25 Ways Duct Tape Can Help You in a Survival Situation

25 Ways Duct Tape Can Help You in a Survival Situation

25 Ways Duct Tape Can Help You in a Survival Situation

Originally used during World War 2 to waterproof ammunition boxes, duct tape has truly become one of the most versatile materials in the world. I’ve seen duct tape used for just about everything from sealing duct work to making handbags and even homemade jewelry!

Aside from its novelty uses, however, duct tape can literally be a life saver in a survival situation. Following are 25 ways this sticky tape can help you out of a pinch:

Canoe Patch

via wikimedia.org

With the surface completely dry, a nice layer of duct tape can seal a pretty decent hole in a canoe. I wouldn’t recommend setting out to sea with it, but it can get you by for a bit.

Arrow Fletching

Arrow Fletching

Tear off a few pieces of tape about 5 inches long. Stick one edge to the shaft of an arrow, then fold the tape lengthwise, leaving just enough surface area to stick back to the arrow. Repeat as needed to make 3 workable arrow “feathers”. Can be trimmed easily with a knife.

Patch Water Bottles

A little strip of duct tape can go a long way to making sure you can effectively store fresh water when it is available. Again, the key here is patch cracks or holes while the surface is dry as most duct tape doesn’t bond well to wet surfaces.

Makeshift cup

With a little folding and layering, duct tape can make effective drinking cups. Reinforced with sticks, you can actually make larger vessels for water as well.

First Aid Sling

Either fold a length of tape down the middle or put two strips together to cover the stickiness and you can make a strap to hold an injured arm.


Joe Loong via flickr

An injured or broken limb can be stabilized with plenty of padding, a few sticks, and a wrap of duct tape. You can also pad a forked limb and tape it up for a makeshift crutch.

Butterfly Bandages

Cut two small strips of tape and add a smaller strip across their centers for an effective butterfly suture.

Bandage Wrap

Simply put a sterile dressing over an open wound and strap it in place with duct tape. This can be an effective way to waterproof dressings as well if need be.

Blister Cover


You can protect sensitive blisters by covering the area completely with gauze and then sealing it with a little duct tape. This will help reduce chaffing and allow the skin to heal.

Homemade Rope

Simply twist one of several lengths of duct tape together to make a strong cord or rope.

Homemade Belt

Form follows function, obviously, but to secure clothing, just run a piece of duct tape through belt loops and stick it to itself in the front. By leaving about 4-5 inches of overlap, you will be able to easily peel the belt apart when nature calls.


Duct tape will stick to most anything, you can leave notes by writing on pieces with a marker or just using strips of tape to form letters.

Homemade Handcuffs

If a member of your party is a danger to themselves or others, you can safely secure them by taping their hands together around a tree.

Patch Shoes and Clothing

Patch Shoes and Clothing

With enough duct tape, there is no need for a sewing kit among your survival gear!

Fix Eyewear

Again, form follows function, but fashion will be the least of your concerns if a strip of duct tape is holding your glasses together and allowing you to see.


With a few pieces of plastic and some duct tape, you can easily make a shelter roof, or waterproof sleeping bag cover, or a wind break, or a tent, or a million other things, really.

Combine Survival Gear

Simply tape a spark rod to the side of your knife sheath to guarantee you will always have a way to start a fire when you need to.

Homemade Hat

Homemade Hat

In a survival situation, shade can be hard to come by… But a little creative folding, being sure to cover up the sticky sides can make sure you’re never overly exposed to the elements.

Patch Rain Gear

Back to its roots, duct tape can be a great way to make sure you keep yourself and your materials dry. Just patch holes or tears with a little duct tape!

Homemade Spear

Tape your knife to the end of a long pole to give yourself a little distance between you and would-be predators. Also a huge help if you need to hunt or fish to get your next meal as not many animals wander into knife range.

Trail Marker

Use your tape to mark trails while exploring. Brightly colored and reflective tapes can also make good signals for rescue.

Vehicle Repair

Leaking hoses or windows that won’t stay closed are no match for duct tape!

Patch Sleeping Bags

If you have a down sleeping bag, a little duct tape will make sure you don’t lose your feathers, thus, keeping you better protected from the elements.

Tent Repair

Tent Repair
Damaged zippers or tears in a tent can be easily patched with duct tape to help keep the rain, bugs, and critters outside where they belong.
Pole Splint
If your tent or fishing poles get damaged, just tape a stick over the broken area to get a bit more use out of it before needing to get creative or build a new one.