By Jill J Easton
Emergency Equipment 101, think duct tape. A knife, cell phone and first aid kit are all important, but duct tape is your best bet in so many common emergencies. Around our house, it’s known as the silver saver, but you can also call it southern chrome or the redneck repair kit.
Duct tape was invented in 1942 during World War II, according to Grant Passell, a spokesman for Duct Tape brand duct tape. American soldiers use the strong, versatile adhesive for everything from repairing broken windows to making temporary bandages. Today not much has changed, but outdoors folks have found hundreds of new ways to put the tape to use.
Duct tape will fix almost anything, solve a lot of outdoor problems and it isn’t just silver anymore. I have a friend who has a wallet made out of duct tape with palm trees on it. The tape comes in fluorescent orange, yellow and a variety of other colors and patterns.
A roll of the tape will keep an ice chest icy longer, patch almost anything, remove warts, ticks and splinters, make emergency hand and foot restraints and double as a makeshift bandage. In a pinch, it will even keep a fishing rod or a gun stock from falling apart. Grant recommends T-Rex Duct Tape. It is stronger and resists snow, rain and cold or hot temperatures better.
Keeping the cool
Brad Harris and his video crew planned a three-day trip down the Buffalo River to make a turkey hunting video for Lohman Game calls. Jim and I were invited along to provide information, help and local color. They wanted to get footage of cooking over campfires and personality Brad Harris enjoying the outdoors and catching fish in addition to the turkey hunts.
We packed frozen food in a Coleman cooler, covered it with ice and sealed the cooler with duct tape. Unfortunately, the Buffalo was at near flood stage. Within a hundred yards of the put in, the first canoe carrying food and tents flipped. Brad and the cameraman quickly decided to cut their losses before thousands of dollars of video and audio equipment got damaged.
The cooler with the frozen food bobbed happily down the Buffalo until it was rescued several hundred yards downriver. We threw the cooler in the back of the truck and forgot it. Four days later we opened it expecting ruined groceries. The ice had hardly melted and all the frozen T-bones and chicken were still frozen. With the duct tape seal, it kept the cold better than our current Yeti.
Seed ticks lurk in damp grass and brushy areas waiting for their first blood meal. They are smaller than a pinhead and can swarm over unprotected ankles by the hundreds. The easiest way to pull these nasty, disease-carrying bugs off is with a strip of duct tape. Press it over the infested area and pull. The ticks will be gone, stuck to the tape. This also works for removing splinters, thistle fuzz or other small, hard to see, objects. If the problem is in a hairy area, find another solution. Depilatory via this tape hurts.
It was the elk hunt of a lifetime in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho until a broken foot ruined James Mayes’ horse camp trip. He had lost balance climbing over a patch of scree and rolled 50 yards down a talus field.
When the guide got to him his ankle was already swelling. The guide loosely taped figure eights of duct tape around his ankle and arch over his sock. The tape controlled swelling and made the injured limb feel more comfortable on the day-long horseback ride out to civilization.
At the hospital they simply cut away the duct tape and sock and set the ankle properly. This also works well for sprained or broken wrists, knees and other damaged joints.
Duct tape will also control a sucking chest wound and can be fastened over bullet or arrow wounds to control bleeding until help arrives.
Town and hot cooked food sounded like a great idea after we spent three days tent camping on a New Mexico antelope hunt. When we came back to the campground raccoons had slit our tent, dumped the cooler and carried off the food. It took only a few minutes to put a water-resistant duct tape patch over the slit to make the tent water-resistant and bug proof again. A strip of duct tape fastening tent flaps together will also go a long way to keep bugs out. It also keeps the feathers in sleeping bags.
Duct tape has even been used to patch damage to airplanes and ultralights that landed badly.
Tape boot insoles with duct tape, shiny side up, this will reflect the heat back upward and help keep feet comfortable. Wrap duct tape around the top of your boots to keep bugs, snow and rain from getting to your feet.
Use bright-colored duct tape to mark suitcases, and on raincoats to protect yourself when road repairs are necessary.
Warts also disappear when duct tape comes to the rescue. A week wrapped around a wart or soft corn will go a long way toward removing the annoyance.
If you want to add to your tape menagerie Gorilla Tape is another useful piece of equipment. But we will save that discussion for another day.
What are some of your favorite uses for the silver saver?