36 Off-Grid Uses for Duct Tape

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36 Off-Grid Uses for Duct Tape

Just like any other group of passionate people, preppers can certainly argue with one another until the end of time about products and which ones are better. For example, take the old firearm debate of 45 caliber or 9mm, that one has been around for decades!

Most of the time these arguments are done in good humor, but sometimes they are not and every so often you stumble upon a product so good, so versatile, that nobody can really argue against it. Today’s article is about one of those products.

It’s an item that is known worldwide as being able to fix almost anything and you can almost always find it in just about every vehicle, toolbox, garage, or home. And even though NASA and militaries around the world use this stuff, it's affordable and so common that it can be picked up at any hardware store and most general stores.

Have you guessed the product we’re talking about yet? No? We’re talking about Duct tape!

Yes, duct tape. It’s one of those products that all preppers, and non-preppers love to have and recommend. This tape is so useful that many people don’t stop at buying just one roll but will in fact stockpile bulk duck tape like it’s gold.

In a disaster situation, or being off-grid, having a stockpile of duct tape will be more valuable than you can imagine. Don’t think so? Well, let’s take a look at just some of the ways you can use duct tape to better a bad situation.

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36 Uses For Duct Tape

1. Temporary Patching Material

Temporary Patching is the most obvious use for duct tape so let’s just get it out of the way. Got a hole in your tent or jacket? Slap a piece of duct tape over it and it will be as good as new, or as close as you can get anyway. For the best results use two pieces of tape, one on each side of the hole.

2. Carrying Handles

If one of the carrying handles on your bags or toolboxes has busted, you can use duct tape to form a new one.

3. Straps

Just like the previous example, duct tape is even durable enough to construct longer straps, such as those you would see on shoulder bags or packs.

4. Cordage

If you can use duct tape to make straps, can you use it to make something longer? Like cordage or rope? Absolutely! Just remember that when you’re making it, keep the sticky side of the tape on the inside of the cordage.

To see how to do this, check out these two different approaches to making duct tape rope. Click here, or here.

5. Fire Starter 

You may not realize this but duct tape takes a flame and burns really well. This makes it an excellent material for DIYing your own fire-starting aids.

To see how to make yourself a duct tape fire starter, check out this video.

6. Fire Tinder Collector

Any outdoors person knows that one of the most important elements to creating a fire is tinder. The problem though is that sometimes it can be next to impossible to find a natural suitable dry tinder. But that’s not the case if you have a piece of duct tape, all you have to do is simply turn to your clothes.

Grab yourself a piece of tape and use it like a lint roller all over your clothes. Dab it on your shirt, pants, and even your socks until you’ve collected a small amount of loose fibers. These fibers will catch a spark exceedingly well. Socks tend to be the easiest to collect from and the lint will work better if they are cotton socks.

7. Fix-A-Shoe

When you’re off-grid it’s a good bet that you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Shoes or boots will eventually begin to develop holes and sometimes even the soles will break away. These issues can be mended and mended quickly by wrapping several lengths of duct tape around the affected area.

To see the proper way to fix a shoe with duct tape, check out this video.

8. Water Collector

Did you lose your water bottle or do you need a way to collect water? Not a problem if you have a roll of duct tape. Stick two pieces together so that the non-adhesive sides are on the outside.

Make many lengths of these, form them into the shape of a camp cup, water bottle, or bucket, and hold all the pieces together with, you guessed it, more duct tape. Finish it off with a duct tape carrying handle to make transporting it easier.

To see how to make a cup from duct tape, check out this video.

9. Fishing Net

Yep, you can make a pretty effective fishing net with duct tape and a frame. One easy way to do this is to wrap a long length of tape over one part of the frame, drop it down to make the net, come up and over the other side of the frame, and seal the tape back onto itself. 

10. Watercraft

It may sound crazy but people have proven that not only can you make a small watercraft out of duct tape, but more importantly it works and floats! Kayaks, small boats, or rafts can all be crafted if you have enough duct tape.

To see how to make a boat out of duct tape, check out this video.

11. Bow and Arrow Quiver

You could find yourself in a situation where your quiver is beyond repair, lost or you just need to improvise one in the field. A quiver is a useful item to have if you have more than a few arrows you need to carry around and they are not all that difficult to make out of duct tape.

To see how to make a duct tape quiver, check out the following video.

12. Knife Handle

If you have a fixed-blade knife for long enough or use it a lot, there's a good chance the scales, or handles, will break or become damaged at some point. Wrapping a few layers of duct tape around a knife or tool handle will solve most problems with a bad handle.

13. Shoe Traction

Being in a slippery situation without any kind of traction is not only incredibly frustrating but can be very dangerous as well. In the absence of crampons or proper cleats, small solid objects can be taped to the bottom of the footwear to act as improvised cleats.

Objects like twigs or rocks for example. Hopefully, you don’t have too far to go because this may not hold up for a long time but it should provide the traction you need for a little while.

14. First Aid Arm Sling

A dislocated shoulder or broken arm is quite painful and they’re even more painful if you can’t keep them from moving around. A proper first aid kit should have an arm sling or a triangular bandage that can be used as one. If none of that is available, a simple sling can be improvised from a few lengths of duct tape.

15. First Aid Bandage

When your skin gets cut, it's usually best practice to cover it immediately. This helps to reduce bleeding and to prevent infection. But what do you do if you don’t have a first aid kit? One option is to grab a piece of cloth, preferably as clean as possible, place it over the wound, and secure it in place with a piece or two of duct tape.

If you don’t have any bandage material available and you are desperate, do your best to pinch the cut closed and keep it closed by securing it with duct tape like you would with butterfly bandages or by wrapping it. Caution, if you are wrapping duct tape all of the way around a limb, such as an arm, be careful not to wrap it too tightly otherwise you can cause further damage. 

16. Knife Sheath

Having a fixed-blade knife without a sheath is undesirable for several reasons. It’s unsafe, it’s more difficult to carry conveniently and safely, and it’s more likely that the blade will get damaged. Making a knife sheath for any knife is super easy and quick if you have some simple materials and a roll of duct tape by your side.

To see how to make a cheap and easy homemade knife sheath, check out this video.  

17. Arrow Fletchings

Fletchings are the ‘wings’ on the backends of an arrow and they help to stabilize it during flight. Traditionally these were made from feathers. Nowadays, they are made from synthetic material but if you find yourself in a pinch, they can be made from duct tape.

Check out this video to see how to make fletchings from duct tape.

18. Waterproof Footwear

Duct tape is very water resistant, which means it can be used to help keep your feet dry. If you are expecting to walk through some wet ground, simply cover the outside of your footwear in several layers of duct tape to prevent water from getting in.

19. Seal Up Clothing

When you’re outdoors, vegetation and insects always seem to find their way under your clothes. Common entry points are the end of sleeves around the wrists and the bottoms of pants legs. Shore these areas up by sealing them shut with a few wraps of duct tape.

20. Biohazard Seal


Similar to the previous example, duct tape can also be used to seal up the areas around gloves and boots when you wear a hazmat or biohazard suit. Doing this will give you an extra layer of protection.

21. Vehicle Repairs

When it comes to vehicle repairs, duct tape is the miracle temporary fix-it tool, which is why you should always have a roll in your car. From sealing leaking hoses to holding together a broken window to holding up broken bumpers, duct tape can be a vehicle’s owner’s best friend.

22. Snow Goggles

Snow blindness happens when the sun is out and there is bright white snow on the ground to reflect it. In the absence of any sunglasses, you can use duct tape to make a pair of snow goggles to help shield your eyes.

To see how to make a pair of snow goggles, check out the following video.

23. Make a Splint

Keeping an injured limb or bone immobile is as simple as duct-taping a piece of wood to the injured area. Duct tape and a piece of straight material equal an instant first-aid splint.

24. Make a Hammock

Some people just can’t sleep on the ground and honestly, who can blame them? Elevate yourself from the muck and any creepy crawlers on the ground by making yourself a comfortable, swinging hammock to lay on.

To see how to make a duct tape hammock, check out the following video.

25. Make A Sled

No, not the kind of sled you use to have fun on the side of a snowy hill. We’re talking about a sled that resembles a travois, which is used to haul gear and supplies. You can use duct tape to join all the pieces together or the tape can be used to create the cross beams themselves.

To see how to make a travois, check out the following video.

26. Snowshoes

Snowshoes are a must-have item in regions that receive a lot of snow. If you have a frame of some sort and some duct tape, you can easily and quickly make yourself a pair by using the tape as the webbing material.

To learn more about making snowshoes, check out this video.

27. Portable Chair

Small folding chairs are great for people who are on the move because they are lightweight and compact. Create your own by making two connected and swiveling pieces of wood topped with a duct tape seat, which looks very similar to the mesh on a lawn chair.

28. Oar

Have you lost your oar overboard? Or maybe you didn’t have one to begin with because you are building a boat in the field. Either way, you are going to need an oar. To make an improvised oar, find yourself a sturdy forked branch and fill in the Y-section with duct tape.

29. Firewood Collector

Collecting firewood can be a tedious and sometimes uncomfortable process if you have to haul armload after armload of wood. You can make this task easier by making a duct tape wood bundle strap.

Simply lie a long length of tape on the ground, stack your firewood in the center of the tape, and close the loop of tape around the bundle when you’re done. Use several stripes of tape if need be.

30. Joint Pads

Wrap duct tape around areas of your skin that will be exposed to rough surfaces in order to protect them. For example, wrap tape around the knees if you expect to be crawling on rough and jagged surfaces for an improvised joint pad.

31. Shoe Insoles

It can be extremely uncomfortable walking in footwear that has no insoles or ones that are extremely worn down. Create your own shoe insoles by folding strips of tape onto itself to create layers that can be stuck into a shoe or boot.

32. Make Butterfly Bandages

For slightly longer cuts that a regular band-aid won’t hold shut, we usually turn to butterfly bandages. If you don’t have any, these can easily be made out of small pieces of duct tape.

To see how to make butterfly bandages, check out this video.

33. Use As Moleskin

Moleskin is a first aid material used to cover hotspots on the skin and to help deal with blisters. Don’t have any moleskin around? No problem, just slap a piece of duct tape on the area to help prevent your skin from rubbing on other surfaces.

34. Seal A Leaky Boat

This doesn’t work if water is rushing through the hole in the boat. For the best results, remove the boat from the water, thoroughly dry the area around the hole, apply tape to both sides of the hole, and allow the tape time to set before getting the patch wet.

35. Setup A Clean Room

You can easily and quickly set up a clean room in your home with just a bit of duct tape and plastic sheeting.

36. Detain Criminals

If you don’t have any handcuffs or cordage available, you can always use some duct tape to detain criminals until the authorities arrive.


There are a lot of different things that people prepare for. Natural disasters, economic collapse, societal collapse, wars, and even aliens from outer space, just to name a few. But no matter what you are getting ready for, you’ll be much better prepared if you keep a roll of duct tape around, or even better. a stockpile of it!

P.S. There are actually several different kinds of duct tape available nowadays and it’s not just the brand that’s different about them. Some actually have better properties than others, such as high tensile strength or water resistance. So, don’t forget to check out the different kinds of duct tape available such as traditional duct tape, gorilla tape, and T-rex tape.

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