Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
Duct tape (or "duck" tape) was developed during World War II to be a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition cases. In the years since then, it has become a staple for do-it-yourselfers and has been used in ways the original designers probably never imagined.
Some of our favorite survival and preparedness uses for duct tape are:
- Make a rope - Twist several lengths of duct tape together and use it in place of rope. A strand of duct tape has around 20 - 50 pounds of tensile strength, so three or four strands together should allow you to lift as much as 200 pounds.
- Repair a tent - Use a piece on both the inside and outside to repair a minor rip, a couple pieces to hold the door closed if your zipper is broken, or use a stick as a splint to repair a broken tent pole.
- Tape windows during storms - If you're in the path of a storm producing high winds, tape your windows. In case of breakage, it's less likely the glass will fly everywhere.
- Make a shelter - A space blanket or two taped together and secured with some duct tape rope will make a waterproof (if not mosquito-proof) shelter.
- Patch hoses - Wrapping a fuel or coolant hose in duct tape should allow you to drive long enough to get to a place where you can make repairs.
- Tighten your raingear - If you're wearing a poncho in high winds, a duct tape "belt" near the waist and arms should prevent it from flapping horribly.
- Makeshift handcuffs - A few wraps of duct tape around the wrists and/or ankles will secure some nicely.
So hopefully everyone can see that duct tape is an important part of a survival kit. Did you know it also has a host of medical uses?
In his latest book, James Hubbard (The Survival Doctor) demonstrates over 20 different ways that duct tape can come in handy when you're injured and can't immediately get professional help. You'll learn how to create splints and braces, create emergency bandages and blister protectors, improvise a tourniquet for serious wounds, and even how to remove a stuck ring from your finger!
This is a relatively skinny book (about 1/4" thick), so it would be easy to add it to your first aid kit. It's very easy to read and understand, and is loaded with drawings showing the process being done.
Keep in mind, these are procedures meant to be used when you can't get to a doctor right away. I was looking at the chapter on creating a knee brace - it involves wrapping duct tape above and below the knee. Looking at the amount of hair on my legs, and knowing that the first thing the doctor would do is rip that duct tape off, I'd want to make sure I needed that brace for more than just a few minutes!
We'll be stashing a copy of this book in our first aid kit, and I'd recommend you do the same as well. You can find it here.
And for those who think that a duct tape bandage might make them look too "rednecky", you can always create a fashion statement.