This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
Duct tape is one of the most versatile products ever invented. Wannabe MacGyvers have found uses for it that the developers probably never dreamed of. As Tyler Durden might say, “With enough duct tape we can fix just about anything.”
There are so many uses for duct tape that not only should you put a roll in your bug out bag, you should also add several rolls to your main survival cache. But how can duct tape be used for survival? Here are 47 ways…
1. Build a Shelter – If you have a few trash bags, ponchos, tarps or anything that ill block the wind, you can use tape to piece them together into a temporary shelter.
2. Create a Pandemic Seal – If there is an airborne disease in your area, use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal a room against pathogens.
3. Fix a Screen or Mosquito Net – This is especially important if there’s a mosquito-borne disease in your area. Tape up the inside and outside.
4. Fix a Cracked Water Bottle – Make sure the outside of the bottle is completely dry, then cover the crack with a strip of duct tape. To make sure it stays in place, wrap the tape all the way around the bottle.
5. Fix Broken Poles – Tape a stick to a broken tent or fishing pole to make a temporary splint. This might not hold up for long, but you could at least get a little more usage out of the pole before scrapping it.
6. Fix Your Clothes – If you don’t have a sewing kit, you might have to make do with duct tape. It doesn’t look good, but looks don’t matter much during a disaster.
7. Fix Your Gloves – Whether they’re work gloves, winter gloves, or oven mitts, you can use duct tape to fix them.
8. Hold Your Pants Up – There’s a good chance you’re going to lose weight during a long-term disaster. If you don’t have a belt, you can make one out of duct tape.
9. Fix Your Shoes – Again, just remember that when the SHTF, survival is more important than fashion. Duct tape is excellent for patching up torn shoes.
10. Make Some Shoes – If for some reason you don’t have any shoes, you can use duct tape and cardboard to make some sandles or flip flops.
11. Keep Your Feet Warm – If you’re in a cold environment, especially one with snow on the ground, put duct tape all over the inside of your shoes. This will keep out moisture and keep your feet warmer.
12. Keep Things Out of Your Boots – Whether it’s snow, bug, or an annoying little rock, you can keep it all out of your boots by taping to top of your boots to your legs.
13. Fix Your Glasses – We’ve all seen this done by someone. A thin strip of tape will be sturdy enough to hold together any breaks in the frames.
14. Fix Your Vehicle – Duct tape can be used to repair leaking hoses, hold up a bumper, patch the roof, and all sorts of other things. As with shoes and clothes, it doesn’t look good, but that won’t matter.
15. Fix Buckets and Trash Cans – As long as the container is completely dry, you should be able to make a waterproof seal over any cracks in it.
16. Fix Your Rain Gutters – This is especially important if you’re collecting rainwater to drink. Tape up any leaks or places where joints are coming apart.
17. Keep Yourself Dry – If there’s a tear in your poncho, sleeping bag, or blanket, use duct tape to patch it up.
18. Keep Your Tent Sealed – If there’s a tear in your tent or there’s something wrong with the tent door zipper, use duct tape to seal it up. Be sure to put tape on the inside as well.
19. Mark a Trail – If you need to find your way to and from a campsite or plan on going back the way you came, wrap duct tape around trees along the trail. Make sure each one is in sight of the next one.
20. Leave a Message – If you want to leave a message for someone, but you’re worried about rain destroying it, try some duct tape. Find a smooth surface and use the tape to make large letters.
21. Signal for Help – If you have some fluorescent colored duct tape, you can try using it to signal for help. For example, you could make a giant arrow that points to your campsite, or a giant S.O.S.
22. Make a Butterfly Bandage – To do this, take two small strips and connect them to a smaller strip by touching the sticky side of the smaller strip to the sticky side of the larger strips.
23. Hold a Bandage in Place – Cover the wound with a sterile dressing and wrap some tape around the injured body part to hold the dressing in place.
24. Make a Sling – Just a few feet of duct tape can make a decent sling for someone with a broken arm. Here are some detailed instructions with pictures.
25. Make a Splint – If someone has a broken leg or arm, put a strong stick or similar object against it and use tape to keep it in place. This is only a temporary solution.
26. Treat a Sprained Ankle or Wrist – Wrap it with a thin layer of padding and lots of duct tape. This will give the sprain some much needed support.
27. Make a Crutch – Find a long, sturdy branch with a fork at the end, then cover the fork with padding and plenty of duct tape.
28. Treat Cuts and Blisters – If you don’t have any bandaids, cover the cut or blister with some cotton gauze and hold it in place with tape.
29. Make a Cup or Bowl – This is a little difficult to explain so here’s a step by step guide with video clips.
30. Make a Fire Starter – Duct tape, along with some lint and char cloth, can be used to make a great fire starter.
31. Make a Spear – Just strap a knife to the end of a large stick or pole and use it to hunt animals or keep threats at bay.
32. Make Some Arrows – You can’t make arrows from duct tape alone, but you can use it as fletching on your arrows, which is necessary to make the arrow fly straight.
33. Make a Cord – Cut whatever length you need and start twisting it until it’s tight enough to use as a cord. It’s surprisingly strong.
34. Make a Hat – It might look silly, but a duct tape hat can keep body heat from escaping through your head and keep the sun out of your eyes. Here’s how.
35. Dry Your Clothes – There are several things you can do with a cord made from duct tape, and one of them is making a clothesline. Without a dryer, you’ll have to hang your clothes up to dry.
36. Put Up Lights – If the power is out, you could tape a flashlight to the wall or ceiling in order to distribute light more evenly.
37. Cover Your Windows – During a long-term disaster, it’s a good idea to block any light from getting out of your windows at night. You don’t want to attract burglars. Use duct tape and something completely opaque to cover them.
38. Restrain Someone – Duct tape can be used to bind a dangerous person’s hands and feet until you figure out what to do with him (or her).
39. Open a Jar – If you can’t get a jar of food open, stick some duct tape on the lid, leave enough of it loose to use as a handle, and pull the handle until the list twists off.
40. Seal Food Containers – If your food containers crack, seal them up by covering the crack with plenty of duct tape.
41. Seal Ammo Containers – If your ammunition accumulates too much moisture, it will corrode and become too dangerous to use. Seal of the containers with a generous amount of tape.
42. Kill Annoying Bugs – Duct tape can be used as flypaper. Just hang several strips of duct tape in your tent or around your campsite, and bugs such as flies and mosquitoes will get stuck to it.
43. Organize Your Supplies – If you have any items that need to stay together (a knife and ferro rod, a bottle and water filter, etc.), use duct tape to do it.
44. Strap Supplies to Your Vehicle – If there’s not enough room in your bug out vehicle and you don’t have any rope or bungee cord, use duct tape instead. It will take a lot, but it will work.
45. Make a Boat – Seriously, it can be done. But if nothing else, this shows that enough duct tape could repair a small, damaged raft.
46. Make a Paddle – You’ll need a paddle to get the boat moving. Find a strong stick with a fork at the end, and cover the fork with lots of tape.
47. Fix Ducts – Well, it is called duct tape. Use it to repair ducts such as the ones for your air conditioning, water pipes, and other types of ducts.
There are many brands and varieties of duct tape, but I recommend this 3-pack of duct tape on Amazon.com.