Sign up ×
The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who love outdoor activities, excursions, and outdoorsmanship. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm going on a backpacking trip later this summer and on the list of things to bring is 3 yards of duct tape. I don't want to bring an entire roll of duct tape because it would be heavy and cumbersome, as well as far too much tape. How can I bring 3 yards of duct tape without it getting stuck to itself and becoming useless?

share|improve this question
don't buy a new roll for backpacking. Use the last of an old roll - and step on it to flatten it. – Kate Gregory Jul 16 '14 at 16:47
@KateGregory instead of stomping it flat, just unroll the cardboard tube from the inside out. You peel out everything except the layer of paper touching the inside of tape roll. It flattens better this way and is marginally lighter as well. – Dan Neely Jul 16 '14 at 17:29

9 Answers 9

It is fairly common to store duct tape just below the handle of your trekking poles. This is my preferred way as it is always accessible. Some people prefer to wrap it around Nalgene bottles.

An alternative you could also buy it in small square pieces instead of the typical roll.

I usually place about 10 layers around each poles. I would not bring three yards of duck tape. I typically only need small pieces for minor temporary repairs (tent or feet).

share|improve this answer
Was going to post exactly the same answer :) – Wills Jul 16 '14 at 19:26
But, is the tape glue going to be as strong as new when you peel it off the trekking pole (or wherever you applied it to) before using the duct tape for repairs or any other use when you need it? Thank you! – Dakatine Nov 12 '14 at 21:01
It does lose some of it's adherence but in practice it has always been strong enough for the purposes I needed it for. I did have some problems with some really old tape on a trekking pole no adhering well to my toe in which case I attribute it more with aging then re-wrapping. – ppl Nov 12 '14 at 21:31

I know you said in your question that you don't want to bring a whole roll, but I've found that Duct Tape can be easily collapsable if you use a knife and cut out the cardboard inside of the roll. After that, take a strip of Duct Tape, fold it on itself and stick it to half of the inside roll. Flatten the roll and you have a rectangle of usefulness.

  1. (o) Duct Tape roll with cardboard liner

  2. (o) Without liner

  3. (o)____ Cut a strip of tape off

  4. (o) __| Fold it in on itself

  5. (o) __ <--Strip after it's folded

  6. ((--)) Stick it in the hole

  7. ___ Flatten it.

Now you have a extremely light rectangle of duct tape.

share|improve this answer
Yep - I always take a whole roll. They are not heavy. – Rory Alsop Jul 16 '14 at 20:05
+1 for the pixel-art. And welcome to The Great Outdoors! – Paul Paulsen Jul 17 '14 at 8:10
+1 for the "rectangle of usefulness"! – Benedikt Bauer Jul 17 '14 at 8:28

Duct tape wraps around items fairly and can be stored by wrapping on your gear. Nalgene (or similar) water bottles have a good shape for keeping the tape flat. I have wrapped tape around spare batteries, but the tape was wider than the batteries were long. Even so, to the tape was usable.

The water bottles would also better in that you don't have to dispose of the tape in order to use the item.

share|improve this answer
Does it leave a sticky residue on the bottle? If so, how hard is it to clean it off? – User1996 Jul 16 '14 at 16:00
Most of the glue stays on the tape itself, but it does leave some behind. As I said, I wrapped mine around batteries (AA). It should come off any hard smooth surface, including trekking poles, with little fuss. I'll give the Nalgenes a field test this weekend and let you know. – orangejewelweed Jul 16 '14 at 16:36
I have always used a nalgene bottle on my backpacking trips. Give it a bunch of wraps of duct tape and it gets grippier and an effective way of getting my necessary duct tape and a lot of friends were jealous and ended up borrowing it – inquisitiveIdiot Jul 16 '14 at 18:23

You can buy much smaller rolls in most department stores or from the dollar store, sometimes they are the decorated kind instead of gray (check the boxing and tape section of the store) but the amount on the roll is much less than a standard massive home-improvement-store roll. With a smaller, lighter roll (or nearly used roll like someone suggested) you can just clip it or hang it onto the outside of the backpack. The dust/dirt will reduce the outer edge stickiness and it won't get all over your stuff.

share|improve this answer

What I do is wrap the duct tape around a pencil. I just wrap as much as I might need and since I also need/want to take a pencil it kills two birds with one stone. I've been doing this for years.

share|improve this answer
Where along the pencil do you put the tape? Near the tip, the middle, or the eraser? – User1996 Jul 16 '14 at 20:47
I just wrap it around the middle. – Michael Martinez Jul 16 '14 at 21:51
I wrap it around a q-tip. – Ben Crowell Jul 16 '14 at 23:24
A plastic clothespeg. – Greenstone Walker Jul 17 '14 at 1:43
I was going to post exactly this. A golf pencil is just the right size to wrap duct-tape around, then you have a pencil if you need to take any notes. A sharpie works too. – nhinkle Jul 17 '14 at 16:28

I've always folded it on itself. One of my OCD things is getting other things sticky via the use of duct tape so I never wrap it around a bottle or pole, however I've seen plenty who do this with no trouble...

Anyway, I prepare it by folding about quarter inch patches over each other (kind of like packing a tent that you fold instead of roll). I would not roll it because that can do some weird things when you get to the end.

Your end result is a "nugget" of duct tape that, hopefully, has no exposed sticky sides and is entirely "self contained."

I like this because it makes a neat little "clump" of duct tape that you can throw anywhere. I usually make a bunch of medium sized ones and stick them all over (i.e. first aid kit, backpack, day pack, pants pocket).

share|improve this answer

I wrap mine around a Q tip shaft and snip off the cotton tips. 2 ft of duct tape ends up being the diameter of a finger.

share|improve this answer

I carry two colours and widths of duct tape when I travel. The narrow black is wrapped around a short piece of pencil with paper clip wire inserted to create a key fob that can be attached to my daypack. Wider transparent tape is wrapped around a plastic hotel room key with a hole drilled in the plastic to attach to my backpack with a carabiner. Here is my experience in a post:

share|improve this answer

How about a center or cross cut to create "post-it" strips? If any of the resulting pieces are too heavy you could just peel off a few (cm)s of layer. --(-)--

The problem with buying pre-cut pieces is there is typically a mark-up in price.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.