Lighten Your Load / Why I always carry duct tape

There are thousands of ways to use duct tape, aren't there? Plenty of those include using it in the wilderness. For example, if you get a tear in your clothing, duct tape it! If a small critter eats through your tent because you accidentally left food in there, duct tape it (and don't do that again)! If your buddy breaks an arm and you're improvising a split, duct tape it! If you need to bandage someone up, but don't have medical tape, duct tape it! You get my point. Duct tape it!

I used to carry just a tiny bit of duct tape around my sharpie pen, but after taking my Wilderness-EMT course, I feel way more aware of the dangers of getting injured while out in the backcountry. Having a sufficient amount of duct tape feels more pertinent now, in case of an emergency. Don't get me wrong, duct tape probably won't save anyone's life in it of itself, but if it's going to aid me in trying my best to help someone, I'll take it. (In fact, I'll share more about my evolving attitude toward first aid kids in a later post.)

With that said, I'm still interested in minimizing weight and packing efficiently. So here's a tiny tip on duct tape: Buy a small roll, take out the inside cardboard roll and squish it. It saves me 0.2oz, flattens down nicely, and it's a good supply.

I learned this trick from my friend Trenton, who taught my WEMT class some awesome gear-related tips. I'll share more as the days go, but for now here's Trenton-tip #1.

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Do you carry duct tape? What have you used it for in the backcountry?