Gotta love the duct tape! (a slight variation from the Seinfeld episode “Gotta love The Drake.”) Strong. Nearly indestructible. So many uses. What’s not to love? I bet you have some somewhere right now.
Developed during World War II, sometimes you will hear people calling it “duck tape”. I have heard a couple of stories about how this originated. The first was because this miracle tape was waterproof and water rolled off it like off the back of a duck. The other story was simply because a lot of people were kind of lazy in their pronunciation of the word “duct” and just did not sound out the “t” at the end very well. The listener only heard “duc” or “duck” and this was repeated about a hundred million times after that and a new type of tape was born! I lean toward believing the latter story myself. Anyway …
Gaye, over at Backdoor Survival, has a very informative article about various uses for duct tape. There is a graphic there that I just love: “If you can’t fix it with duct tape, you have not used ENOUGH!” ha-ha
Few things have such universal appeal except for maybe a cute puppy or kitten. Binding things together or repairing items may be the first uses that come to mind, but you are able to do so much more with it.
So, whether at home or in a wilderness survival situation make sure you have enough on hand so that you are able to do any of the following:
“Repair a tent: You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.
Make a rope: Twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope. Of course paracord would be a lot better and you do have some of that, right?)
Reseal packages of food: Use duct tape to seal up partially opened packages of food. Fold over the top of the package and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape. Works for cans, too. Simply fashion a lid out of duct tape.
Hold your tent closed: A damaged zipper could leave your tent door flapping in the wind. Stick the door shut, and keep the bugs and critters out.
Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole: Tape a stick to the broken area of your tent pole or fishing rod, and you might just get one last adventure out of it.
Catch pesky flies: Roll off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hang them from a branch or your tent or cabin rafters. The DT serves as flypaper and when you depart, you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash. No need to use nasty chemicals, either.
Repair your water bottle: Have a cracked water bottle or a pierced hydration bladder? A little strip of duct tape to the rescue. Be sure to dry the surface before you try to tape your patch in place since most forms of duct tape don’t stick to wet surfaces. You can also wrap plastic water bottles with duct tape to prevent cracking and leaking.
Make a spear: Strap your knife to a pole and you have a trusty spear to fend off beasts, or make one into your dinner.
Make a sling: Fold a length of DT down the middle, so that it is half the original width and no longer exposing a sticky side. Use the strap to make a sling for a busted arm.
Tape a broken window: Before removing broken window glass, crisscross the broken pane with duct tape to hold it all together. This will ensure a shard does not fall out and cut you.
Add extra insulation in your boots: Make your winter boots a little bit warmer by taping the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.”
For more ingenious uses for this indispensable tape head on over to”
Rather than bring a big roll with me, I will always wrap a fair amount around one of my water bottles when I am out for a hike or backpacking. I am sure I could list 100 uses and you would still be able to come up with more yourself. How else have you used duct tape that we have not covered here?