Backpacking Hack: Packing Duct Tape

I recently returned from a wonderful backpacking trek in the John Muir Wilderness located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.  The John Muir Wilderness is rugged and exceedingly beautiful.  It is also challenging backpacking country with high altitude and difficult terrain.  The trek tested our group's skills, readiness, and fitness.  Fortunately, we were well prepared and able to handle every test mother nature presented us.

John Muir Wilderness Marker
One item in my pack proved its usefulness over and over again - duct tape.  Duct tape is not just for air ducts or home repairs.  Here are just a few uses of duct tape while backpacking:
  • Repair a pair of shoes by re-affixing a delaminated tread with duct tape
  • Repair a tear in a tent stuff-sack with duct tape
  • Patch a puncture in a water bag with duct tape
  • Secure a moleskin pad with duct tape to prevent it from rubbing off while walking
  • Cover a hip abrasion caused by a backpack with duct tape to prevent further injury
  • Wrap an sprained ankle with duct tape to support the join and prevent further injury
  • Whip an end of rope to prevent fraying
If you aren't carrying duct tape in your pack then you will inevitably find yourself wishing you had.  Fortunately, you don't have to bring a bulky and heavy roll of duct tape to benefit from this miracle material.  Several feet of tape will do.

A helpful method of packing duct tape is to roll several feet onto a plastic medicine bottle.  The width of the duct tape fits perfectly on the bottle and adds very little weight or volume to a pack.  This hack also provides you with a waterproof container for medicine or small items.  Later, when a length of duct tape is needed, simply peel off the desired amount from the medicine bottle.

You don't need to pack the whole roll

I hope this article has inspired you to add duct tape to your backpacking kit and try rolling it onto a plastic medicine bottle for convenient packing.

Several feet of duct tape rolled onto a plastic medicine bottle

Happy trails and 73, NJ2X




© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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