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15 Ways Duct Tape Can Improve A Camping Trip

I never leave home without a roll of duct tape. In fact, even when traveling internationally, I bring a roll of tape. It might seem a little weird, but it has saved us in so many situations that we believe it’s truly worth it. Today, let’s take a look at 15 ways duct tape can save the day when camping and what tape we recommend!

What Is Duct Tape Actually Used for? 

It was invented by Vesta Stoudt during World War II to seal ammunition cases against moisture. The tape was made from a rubber-based adhesive applied to a durable duck cloth backing. The original tape was closer in type and consistency to what we call gaffer tape now. This design provided a water-resistant sealing ability, which was essential for protecting ammunition from moisture.

The name “duct tape” comes from its post-war application. After World War II, the tape became popular in the housing industry for connecting heating and air conditioning ductwork. The color was changed from its original army green to silver to match the ductwork, and that’s when it began to be called “duct tape.” This usage led to its name, even though, ironically, modern HVAC professionals prefer not to use standard duct tape for ductwork because it tends to fail under the high heat and pressure conditions of HVAC systems.

What Is the Strongest Duct Tape? 

There are lots of brands of duct tape, and we have tried a lot of them. We personally think gorilla tape is among the strongest versions of duct tape. They claim about 145% sturdier than other duct tapes, as it is thicker and has more adhesive. Recently, we have even been using their outdoor-specific all-weather tape, although it has a strong smell and is not quite as flexible as the original. If you are going to be using it for long-term water and sun exposure, the outdoor version will hold up far better.

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15 Ways Duct Tape Will Save Your Camping Trip

How can duct tape save your camping trip? You’re about to find out 15 ways to use it for repairs and practical applications. 

Tent patched with duct tape
Before you head out on your camping trip, make sure to pack some duct tape in your camping gear.

1. Patch a Tent With Duct Tape

A hole or rip in your tent can be disastrous on a camping trip. Bugs, rain, cold air, and more can seep through even the tiniest holes.

Patching your tent with duct tape is a quick and easy solution so that your trip isn’t disrupted. While duct tape is a temporary fix until you can get the tent adequately repaired, the tape can last a surprisingly long time. 

2. Shoe Repair

I once had a pair of shoes start coming apart on an international trip. The sole was separating, and it was duct tape to the rescue. While not a permanent repair, it kept us going!

3. Insulation

In cold weather, you can use duct tape to seal gaps in your clothing or gear to keep warm air in. We have even seen it used for wrapping around cups to help provide insulation on a paper cup to keep a drink hot.

4. Identification

It might not look the best but you can use duct tape to mark and identify your things. On a trip to New Zealand, I found out that one of our bags was very common and got confused a few times, so it got marked with a big duct tape X.

luggage when traveling
you cant see the mark in this photo but that green bag behind me has a big x on the front

Pro Tip: Should you pack duct tape in your survival bag? We took a closer look at what you should pack in your bug out bag!

5. Use Duct Tape as a Bandage

We highly recommend packing a first aid kit on any camping trip. But if you find yourself without one, you can make a bandage out of duct tape for a temporary solution.

Cut a piece of tape double the size of the wound and fold it over, sticky side to sticky side. Put this piece directly on the wound after you’ve cleaned it. Then, adhere a piece of tape over that piece to hold it on your skin. In a pinch, duct tape can also be used to create a makeshift splint.

6. Mark a Trail

Gray tape is an excellent way to mark a trail when hiking away from camp. For example, you can put two pieces of tape in the shape of an X on trees or other stationary objects every 20 feet. The markers will help you find your way back to camp. Just remember to leave no trace when you pack up to go home.

7. Make a Rope

There may be times when you need a rope on a camping trip, including to tie down a tent or to pull something. When you don’t have a cord with you, you can use duct tape instead.

To make a duct tape rope, cut it into strips of threes and braid them together to make a strong rope. If you need a long rope, we recommend weaving in additional strands until you feel it’s strong enough for your purposes.

8. Create a Fly Trap

When the flies are too much on a camping trip, make a DIY fly trap with duct tape. Cut off a foot-long strip of tape and hang it in your tent or camper. Flies that land on it will get stuck. 

duct tape on camera
You will find duct tape on alot of our stuff

9. Seal Food Containers

No matter how solid the lid is on food containers, they can still pop open from time to time. The last thing you want when transporting food while camping or hiking is for food to spill.

You can use duct tape to seal the container. Or, if you have a container without a lid, you can use the tape to act like saran wrap.

10. Clean Sand and Dirt Out Of Belongings

Duct tape is sticky. That makes it ideal for cleaning sand or dirt out of your tent or camper, gear, backpack, and other belongings. Take a piece of tape and use the sticky side to clean up. 

Pro Tip: In addition to duct tape, make sure to pack these 36 Important Tools For Your RV Tool Kit.

11. Fix Your Glasses

Duct tape is strong and durable. If your glasses break while camping, use the tape to fix them. If your frame breaks, cut the tape into a small piece to wrap around the rim. It’s a temporary fix but should hold for a long time.

12. Blister Prevention

If you feel a hot spot on your foot while hiking, you can apply duct tape to the area to prevent blisters. This can be applied directly to the skin or on the inside of the boot.

13. Patch a Hole in Your Boat

Getting a hole in your kayak while camping can be devastating. But duct tape can save your trip. Use it to patch up the hole, making sure to have good contact all the way around the hole.

Multiple layers laying multiple directions both on the inside and outside will create additional strength and redundancy. After you apply the tape to the affected area, we recommend testing the kayak before you launch it. Fill it up with water and leave it for an hour or more to see if it leaks. 

14. Temporary Gear Fix

Broken poles, ripped backpacks, or damaged gear can be temporarily fixed with a sturdy wrap of duct tape. We have even temporarily fixed fishing poles.

15. Improvised Clothing

In an emergency, duct tape can be used to create makeshift shoes, hats, or even insulating layers. While this is not ideal, it can be better than nothing if you are getting cold and wet.

Duct Tape Hammock Tent Camping + Rabbit Catch & Cook (Duct Tape Survival Shelter Challenge)

Having Duct Tape On Your Camping Trip Is Worth It!

Pack your duct tape and go camping! It is worth having with you on a camping trip for its multipurpose capabilities. It’s pretty easy to find room for it in your gear bag, and you won’t regret bringing it along.

Whether hiking in the backcountry, camping at your local campground, or RVing, duct tape is a must-have. 

Leave a comment below if you have other applications for duct tape use while camping. We would love to hear your ideas and how they saved your camping trip!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Nancy Coughlin

Monday 9th of January 2023

Used as repair for bumper trim to hold it onto my truck after a fender bender

Dennis

Thursday 31st of March 2022

You forgot to mention a Brazilian wax job.

Peggy Mellor Macy Martin

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

I wrapped duct tape around and up and down to hold my EMS/surge protector on an electric pedestal while camping recently. Now I need to carry something to take off the sticky residue.

Silas Longshot

Sunday 27th of March 2022

Not too sure about eating out of items made of duct tape. Probably a lot of chemistry leeching out of that. And the bandage idea may work better with a bit of clean cloth over the wound before the duct tape goes on to secure that in place.