There are some tools that are just crucial to have among your survival gear items. For one— duct tape. With duct tape, you can fix almost anything, even in space. We firmly believe this is the most versatile thing on earth. You should have it everywhere — in the glove compartment of your survival vehicle, in your toolbox at home, and of course, in your backpack when hiking or camping. This is a great tool for survival and just fixing something!
In our article, we will remind you how you can use duct tape, mention a few rather original ways that may not have occurred to you, give some tips and advice. We will also touch on the history of this tool and tell you about a few facts that you may not know.
What Is Duct Tape?
Although there are many variations now, the original tape is silvery gray due to the aluminum pigment in the formulation. It is a tape with a cloth or mesh backing covered with polyethylene. An important property of cloth tape is heat and water resistance so that it can be used to seal heating ducts. In addition, the strength is distinctive, it cannot be torn by hand, and it can hold a very impressive weight.
We advise you to always have at least one pack in stock with you. Check your prepper list to ensure it has a coil or two of duct tape. In addition, there are special pocket-sized packages like this Reditape.
How Did Duct Tape Come About?
What could be unknown in the origin of the duct tape? In fact, there are at least two versions of its creation and several points of view about the name.
A lesser-known version is related to the heating industry and the early uses of district heating. Aluminum ducts distributed heat to different rooms, but their joints were designed to allow water to pass from time to time. To fix the leaks, you needed some kind of strong adhesive material. Then the inventors came up with electrical tape to easily wrap the joints.
Although the second version is more famous, this does not mean that they contradict each other. It dates back to World War II, when many inventions that gave rise to modern technology appeared. The US military needed a tool that could quickly fix items ranging from boots to vehicle leaks. At the same time, the tool had to be small, simple, and versatile. Then the Johnson and Johnson division came up with durable adhesive tape that can be attached to literally any material. The tape was water-resistant, made from rubber-based glue applied to a duck cloth backing.
As for the name, they say that the military nicknamed the tape duck tape because of the similar waterproof properties to that of a duck back. Although another explanation seems more realistic — the tape was originally made from duck cloth, so it has its second name, «the duck tape.»
45 Tips How You Can Use Duct Tape in Survival Situations
To get the most out of duct tape, you need to be creative. Or just read our article because we came up with as many as 45 examples of use in non-standard emergencies.
1. Make a rope: Simply twist one (or rather a several) taped into a sturdy rope like a tourniquet. The more bands you use, the stronger the rope will be.
2. Make a spear: You will need a knife, a long stick, and duct tape. Tie it all together like a spear and use it as a weapon or hunting tool.
3. Repair your tent: Stick suitable pieces on both sides of the tent for added strength and protection. Now neither wind nor unpleasant midges will bother you.
4. Repair the water container: A tip is not to wait for a bottle or other container to burst but to wrap it up right away. If the damage has already occurred, then thoroughly dry the damaged spot before sticking on a piece of duct tape.
5. Use in place of the zipper on your tent: If the zipper on your tent door breaks, you can secure the two pieces with tape. With this, you can open and close the entrance many times.
6. Catch flies and bugs: Hang a few rolled-up pieces of tape, sticky side out. This will replace the insect trap. You can also add a bite of something sweet to lure them in. Otherwise, you can use some household traps for the purpose.
7. Fill the hole in a sleeping bag: A hole in your sleeping bag is not only a way to waste stuff but also an opportunity for bugs to settle inside. If you don’t have time to sew up or don’t have tools, just patch up with duct tape.
8. Secure the bandage: Any wound should be kept sterile and kept away from dirt. To do this, apply a bandage and secure it with tape.
9. Fix your fishing rod: It is best to not just roll up the broken section but attach a tire from another stick to your fishing rod.
10. Design a sling: Fold the tape across the width, completely covering the sticky side, and bandage the injured arm, creating firm assistance.
11. Support your ankle: If you injured your leg, you could create additional support by rolling up the tape several times. This will save the leg from unnecessary movement.
12. Build a shelter: Attach a large plastic bag or piece of plastic to trees and use it as a roof or windbreak.
13. Do a splint: Broken limbs need stabilization. In survival conditions, this can be done using padding, splint material, and duct tape.
14. Create a crutch: Apart from a splint, you also need a crutch. A simple stick may not be very strong, but wrapping it several times with duct tape will give you a stronger tool.
15. Use as a clothesline: Roll a long piece of tape and pull it between trees to dry your clothes or sleeping bag.
16. Seal food: If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, use duct tape. Supplies in open containers go bad, and bags are not reliable. Seal plastic bags or make a lid for a tin can. This is much stronger protection.
17. Roll up the blister: Just be careful not to tape the duct tape directly onto the blister. Place cotton gauze over the wound itself and cover it up.
18. Replace a roof shingle: You can make a temporary replacement for a lost or damaged roof tile. Wrap a piece of plywood of the correct size and attach it to space. This will save you from rain and wind until you can fully repair the roof.
19. Tape a broken window: To safely extract a broken window, you first need to dock it. This way, you will save yourself from getting injured by fragments. Crisscross the broken window to hold it together.
20. Repair the pipe: Exclude all moisture from the surface and wrap the pipe tightly. Be sure to ensure tight contact between the tape and the pipe.
21. Repair the water tank: A pool or container can also be fixed with duct tape. To do this, eliminate moisture by completely drying the leak, so the tape will hold much more firmly. Attach it not only from the outside but also from the inside, creating additional protection.
22. Mend a screen: Tear in a door or window can be a big problem. It is best to close it with duct tape, immediately as you noticed, to make a full-fledged repair later.
23. Patch the hole in the boat: Follow the usual steps. Dry the place of the hole and close it on both sides with duct tape. It is a simple but very important survival hack that can save you from trouble.
24. Seal your home: In the event of a chemical or biological attack or a release of hazardous substances, you need to take cover in an isolated place. Sealing your home will create an airtight space. Seal all windows and doors tightly.
25. Fix your boots: Attach the sole or patch the hole with duct tape. You can also wrap your boots before any damage occurs if you have a difficult trek.
26. Darken your windows: By protecting you not only from outside sunlight, but duct tape will also hide you from prying eyes. Secure heavy garbage bags to the windows.
27. Hold the broken rib: If you cannot seek immediate medical attention, you must first secure the rib. It is better to wrap with duct tape, not on bare skin, but to attach it to a tight-fitting T-shirt.
28. Remove the wart: An unexpected example from medicine. Take a small piece of duct tape and place it on the planter wart for 6 days. After that, you need to remove the piece and moisten the place with water. Next, you need an emery board. Gently rub the wart with it and repeat the steps until you get it. You can read more about this process here.
29. Remove splinters: Treat dry skin. Stick on a piece of duct tape and quickly tear it off like a band-aid.
30. Fix the work gloves: If the seams do not stand up, then you can fix them with duct tape. Squeeze it over the seam with the sticky layer inward.
31. Send a signal for help: Traditional silver duct tape will not work for these purposes. It is better to use something more reflective or brighter.
32. Hang the lanterns: Make a rope and tie the lanterns to the trees with it.
33. Repair your bug-out vehicle: Repair your lights, windshields, hoses, any holes in the body with strips of duct tape.
34. Close your boots tightly on top: All-season tip — ticks and other insects won’t get into your boots in summer, and snow won’t get in winter. Wrap the top of your boots so that they attach tightly to your pants.
35. Make the handcuffs: If you catch a villain, one needs to be held in place. For this, screeds are well suited, but if they are not there, then tightly tie them to the tree.
36. Hem pants: You don’t always have the time or tools to hem your tactical pants. You can take a piece of duct tape and tape off the excess fabric from the inside.
37. Protect ammo from moisture: Cover the ammo storage boxes with duct tape, creating a protective layer.
38. Mark your way: Mark trees and other immovable objects to flag your way and easily return to a safe location.
39. Disguise: Attach branches and leaves to trash bags with duct tape and make a hideout out of it.
40. Insulate your shoes: Glue your insoles with the silver side facing up (facing your feet). In this case, duct tape works as a heat reflector.
41. Fix your glasses: This view will not add style to you, but you will be able to use glasses, as before. Just secure the flimsy areas with duct tape.
42. Use as a belt: Of course, you can have a professional tactical belt. But what if you don’t? Make a rope from the example above and pass it through the loops of the belt. You can attach it to your front. Do not forget to leave yourself the opportunity to take it off when necessary.
43. Repair your clothes: Thread a piece of tape inside the hole. Keep the sticky side out and squeeze both sides.
44. Fix the trash can: These items tend to crack easily. The breakage can be easily fixed on both sides with electrical tape. Remember to dry the bucket first.
45. Repair a hole in the siding: This repair can last for several seasons. You can choose a suitable color of duct tape to make it less noticeable. Glue the area on both sides of the action onto dry material.
You may have noticed that in many cases, we give one piece of advice — eliminate dampness before use. This is really important, so let’s repeat it.
The Phenomenon of Duct Tape
Duct tape has become so firmly established in our lives that now it is not only an everyday tool for fixing something but also a cultural phenomenon. Its use is limitless and is applied in such fields as construction, military, medicine, spaceflight. In the USA, there is even an expression “duct tape alert,” which we will definitely discuss below. Duct tape has found its realization in pop culture — in books, TV shows, and even art objects.
MythBusters from the Discovery Channel devoted a series of programs to the analysis of myths associated with the use of duct tape. They were able to build a two-seater sailing boat, a hammock for an adult man, a cannon, and many other non-trivial things. They proved that with the help of tape, it is possible to stop the car and repair the surface of the aircraft.
The Duct Tape Guys is a duo from the USA, writing books about duct tape. By the way, these books are sold in millions of copies.
In art, this tape is used both as a tool and as an object of art itself. There is a whole direction known as tape art; paintings, statues, installations, and much more are created.
It is time to talk about more survival and emergency applications of this miracle object.
10 Unexpected Facts About Duct Tape
We’re sure you can come up with a dozen more interesting uses for this product. Perhaps our facts can inspire you. Some of them you may have already been familiar with, but something will be a surprise to you.
1. Physics Is What Makes Duct Tape Work
Most types of adhesives must undergo some kind of physical change to adhere to an object. They are in a liquid state, but then, due to a chemical reaction, they solidify. This rule does not work for duct tape. Stickiness arises due to PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive).
In fact, it is a polymer mixture that acts to attract two objects. With a large number of such intermolecular forces, they can withstand heavy loads. And unlike other adhesives, PSAs are always solid and therefore do not change.
Because of this property, duct tape works as an ideal fastening tool that can be removed and detached.
2. Duct Tape Is Used In Hospitals
The Trinity Medical Center system of hospitals in the Midwest has proposed an effective process for optimizing staff time.
It is known that every year in the United States, tens of thousands of people die from hospital-acquired infections. The hospital staff wondered how they could save the doctors’ efforts and at the same time protect the patients. It was decided to use duct tape to mark safe areas of movement. This is 3 feet that go from the patient room to the doorway. From this zone, doctors are communicating with patients. Because of this simple solution in your medical kit, there is no need to change into sterile equipment every time, so it is saving time and effort for doctors and money for the hospital.
3. There Are Many Varieties of Duct Tape
News for those who are sure that there is only regular silver duct tape. This is wrong! Glow in the dark, with two adhesive layers, black duct tape, green, or any other color, and many more different products that you can find today in a store. More options mean more applications. Just remember that the main quality should not suffer. It still should be strong enough.
If you are looking for something unusual or compact, we advise you to turn to Reditape. Here you will find a variety of colors and sizes without missing out on quality.
4. It Was Called Duck Tape
When it was invented, it consisted of only three parts:
- mesh fabric
- glue bottom layer
- polyethylene plastic top coating
The soldiers named it a duck tape, as one of the tape’s properties reminded them of a duck. Just like this animal, this tool repels moisture. Exciting, isn’t it?
5. The Duct Tape Festival Exists
We mentioned the use of tape in culture, but we did not say that there is a whole festival dedicated to duct tape. It brings together fans of this tool and offers various funny and useful examples of its use. The event takes place annually in Avon, Ohio.
6. It Saved Apollo 13
The event, which served as possibly the best PR for duct tape, is reliably known. The explosion occurred on Apollo 13, causing three astronauts to move to the lunar module. The problem was that the module was constructed only for two people. The threat was in the formation of more carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide filters (that were on the board) are commonly used. The issue was in the following — the filters were square, while the holes in the lunar module were round.
NASA engineers needed to find an easy solution to create an adapter using only the items on board. They used plastic bags, cardboard, space suit component, and… duct tape. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. It is noteworthy that on the board of each space mission, there are several duct tape rolls.
7. World War II Influenced the Creation of the Duct Tape
Before duct tape was invented, soldiers used wax sealing to protect their packages. The valves were closed with a small strip of paper tape. The soldiers tugged at it to quickly open the boxes. This was not a very reliable tool since the ribbons often came off and did not allow you to quickly open what you needed. This could be fatal during the war.
President Franklin Roosevelt received a letter from the mother of two Navy sailors. She suggested using strong cloth tape to close seams, saving many other soldiers by this easy solution.
Further, things developed rapidly. The War Production Board in Washington, D.C., sent a request to Johnson & Johnson. The company developed waterproof tape. Compare to many modern tapes that should be cut with scissors; soldiers could tear apart that tape with their hands. That was important for military needs.
8. You Can Earn a Scholarship with Duct Tape
Company Duck, which produces duct tapes, maintains an interest in its products in a rather unusual way. They give away a $ 10,000 scholarship to high schoolers annually for the two winners and $ 5,000 for their school. To enter the competition, a couple needs to design their prom outfits using duct tape.
9. There Is a Duct Tape Alert Term
In February 2003, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to citizens of the threat of a terrorist attack. All Americans were encouraged to collect an extra set of items. This kit included duct tape to insulate the house.
Of course, this caused a massive hysteria around the recommended products. In February 2003 you could no longer find it in the nearest store. Duct tapes disappeared from the shelves of many shops. The media often comically described the incident as “duct and cover» compare to “duck and cover.”
10. It Is Not Required to Use It in Ducts
After the war, duct tape was most widely used in construction. People used it to connect air ducts. This influenced both the name of the item and its appearance. The word “duck” was replaced by “duct,” and products were released in a more appropriate color.
Paradoxically, in our time, such use is strongly not recommended or even prohibited. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tested various products to compare their sealing ducts features and find out which tool will show itself better in the ductwork. Fun fact, but it was duct tape that performed worse than the rest of the items. After this research, many banned the use of duct tape for ductwork and preferred other products.
To Sum Up
We think you have already understood how versatile this tool is and capable of replacing many products in their absence. We believe that duct tape should be carried with you anytime and anywhere to be ready for a wide variety of situations. It is especially important to have this tool when going camping or preparing for emergencies. Duct tape and a paracord can do miracles.
You can find different variations in the store, but we preferred buying the classic model first.
Then you can replenish your stocks with more specific products.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is duct tape good for?
For pretty much anything that requires bonding. But after the Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory research, it became clear that for the work in honor of which this item was named, it should not be used. They tested various products for ductwork. Based on the results, they found that duct tape performed the worst task compare to other items.
However, the applications options are quite varied. You can:
- Make a rope, handcuffs, crutch, clothesline
- Repair clothes, vehicle, boots, water tanks, pipes, tents, fishing rod
- Build a shelter
- Tape window
- Seal your home
- Connect parts of anything
You can find many more different uses in which this tool will be useful due to its sticky bottom layer and durable fabric.
How thick is duct tape?
Now in the store, you can find a wider variety of duct tape products. We tested a lot of items and found that the most optimal options are 11 milli-inches thick. We preferred those products as they have proven their efficacy and ability to withstand the great strain. In principle, most often in the store are models with a thickness of 9 to 11 milli-inches.
Is duct tape porous?
These products do not perform well on items with porous surfaces. This is because the tape must have tight contact with the object. The most common advice in our article is to get rid of the water before you connect something with tape. Since porous objects have less adhesion, dampness can get there and reduce contact. Therefore, the tapes unstuck earlier than with smooth objects.
How much does duct tape weigh?
It very much depends on which packaging you choose in a store. For instance, the popular 3M model weighs about 9 ounces. You can find both lighter and heavier items and compare them in the store. It is noteworthy that the heaviest duct tape roll was commissioned by the Henkel company and weighed 650 pounds.
What is the adhesive in duct tape?
It uses PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive) to adhere to surfaces. It is a mixture of polymers that attracts two objects. Unlike other adhesives, this mixture is always solid, and you don’t need to change its condition (like you need to dry liquid glue). These items are very strong due to a large number of intermolecular forces. The features of such a material are not only that it can withstand a large force but also the ability to be detached.