25 Survival Uses For Duct Tape

If there ever was a miracle product better than spray-on-hair or the ShamWow, it is duct tape. Over the past 70 years of its existence, this staple product of fix-it-yourselfers has been used by virtually every walk of life, for jobs that I’m sure the duct tape developers never imagined. So how can we use it for survival?

Here are my top 25 survival uses for duct tape, in no order whatsoever.

1. Repairing a cracked water bottle or a pierced hydration bladder. A little strip of DT is the next best thing to a bandage for an ailing water vessel. Just dry the surface before you try to tape your patch in place, most forms of duct tape don’t stick to wet surfaces.

2. Survival arrow fletching. Tear off a few 5-inch pieces, and a long edge of one piece to the arrow shaft, fold the tape lengthwise, and stick the other long edge of that piece to the arrow. Repeat this process one or two more times; trim the vanes to shape with your knife; and you will have a serviceable arrow fletching.

3. 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.

4. Make cordage. Twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope.

5. Patch a hole in canoe. I wouldn’t trust my life to this one, but it’s been done more than once.

6. Fashion a belt. When you are starving in the wild, and your pants start falling down, run a piece of DT through your belt loops and stick it to itself in the front. Overlap it about 4 or 5 inches and you’ll still be able to peel the belt apart when nature calls.

7. First aid 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.

8. Help cure warts. Putting a strip of duct tape on any type of wart, even warts with black dots, can help get rid of them. Warts can prevent full use of your hands and are highly contagious.

9. Handcuff alternative. If someone is acting up during a survival emergency, you can duct tape their hands together around a tree to prevent them from becoming a danger to themselves or others.

10. Mend shoes and clothing. You can skip the sewing class, if you have enough duct tape.

11. Repair your glasses. The tape on your glasses my look a little nerdy, but at least you’ll still be able to see.

12. Attach shelter elements.
Just a few trash bags and some duct tape, and you have a survival shelter roof, or a sleeping bag cover, or a wind break, or…

13. Attach survival gear. Tape a spark rod to the side of your knife sheath, and you’ll always have a back-up fire source.

14. Make a hat. If you believe what you see on TV, the “Mythbusters” guys made a pretty nice looking hat out of duct tape on a recent episode.

15. Afix bandages. Place a sterile dressing over your wound, and strap it in place with DT. Hopefully you’re not too hairy where you got injured.

16. Fix your rain gear. Keep the dry stuff dry, and keep the water out, by mending your ripped rain gear with a few strips.

17. Make a drinking cup. Some creative folding and sticking can result in a cup you can drink from.

18. 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.

19. Blister care. 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.

20. Mark a Trail. Use it to blaze a trail or signal for rescue, especially if your DT is brightly colored or reflective.

21. Make emergency repairs on your Bug Out Vehicle.
Leaking hoses and windows that won’t stay up don’t stand a chance against the mending powers of duct tape.

22. Keep the feathers in your sleeping bag. If you have a hole in your down sleeping bag, the feathers will pour out faster than excuses from a politician. Patch the hole with DT.

23. Keep 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.

24. Splint a leg. A broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with ample splint material, padding and duct tape. Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.

25. Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole. By taping a stick to the broken area of your tent pole or fishing rod, you might just get one last adventure out of it.


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3 Responses to 25 Survival Uses For Duct Tape

  1. Pingback: 25 Survival Uses For Duct Tape | Prepper Central | The Awesomist

  2. You can also pull splinters out of you and others w/ this.

    De-lint a suede hat or any fuzzy/flocked surface of its dust.

    Hold refrigerator doors shut against toddlers, or the force of gravity when your landlord is an ***hole and won’t fix your fridge. (Dogs can open ‘fridges too!)

    Makes tolerable good electrical tape, tho I wouldn’t trust a large charge to not leak thru. (But then, I don’t trust electrical tape for that, either.)

    Make covers, (or repair what’s there), for books that have lost their covers.

    DUCT TAPE REMOTES TO ARMS OF SOFAS SO YOU CAN QUIT LOOKING FOR THE DANG THINGS!!!!! ‘Scuse the caps, but that cured one MIGHTY frustrating problem! Too bad it couldn’t cure the dumb husband to go w/ it. Found a better one of those, finally, but I promised not to say anything about duct tape and him… LOL!! J/K

    Stabilize an object jabbed into yourself until you can find medical help to pull it out safely. If you pull a jagged piece of fence or tree limb, say, directly out of someone, they will bleed to death before you can get help. Leave it in, stabilize it, until you can find proper medical help, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

    Using the rope idea above, it makes a good tourniquet too, IN CAPABLE HANDS. Never use a tourniquet w/o knowing what you’re doing first, cuz if the limb isn’t amputated, the minute you let it go, the poisons gathered behind it, will flood the body and kill the person if enough of it is created. Don’t remember what those poisons come from – dead blood cells or whatever – I just know it can kill a person. (Along the same lines it makes a good garrott too, if killing is necessary, but we all hope and pray it isn’t.)

    Everyday/shelter-in-place uses: You can duct tape the sides of the doors, (even along the bottom leaving some to hang off) to ward off chemicals/whatever, or just keep the cold or heat out, in season, AND, you can keep opening and closing the door all season long too, just “re-adhese” each evening. You can do this w/ good quality 2″ wide masking tape even better and that’s a tip forever and ever, amen. Swear on my Daddy’s grave, you stick it correctly to the door, (good and firm) you can stick it every night, or however many times, to the door jam. I’ve done it for some 35 years now. (Never owned, always rented, forget expensive sealing devices and stick-on foam rolls up the first few times.) When you open your door you make a terrible ripping noise (LOL) but you’ll get used to that. Dogs going in and out at a certain height may render that spot un-stick-able due to hair, but just keep replacing that spot only, the rest will do fine. That’s why masking tape is actually better than DT for this application, day-in and day-out, but no one seems to know you can open and close that door, and keep re-sticking it all season long w/ nary a hitch. 🙂 “Shelter-in-place”, I’d use duct tape. Oh, and so far I have yet to find a surface this tip won’t work on, paint on metal, wood, plain wood, varnished, never mattered. Electric bills can be the mother of invention, too!

    I realize some of this isn’t “survival oriented” but take the money you save (esp. elec.) and use it towards survival and it amounts to the same thing, pre-disaster anyway. And these days, who doesn’t need help keeping the elements out, no matter what heat source you have? Saves on wood and coal too!

  3. Although skeptical at first on #2, we’ve heard about it before from the more industrious bush crafters. One day out in the back yard shooting the bow, we took a couple of arrows that lost their fletching and fashioned up some duct tape fletching. It worked quite well even on our first go at it, with some practice duct tape certainly does make formiddable arrow fletching.

    The water-proof factor in general of duct tape is highly useful in a preparedness and survival context.

    Great read.

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