You never know what you need until you realize, 200 miles away, that you don’t have it. And if you don’t have it, you have to figure out how to get it. Or make it. And while 1-click ordering and free shipping via drone is technologically imminent, the delivery address fields are still not configured to accommodate; ‘Big-Oak-Tree-By-The-Stream, The Wilderness’. Whether you are a solo backpacker or a family of car campers, duct tape is the ultimate all-season ‘swiss army knife’ camping accessory (but you’re still going to need an actual Swiss Army Knife).
- 911; What’s Your Emergency?
In the event that you didn’t pack a first aid kit, you are pretty much guaranteed to be playing wilderness doctor. Fortunately, duct tape works well on both extremes of the injury continuum. Make a stretcher for your friend who just broke both legs falling into a ravine, a crutch if it was only one leg, or a splint and sling if it was just an arm. If their only complaint is chafing and blisters, it works really well as bandage protection, and can also be used to silence any further whining.
2. Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite
One of the initiation rites for sleeping outdoors is waking up the next morning (or several times throughout the night) damp, covered in insect bites, and possibly even a nocturnal spray from a scavenging skunk. Unfortunately, branches, rocks and prickly bushes are kryptonite to canvas. Fortunately, a little duct tape first aid can seal up any rips and holes in your tent (or sleeping bag), keeping the less miraculous parts of mother nature right where you want them. And if you didn’t splurge on a fancy tent, it’s even easier to increase the square footage (although probably not re-sale value) by adding on an enclosed porch using tape, a tarp and trash bags.
3. Sleep Number Strategies
Studies say that sleeping in the fresh air is supposed to be better for you. However, camping can also mean disrupted sleep as a result of a tree root to the kidney all night long, as well as being in close, non-sound proofed proximity to other people’s snoring styles (resist the impulse to duct tape over your tent buddy’s mouth during their REM cycle). If you really prefer not to listen to someone snoring 2 feet away, either resign yourself to becoming a lifetime Holiday Inn rewards member, or start stockpiling duct tape. Fortunately relief is approximately 3 rolls away. All it takes is a couple of well placed oak trees, some rope, two sturdy poles, and you can weave your very own tempurpedic hammock.
4. Custom Camping Couture
Unless it’s a nudist resort, there is nothing worse than realizing you forgot to pack a key piece of clothing (underwear, socks, flip flops for those sketchy campground showers…). The water repelling properties make duct tape ideal for fashioning a pair of shower sandals using just the lid of a styrofoam beer cooler for the soles. But if you do happen to forget underwear, you’re probably better off going commando than experimenting with a Duct Tape It Yourself pair.
5. The Winter Beer Run
Winter camping means never having to worry about warm beer- as long as you can get to it. Twist a couple of empties in two and duct tape them (snaggly side down), to the soles of your shoes. Beer can crampons ensure that your beverage, rather than your backside, is what sits on the ice.
6. The Selfie Struggle is Real
Cant quite line up the angle or composition for an epic Instagram post of your silhouette, inside the tent, during sunset? Duct tape means you can turn your hiking poles into a tripod that can compete with any of those overpriced ones you see in the mall at Sharper Image.
While duct tape can’t turn water into wine, straw into gold, or improve a relationship with your mother, it could technically cover a receding hairline, and provide impressive camping stories to use the next time you’re talking to an attractive stranger at the bar.