    like tawna, I would love to know as well

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chanel-Hilliard/1550138019 Chanel Hilliard

    I think it’s a great idea, especially for traveling with kids and soccer games, any outdoor events. Regardless of the naysayers, I make all my salves and prefer Lavender essential oil as a natural antibiotic. But most don’t appreciate the smell and OTC makes them happy. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chanel-Hilliard/1550138019 Chanel Hilliard

    I think it’s a great idea, especially for traveling with kids and soccer games, any outdoor events. Regardless of the naysayers, I make all my salves and prefer Lavender essential oil as a natural antibiotic. But most don’t appreciate the smell and OTC makes them happy. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ken

    Don’t wast your time…a tube of anti-biotic isn’t that big anyways.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Don’t be a hater. Millions of people can’t be wrong.. well except the ones that use Microsoft Windows, so that’s a bad example ;)

  • Ken

    Don’t wast your time…a tube of anti-biotic isn’t that big anyways.

  • Jenny

    brilliant!

  • Jenny

    brilliant!

  • ashley

    i love this idea… and i will use this next week when i go on vacation…my kids will fuss at me when they see me melting straws lol

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Mine did too. Solution: make some using honey as natural treat straws for them. Mine love them and the local honey helps with their allergies #FTW.

  • ashley

    i love this idea… and i will use this next week when i go on vacation…my kids will fuss at me when they see me melting straws lol

  • sarah

    Witch hazel is actually an extract from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel tree and has astringent properties. I contains some alcohol as a preservative.

  • sarah

    Witch hazel is actually an extract from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel tree and has astringent properties. I contains some alcohol as a preservative.

  • kristen

    i agree! its an awesome idea! all you haters go fly a kit

  • kristen

    i agree! its an awesome idea! all you haters go fly a kit

  • dalbax2

    Great idea.

  • dalbax2

    Great idea.

  • Sarah

    Great idea, I had to try that immediately! I am facing one problem though: no matter how I seal the endings of the straw, the corners keep having little holes in them where the creme would leak out. Do you have any tip how to fix that?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      If you’re not getting a full seal it’s probably because you’re not using long enough pliers or that you have a little of the ointment in the edges. Try cutting the straws longer and leaving much more of a gap between the end of the cream and the cut. Hope that helps, keep practicing.

  • Sarah

    Great idea, I had to try that immediately! I am facing one problem though: no matter how I seal the endings of the straw, the corners keep having little holes in them where the creme would leak out. Do you have any tip how to fix that?

  • Light packer

    WOW! Thanks for this great idea! We’ve traveled a LOT overseas and I could have used this idea many times! Can’t wait to try it on our next trip!

  • Light packer

    WOW! Thanks for this great idea! We’ve traveled a LOT overseas and I could have used this idea many times! Can’t wait to try it on our next trip!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I typically have some on me all the time, one or two n my pockets (I have small kids and I’m always doing crazy stuff). Good news is that these breeze through TSA body scanners, so one less thing to take off!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.labountybreighner Ruth La Bounty-Breighner

    Love this idea, I am definitely gonna try and make these for my motorcycle 1st aid kit. Tks

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Don’t try, DO IT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.labountybreighner Ruth La Bounty-Breighner

    Love this idea, I am definitely gonna try and make these for my motorcycle 1st aid kit. Tks

  • Greg

    Wow! Great Idea! I’ve invented a little different approach for toothpaste packing. You can find it here:
    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=65798
    Your idea is better for really liquid stuff. Maybe soy sauce… Great!

  • DestineeM

    I would need the antibacterial ointment because I would burn myself making these! LOL Great Idea!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’ll end up getting some on your fingers when you first try making them, so it’s all good ;)

  • DestineeM

    I would need the antibacterial ointment because I would burn myself making these! LOL Great Idea!

  • sara larson

    If you want multiple kinds and may forget or are not able to write tiny letters…You can get little plastic bags from the prescription areas of some pharmacys they would hold 3 -4 4 tubes and you can write or label each bag :)

  • sara larson

    If you want multiple kinds and may forget or are not able to write tiny letters…You can get little plastic bags from the prescription areas of some pharmacys they would hold 3 -4 4 tubes and you can write or label each bag :)

  • Kaydee

    There were a lot of comments on this post, so I apologize if this is a duplicate question.
    I am curious how they open?
    I think this is a wonderful idea for diaper bags, they get so full so fast! I love that you could put next to anything in them! And as an added bonus you do not have to buy EXTRA stuff, we have never gone through a tube of antibiotic or any type of ointment before it expires so buying more in a smaller version is just crazy to me.
    thank you so much for sharing!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Kaydee, that’s a popular question and has been answered quite a few times, but no matter. I typically have a small knife with me wherever I go, so I simply use that to slice off the top or a corner. A knife or pair of scissors are the cleanest and easiest option, but you can also just squeeze the two opposing corners of a sealed end together to force it to “pop” open – that works pretty well especially when I’m traveling and the TSA goons force me to leave my EDC knife at home!

  • Patty

    Love it. Great idea.

  • coville123

    Great idea tfs

  • coville123

    Great idea tfs

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582477591 Becky Blanton

    Great idea for so many things! You know those HUGE tubes you get with that granulated candy? You can put enough peanut butter in one of those to use for a sandwich or snack. Great idea for toothpaste too, for purse or backpack, or work. Women — why carry around a whole bottle of makeup when you can put some emergency touchup packs in your purse with this!? Yep. awesome idea. Someone ought to design and market a MACHINE and different sized straws for all kinds of stuff…it’d be a money maker for sure!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582477591 Becky Blanton

    Great idea for so many things! You know those HUGE tubes you get with that granulated candy? You can put enough peanut butter in one of those to use for a sandwich or snack. Great idea for toothpaste too, for purse or backpack, or work. Women — why carry around a whole bottle of makeup when you can put some emergency touchup packs in your purse with this!? Yep. awesome idea. Someone ought to design and market a MACHINE and different sized straws for all kinds of stuff…it’d be a money maker for sure!

  • http://twitter.com/FrkRonnow Frk Rönnow

    AWESOME Idea..

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks! Let me know if you use and it and how it works out for you. ^BG

  • http://twitter.com/FrkRonnow Frk Rönnow

    AWESOME Idea..

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Thanks! Let me know if you use and it and how it works out for you. ^BG

  • Brooke

    So awesome and so easy!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Glad you like it, tell all your friends!

  • Brooke

    So awesome and so easy!!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Glad you like it, tell all your friends!

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    It was fine. Helps it burn faster!

  • http://twitter.com/laural Laural Hill

    It was fine. Helps it burn faster!

  • Toni

    This will be so awesome for my classroom and home. Just in time for mosquito season. I think we live off of cortisone!

  • Toni

    This will be so awesome for my classroom and home. Just in time for mosquito season. I think we live off of cortisone!

  • shartrax

    Great idea!

  • shartrax

    Great idea!

  • Jeri

    Very clever idea!!

  • Jeri

    Very clever idea!!

  • April

    I just finished making a dozen of these babies for our upcoming family vacation…they were very easy to make. Awesomeness! Thanks so ,uch for sharing! And, of course, I also began brainstorming different products to use…what do you think about non-acetone nail polosh remover? that would rock if that could work! thanks again!!

  • April

    I just finished making a dozen of these babies for our upcoming family vacation…they were very easy to make. Awesomeness! Thanks so ,uch for sharing! And, of course, I also began brainstorming different products to use…what do you think about non-acetone nail polosh remover? that would rock if that could work! thanks again!!

  • Liz

    Brilliant…..i think I’ll also try it in my diaper bag with rash cream, those tubes are huge, thanks!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      My second biggest use for this… A&D cream! My babies are all grown up now, but A&D continues to be handy for dry skin or rashes.

  • Liz

    Brilliant…..i think I’ll also try it in my diaper bag with rash cream, those tubes are huge, thanks!

  • Liz

    kaaaboom with the lighter though……

  • Liz

    kaaaboom with the lighter though……

  • Kelly Jo

    This is such a great idea! I’ve always loved the idea of the single use packets, but like you said, they have way too much in them. This is great for camping, but it would also work perfectly for a small “Mom’s Kit” in a purse or diaper bag with Neosporin, anti-itch cream, burn gel, and even hand sanitizer. Thanks for such a great post!

  • Kelly Jo

    This is such a great idea! I’ve always loved the idea of the single use packets, but like you said, they have way too much in them. This is great for camping, but it would also work perfectly for a small “Mom’s Kit” in a purse or diaper bag with Neosporin, anti-itch cream, burn gel, and even hand sanitizer. Thanks for such a great post!

  • Cydny

    This also works with pills. I put Benadryl and aspirin in the first aid kit and an emergency back-up pack of daily meds in my husbands wallet and my purse. Also a great idea for emergency needle and thread, which seems to poke out of whatever pack I put them in.

  • Cydny

    This also works with pills. I put Benadryl and aspirin in the first aid kit and an emergency back-up pack of daily meds in my husbands wallet and my purse. Also a great idea for emergency needle and thread, which seems to poke out of whatever pack I put them in.

  • Barb

    What a great idea for travel or camping, Grammy can put on in her purse or glove box in the car, More ideas like this please

  • Barb

    What a great idea for travel or camping, Grammy can put on in her purse or glove box in the car, More ideas like this please

  • mom

    Love this idea

  • mom

    Love this idea

  • Annebella

    Completely awesome!

  • Annebella

    Completely awesome!

  • Amy-on-the-go

    Cool! Great idea!

  • Amy-on-the-go

    Cool! Great idea!

  • Amy-on-the-go

    How about writing on each one with a Sharpie?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      That would be too obvious!

  • Amy-on-the-go

    How about writing on each one with a Sharpie?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That would be too obvious!

  • Heidi Jensen Bradford

    Love this idea!! Going to make some tmrrw. Thank you!

  • Heidi Jensen Bradford

    Love this idea!! Going to make some tmrrw. Thank you!

  • Liz

    Great idea! Would like to advise that I learned the hard way this generic brand does not work as well as the name brand. I spend the extra money on the name brand now.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Hmm.. I’ve neer had any issue with this generic brand, neither has my family. What problem did you have if you don’t mind me asking? It might help others if you can share.

  • Liz

    Great idea! Would like to advise that I learned the hard way this generic brand does not work as well as the name brand. I spend the extra money on the name brand now.

  • sarah

    LOL ” also perfect for EDC” ….tee hee hee

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Is EDC funny? Did I miss some cool joke?

  • sarah

    LOL ” also perfect for EDC” ….tee hee hee

  • carol parker

    a note of caution—some people are sensitive to the neosporin in triple antibiotics as i am. so it might be better to use double antibiotc ointment. my doctor said it is usually just as effective for first aid

  • carol parker

    a note of caution—some people are sensitive to the neosporin in triple antibiotics as i am. so it might be better to use double antibiotc ointment. my doctor said it is usually just as effective for first aid

  • Kat Tomasone

    the ointment might be heat/light sensitive, which would make this process render the ointment almost useless. you should check that out before doing this.

  • Kat Tomasone

    the ointment might be heat/light sensitive, which would make this process render the ointment almost useless. you should check that out before doing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/regester123 David Regester

    This is a great idea and well done with the “how-to”, but I wouldn’t recommend traveling with these. The TSA would love to find a few of these in your luggage.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ve taken these through TSA check points in luggage, my toiletry bag and my pockets and never had any issues at all. I can’t guarantee you’ll be as lucky and don’t recommend that you try, but I’ve never had an issue with these from TSA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/regester123 David Regester

    This is a great idea and well done with the “how-to”, but I wouldn’t recommend traveling with these. The TSA would love to find a few of these in your luggage.

  • Shelley

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!

  • Shelley

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!

  • http://twitter.com/LilyRileygran Cathy Fischer

    That is a fantastic idea….and simple. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/LilyRileygran Cathy Fischer

    That is a fantastic idea….and simple. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.blackwolf.9 Brad Elroy

    Tried it with a thing of burn gel that wasn’t oil based. Had a tendency not to seal up with the heat. Had to make sure that the ends were VERY clean, where oil based will melt down and run off with the heat. Just thought I would let you all know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryan.blackwolf.9 Brad Elroy

    Tried it with a thing of burn gel that wasn’t oil based. Had a tendency not to seal up with the heat. Had to make sure that the ends were VERY clean, where oil based will melt down and run off with the heat. Just thought I would let you all know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.stormer.3 Jeff Stormer

    @brian: Raw honey would be most UL friendly–in addition to the ‘usual’ sweetening uses most folks today know about, it is also excellent for wound treatments. The Romans were issued honeycomb as part of their first aid kits. Antiseptic, antibiotic. “Just a dab will do ya”. Needs to be raw (i.e. unpasteurized, *unheated*) honey. Heating (as used in the pasteurization process) destroys the natural goodies that make honey a good option to consider…

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’ve taken these through TSA check points in luggage, my toiletry bag and my pockets and never had any issues at all. I can’t guarantee you’ll be as lucky and don’t recommend that you try, but I’ve never had an issue with these from TSA.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    If you’re not getting a full seal it’s probably because you’re not using long enough pliers or that you have a little of the ointment in the edges. Try cutting the straws longer and leaving much more of a gap between the end of the cream and the cut. Hope that helps, keep practicing.

  • Deidra

    i love this! i have an MMA training gym and this is perfect to have in the medical bag!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I train karate and bjj – I make these up in bulk when I get the urge and then put a small ziplock baggy of them in each of my gym bag, cars, and go-bags. You can use this technique for all sorts of things you want to repackage. Work hard, be safe, never give up!

  • Deidra

    i love this! i have an MMA training gym and this is perfect to have in the medical bag!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I train karate and bjj – I make these up in bulk when I get the urge and then put a small ziplock baggy of them in each of my gym bag, cars, and go-bags. You can use this technique for all sorts of things you want to repackage. Work hard, be safe, never give up!

  • BH206L3

    That is so easy and fool proof, and why I didn’t think of it?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Why didn’t you think of this? I mean, what were you doing..?

  • BH206L3

    That is so easy and fool proof, and why I didn’t think of it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.w.wilgus Steven W. Wilgus

    if done VERY CLEANLY!!!!!! and I mean almost sterile [preferred] this is a great idea and once back in the states, i will make some. Nice idea: and you can seal tablet in the larger straws for some drinks: if the tablet is too big: use a “PILL CUTTER” – available in Pharmacies and K-Marts, Walmarts and online – to cu the tablet in half so it will fit into the straw. SOME MEDICATIONS ARE NEVER MEANT TO BE CUT OR CRUSHED. YOU are 100% responsible to determine if indeed they can in fact be cut. If scoured [a valley or belt like area that goes across the "face" the tablet, you SHOULD be safe to split the tablet. Another alternative is to get a PILL CRUSHER and put ONE tablet crushed into a single "dose" straw. BUT: IF STILL NOT SURE: CALL AND SPEAK TO A PHARMACIST. You MUST remember the exoiration date, and also protect the material [ointment or tablet] from LIGHT, so put these into a light proof container w/ NAME, Concentration, EXPIRATION DATE and as important: PACKING DATE!! Use these up and ROTATE your “stock”. Be safe, be careful, so you do not have to be lucky…BTW, I am an RN and a Field Medic [that since 1975 US Army]

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I had not even considered the idea of crushing pills to put them into these containers. Done cleanly that would be ever so clever! Thanks for your service and for sharing this advice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.w.wilgus Steven W. Wilgus

    if done VERY CLEANLY!!!!!! and I mean almost sterile [preferred] this is a great idea and once back in the ststes, i will make some. Nice idea: and you can seal tablet in the larger straws for some drinks: if the tablet is too big: use a “PILL CUTTER” – available in Pharmacies and K-Marts, Walmarts and online – to cu the tablet in half so it will fit into the straw. SOME MEDICATIONS ARE NEVER MEANT TO BE CUT OR CRUSHED. YOU are 100% responsible to determine if indeed they can in fact be cut. If scoured [a valley or belt like area that goes across the "face" the tablet. IF STILL NOT SURE: CALL AND SPEAK TO A PHARMACIST. You MUST remember the exoiration date, and also protect the material [ointment or tablet] from LIGHT, so put these into a light proof container w/ NAME, Concentration, EXPIRATION DATE and as important: PACKING DATE!! Use these up and ROTATE your “stock”. Be safe, be careful, so you do not have to be lucky…

  • chuck

    I think it is a great idea.

  • chuck

    I think it is a great idea.

  • TacHQSource

    Very cool idea! Hope you don’t mind I shared your post on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/tacticalhqsource

  • Anne

    This would be great with anti-itch cream, too. My husband is getting ready for his 1st hunting trip & this gives me some great ideas! Thanks!!!

  • Anne

    This would be great with anti-itch cream, too. My husband is getting ready for his 1st hunting trip & this gives me some great ideas! Thanks!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaydeecooper77 Kelly Diane Cooper

    Great for my accident prone son!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaydeecooper77 Kelly Diane Cooper

    Great for my accident prone son!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.bajorek.1 Tom Bajorek

    I like it. Back years ago I would use Slurpy straws, same principle, but for single powdered iced tea, Gatorade, and other “bugjuice” They are also color coded. As you know this works for a lot more then just neosporin. If I maight offer just one suggestion, I would double seal, I learned that heating up a pair of old needlenose (wouldnt do it to my leatherman) w/ a propane torch…. But yeah good post!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Tom, so you would heat the pliers first and use them to “hot crimp” the ends of the straws? Doesn’t that take a lot more heat to do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.bajorek.1 Tom Bajorek

    I like it. Back years ago I would use Slurpy straws, same principle, but for single powdered iced tea, Gatorade, and other “bugjuice” They are also color coded. As you know this works for a lot more then just neosporin. If I maight offer just one suggestion, I would double seal, I learned that heating up a pair of old needlenose (wouldnt do it to my leatherman) w/ a propane torch…. But yeah good post!

  • http://twitter.com/zoquara Andrea Nelson

    You could store the packs in an old pill bottle… and label the bottle by what packs are inside. That solves any worries about light, crushing, and labeling!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Well that’s just too easy! It would work perfectly, thanks for sharing :)

  • http://twitter.com/zoquara Andrea Nelson

    You could store the packs in an old pill bottle… and label the bottle by what packs are inside. That solves any worries about light, crushing, and labeling!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1171442826 John Epperson

    Great Idea! I have sent this to my daughter to use with the grand kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1171442826 John Epperson

    Great Idea! I have sent this to my daughter to use with the grand kids.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Well that’s just too easy! It would work perfectly, thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Tom, so you would heat the pliers first and use them to “hot crimp” the ends of the straws? Doesn’t that take a lot more heat to do?

  • Girl and Cub Scout Momma

    Making some with our wolf cub and then the girl scouts for their medicine bottle first aid kits…thanks for this GREAT tip!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      My pleasure. Be safe and have fun!

  • http://twitter.com/VegHeadSkater Jacob

    Hey, if you were to heat the pliers first and then cut at and angle and punch a hole in it you can put them on a key chain or other convient places! See picture.

    Oh I also found that if you touch the end of one to the flame it pops right open!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Genius! This is exactly why I love to share ideas, there’s always a way to improve or modify it for even more uses. I’m gonna totally use this version. Thanks for sharing and adding the photo! ^BG

  • harmony

    This is such a good idea for travailing on a plain as well.

  • Larry

    Great Idea. I built several the other night. I have also made tubes with hydrocortizone and Ivy off cream. I taught several of my scouts in our troop when we were making our own first aid kits. Thanks for this great tip

  • Betty

    How about using separate snack size zipper bags for different products and writing on the bags with a marker?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003475239601 Wesley Smith

    Awesome. Just added it to my evernote of my list of things to do.

  • Kath

    If you are making a lot of these, I’d suggest trying a wood-burning tool to seal AND cut the straws. I have one with a sharpish cutting tip that might work well. A butane lighter is also much hotter and therefore faster to use to heat plastic for sealing. You’d have to be fast with it and careful, but it would work. I love this idea and will experiment with it. I see a lot of good potential uses! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rose.hill.9674 Rose Hill

    Great idea, you’ve got my head spinning with all the possibilities. Reading the comments was helpful and entertaining too:)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m curious to see what you come with now then. Share if you have any clever ideas (please). ^BG

  • Ludison

    Hey dose someone have any spare single use neosporin packs i need for my nuclear survival kit note that neosporin isnt manufactured in my country

  • http://www.facebook.com/pattyaiken Patty Grant Aiken

    any kind of pin or something just to make a small hole would work. There is usually something. And if your anything like me Well lets say YOU might not want to use your teeth. I find them handy for ripping things open.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pattyaiken Patty Grant Aiken

    Can I suggest differnt bags for the different things. They sell thhe small bags at craft store and I think Walmart. I make mine with my food saver. Put a snack bag in, push seal and when done pull apart and your bag is divided. I do this for my 50 count box tops. Saves space when mailing. Just a suggestion. I am going to make some with straws for my Boy Scouts. Thanks

  • MrZ2u

    First let me say, great idea. I love DIY even for just the sake of DIY! Here are a few ideas to perhaps build a better mouse trap. Suggestions for straws, the ones at Jack in
    the Box that they provide for their shakes are uber thick and have a generous bore. Seems like they would make for a
    pretty durable option over the typical store bought drinking straws. It would seem to me those would be problematic as they always seem to crack with ease. Dunno, never tried them but just a thought. Second, there is a syringe that you can probably get at a pharmacy that has a rather large bore plastic “needle” that is intended for irrigation. It would
    make for a good way to get product into the straw without having any on the portion that would be sealed…perhaps ask a dentist for one.

    I realize this is to solve a particular problem which seems to be portion control and waste but have you seen “Neo-to-go”? It’s a pretty tiny spray version that wastes pretty much nothing and delivers a no contact way to dispense and apply the product. For those that keep saying they want to make these for the car or purse you ought to look into this product. Its pretty damn convenient. It would be a little heavier but I cant imagine enough to matter.

  • mm momma

    sharpie! or if you are doing a lot just print on stickers the names and cut and stick! then you do not have to remember anything

  • http://www.facebook.com/stefnor Stefanie Norman

    What a great idea!! Would also be great for things that u only need very small amounts of but are hard to get in small packages such as premeasured spices, salt, pepper, etc. Can also use for peanut butter, honey, jelly, ketchup and mustard and any condiment that can go without refrigeration for a while (use longer lengths of straw). They are inexpensive enough that if you do not use them all you can throw away the extras afterwards. Can also use Jumbo straws like the ones you get for Frosters at Mac’s for items you need more of.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Jumbo straws work great, especially for dry items like salt, pepper, talc, crushed medicines (tablets).

  • furpurr

    Brian, i do not know what ‘bad’ comments they meant, but Justin does have a valid point. *grins* {& 2 people must have a limited sense of the ridiculous…} ;-)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I try to keep the comments informative, playful, but respectful and clean. I’ll give people one or two chances to redeem themselves after I attempt to steer them back on course, but if they can’t then they’re banned. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude when others clearly don’t want to be nice, but if you read through the comments you’ll see that I do my best to be courteous.

      With regards to hotsauce, I simply meant that being able to carry small amounts of hot sauce for backpacking meals would be awesomesauce. I never meant for it to be used medicinally :-)

  • trash2treasure.wordpress.com

    How do you OPEN them when you need to actually USE the stuff????

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ve actually answered this several times in the comments. Simple pinch the opposing corners of one of the sealed ends and squeeze. They pop open fairly easily, no tools necessary. Scissors or a knife will work too ;)

  • DIY Studio

    I’m putting together craft kits of recycled and recovered material to sell and promote our creative reuse center in our town but I ran into the problem of not having a way to easily supply crafters with glue. These straw tubes work perfectly AND has the creative reuse element that I love! Thanks so much for this tutorial!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Use #367! Glue containers :) Thanks for the feedback the possibilities seem to be endless.

  • Marian Ayala

    funny!

  • mom9198

    Taking a flight for a very short trip and I don’t want to check a bag. This is SUCH a great idea; I did toothpaste, a prescription lotion and face wash and since it all fit in my quart bag, with my travel shampoo and conditioner, I am good to go. Thanks for sharing this. I pinned this on my Pintrest page, and friends LOVE it!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Toothpaste! There is no end to how this can be used :) Thanks for sharing – BG.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HeatherDarnellNewKid Heather Darnell

    Thanks for the chuckle!

    Hey, Brian, I am severely “craft-challenged” and even I was able to make these following your instructions. Probably made them 3 months ago? Not a leak yet! THANKS!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/HeatherDarnellNewKid Heather Darnell

    Ooh I know this is an old post, but I just read it and have to comment. Trying to adhere to environmental concerns – I’d strongly encourage the “pop-it-open” method, or nick with a knife, wherever possible. Using nail clippers – while incredibly efficient and convenient – may cause you to lose that sliver and leave it behind. Unless you are really careful to just barely clip into the side. I know it’s tiny, but…

  • Peter Mossberg

    oh dude, i tried this and nearly stabbed myself in frustration from the mess i made. You have some serious patience or i used the wrong staws. Awesome tip all in all!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Oh dude! Be careful! I thought it was super easy, but just make sure you don’t get hurt. But if you do, you’ll have some ointment handy :-p

  • Melissa

    Put them in the tiny little craft baggies label the Baggie. I do that with OTC med to keep in my purse

  • Two Campers

    Clever. I just made myself a dozen for my little first aid baggies for geocaching. Thanks for sharing

  • Jan

    Brain,

    Just so you know the common weed called Plantain which grows wild in all 50 states has great natural antibiotic and antiviral properties Brought by the pilgrims and used for first aid for centuries…Google it, you will have seen it all your life and thought it was just a roadside weed……Simply pick it…chew the leaf to make a green paste…and put it on the wound. I cook it in coconut oil. and it works great for all kinds of sores, scratches, wounds, acne, bug bites, eczema …. Great for people when they are outdoors and away from a first aid kit. Jan

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Jan, this is an area of first aid that I am planning to investigate further in the coming months. Thanks for sharing and reminding me. – Brian

  • Sarah

    This is awesome! Thanks!

    On the labeling, I would get the pill bags from Walmart in the pharmacy section, they are small, would fit maybe 6 of those packets.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      The tiny pill bags would work great!

  • Sonia

    Can i suggest using recycled med containers? I use my empty med containers. You can place the Avery label over the rx label to cover.

  • Shopgirl

    This is pretty cool, thanks for sharing.

  • Billie317718

    About labeling them, I had a totally different idea….. You could store them in an old tic tac container and then just label the container or slip a piece of paper in the container where you can read the contents. Just a thought!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Billie, that’s a brilliant idea. You could also store them in my MYOG soda bottle lid capsules!

  • Kel

    I was just researching “mini” products to stock my first aid kit. I looked up the cost of the Neosporin packets and it’s outrageous. Your blog appeared during my search. This is such a great idea! Definitely going to try it! Thanks for sharing! Any other suggestions for DIY items for backpacking/camping/first aid?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Thanks Kei. Use the keyword tags on the right side of my blog for DIY MYOG FirstAid and you should get other cool minimizing ideas.

  • CommonSenseGal

    cool idea – I would also add to watch expiration dates (found on the original containter) and be sure your little packets haven’t expired.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Great point about expiration dates. I personally make these in small enough batches that they get used up pretty quickly. If in doubt throw them out, but thanks for the CommonSense reminder! – Brian

  • http://twitter.com/cmhans8 Collin Hansen

    usually you can change the size of the font on the label makers, all the way down to 8pt, which should be small enough to trim the tape with scissors and put on the straws. additionally, some Brother label makers can take interchangeable tape widths.

  • Mary

    Hello. Interesting idea but is it safe? I know the straws must obviously be food grade but melting the plastic has to do something to it chemically. Also I wouldn’t use it for anything with an alcohol content (IE mouthwash, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol) just for the flammability. Anyway I do think I’d use this for topical ointments but not for food stuff. On the labeling issue you could use clear straws then mark them with colored sharpies. Put them all in a bag that you’ve written the color code on. Save writing and use each color to list the item.

  • G Schuff

    Wow, this is so smart. I have had a bleeding ulcer and been taking pine nut oil 30-45 min. before meals. This will be great to do and put in my purse for when we are out and decide to stop for a meal. Thank you for this tip.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You are welcome. Just be careful you don’t catch the oil inside the straw alight when you are melting the end! – Brian

  • Morgan

    You could probably do this with pills, too.
    1. Cut off enough straw.
    2. Seal one end of the straw.
    3. Drop in the correct dosage of pills.
    4. Seal the other end.
    This would be great so you don’t have to carry big bottles of pills. Plus, you already have the right dosage! Would be great for pain medications, etc. I also saw something similar on the internet, except they used whole lengths of the straw. They used it for spices, herbs, and sauces. Same method, but you just use the entire straw. :)

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’re not the first to mention it, but it is a great idea and use of this. Thanks for taking the time to share and explain it. – BG

  • Ruthina

    How would you open them . .? I’m feeling a bit stupid for asking. -.-

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Just squeeze the opposing corners at one of the ends and they ‘pop’ open. If you have a knife or small scissors they work too :)

  • Sylie

    I just tried this and omg! how awesome! worked so slick! I am on a mission to see what else I can get in a straw!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      The sky is the limit. Feel free to share your creative ideas back here for everyone else to benefit from!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chastity.carter Chastity Spear

    One question, and it may be very stupid, but how do you open it after you make it?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Chastity, see below a few comments for my tip.

  • Laura

    A suggestion .. Use a sharpie to write the expiration date on the straw.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I hadn’t really intended these to be a long-term storage solution. The hack was intended to let me carry a few small dose of ointment with me on a trip. I typically make a few before I go and toss them when I get home if they are unused. The same for traveling and flights. Make some > take some with me > discard if not used. I guess as long as you’re careful there’s no reason why they can’t last longer.

  • Maria Keller

    Do you have to carry scissors to open these?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      No really, see above or go back through the comments see. That’s the most frequent question I get. Squeeze, pop, open!

  • John Stirewalt

    Love it with all the years in scouts this is awesome!!!!!!!

  • April

    How hard is it to open, would you need a knife or could you do it with your fingers or teeth?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      April, this is the most asked question that I get. I find them easy to open by simply squeezing on the opposing corners at one end until they “pop” open. I don’t find a knife or scissors necessary, but they sure would make it easier.

      I’m working on a follow up post to this idea to show an easy way to make these little pouches “easy open” right as you finish them, that way there won’t be any problems opening them :)

      Thanks for asking the question, I hope this helps. Have you tried making these yet? If so what do you think and what did you use them for?

  • Judy Thompson

    cleaver is so right thanks

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      You’re welcome!

  • MommaRosie

    This is a cool idea – but how do you keep it sterile? Drinking straws (even clean unused ones) are not sterile. Also, for those that want to do this with prescription ointments, remember, some like nitroglycerin paste break down at certain temps. Also, may I add that a sticker with an expiration date would be helpful to know when to through them away?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Call me crazy, but I wasn’t overly concerned about how sterile the straw are. I do at least use new ones and not used ones, but this was meant as a temporary way to carry a few tiny single-use packs of ointment with me on a trip.

      Tell me, how sterile is the tube of cream after it’s been opened and used once? Yet we buy big tubes and keep using them for months don’t we?

      If you are overly concerned about whether or not this is a sterile option then it’s probably not the solution for you. It was just a clever way to repackage bulkier liquid items to save weight – that’s all. No harm, no foul.

      Stickers or using a Sharpie would a great idea for sure :)

  • William Jonathan Brasky

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for a way to contaminate my neosporin. Looks like this will do the trick!

  • Baby_Aquaman

    Does anyone have any ideas of other things you could put in here for traveling? I love this idea and I travel ALOT and I don’t use antibiotic ointment or aloe that much, but this is so cute, I can’t just ignore it!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      OMG – yes! Just take a few minutes to go back through some of the hundreds of comments and see for yourself. I don’t have time to list them all out here, but there are some very clever ideas and uses that I hadn’t even thought of. Sorry there’s no short list or cheat sheet, but the information is all here if you dig through. – Brian

  • Melissa

    I know this is an old post, but I was wondering if anyone had any hints regarding getting product into the straw far enough and cleanly enough that there’s none near the top of the straw when you are sealing the second side? I am finding that sometimes the open end doesn’t seal as well because the stuff in the straw seeps out while I am trying to singe the straw closed. I am using this trick to carry make up and cream to the gym with me to free up room in my bag.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Melissa, for the most part it’s trial and error like most DIY tricks. I tend to put some product in the straw then squeeze the end with two fingers to force it further into the tube/straw. That leaves a cleaner end and gap for sealing. You can also use those fat jumbo straws that are easier to fill. Hope this helps! – Brian

  • Karin

    Love this idea. I’m making first aid kits with 30 girls and wanted an alternative to the — like you said — expensive and wasteful “single” use packets of stuff. These will be great for the girls. Low-cost, easy to make. In fact, I was just making some and my 2nd grader got interested. She ended up making her own.

    We did things just a little differently for some of the steps:
    1) cut the straws into 1″-long tubes first (our straws were quite big; I’d cut narrower straws a little longer)
    2) with nothing in the straw yet, we sealed one end, using a candle flame

    3) we used one of those kid medicine syringes to squirt some cream into the straw; the tip of the syringe was nice and long so the cream went all the way down to the sealed end (I got the idea of using a syringe after reading the suggestion in the comments to dole out exact dosages that way — I didn’t care about exact dosages but wanted the non-messiness, especially doing this with girls)

    4) we sealed the second end. done!

    I was curious how the girls would get these open — they usually don’t carry knives and they’re not strong enough to pop them open — but then we tried poking a hole with a pin and then squeezing it out. That worked great.

    Thanks again for the idea and the great instructions and photos.

  • Jrenow

    I use this same technique for condiments!

  • Zephyrwalker2002

    how do you open the packages?

  • Shuggles

    How do you open the little packets? Do you have to have scissors or a knife?

    • Angel

      That is what common sense would tell you.

  • Megan E. Cook

    Fantastic idea!!!

  • M. Demetrius

    We used this for a product called “Fire Paste”. It was very tricky, since the material burns very readily, and even a tiny bit on the outside of the straw burned a hole thorough. For those that were successful, however, they are excellent campfire starters. Just poke a hole in one, squeeze a little, light it, and you have your fire.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Ha! Yeah I had a few people suggest similar uses for these straws. Not impossible and will make you be extremely careful when making them that’s for sure, but the results are cool. One tip I have is to use an old syringe to squirt the contents further up inside the straw to keep the ends clean.

  • Dande Similkier

    Great idea.. my only concern is there maybe being some toxins leaching out of the melted plastic that you wouldn’t want in a cut? Or really wouldn’t want on pills???

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Possibly, but I wouldn’t know how to even test for that. These are all food grade plastics… any thoughts?

  • T. R.

    I found that using a candle as opposed to a lighter, frees your other hand, making manuvering things around a whole lot easier!

  • Min.Tracey Estes

    WOW! I AM TRYING THIS WITH MY VICK’S SALVE, TOOTHPASTE,OINTMENT, SANITIZER, VASELINE, AND MAYBE HAIR SERUM!! THERE ARE COUNTLESS THINGS TO DO WITH THIS IDEA!!! I AM GOING TO USE DIFFERENT COLORED STRAWS TO COLOR CODE MINE!!! THANKS FOR SHARING THIS BRILLIANT IDEA!!!

    BUT AS FOR THE SPICES, I THINK I WILL STICK WITH THE TIC’TAC LITTLE PLASTIC BOXES FOR MY SPICES!!!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      All caps scares me, but you’re welcome!

  • Annette

    A great way to fill these pouches without the messy ends and misses is to use a syringe (no needle) to squirt measured amounts into the straws. Quick, easy and no mess.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      That’s a genius way to do it :)

  • Amindele

    Awesome!
    Must try!

  • Amindele

    This is brilliant! Cant wait to try!

  • mike

    Brian, the link to the instructions for opening the ampoule is dead. Little help, please?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Mike, I just checked and the link worked fine..?