“Duct tape is like the force: It has a dark side and a light side and it holds the universe together.”Carl Zwanzig
Duct tape is without a doubt one of the most useful things you can have in a post-SHTF scenario, when a lot of things will NOT be at readily available.
There are many articles that have 10, 20 or even 30 uses for duct tape but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a single article that had them all?
This is that article! Keep reading to learn all the different ways that duct tape can save the day.
#1. Reseal open food packages
Most long-term food packaging is not designed to be resealed after it has been opened. All you need is a little bit of duct tape to reseal that package and prolong your food’s shelf-life.
If you’ve been bugging out for any length of time, you know that food is going to be one of your most precious commodities.
However, once opened, food quickly goes bad and can easily attract pests. With a roll of duct tape, you can reseal open food packages and keep the critters at bay.
#2. Make a rope
In a survival situation, you may find yourself in need of a rope to tie things down, cross a stream or even rappel down a cliff. With some clever folding and twisting, you can make a strong and durable rope out of duct tape.
All you have to do is roll it up in a spiral and it should hold to get you down to the ground safely. It works similar to paracord (which has quite a few uses as well).
#3. Use it as a bandage
Duct tape can be used as an emergency bandage in a pinch. Simply tear off a strip, place a gauze pad or clean cloth over the wound and then wrap the tape around the limb to secure it in place.
Take care to keep the tape off the injury itself, and as always try to clean up the attachment point of blood, sweat and other moisture-duct tape does not stick well to wet surfaces!
As one might expect, this will work in a pinch but is not as effective as a proper medical dressing.
#4. Make a spear
If you’re lucky enough to have a sharpened piece of metal, a sharp stone or a broken bottle, you can use duct tape to make a spear.
You can even use your knife in a pinch! Simply use the wrap the tape around your “spearhead” to attach the blade to the end of a long pole and voila! You have a spear. This can be used for fishing or self-defense.
You can further improve your spear by first notching or carving the end of the pole to make a better seat prior to wrapping the tape.?
Simply attach your hunting knife to a pole or long branch, secure it with duct tape, and you’re ready to spear fish.
#5. Use it to start a fire
If you have a piece of flint, you can use duct tape to help catch the sparks and start a fire.
Simply take a strip of duct tape and press your tinder into it. You might even attach it to the flint if you have a separate striker.
Then, strike the flint to create sparks. The sparks will land on the duct tape tinder bundle and ignite, starting your fire.
#6. Prevent glass from shattering
Many disasters, particularly those that produce high winds, can threaten glass.
Duct tape can be used to reinforce the glass, hopefully saving it or at the least preventing large shards from moving too far if it does break.
Simply make a large X-shape over the glass from corner to corner with the duct tape and that should do it.
#7. Cover a hole in your shoe
If you have a hole in your shoe, you can use duct tape to cover it up. It also works well for patching up a failing sole.
This will help keep your feet warm and dry and help you get just a couple more miles from your worn footwear! Do this on the inside of the shoe.
#8. Salvage a trash can
If your trash can has a hole in it, you can use duct tape to patch it up. This will keep the garbage from spilling out and will also help to keep pests out.
#9. Open a jar
If you’re having trouble opening a troublesome jar, you can use duct tape to give you a better grip.
Simply wrap a strip of duct tape around the lid of the jar and it will be much easier to keep your grip. You’ll get those pickles open in no time.
#10. Signal for help
If you’re lost or stranded, you can use duct tape to signal for help.
If you have a brightly colored roll of tape, you can craft large letters or other symbols, or even fashion them into streamers that will be easily seen from some distance.
#11. Tape your glasses
If your glasses break, you can use duct tape to hold them together until you can get a new pair. Cracked and sagging frames can be reinforced, or you can even use it to hold loose lenses in place!
Not comfortable, or fashionable, but this trick will help you to see until you can get to a safe place.
#12. Fix a broken pipe
If you have a broken pipe, you can use duct tape to temporarily fix it. Sealing up bad connections, cracks, splits and other leaks is possible with this waterproof, wondrous tape.
The trick is to dry the area around the leaking pipe as well as you can so the tape will adhere.
If this is not possible because you cannot shut the flow off prior to repairing then you’ll have to do the best you can before sticking it on. This will buy you some time until you can properly repair the failure.
There are lots of other broken things you can fix, such as a fish tank, garden or washing machine hose, or a water bottle:
#13. Prevent scuff marks on wooden floors
One way to avoid scuff marks on your lovely wooden floors is to place a duct tape “rug” under your feet in high traffic areas.
This will help to protect the surface and prolong the life of your flooring, especially considering the abuse it is likely to be subjected to during survival tasks at home!
#14. Make improvised shoe laces
Duct tape can easily replace the hard part on the end of fraying laces.
If you are having trouble threading or tightening your laces due to fraying, whip a thin strip of duct tape tightly around it. If your shoe laces break entirely, you can use duct tape to make new ones.
Just cut a length of tape, roll it up thin and then tie your shoes in the same manner as you would with regular laces.
#15. Hold shut the hood of the car
A damaged hood latch is a major hazard at highway speed. Your hood can fly up, obscuring your view through the windshield, or even be ripped from the car entirely by wind resistance.
Neither is a good outcome! You know what to do: several long, strong strips of duct tape can hold the hood down and even seal the edges against wind which could pull it free.
#16. Make animal snares
Duct tape can also be used to make animal snares. If you’re in a survival situation and need to catch dinner, take a roll of duct tape with you.
By making a small loop at one end of the tape, you can create an effective noose.
Place bait inside the loop and wait for your dinner to come to you. Duct tape that is extra sticky can even be used like a glue trap to catch insects and rodents.
#17. Reattach a car mirror
A busted side mirror is pretty likely during a harrowing escape, and you’ll want to fix this vital component as quick as you can.
This will help you see potential threats as well as navigate your way to safety.
Wrap the duct tape around the stem of the mirror and affix it back into place before using more duct tape to secure it against loss or sagging. Your adjustments might not work anymore but at least it will be functional.
#18. Remove lint on clothes
Just because you are in a survival situation does not mean you want to ignore basic cleanliness. Several kinds of dust and debris on your clothes could be harmful, too.
You can use duct tape to thoroughly mitigate this dust until you can wash your clothes.
Simply wrap the tape around your hand and go over your clothes. It will remove the lint as well as any dirt or other particles clinging to your clothes.
This is a great way to make yourself more presentable – and potentially avoid harmful diseases – before meeting people who might be able to help you.
#19. Body waxing
Duct tape is also a great way to achieve a temporary body wax. If you’re in a pinch and need to remove hair from your legs, arms or other areas, just use duct tape.
It’s important to note that this is not a long-term solution and it might be a little (okay, a lot!) painful, but it will do the trick.
Take care that you don’t try this trick with the stickiest and most aggressive of tapes- you might lose more than just hair!
#20. Provide extra support for ankles and knees
Tape wraps have been employed for a long time in competitive, high-impact sports to prevent injury and increase endurance. You can do the same thing in a survival situation if you are going to be working hard!
If you’re feeling a little unstable on your feet or are worried about rolling an ankle, use duct tape to give yourself some extra support. Just wrap the tape around your ankles or knees for added stability.
This will help you move more easily and with less pain, allowing you to focus on other tasks at hand.
#21. Make handcuffs
Duct tape has long been a choice material for crafting improvised restraints. The strong fabric backing of duct tape can easily be used to bind ankles and wrists should you need to immobilize or capture someone.
The more the better here! Layers of tape wrapped one over the other will provide far more resistance to tearing and other efforts of extrication than one or two.
Also make sure your captive cannot simply use some object to saw through the tape!
#22. Attach or hide an extra key
Keys are important, but in a survival situation they can also be quite bulky and prone to loss.
If you’re worried about losing your key or having it fall out of your pocket, you can attach it to something else you’re already carrying.
A water bottle, for example, can easily accommodate a key by wrapping the key around the handle. Another option is to use a patch of duct tape to hide your key in an out of the way place at a location.
#23. Make a belt
Duct tape is a great way to create an emergency belt if you’re suddenly in need of one. The key here is to use a sturdy and wide piece of duct tape for maximal support.
Fold the tape over on itself in a size that fits your belt loops, and then tie or attach it together after threading it through. Nothing to it, and now you don’t need to worry about your pants falling down.
#24. Apply duct tape on the soles of your feet to prevent blisters
This is an old runner and hiker trick that works wonders even if it sounds a little strange.
By applying a layer of duct tape on the soles of your feet before hitting the trail, you can prevent blisters from forming.
The duct tape will provide a cushioning effect, and reduce friction dramatically, helping to keep your feet blister-free. It’s not as glamorous as some of the other tricks on this list, but it’s definitely effective!
#25. Childproof your house
With all the chaos of a bug-in survival scenario, including unexpected guests with family in tow, you might need to take care of some hasty childproofing to prevent accident and further disaster.
Duct tape is a great way to temporarily secure cabinet doors and keep small children from getting into things they shouldn’t. It also works well for covering sharp corners of furniture and making hasty covers for electrical outlets.
If you’re using this trick, make sure that the duct tape is applied in a way that is easy for an adult to remove – you don’t want to be struggling with a sticky mess when you really need to be taking care
#26. Keep tools together to reduce noise
Good noise discipline is imperative for maintaining a low profile and also for peace of mind.
Nothing makes more noise in your pack than a bunch of wrenches and ratchets clanking around into each other! Silence the metal on metal torture by binding them together tightly with duct tape.
This will also make it easier to find the tool you need when you need it in a hurry and also help to prevent loss.
#27. Label your stockpile
Preppers are always stashing things inside other things, sometimes on a moment to moment basis as circumstances change.
One way to keep track of what is where is to label your containers with a temporary tag. Duct tape works great for this – just cut a small strip and attach it to the side of the container.
You can use color-coded tapes or write on it with a marker. It will be easy to see and remove when you need to get at your stuff.
#28. Bind a book
Books might become precious resources during or after a major disaster. But a damaged book with a failing binding is in danger of loss. Fix it easily by repairing it with duct tape.
The tape can be used to reattach the binding or even create a new one from scratch with carboard or other stock. Just don’t let the sticky side touch the pages!
This is a great trick for when you’re on the go and don’t have a library around to help.
#29. Make a toy sword
Sometimes the best course of action in a scary situation is raising morale. Kids are likely to get highly upset in high-stress situations and this will stress our their parents, too.
You can cheer up a child and arm them against their fears by making a simple toy sword from sticks and duct tape.
Another idea is a wizard’s staff made from a branch and an illuminated snap light!
#30. Insulate your shoes
Keeping wind and water off your skin goes a long way to keeping you warm. Extremities, feet in particular, are vulnerable to hypothermia so taking extra care to keep them warm and dry is a good idea.
Duct tape can save the day again by being used to wrap around your shoes or boots. It will help to keep out the cold and wet, preventing frostbite and trench foot.
#31. Hang lights around the house
In a power outage, one of the first things to go is the lights. Not only do they provide illumination, but they also give a sense of security.
You can get around this by hanging Christmas lights, or any other type of light you have handy, with duct tape.
It’s an easy way to add some cheer to a dark and dreary situation or add necessary task lighting right where you need it. Worry about the paint after you are out of this situation!
#32. Fix your swimming pool or water bed
One mishap that can really put a damper on your survival is a lost emergency water supply. Two popular options with preppers are above ground swimming pools and water beds.
If you have a swimming pool or water bed, it’s important to keep them in good working order. Both of these items can be fixed quickly and easily with duct tape.
If the pool has a leak, patch it up with a piece of tape. If the water bed has a hole, use the tape to seal it. This will help to keep your emergency water supply safe and secure.
#33. Repair a radiator hose
One of the scariest things that can happen in a car is a broken radiator hose. Not only is it a serious safety hazard, but it can also lead to engine failure.
If you have a spare radiator hose, you’re in luck! But if you don’t, duct tape can be used as a temporary fix. Wrap the tape around the hose tightly and be sure to keep an eye on the temperature gauge.
With some care and diligence you’ll be able to limp back to base or rescue. This is a great way to get yourself out of a sticky situation and avoid being stranded on the side of the road.
#34. Fix a flat tire
By far the most common automobile breakdown, except perhaps a dead battery, is a flat tire. If you have a spare tire, you can simply put it on and be on your way.
But if you don’t have a spare, or if the spare is also flat, you’ll need to patch the tire. You can do this with duct tape! Just clean off the area around the hole and apply a patch of tape over it.
Take care to really seal the hole and then watch closely as you re-inflate the tire. It is not likely to last very long, and you definitely should not rely on the patch at speed but it can do the job to get you a little further down the line.
#35. Recover your keys from the sewers
We’ve all been there. An essential item, usually our keys, tumbles out of our hand and into a drainage grate. Oh, the humanity.
Not to worry if you have duct tape and some other simple items! You can make a key hook out of tape, string, and a wire hanger. This will let you reach down and snag your keys without having to go down into the sewers after them.
Another option is a magnet stuck to a piece of tape on the end of a string. You might even use a wad of tape on the end of a long stick or pole. Definitely a survival tip worth knowing!
#36. Patch your fishing boat or canoe
A leaky boat is definitely a survival problem! If you have a fishing boat or canoe, it’s important to keep it in good working order. This means patching up any holes that may spring up.
Duct tape is the perfect material for the job. Just clean off the area around the hole, dry it thoroughly and apply a patch of tape over it.
Take care to really seal the hole and then test the boat or canoe in a shallow area. With some care and diligence you’ll be able to keep your water transportation in good condition.
#37. Use camo duct tape to stay hidden
Staying out of sight and unobserved might make all the difference in a survival situation when bad people are around.
If you have some camo duct tape, you can apply it to your clothes, gear and other implements in order to help conceal yourself. This is especially handy if you only have one or two items that stick out. The tape will also protect these items from the elements.
This is a great way to keep yourself hidden and safe while in the field.
#38. Mark your trail
Every prepper wants to stick to known and pre-scouted routes, but sometimes you just have to blaze a new one or contend with a trail that is badly overgrown. No need to rely on instinct!
You can use duct tape to mark your trail. This is especially helpful if you get turned around or lost and need to backtrack.
Just put a strip of tape on tree trunks or other objects at eye-level every few yards. This works especially well if you duct tape is brightly colored or reflective. Not so well with camo tape!
#39. Remove thorns from skin
Thorns are the bane of any hiker, camper or outdoors person. They’re sharp, they’re painful and they always seem to show up when you’re least prepared. But fear not!
If you have some duct tape on hand, you can remove them quickly and easily. Just clean off the area around the thorn, dry it thoroughly and apply a patch of tape over it.
Be sure to gently but firmly press the tape into the skin around the barbs and then leave the tape on for a couple of minutes to adhere.
When you remove it, the thorn will come with it. Ta-da!
#40. Color code your survival stockpile
One of the easiest ways to stay organized in a survival situation is to color code your stockpile.
This means that all of your food, water, tools, clothing, first aid supplies etc. are all marked with different colors for different tasks, situations or easy identification.
This makes it easy to grab what you need without having to spend time sorting through everything. And duct tape is the perfect material for color coding!
Just cut different colored strips or patches of tape and attach them to your gear, supplies and stockpile. It’s that easy!
Now you can easily direct others to get what is needed in a stressful, emergency situation.
#41. Fix your bike
A bicycle is a lot more useful for survival than most people would give it credit for, but it does no good if it gets broken in the field. This is where duct tape comes in!
You can use it to patch up a punctured tire, fix a broken chain or even secure reinforcement member to the damaged frame of the bike.
Just make sure that you have a good supply of tape on hand so that you can make repairs as needed.
#42. Use it as a sling for a broken arm
If you’re unlucky enough to break your arm while stuck in the middle of nowhere, don’t panic! You can use duct tape to make a sling that will support the arm and keep it from moving.
Just cut a piece of tape that is long enough to go around your chest and then attach the ends together. Be sure to make it tight but not too tight. Then, use the tape to secure your arm in the sling.
The support will keep the arm from moving and prevent further injury. The strength and resilience of duct tape can give you a little assurance over a cut piece of other cloth.
#43. Patch split pants
There’s nothing worse than being out in the middle of nowhere and having your pants split right down the seam. It can ruin your day, to say the least.
But if you have some duct tape on hand, you can quickly fix the problem and keep going.
Just cut a piece of tape that is big enough to cover the entire seam and then apply it over the split.
The tape will hold everything together and keep you from having to make an embarrassing fashion statement. More importantly, it will help keep you warm and dry!
#44. Make a drinking cup
If you’re stuck without a cup or container to drink out of, don’t worry! You can quickly make one out of duct tape. Just take a strip of tape and fold it into a cone shape, fabric side facing inward.
Then, use another strip of tape to secure the cone so that it holds its shape. Be sure to leave an opening at the top so that you can drink from it. This cup is sturdy, leak-proof and easy to make.
#45. Supplement elbow and knee patches…
If you’re often out in the field or your clothes see a lot of wear and tear, you know that elbow and knee patches are a necessity.
But instead of buying new clothes with pre-made patches, why not make your own? Just cut some patches out of duct tape and then attach them to the elbows and knees of your clothes. It’s that easy!
Not only will the patches last longer, but they will also be more comfortable and more durable owing to the low-friction toughness of the tape backing.
#46. Secure things on your bicycle frame
The cargo-carrying capability of duct tape cannot be rivaled! You can use it to attach all sorts of things to your bicycle frame, including water bottles, spare tires, tools and more.
Just make sure that the items are securely attached so that they don’t come loose and cause an accident. The last thing you want is for your water bottle to fall off and get left behind on the trail!
#47.To reinforce boxes
Shipping and moving boxes are often a necessary evil, but they can be quite fragile. If you need to move some heavy items or if you just want to reinforce the boxes for extra strength, use duct tape!
All you have to do is cover the seams and corners of box in a few perpendicular layers of duct tape. Not only will this make it more sturdy, but it will also make it more resistant to water and other damage.
#48. Make wallets, pouches and bags
If you find yourself in a survival situation with no possessions, it’s not the end of the world! You can make your own wallets, pouches and bags out of duct tape.
Just cut a long strip of tape and then fold it in half so that the sticky sides are together. Now, you can form it into any shape that you want. If you need a wallet, just fold the strip in half again and then make a few small folds to create the shape of a wallet.
If you need a pouch or bag, just keep folding the tape until it’s the desired size. This is a great way to carry your essentials without having to worry about them getting damaged or lost.
#49. Fix a broken tail light on a vehicle
If you’re stranded on the side of the road and your tail light is broken, don’t worry! You can use duct tape to fix it. For a busted lens, just cut a small piece of tape and place it over the broken light.
The tape will keep water from getting in and will keep you safe while you’re driving. If the lamp assembly is hanging out of the vehicle, you know what to do: hold it in place with duct tape!
#50. Patch a leg splint
If you happen to break your leg while you’re out in the wilderness, you’ll be in a bad, bad way, but don’t give up!
ou can use duct tape to create a makeshift splint. Just cut a few strips of tape and then secure them around an object that can span the length of the break and the broken leg, making sure to keep it straight. This will help keep the leg stable and will prevent further damage.
#51. Repair a moonbuggy
This is a bit tongue-in-cheek (unless you are bugging out to the moon!) but it shows what is possible with duct tape.
U.S. astronauts were issued the stuff for what was probably the most perilous journey ever undertaken by mankind, and as it turns out they needed it to repair the lunar rover up on the surface of the moon!
There is no telling what duct tape can do, so never leave home without it!
#52. Keep cords tucked away around the house
Whether it’s the cords for your lamps or the hundreds of feet of extension cords crisscrossing your home hooked up to a generator, we all have cords around the house that need to be tucked away. Duct tape is the perfect solution!
Just use the tape to secure the cords to the floor in in a corner where the wall meets the floor. This will keep the cords from being a trip hazard and will also help to protect them from damage.
#53. Use it to make a sign holder
This is a great idea for a garage sale or if you need to put up a sign for directions. Just take a strip of duct tape and adhere it to the wall.
Then, take another strip of duct tape and place it horizontally across the first strip so that it forms a T shape. Now, you can place your sign in the middle of the T. This will keep it secure and easy to read.
#54. To join together plastic bags
If you have a bunch of plastic bags and you need to join them together, duct tape is the answer!
Simply cut a piece of tape and place it over the top of the two bags that are slightly overlapping. Then, press down on the tape so that it adheres to both bags. Now, they’re joined together.
This is a great way to craft ponchos, liners for improvised shelters or make a sleeping bag from a pair of large can liners.
#55. For writing notes
This is a lifesaver if you’re caught in the rain without a notepad or pen. Just rip off a small piece of duct tape and write what you need to on it with indelible marker.
The tape will keep the ink from running, so your message will be clear. This is also a great way to leave messages for other people and know they’ll survive the elements.
#56. Scratch-proofing surfaces
If you have a piece of furniture or other gear that’s prone to scratching, just cover the offending surface with duct tape.
This will create a barrier between the surface and anything that it could potentially scratch. You can also use this technique on larger items like furniture, shelving, etc.
#57. Make a blowgun
It sounds crazy, but it is entirely possible to create a working blow gun using duct tape alone! Just cut a long, thin piece of duct tape and then roll it up into a tight tube.
You can now use this as the barrel of your blowgun. For the mouthpiece, just use more tape to make a small aperture or cone to better seal between your lips and the barrel.
If you come up with some needles you can even use duct tape to make the fletching!
#58. Protect your knives’ blades
You won’t always have a sheath for you knife, or maybe you’ve been forced to scavenge a knife that did not have a sheath in the first place.
You can still carry a knife with safety using duct tape! Just take a strip of tape and wrap it just around the edge and point so they are covered. This will provide a margin of safety when the knife is not in use.
Be sure to keep the tape off the hilt so that you can still grip it properly. Alternately you can use duct tape and some heavy cardboard to easily craft an improvised sheath.
Now, when you’re not using the knife, just fold the blade back into the duct tape “sheath” and tuck it.
59. Make a tourniquet
This is a last resort, but if you have no other way to stop the bleeding then duct tape can be used as a tourniquet in the form of the classic windlass type.
Create a strong, long strip of tape by sandwiching several layers together. Leave them as wide as possible. Attach one end to a sturdy stick or piece of pipe.
When the time comes, loop the free end around the injured limb and around the stick, then turn the stick to compress the limb until the bleeding stops. You’ll need to hold the stick in place or secure it somehow to stop it from unwinding.
60. Snow Goggles
Eye strain and eventually damage is a very real possibility when you are in a snow-covered or maritime environment for a long time. You might even be made temporarily blind! To prevent this, simply take your tape to craft a headband with a mask shape.
Either leave a tiny pair of slits to see through or make a couple with a sharp, thin knife. Be sure the visor you are making wraps around the sides of your face to stop light from getting in that way.
Now you have a pair of snow goggles that will help reduce the amount of light and glare reaching your eyes.
If Duct Tape Cannot Do it It Cannot Be Done!
Duct tape is an incredibly versatile tool that can be used for all sorts of things in a survival situation. From fixing broken items to creating makeshift weapons, duct tape can be your best friend when things start to go wrong.
So the next time you’re heading out in the wilderness, don’t forget to pack a roll of duct tape!