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October 2000

Duct Tape: Reader Stories

An emergency kit doesn't amount to a hill of beans unless a few feet of duct tape are included. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the sticky, miraculous fix-all.

Around Camp

Duck tape is an excellent firestarter. Just wade it up and light.

Scott Short

via e-mail


It has a light side, a dark side, and it binds the universe together.



I truly believe that my group wouldn’t have survived our 1997 Philmont Ranch trek if we didn’t have duct tape with us. We used a roll and a half during the 10-day trip: to cover blisters, to patch holes in our tents, to hold a pair of boots together, to stop our bladder bags from leaking, to keep a backpack from falling apart, in one case, to keep loud-mouth Lisa’s mouth shut for 5 minutes so that we didn’t have to hear her complain.


via e-mail


It has to be one of the greatest inventions created by man. I personally will try to avoid using the tape on anything that I really care about like my sleeping pad or tent fly, etc. I hate the horrid residue that it leaves behind. I have used as well on the bottom of my pants legs and gaiters to ward off bugs and protect against water. It works wonders on those people that snore and talk too much.

Briar Rabbit

via e-mail


100 Mile Per Hour tape. There are numerous small planes in Alaska since most of the state is inaccessible by auto. Many of the planes are fabric covered and the pilots carry duct tape for repairing the skin of the planes. It’s good for a small repair in the fabric and holds up to speeds of 100 miles per hour. It keeps small holes from becoming bigger holes, until proper repairs can be made! By the way, too much tape on a plane is a bad sign! The other great use: a fire starter or emergency torch. Fold a strip lengthwise and light with a match. It’ll burn long, hot, and bright. With good heat and plenty of light.

Blake Allen

Hurst, TX


We use it for just about everything and anything–on our heels to prevent blisters during ski trips, to tape together someone’s face (over other bandages) who’d had a ski accident in the backcountry, repaired a guitar case, mended overbooties, repair a Plexiglas birdfeeder, and tape a ham radio rack to the dash of the car.

Laura Sadowsky

Val-Belair, Quebec Canada


As the scoutmaster of a troop in North Carolina, I’ve had numerous many opportunities to use duct tape. During backpacking trips I’ve fixed shoes, packs, tents, clothes and an occasional leg or arm.

Steven P. Allred

Trinity, NC


On our annual climb of Mt. Olympus (7,965 feet and the highest point in Olympic National Park, Washington), I realized I’d forgotten gaiters. I really dislike snow over my boot tops, so I begged a roll of duct tape from the climbing ranger and fashioned a pair of silver gaiters from plastic bags and duct tape. They performed moderately well but were only good for one day’s use.

Carole S. Kalahar

Port Angeles, WA


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