Likely, most households, tool-kits, camping–boxes, and glove compartments contain a roll of duct tape. Originally developed to seal joints in cold-air ducts (hence the name), it has proven useful for many more purposes.
As comedian Red Green says, “If you can’t fix it with duct-tape, you just can’t fix it.”
He has shown over and over again that it is the ultimate solution to a lot of problems.
It can be used at full-width but is also easily split lengthwise into strips of any length and various widths. Look for the pattern of fibres to be sure you aren’t looking at a cheaper, low quality imitation.
Usefully, it sticks under almost any conditions. If you have trouble getting it to stick, just keep wrapping it around the object, back onto itself, and it will likely hold there.
The name “100-Mile Per Hour tape” comes from repairing tears in the fabric wings and fuselages of light aircraft. It’s also handy for temporary, but watertight, repairs on boat hulls, canoes, sails, tents, tarps, boots, and rain gear. When covering a rip, it will keep all the down from leaking out of your jacket or sleeping bag.
In first aid, this wonder-tape fills in well for the usual adhesive tape when bandaging. It protects hot spots and covers foot blisters. More seriously, it is unbeatable when immobilizing and securing splints on a broken limb.
Duct tape is also an excellent fire-starter because it is easy to light, and a few inches worth will burn much longer than a match when getting your fire going.
A whole roll is quite large and heavy, so for backpacking, wrap a few feet around a tent peg, toothbrush, spoon handle, or knife sheath. If camping with an axe, wrap some around the handle, near the axe-head to keep it away from your grip.
It can also be purchased in rolled-up, short-length packages in the camping sections of outdoor stores.
If every person in the party is carrying a few feet of tape, all needs will be covered.
Typically, this don’t-leave-town-without-it product is a dull, semi-reflective grey, but it also is available in bright orange and camo-pattern (as well as a rainbow of other more flamboyant colours).
The orange is a good choice because it’s highly visible. If you drop the camo tape it can be hard to find during the day and will be totally invisible in the dark, which is likely when you will need it.
Larry Leigh is an avid angler, hunter and all-round outdoors person who prefers to cook what he harvests himself. He is a past president of the Canadian Wildlife Federation and retired hunter education coordinator for the Government of Yukon.