Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10 Survival Uses for Duct Tape

     Duct tape is one of those materials that everyone knows about, and everyone uses.  It's sturdy, sticky, and has been used for practically everything.  From holding on our car mirrors that we accidentally broke off on the side of the garage, to be used to create a on of a kind prom dress, duct tape is everywhere.  As prevalent and useful as duct tape is, it only makes sense that it can be a great tool for survival.  We've complied ten different ways that duct tape could help you if you ever find yourself in a survival situation.

1. Bandage Wrap
     Sprained ankles can happen in a second.  All it takes is one wrong step on a loose rock or a hidden hole, and you'll find yourself hobbling for days.  In a survival situation you might not have what you need to take care of the injury, but if you have duct tape, then your in luck.
The duct tape can act just like an ACE bandage.  Wrapped around your ankle it can give your ankle the support you need.

     For sprained wrists duct tape can easily act as a sling.  If its more serious, and there is an actual broken bone involved, the duct tape can be used to help create a splint to immobilize the broken bone.

2. Cordage
     Forgot your paracord?  Well, lets start by saying, don't do that.  However if you did leave your paracord behind, you can always improvise some cordage with duct tape.  It can be as simple as twisting a length, or several lengths, of duct tape together to make the rope you need.

3. Make a Cup/Container
     If you don't have a cup or container for water, but you do have duct tape?  Be creative.  Fold the tape in different ways to make a cup, or add in other elements like sticks to help create you container.  As long as it is only the non sticky side of the tape that is touching the water, your cup should hold together just fine.

4. Shelter Building
     Rope and cordage can go a long way.  However, if you can just tape a tarp up to a wall, sticks or trees, it is going to be a lot faster, and just as effective.

5. Blister Care/Bandaid
     Don't under estimate a blister.  It may seem like something small and insignificant when it first shows up, but if you don't take care of the problem you can find yourself with a serious problem.

     Take a small piece of clean cotton gauze or fabric and place it over the blister, and then tape over it with duct tape.  The duct tape will hold the fabric in place, and also act as an extra barrier over the blister, letting heal.

6. Insulation
     Bet you didn't think of this one.  You can use duct tape as insulation for everything from your boots, to clothes, and even to your shelter.  Simply stuck the duct tape to the inside of whatever you are trying to insulate, shiny side up.  The shiny tape will reflect heat back in just like a space blanket would.

7. Tool Creation
     Never under estimate the power of creativity.  When you are in a survival situation and you are trying to make tools, duct tape is a good thing to have.  There are many different ways you can use duct tape to make effective tools.  It can be used to tape a point onto a stick to make a spear, or to create fletching on arrows to stabilize them in flight.  Think outside of the box and there are all sorts of tools you can make with just a little tape.

8. Directions
     Duct tape can be used in multiple ways for directions.  The first and most obvious is by sticking patches of duct tape to objects to mark a path.  Scouting out from your shelter?  Leave some patches on trees as you go, and the reflective material will act as a great guide to lead you back to your camp.

     You can also use to the duct tape to create arrows pointing in the direction your traveling, leaving direction for someone trying to find you.

     Got a pen and duct tape?  Leave a note!  You can easily write on duct tape, leaving information about where you are, or where you are going.

9.  Emergency Repairs
     In a survival situation you can find yourself in a bad spot if a piece essential gear breaks.  However, I would be hard pressed to find a piece of gear that can't be fixed with a little duct tape.  

     Ripped sleeping bag?  No need for sewing, stick a strip of duct tape over the tear to hold the stuffing in.  Same goes for ripped back backpacks and broken straps, as well as torn tents.

     Water bottle or hydration bladder have a leak?  Stop the drip with some duct tape.  Just make sure the surface you're applying the tape to is dry before you stick it on.  The adhesive will hold better if there isn't any moisture underneath it.

     Leaking canoe?  Duct tape can even help repair that one.  Similar to the water bottle though, I would remove the canoe from the water first, and make sure its dry.  Tape on both sides of the hole should do the trick.  Don't expect that patch to last forever though.

10.  Fire Starter/Tinder
     Need to get a fire going?  Duct tape may just be your answer.  Lightly balled up or loosely rolled up, duct tape will burn, all you need to do is add flame, whether its with a match, lighter or magnesium stick.  It should burn long enough to give you plenty of time to get your fire started.

     Have any more survival uses for duct tape?  Share them with us in the comments!

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