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Like paracord and duct tape, ranger bands are one of those versatile items you’ll want to include with your survival kits and supplies. Ranger bands are named for their use by U.S. Army Rangers to tie down their gear so it didn’t move or make noise while they moved. Essentially, they are larger, stronger versions of the ordinary rubber band.
You can buy “real” ranger bands from many online outlets, big box stores, army surplus stores, or you can make your own. You can cut them to any length and width that you want from a bicycle inner tube. New standard bike inner tubes sell for less than $5, and some bike shops even give away blown inner tubes upon request.
One bicycle inner tube can provide around 10 to 20 bands. All you need is the inner tube and a sharp pair of scissors. Here’s a video that shows how to make and use ranger bands. And here’s another one.
Now that you know how to purchase or make them, here are 30 survival uses for ranger bands.
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You can burn ranger bands to start an emergency fire in the wilderness. They work well even on wet wood. Ranger bands will burn intensely for around 30 seconds to three minutes, depending on their size. So, you can get a fire going by bundling together your kindling with a ranger band. (Avoid breathing in the fumes of the burning rubber.)
2. Ax Grip
Wrap one or more ranger bands around the handle of your ax to add a secure grip.
3. Backpack Strap Ties
Secure dangling backpack strap ends by rolling up the excess material and wrapping them neatly with a ranger band.
4. Secure Box Lids
Do you carry small survival items in an Altoids tin? You can make sure the handy tin box stays closed in your backpack by wrapping it with a ranger band.
5. Fixed Blade Grip
Add a custom-made grip to the handle of your knife with a ranger band.
6. Protect Breakable Gear
You can help keep sensitive equipment, like your compass or signal mirror, safe by wrapping it with a wide ranger band.
You can use ranger bands as a makeshift slingshot to hunt small game.
In an emergency situation, you can use a ranger band as a potentially life-saving tourniquet.
9. Strap Gear Together
You can use ranger bands to attach your gear, such as flashlights and water bottles, to your backpack or to keep unused straps attached to the right device.
Ranger bands are useful for bundling together loose items such as tent stakes, cords, electronic chargers, batteries, or camp utensils.
11. Outer Seal Gasket
Wrap ranger bands around lids and bottle tops to ensure a tight fit.
12. Temporary Repairs
Ranger bands come in handy for on-the-go repairs, holding together items that break, fray, or rip in a survival situation.
13. Lighter Protection
By wrapping a ranger band around your lighter, you can keep it dry and slow down the evaporation of lighter fluid.
You can use ranger bands to secure a makeshift splint to a broken or sprained finger. Very large bands can be used for splints for injured arms and legs.
15. Hose Patch
Ranger bands are waterproof. You can wrap one around a hose and it with a hose-clamp for a temporary patch.
16. Knife Attachments
If your sheath does not have a slot for your Ferro rod, you can use a ranger band to secure them both together.
17. Screwdriver Add-on
Try wrapping a ranger band over the tip of a screwdriver to help loosen or tighten a stripped screw.
18. Noise Prevention
Wrapping items in ranger bands prevents them from rattling around your backpack.
19. Knife Closure
You can keep your pocketknife from opening in your backpack or pocket by securing it with a ranger band.
20. Rough Edge Cover
Use a ranger band to cover up sharp or frayed edges on gear to protect you and your clothing.
21. Flashlight Mount
You can attach a flashlight (Maglite) to a tool or a weapon with a ranger band. Here are instructions on how to do just that from The Complete Ranger Digest.
You can easily secure some folded cash, a credit or debit card, and your driver’s license together with a ranger band.
23. Cell Phone Placement
You can prevent your cell phone from sliding around your dashboard by circling it with a ranger band.
Ranger bands are heat- and cold-resistant. You can use them as a mini pot holder in a pinch.
25. Belt Attachment
This site shows how you can attach a pocketknife to your belt with the help of ranger bands.
27. Sling Transport and Storage
You can fold and secure your gun sling for easy transport and storage with a ranger band. This video shows you how.
28. Clothing Holder
You can keep jackets and other clothing tightly rolled by wrapping the roll with a ranger band before placing it in your backpack.
29. Secure Foliage
Use ranger bands to attach branches or other greenery to your hat or clothing when you want to camouflage.
30. Tarp Holder
Use ranger bands to secure your waterproof gear (tarps, groundcover, ponchos, etc.) to your backpack and to keep them tightly rolled to take up as little room as possible.
After you get started using ranger bands, you will likely come up with many more uses for this versatile item. Keep in mind that all rubber products, even heavy-duty ones, can lose their strength and become brittle with age. It’s a good idea to check your ranger bands occasionally and replace them as needed.
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