Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Traveling With Duct Tape

Photograph by Nicole Holt

Much has been said on the topic of duct tape, but I believe that there is still more to be said about this wonderful invention. While traveling, I have made it a habit to carry duct tape because I find it an incredibly useful and flexible item that coexists well with my philosophies on travel. When I travel I must be flexible and ready for what life throws at me. The endless possibilities of duct tape fit right into this philosophy.

There are several sights such as Delicious Baby and Go Budget Travel that list some of the possible uses when you travel with with duct tape, but I'm going to try something different.

I much prefer having duct tape with me and seeing what it can do rather than having some predetermined ideas in my back pocket. The value of the lists lie in their ability to get the uninitiated thinking about the endless possibilities of duct tape.

Instead of a list, I will share my favorite duct tape travel story with you along with my technique for traveling with duct tape without carrying a bulky roll with me.

While checking in for a flight to Australia, I noticed a group of what appeared to be musicians checking in as well. One of the members was busy wrapping the instruments in duct tape for security and safety. At the worst possible moment, his roll ran out. He dug through his bag for a spare roll but found none. Fear and panic invaded him briefly.

He evaluated the situation and figured that he only needed a few more feet to secure the precious gear. How could he run out of tape? After all, he was the designated tape master!

Knowing exactly how I would have felt had I been in the same situation, I dug into my carry-on and pulled out my travel pack of duct tape. I approached the slightly flustered traveler and handed him his silver savior. Relief overtook panic as he gratefully accepted the tape. Upon completion of the task, he returned the tape and thanked me. I never did find out what band that was, but I'm guessing that the duct tape-less band member remembers the exchange as vividly as I do.

The utility of carrying duct tape is clear, but how to do it is a little more tricky. Duct tape traditionally comes in large (read: heavy) rolls which are not at all suitable for travel. Unless you have specific duct tape needs, you are very unlikely to go through an entire roll. A small roll/pack of duct tape can provide the same utility without weighing you down.

Several companies offer travel sized rolls, but since you probably already have a large roll of duct tape at home it is much more cost effective to make your own travel roll/pack.

Various methods may be employed to start a travel roll. Starting on a golf pencil is popular, but I prefer to carry a flat "roll" with me. This "roll" is started on a business or similar card, is flat and easy to pack. There's no big secret on how to do this, but I've created a video to show you exactly how I make these travel duct tape rolls.

Given that duct tape is at once one of the most useful inventions of the modern age and easy to carry, it would be silly not to travel with some in your pack, bag or suitcase.

If you have any good duct tape travel stories, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.

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  1. Myth Busters do all kind of amazing things with duct tape. A must watch!

  2. Duct tape is a must to bring where ever you are going. It is so useful whatever happen this duct tape is going to help you. I love your video it is so educational. You have a very informative blog.

  3. Let's face it, it would be easier to list the few things that duct tape can't do than to list all the things that duct tape can do. In fact many men believe that duct tape is the answer to all their problems. Flexible Duct

  4. Any person who likes to cruise is an expert at finding uses for duct tape.