From mountains to the moon, the versatility of duct tape

By Doug Williams
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From mountains to the moon, the versatility of duct tape

Doug Williams
 
(7) Kit - Duct tape - Author: Mike Petrucci - CC BY-SA 2.0
(7) Kit - Duct tape - Author: Mike Petrucci - CC BY-SA 2.0
 
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There must be a thousand uses for duct tape, many of them in situations you find yourself in the wild. It’s waterproof as well as incredibly adhesive. It can be used to make a waterproof backing on clothes, and was even used to seal ammunition cases during World War II. It has even been used for sealing heating and air conditioning ducts.

Many outdoor guides will say that it is not an essential in your kit, but the fact that it is so versatile means it can be used in so many situations. Here are some helpful uses:

For medical emergencies

2009SEP281114 – Author: Peter Renshaw – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
2009SEP281114 – Author: Peter Renshaw – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • In the case of a cut, you can cut a plaster out of duct tape and use this to seal the open wound.
  • A splint can be taped onto an arm or leg using lengths of the tape.
  • Sprains can be supported by using duct tape to wrap around the area.
  • You can even do something to help prevent blisters by protecting likely spots with pieces of tape. If blisters have already formed, then cover the existing blister with a piece of gauze protected by duct tape.

Survival tools can be created using duct tape

Laugavegur Hike – Author: Jenny Salita – CC BY-ND 2.0
Laugavegur Hike – Author: Jenny Salita – CC BY-ND 2.0
  • If you ever lose your eye protection, you can use duct tape to fashion snow goggles by taking two lengths, sticking them back to back and cutting out a “mask” with very thin slit cuts into the tape to see through.
  • A drinking container can be fashioned using the tape by wrapping it out of a spherical object.
  • A spear can be made by taping your knife to a wooden pole.
  • You can use the superior sticking qualities of duct tape in order to build a shelter using a tarp or plastic sheet.

Gear repair using duct tape

A duct tape used to repair the fenders of the lunar rover.
A duct tape used to repair the fenders of the lunar rover.
  • Any kinds of leaks can be temporarily fixed using duct tape, whether it be a water pump, hydration bladder, or just a cup.
  • Tears in a groundsheet or tent can be repaired easily using it.
  • Use it for temporary shoe repairs when in the great outdoors.
  • Temporary repairs in cloth, for example, a tear in a pillow, can be saved using tape to prevent feathers flying about.

It is always a good idea to keep some in your outdoor kit. You do not need 500 meters of tape with you; you may not ever find a use for it! But if you do need it and you do not have any with you, you will surely wish you did.

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