There are two essential items that no outdoorsman should be without. One is a Swiss Army Knife, and the other is a roll of duct tape. Between these two multi-purpose items, there is not a situation that cannot be overcome with a little ingenuity and creativity. While the uses for a Swiss Army Knife are pretty clear, the uses for duct tape often requires some creativity. Here are some unconventional but effective uses for duct tape in regards to the great outdoors:
1. First-Aid. The sturdy, adhesive, and water-resistant qualities of this product allow duct tape to be used as an emergency bandage. The width and stickiness of duct tape make it a better choice to close large wounds than the small wimpy supplies that are often found in most first-aid kits. Duct tape is also great for stabilizing sprained ankles and wrists, and can be used as an emergency splint in case of a broken bone. Duct tape can also be applied to the skin after a bee sting, as the stinger will usually adhere to the tape, allowing it to be removed easily.
2. Repairs. Duct tape will adhere to almost any surface, meaning that it can provide a quick fix for torn tents, fishing boots, jackets, sleeping bags, boats, and vehicles. In an emergency situation duct tape can be used to bind tree limbs together in order to make a raft, or can be wrapped around a tree in order to create a trail marker.
3. Comfort. Apply a small square of duct tape to parts of your feet that are prone to blisters before going on a long hike, as the tape will act like a cushion. Wrapping tape tightly around your pants at the ankles will protect you against ticks and mosquitoes. One of my favorite tricks is to wrap duct tape around the laces of my boots, so that I don’t have to worry about tying and re-tying my shoes, or potentially tripping over a shoelace.
4. Uses around the campsite. Duct tape comes in handy for many domestic chores, such as sealing bags, reinforcing cardboard boxes, and binding coils of rope and cables. If your campfire cookware consists of a cast-iron frying pan, duct tape can be used to cover the handle, protecting against burns to the hands. Duct tape can also be wrapped around tool handles, which will improve your grip.
Duct tape has thousands of uses, and I’m sure there are thousands more waiting to be discovered. Duct tape is also cheap, lightweight, and doesn’t take up much space, making it the perfect accessory for backpackers, campers, and hikers.