30 Survival Uses for a Duct Tape You Have to Know

image of duct tape

Our list includes following uses:

You know that duct tape can help you fix broken pipes, be used to fix holes in mufflers, and keep items together for decades.

Let’s face the truth, this simple product is irreplaceable around the house. But what else can it be used for?

A lot! When it comes to survival, you’ll want to keep several rolls by your side at all times.

12 Uses to Create Useful Stuff & Gear

1. Primitive Spear

Worth checking this out!

Review of Top 10 Survival Knives Worth Your Money

Spears are amazing for defense and catching food. Heck, you can make a spear that can rival most primitive ones and is more deadly. The above example is a little extreme because the user actually drilled holes and bought the rod.

Obviously, this is not something that you would have available in the wild. The user also affixed a blade to his spear, which makes it very powerful. You can create your own primitive version by:

  1. Finding a long, straight stick that is sturdy.
  2. Affixing a knife or pointed stone to the tip.
  3. Securing it in place with tape.

Keep in mind: That is all it takes to create primitive weapon that is good for hunting and self defense as well!

2. Mark Your Trail

It’s easy to get lost in the woods and lose your direction. If you’ve set up your camp, this is definitely a big issue. Trail marking with colorful tape is easy.

Simply rip off its pieces and slap them on to a tree along the way. This will allow you to follow your trail back to camp easily.

3. Cordage & Rope Alternative

This widely available product is very strong, and you can even use it as a rope or cord. How?

  1. Measure the length of rope you need.
  2. Grab your duct tape.
  3. Rip off a piece that is a little longer than your desired length.
  4. Begin twisting it into a rope.

4. Improvised Arrow Fletching

Feathers allows for an arrow to soar through the air with greater ease. If you have an arrow with broken feathers or a bow and you’ve made your own ammunition for it, you can use duct tape to make the fletching.

This is a simple process, yet one that is difficult to put into words. Let’s give it a try:

  1. Grab a decent strip.
  2. Fold it in half long ways.
  3. Trace the fletching on the tape.
  4. Cut it but make sure its adhesive part is still available after cutting at the bottom.
  5. Now, using this sticky side, attach the fletching to the arrow.

Keep in mind: You’ll need to do this for all three pieces, but it is worth the effort. This will also make your shot more accurate and your arrow more aerodynamic.

5. Simple “Handcuffs”


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The Best Fire Pistons Out There

Who knew you could make handcuffs out of this product? If you’ve ever watched a movie where someone gets kidnapped, more often than not, duct tape is used. While many things are exaggerated in movies, this is not one of them.

Simply tape your roll and tightly wrap it around the person’s wrists. You always want to make sure that this is done tightly so that there is no way to wiggle out of the restraints. Use several layers to make your handcuffs extra secure.

6. Provisional Bug Catcher

Bugs are always flying around, causing meat to spoil faster or spreading diseases. You can easily rip pieces and apply them to tree branches. You want to keep a lot of the adhesive area exposed so that when bugs land on it, they will get stuck!

7. Duct Tape for Starting Fire


When tinder is wet, it will be very difficult to start a fire. Luckily, with this product, you have a few options:

  • Create a nest – Creating a nest is a neat trick and will require a ferro rod. Essentially, all you have to do is cut very thin strips of tape and form them into a ball. Make yourself a bird nest of sorts. Now, this will quickly catch a spark from your rod and can be used to get a fire started quickly.
  • Hold tinder together – With this method, people will often add tinder and other materials into a bunch and wrap tape around it. Afterwards, they will light it on flames and in that way heat up the tinder as it also catches fire. It’s a great trick when you can’t seem to get your tinder to ignite!

Worth your attention:

You should check out and learn these – Ways How to Start an Outdoor Fire Without Matches or Lighter.

8. Building Emergency Torch

Need a torch? Simply find a strong branch that will keep the fire about 3 feet away from you.

  1. Now, wrap the duct tape to the end of your torch branch.
  2. Place several layers until you have a fairly thick knot at the end.
  3. Now, light the tip of the knot on fire using either the method above or by using a lighter.

Keep in mind:

These torches will stay lit for 30 minutes or longer in most cases. This article is worth reading as well – How to Make a Torch to Secure Your Survival.

9. Making a Drinking Cup


This may be the ugliest cup you’ve ever seen, but it will get the job done.

  • Rip a 10” piece of tape.
  • Fold it long ways so that the adhesive sides are touching.
  • Leave 1” of the adhesive side loose.
  • Create a circular piece of tape.

At this point, you should have a circle that forms the sides of your cup. Make sure the inside and outside are not sticky. The extra 1” will be used to hold the circle together. Now, do the same for the bottom.

You’ll want to use a small piece, but you want your bottom to not be adhesive as well. Once created, use the tape to affix the bottom to your side circle and make a cup!

10. Creating a Knife Sheath

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Knife sheaths need to be thick, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. Following the same type of steps above, you’ll want to fold the tape over so that the inside of the sheath is not adhesive. Using your blade as a good judgment of size, create a sheath of the same length.

Once you have your non-adhesive base where the knife will enter, start rolling more stuff around the outside. You want to ensure that the layer is thick, so the blade doesn’t come out of the sheath at any time. It’s simple, yet effective.

11. Snow Shoes

Snow shoes provide traction and are fairly simple to make. First, you’ll need to find thin branches that are easily bent in half. Willow boughs are a great option. You’ll be looking for boughs that are 6 – 7 feet in length. Now, bend these in half and apply the tape to the ends to keep them in position.

You should have very large, tear-drop shapes at this point. Now, the rest is very simple:

  • At the top, roll duct tape around the shoes so that there is a good 1 – 1.5” of tape.
  • Using strips, create rows of the length of your foot about 2” from where the top of the tape stops.

Now, you’ll need to create straps for your feet to fit into. This is done by folding the tape into itself so that all its sides are no longer adhesive. Using this method, create three straps for your feet to slide into. All that’s left to do is to affix these straps to the current row using, of course, more of this great product.

You should be able to slip your feet into the snowshoes with ease at this point. Make any necessary sizing adjustments and try them out yourself.

12. Protection from Snow Blindness

The final use in the 1st part of our 3 part series shows how to use this product for snow blindness. This is a simple procedure, but you’ll need to have a knife for the slits. Essentially, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Cut an 8” piece of tape.
  2. Fold it in half using the adhesive sides.
  3. Cut slits in the mask so that you can see.
  4. Wear it over your eyes.

Keep in mind:

At this point, you can either affix the mask to your glasses, or use the tape to help. It can get tricky if you don’t have glasses because its application to your hair will be a bad idea.

8 Medical Uses

Part 2 of our list of amazing survival applications for duct tape deals with medical uses. When you’re in the wild, you’ll want access to even basic medical supplies – they can save your life. But, how useful is this product for this? Very!

13. First Aid Arm Sling


If you injure your arm, keeping it close to your body and relieving the stress added by your arm’s weight will allow for rapid healing. Duct tape can be used to create the perfect first aid arm sling.
Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Put on a long-sleeved shirt.
  2. Wrap tape around your forearm for about 4 inches. This is just the base of your sling.
  3. There are a lot of variations, but this is the easiest by far. If you don’t have a long-sleeved shirt, simply use tissues and put them on your skin before wrapping.
  4. Now, you’ll want to grab a long piece of tape that will wrap around your neck.
  5. Cut this piece and fold it in half so that your neck won’t touch the adhesive.
  6. From here, create the loop and use the tape affix the neck loop to your arm.

Pay attention: This information is crucial to know – How to Choose the Best Survival Knife.

14. Emergency Tourniquet


Stopping blood flow is the purpose of a tourniquet. This is a very simple creation. Simply place a piece of cloth above the area that is bleeding and wrap duct tape around it so tightly that it stops your blood circulation.

If you like, you can also use our cordage trick above and twist the cordage around your injured limb to achieve the same result!

15. Create Butterfly Bandage Strips

Butterfly bandages are meant to be very tight. If you’ve never seen this type of bandage before, the two ends are wide while the middle is very thin. This is an easy creation if you have a knife. Simply cut the tape so that the middle (the area going over the wound) is thin.

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If you don’t have a knife, simply twist it so the middle is thin. Now, place the adhesive on one side of the wound and pull tightly before applying to the opposite side of the wound. The goal is to keep the skin together.

16. Making a Primitive Leg Splint

[You will never believe these: 15+ Emergency & Survival Uses of Shemagh Tactical Scarf]

Leg splits are meant to keep the leg in position if it’s broken. The same can be done for any bone. The goal is to find branches (thick ones) that will act as a stabilizer for the leg, so make sure they are long enough.

You’ll need 2 or 3 in total. I like to use three to be safe. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Place a stick under your knee and behind the leg and wrap it in duct tape.
  2. Put one stick on the left side and wrap it.
  3. Put another on the right side and repeat.

Please note: It may seem like a lot, but this is the most secure method. If the person has pants, make sure they’re on when using the tape.

17. Fixing Bandages in Place


Simple and easy. When you need to affix bandages, simply put them in place and use tape to apply them to your skin.

18. Blister Care

Blisters occur because of friction. When your feet move in your shoes, you’ll risk getting a blister with added friction. In this case, the problem is easy to fix:

  1. Take off your socks and shoes.
  2. Find and write down hot spots (where redness is seen).
  3. Place your socks back on your feet.
  4. Apply several strips of duct tape to these areas.

Pay attention: This layer will provide extra padding and help to keep your foot in place. Never apply this directly onto a blister!

19. Creating an Improvised Crutch

[This can save you from starving: A Guide to Eating Tree Bark as an Emergency Meal]

A crutch will help you in the event that you hurt a leg and need some added support.

  1. Find two thick branches. One branch should be able to extend from your underarm to the floor.
  2. Now, test the branch to ensure it can hold your weight. If so, form a “T” with the two branches. One only needs to be 6 – 12” in length and will be placed across the top of the longer branch.
  3. Now, roll tape around the two in a crisscrossed pattern to keep the two branches in place.

20. Resealing Food Containers

The final use on our medical use list is the resealing of food containers. If you leave food open, it may spoil or attract animals or bugs. Obviously, none of these scenarios are ideal.

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Instead of leaving your food vulnerable, rip off a piece of duct tape and use it to seal any and all food containers. It’s a simple solution, but one that many people overlook.

5 Uses for Fixing Broken or Damaged Gear

Wait until you see what we have in store for you in our third part of our list. There are so many uses for this product that we want to cover a few more essentials, especially clothing and shelter options.

21. Fixing the Broken Frame of Glasses & Cracked Water Bottles

When you have damaged water bottles or glasses, you’ll be able to use tape to fix the issue quickly. Simply wrap it around the cracked area, and you’re done.

I like to add several layers of it to ensure that the area is fixed appropriately.

22. Repairing a Torn Tent & Sleeping Bag

Torn tents or sleeping bags will let in rain and can lead to health issues. Instead, you can simply use duct tape to repair the area. If the tear is small, you can run a piece of it across to secure it.

For larger rips, I like to:

  • Place several strips of tape sideways across the rip to hold it together.
  • Place a long strip along the length of the rip.

Keep in mind: This will keep any stuffing in your sleeping bag safe inside and ensure that your bag is sealed properly. The same can be done for your tent.

23. Mending Rain Gear, Shoes & Clothing


[This is crazy – Use Gum Wrapper Plus Battery to Start Fire]

Clothes and shoes are easy to mend with tape. I take a double-sided approach to this and it on the outside of the items as well as the inside. Why? Added protection. Simply apply it to the holes and you’re good to go.

With shoes, I always add an extra layer inside to further protect against rain entering into the sole and causing my socks to get wet. Remember. It’s essential to keep your feet dry when out in the wild!

24. Patching a Hole in a Canoe & Temporarily Fixing Your Bug out Vehicle

There has been a lot of speculation on whether or not duct tape can be used on a canoe with a hole in it. MythBusters actually had an episode where they tested it out with great success. Obviously, you’ll want to:

  1. Clean the hole and the surrounding area.
  2. Dry the area before applying tape.
  3. Apply it to the inside and outside of the canoe.

That’s pretty much it. I wouldn’t spend all day out in the middle of the water like this, but for a quick journey, it does the job. You can also use this to fixe holes in hoses on your bug out vehicle.

25. Splinting a Broken Fishing or Tent Pole

Fishing or tent poles can become weak with use. A good trick is to:

  1. Find a small branch.
  2. Affix it to the weak pole with duct tape.
  3. Simply roll it around the splinter area a few times.

Pay attention: The branch will add extra support and allow you to use your tent or fishing pole confidently.

5 Uses for Clothing & Shelter

26. Creating a Simple Belt & Hat

[Must see – 6 Easiest Ways to Open a Can Without Can Opener]

Making a belt is simple. What you want to do is rip off a piece of tape that’s a little longer than your waist. Now, fold it in half by the width so the adhesive is touching. Now, use this as a belt and simply tie a knot in the front.

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Making a hat is a little more difficult. For this, you’ll need to:

  1. Find cloth or mesh lining.
  2. Place leaves or grass on the fabric for insulation.
  3. Using tape, make sure the lining materials are all properly sealed.

Remember, this product is waterproof, so it’s important to use it on the outside of the cloth. Now, drape over your head. If it’s too loose, you can always make it tighter.

27. Making Your Cloth Water Resistant

This is ugly, but it gets the job done. To make your clothes water resistant, you’ll need to cover them in tape. If you want to make sure that you stay 100% dry, apply it to the inside as well and wear another garment underneath to avoid skin irritation.

28. Insulating Your Boots

Boot insulation is another great use for this product. Being water resistant, this tape will keep moisture out and ensure your feet stay warm in the process. All you need to do is take off your boots, loosen the strings, and start applying it to the inside of the boot.

Keep in mind: You want to do this on all sides – not just the sole. This will keep water out and your feet warmer.

29. Making a Pandemic Seal

Pandemic seals are something no one wants to have to make. In case of an airborne illness, zombie emergency or a nuclear explosion, you’ll want to seal off your home as best as possible. While there’s only so much you can do, a pandemic seal will keep the outside air out and will help boost your chances of survival.

This can also be used for drafts in older homes or cabins. Simply place tape across door openings, windows and anywhere else where air may enter the home. Don’t forget to seal off fireplaces using this method as well.

Pay attention: There’s not much that needs to be done aside from applying the tape. Use added layers for extra precaution.

30. Creating a Provisional Blanket


[Check this out as well – Guide to Processing and Eating Acorns for Easy Survival]

When the weather dips down, you’ll want a blanket to keep you warm. Creating a blanket is quite simple. Gather anything you can: leaves, small branches, grass and anything else to be used as insulation. Now, lay these items in a pile.

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From here, you’ll want to create a large square of tape, (adhesive side up) and place it on the ground. Now, put all of your insulation on top of your square. Line the top with tape and try to secure the edges so that it is all touching each other. Once this is done, flip the blanket over.

Note: A lot of your insulation will fall out at this point. Afterwards, put it back in place and start patching any holes you may have. It will take some work, but you’ll have a blanket to keep warm at night.

About Jim Worthersky

Hi, my name is Jim and my motto to live by is: Hope for the best while prepare for the worst. My hobbies are swimming, hiking, hunting, scouting & crafting.

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