The Joys of Duct Tape

The other week, I managed to fix a flat tire with the aid of a little duct tape (okay, an air compressor was involved too and technically it was a tire valve and not the actual tire…). And just the other day a coworker regaled me with tales of a flight he traveled on where an air marshal restrained an unruly passenger with duct tape.

Everyone has duct tape stories. And it seems to be essential to most travel kits. Whether toting an enormous roll, a sprite-sized travel roll, or a few wraps of the precious substance around a Nalgene or Sharpie (my personal favorite), few doubt its usefulness.

The Duct Tape Guys spread the evangelism of duct tape though a newsletter, numerous books, and You Tube clips. There are entire websites devoted to tales of duct tape survival, from securing an injured child to a backboard or temporarily patching up a chainsaw injury before getting to a hospital- duct tape saves lives.

The Delicious Baby Journal has a list of ways duct tape can come in handy on the road including closing pesky window drapes that won’t stay shut, marking luggage with distinctive patterns (think of colored or even glow-in-the-dark duct tape), sealing a drain, or even making a hopscotch course for kids. Go Budget Travel also has a handy list of travel uses for duct tape, including as an insulator in cold weather as well as a way to make luggage look less attractive to thieves.

The ultimate travelers- astronauts- don’t leave Earth without their duct tape. Duct tape has been used extensively on space missions including helping to fashion a square filter into a round hole on the infamous Apollo 13 flight. More recently, NASA wrote an official procedure in 2001 for using duct tape in case an astronaut suffered from “acute psychosis”. Basically, this meant duct taping the person and injecting them with tranquilizers if they became a danger to themselves or others in outer space.

So what are your duct tape stories?

Posted by | Comments (7)  | July 10, 2008
Category: Vagabonding Advice

7 Responses to “The Joys of Duct Tape”

  1. Scott Says:

    Didnt really know that Duct Tape had so much use behind it.


  2. Anthony Says:

    Ran out to buy me roll today

  3. Milena Says:

    A long time ago, when I practiced laziness, I would duct tape the hems of skirts and pants which were too long rather than sew them up.

  4. CAL Says:

    Duct Tape is awesome for protecting your pack & yourself from wet weather. A friend of mine biked to the Florida Keys and camped on the side of the road in-between cycles. He said that it was raining really bad one night so him and his partner pressed small twigs and leaves on duct tape (sticky side up) and used the DIY shanty to cover themselves when they slept. I’m sure the shelter wasn’t waterproof, but anything’s better than being directly hit by one of Florida’s beastly rains.

    I used to say: “Can you fix it with tape? (About a TV or fridge) No? Then it’s not broken.”

  5. udon thani expat Says:

    i used duct tape over a rip in my gortex jacket for the last two years after 10 years the zip gave up but thank duct tape for giveing me the extra two years

  6. Tom Says:

    important, it is amazing our simple duct tape can be a life saver on a boat also!