I have always claimed, and not altogether jokingly, that you could build a house with Elmer’s glue and Duct Tape. Both items are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tote around. Given my penchant for common, everyday products that can be used dozens of ways, I thought it would be fun to once again look at some of the practical uses of duct tape around the house, camping, and of course, in a survival or emergency situation.
You might recall that way back when, in the early days of this website, I wrote about the 34 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival. That particular article has been shared over 28K times and is still going strong. That said, I felt it was time for a refresher course. So, taking into account all of the comments and tips you have so generously shared, I now have a list of 50 ways to use duct tape for survival and emergencies.
But first, let us begin with that refresher course I mentioned.
All About Duct Tape
Duct tape is a strong, cloth-backed, waterproof adhesive tape often coated with polyethylene.
There are a couple of different lines of thought about the origins of duct tape.
According to one version, the miracle stuff was created during World War II when the US military needed a flexible, durable, waterproof tape to use making repairs in the field. A strong tape was created by Permacell, a division of Johnson and Johnson for this purpose. As the story goes, the GIs called it “duck tape” because it was waterproof – like a duck’s back.
Gorilla Tape, Black Du... Best Price: $28.09 Buy New $2.52 (as of 10:20 UTC - Details) The other version dates back to the same era, but gives the credit to the heating industry. When people first began using central heating, aluminum ducts were installed throughout homes in order to distribute the heat to different rooms. The joints of the ducts were leaking, so in an effort to conserve heat, duct tape was created to resolve the issue. It had to be highly adhesive, moist enough that it wouldn’t dry out and lose its adhesive properties, and strong enough to withstand the weight of the shifting ducts.
Regardless of the origin, I think we can all agree that duct tape is a fix-all.
As with most excellent products, there are lots of cheap knock-offs. Since your life could one day rely on your survival supplies, purchase duct tape that is designed for builders. This can be found at the hardware or home improvement store, generally in the heating and air conditioning section.
But enough of the boring details. Just how can you use this miracle tape?
50 Uses of Duct Tape for Survival and Emergencies
1. 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 duct tape patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.
2. Make a rope: In a pinch, you can twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope. (Of courseparacord would be a lot better and you do have some of that, right?)
3. Make a clothesline: Twisting a long piece of Duct tape makes a great piece of rope to use as a clothesline to dry out camp clothing.
4. Hold the feathers in your sleeping bag: If you have a hole in your down sleeping bag, you can patch the hole with duct tape. No more feathers flying out all over the place.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Create a shelter: With some trash bags and some duct tape, and you have a survival shelter roof, or sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.
12. Wrap a sprained ankle: If you trip and sprain your ankle, wrap the ankle with duct tape to give it some support.
Check Amazon for Pricing. 13. Make butterfly bandage strips: Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.
14. 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 an injured arm or shoulder.
15. Affix bandages: Place a sterile dressing over your wound, and strap it in place with DT.
16. Blister care: Got a blister on your foot? Cover the blistered area with a bit of cotton gauze, and tape over the cotton. Make sure that the duct tape fully covers the cotton and doesn’t touch the blister at all.
17. Create a splint: A broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with ample splint material, padding and duct tape.
18. Make a crutch: Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.
19. Make a bandage: Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape.
20. Make a temporary roof shingle: If you have lost a wooden roof shingle, make a temporary replacement by wrapping duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) plywood you’ve cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space. It will close the gap and repel water until you can repair the roof.