|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2000
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.
Duct tape makes good last minute mole skin. My wife wears duct tape where blisters would normally form on her heels. Needless to say when we got back from a recent trip around Hoodoo in the Santiam area of Oregon, my wife's feet were in perfect condition while my mother-in-law and son both had huge blisters on both of the feet. But don't try to put it on if you have a blister that popped!
By day 7 of a winter tour in the Tetons both my feet were almost completely covered in duct-tape. Duct tape is an essential part of our backcountry gear used to fix holes in kayaks, make tent poles from branches and protect blistered feet from new telemark boots.
North Grafton, MA
Upon arriving at the start of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, I realized I forgot my boot insoles. My buddy, who joined me for the first leg of my 2-week trip, promised to express mail them to the next post office when he returned, but until then, I'd have five days of uncomfortable boots. In a small town nearby I found a pair of flimsy shoe liners, and using my roll of duct tape, constructed a pair of boot insoles complete with arch supports. The duct tape insoles served their purpose well, but I was glad to pick up my factory-made insoles at the post office!
St. Louis Park, MN
Sixty miles into a 100 miler in Northern New Mexico, the soles of my trusty boots decided to part company with the uppers. Like a poor retread, over the period of one day, I managed a right boot blow out, only to be followed by a left blow out the next day. Were it not for the gods of duct tape (red no less, and replaced daily!) I'd still be crawling back to civilization....
Making the transition from dayhiker to backpacker entails some pretty cheap gear and lots of boot blow outs, among other gear mishaps. As a poor grad student (violins, please), I maintained the duct tape to squeeze one more hike out of my boots. This probably accounts for my flattening arches. I can now afford better gear and take much better care of what I get; despite numerous weekend trips, I didn't use duct tape last year. Still, I am glad to have taken duct tape 101. I learned a bit, especially in planning, maintaining, and avoiding situations that may require duct tape.
Several days into a trip in Italy, I noticed a dark shadow line at the toe of my right boot. Upon closer observation I discovered that half of the sole was delaminated, with balance ready to peel off soon. Out came the duct tape-first time I've had to use any in years. The operation was reinforced with 1/8" nylon line which was melted at the knot for security. Onward over the harsh terrain and on to the next Rifugio.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada