Close this search box.

Do It Yourself

12 Unusual and Unexpected Survival Uses for Duct Tape



Ah, duct tape… is there anything it can't do?

Duct tape has become so popular because of its versatility. Ask anyone who is familiar with the polyethylene-coated, pressure-sensitive roll of adhesive about how they have used it and they will tell you about the many ways it has helped them.

There seems to be an endless supply of projects and anecdotes that one can get from other people about this product. You can even learn how to make a duct tape wallet if you know where to look!

But what about ideas for preppers and survivalists like us? Of course there are plenty as well, and these are good reasons to add a roll or two of this product to your bug out bag or survival kit. When SHTF, you don’t want to be caught without this multi-purpose tape. Check out these cool survival projects you can make with duct tape.

1. Survival Rope

If you need rope, measure out your desired length and roll it up. This will create a strong rope that has the ability to perform multiple functions. Read more.

2. Waterproof Clothes to Help Survive Harsh Weather

SHTF Dad: Duct tape is water resistant. This means that anything you wrap in it basically becomes water resistant as well. You may not be a fan of prom dresses and purses made from duct tape which is all over Pinterest (the wife showed me), but when SHTF and you’re in the woods or stuck in a storm with nothing but your cotton shirt on and some duct tape, wrapping your shirt in the shiny silver-gray tape to form a water resistant and insulating layer before the temperature falls can save your life.

3.  Survival Arrow Fletching

Tear off a few 5-inch pieces, and a long edge of one piece to the arrow shaft, fold the tape lengthwise, and stick the other long edge of that piece to the arrow. Repeat this process one or two more times; trim the vanes to shape with your knife; and you will have a serviceable arrow fletching. Click here to see the whole article.

4. Re-seal Prepper Food

Didn’t quite finish your freeze-dried meal? Well, you should finish it but if you wanted you could keep it fresh for longer with a strip of tape to seal the package back together. See more.

5. Make/Repair a Boat

According to The Ready Store: I remember in high school physics class we were assigned to make a boat purely out of cardboard and duct tape. (I’m proud to say that we passed with flying colors!) Like we’ve mentioned above, it makes a great waterproofing material. You can repair small holes and leaks in a boat. 

6. Medical Emergencies and First Aid

In a medical emergency, it’s all about preventing further damage or infection while you get the injured to a medical care facility.

Got a deep cut that probably needs stitches, but no hospital for miles? Clean the cut well using the products in your travel medical kit. Then use duct tape to close the wound tightly. Get to medical care as soon as possible and keep the wound clean.

A scratch or cut on your feet may not be a big deal back home, but get one while galavanting around the tropics and you’re at risk for microorganisms and bacteria that can cause a mild infection that can be treated with antibiotics or soft tissue necrosis that requires amputation! Seal the sore with duct tape – after cleaning it, of course – and get to medical care as soon as possible.

If you severely twist your ankle or knee, or break a finger or leg, you can use the tape to brace or splint the injury to keep it stable until you can get help. When creating a splint with tape, immobilize the broken bit by taping it to a stick, pole, or other body part. And yes, get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Got a blister from lots of walking? While not exactly a medical emergency, if you feel a blister coming on, cover the area with tape and continue your journey. If you know you’re prone to blisters at certain spots on your feet, cover those areas at the start and avoid developing painful blisters. Click here for the full post.

7. Duct Tape as a Fire Starter?

A piece of duct tape can provide about two minutes of burn time.

Use duct tape to build a fire in combination with a magnesium bar. Fashion duct tape so that it can hold your magnesium shavings in place while constructing a fire. Essentially you roll your duct tape into a stick, then throw a spark and use the duct tape stick as a match to ignite your (tinder)

Use duct tape to build a fire with a char cloth: Make a firestarter with duct tape and char cloth. In this way the fire starter can last seven minutes. Read more.

No duct tape handy? Check out this fire starting kit here. 

8. Repair a Tent

You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong. Read the full post.

In addition, you can seal your tent with duct tape to keep the cold out.

9. Open a Jar

The picture says it all but if you want to see the whole story, click here.

10. Improvised Drinking Cup

Patience is required for this duct tape survival task. Cut two one foot strips of duct tape and affix them together, stick sides facing. Cut two six inch strips and affix them together in the same manner. You now have cup sides and a bottom. Bend the larger strip into a cup-like shape and use an additional piece of duct tape to attach the bottom of the cup. The strip should be long enough to come nearly to the top of the lip of the cup. To make the cup extra sturdy, place at least four such strips from the bottom to the lip of the cup. It won’t hold water forever and may drip, but a duct tape cup will enable you to get a drink multiple times before it gives. Click for more.

11. Homemade Signaling Device

Wide Open Spaces: Classic duct tape’s exterior is a shiny metallic color, but it now comes in a variety of bright colors, so use that to your advantage. Use it as a signaling device for potential search parties.

12. Fix a Leaking Hydration Bladder

If your hydration bladder is leaking, it’s a quick fix with duct tape. Just apply a strip or two over the hole. Just ensure the hole is dried before applying. Read more.

From warts to windows, clothes including underwear, furniture to automotive, the sky is the limit.

Preppers can definitely come up with their own suggestions or inventions with this wonder product, each probably far different from the other.

We think it is safe to say that the duct tape is like a Lego set, offering endless possibilities for its use depending on the creativity and improvisation skills of the person using it. What makes it even better is the fact that it is totally affordable and can be purchased virtually anywhere.

Being masters of improvisation and resourcefulness, we are quite sure you have your own ideas on how to use duct tape for survival. Feel free to let us know about them in the comments below.

Want more? Check out these articles for other surprising uses of items that you need to know about.

9 Survival Uses for an Empty Pill Bottle

25 Survival Uses for WD-40

The Many Uses of Shipping Containers

Continue Reading


  1. Pingback: Duct Tape: Ultimate Survival Tool? | Survivalist Basics | Be Prepared For Anything!

  2. Pingback: Duct Tape: Ultimate Survival Tool? | Patriot Powered News

  3. Pingback: Duct Tape Nation: The Many Uses Of Duct Tape - Homestead Notes

  4. Pingback: Duct Tape: Ultimate Survival Tool? - TinHatRanch

  5. Pingback: Duct Tape: Ultimate Survival Tool? – Prepper

  6. Douglas

    August 28, 2016 at 3:09 AM

    There was mention of making/repairing boats, but don’t forget your paddle! Cut a forked limb to length and make several wraps around the fork and seal off the open end. Very effective boat paddle in a pinch.

  7. Pingback: How Does an Everstryke Match Work | Survival Life

  8. Pingback: 15 Survival Tips That May Save Your Life Someday - Ideal Me

  9. Dusty 8

    April 13, 2018 at 6:31 AM

    I use duct tape to pull cactus stickers out of my hands when I working in my garden and also when I get hair my hair cut it gets in my knit tops and is like stickers I use duct tape stick it to the shirt and it pulls the loose hair out of the shirt.

  10. Pingback: How to Make a Perimeter Alarm for Your Home | Survival Life

  11. Pingback: Simple, Low-Tech, High Security Perimeter Alarm - Survive!

  12. Pingback: Obscure Bushcraft Skills You Should Know | Survival Life

  13. Pingback: 25 Obscure Bushcraft Skills For Survival

  14. Pingback: 13 Everyday Items You Should Know About For Survival | Survival Life

  15. Pingback: 25 Obscure Bushcraft Skills For Survival – Ultimate Survival Alerts

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply



Enter for a chance to WIN a pair of these Tactical Boots when you sign up today for our exclusive email newsletter subscription.