Duct Tape for Backcountry Skiing Gear Repairs — Essential


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 30, 2011      

classic duct tape backcountry skiing

You’ve got to carry at least a few feet of duct tape when you backcountry ski; but how do you pack it? The most macho method I’ve seen for hauling duct tape was a guy who traveled with an 8-inch roll thrown over the shovel shaft sticking out of his pack. More elegant methods include re-rolling into a small package and carrying in your backcountry skiing repair kit. You can wrap a wad around your ski poles, but you’ll end up with a stick that feels like a war club (A handy item in bear habitat, but hard on the biceps).

One thing is certain, if you don’t have at least one duct tape repair on your touring gear, you are not true to the spirit. And if you don’t carry some, you are brain damaged.

Last spring, a friend and I groaned through a pre-dawn start to a first ski descent. The groans turned into moans when we found our lightweight spring pants wouldn’t keep snow out of our boots. No worry. Said friend grabbed the ubiquitous sticky ribbon and mummified his lower legs in fine fashion. Then there was the guy who forgot his cup and eating bowl. A few yards of tape later he was scarfing with the best of us. Forget your potty paper? I’ve heard it said. Never tried it. Ouch.

Duct tape comes in different flavors. Beware of a lame version that’s thin, has meager glue, and is tough to tear off the roll. Better grades are sold with the words “weather proof” or “professional.” The best I’ve seen for backcountry skiing is sold as contractor grade, and is easiest to find online Pro grade duct tape makes a terrific stocking stuffer!.

The better tapes have super-thick glue and flexible backing that molds around your repairs unlike anything else.

Remember that duct tape also works for bandaging and blister control. Before such use test a small patch on your skin in case you’re allergic.

Using duct tape to patch your backcountry skiing clothing? The trick is to iron it on. Set your iron on a low temperature, and cover with aluminum foil in case the tape starts to melt. Done correctly, you can weld the tape to the fabric for a bomber repair. In the field, a super light touch with a butane lighter can do the trick.

Speaking of different “flavors,” be sure to check out Gorilla Tape. This is a bit too sticky sometimes, but worth experimenting with as is resembles the pro grade duct tapes and is black so it can blend in better for permanent or semi-permanent repairs.

History: Adhesive tape was invented in the 1920’s by Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. (3M). A military version of duct tape was first created and manufactured around 1942 by Johnson & Johnson.

Duct tape’s original use was to keep moisture out of the ammunition cases. Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as "duck tape." Also, the tape was made using cotton duck, so the name "stuck." Military folks discovered that the tape was very versatile and used it to fix their guns, jeeps, aircraft, etc.

After the War, duct tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together. Soon, the color was changed from Army green to silver to match the ductwork and people started to refer to duck tape as "silver tape" or "duct tape." Presently, most people say it out loud as "duck tape," though it’s usually written as "duct." Names such as duck tape aside, as one of the most useful innovations of modern mankind, this is the tape that holds the world together — and is essential for backcountry skiing.

Comments

3 Responses to “Duct Tape for Backcountry Skiing Gear Repairs — Essential”

  1. Lou Dawson March 30th, 2013 9:21 pm

    This is a legacy post, redone. I figured it should be added to the mix instead of buried in our archive. Lou

  2. Dave March 30th, 2013 9:56 pm

    One time on a backcountry trip in Idaho my car wouldn’t start at the trailhead. Turns out an emergency fuel shut off valve has somehow spontaneously closed and wouldn’t stay open. I thought we were screwed until my buddy pulled the duct tape out of his pack. That “temporary” repair lasted 8 years and 120,000 miles!

  3. Lou Dawson March 30th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Classic!

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:

You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments

  • Louie III: I was referring to the Alien. I haven't tried on the Alien 1.0 recently, so...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I made a Backland Mountain mounting template. https://www.wildsnow.com/b...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Dave, that's a good suggestion. I'll see if Louie can go back through a...
  • Dave E: Hey Louie(s) and Scott Mellin, When you guys are referring to the Alien ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Updated this post with claimed release values for the two new bindings....
  • Bill H: How about a theoretical head-to-head shoot out between ROAMr 108, 108, Kufo...
  • Brad Fowler: Thanks both Greg and See for the suggestions....
  • See: Brad, you could also put a piece of loop side velcro over the exposed hook ...
  • Greg: Brad F. check skimo.com. They have Dynafit boot parts....
  • Lee: Nice looking pack. Sure do seem to be borrowing heavily from their former ...
  • Lee: Nice looking pack. Sure do seem to be borrowing heavily from their former ...
  • See: Re. Memory fit, Vacuum fit: I can see how it might work for some people wit...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Personally, for a real ski mountaineering boot I'd rather start with thick ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Added Salomon Mountain binding with brake to delta chart, is uses base plat...
  • Brad Fowler: Thanks Louie for the detailed info! I appreciate that my question was a b...
  • Tom Gos: Anybody know if you can successfully replace/mod the new Mirage style ski/w...
  • benwls: Brian, I had to use a razor blade to trim the lugs under the toe fittings o...
  • Brian: Looks like a smart upgrade to the boot line for Scarpa. Would have liked to...
  • Max: How does the SENDr compare to the G3 District 112 of a few seasons ago? I s...
  • Jacob: About the 109 synapse, read on friflyt.no that it won't be apart of next ye...
  • Andy M.: What's the last width on the Synchro? I like the elimination of the fr...
  • Dan: I've used the ski (ZG 85) with TLT6Ps and La Sportiva Syborgs. Both boots d...
  • Drew Tabke: So which boot will you mainly be skiing this winter, Louie? Myself pers...
  • See: (Oh, and Louie… That’s some fine photography and reviewing. Thanks.)...
  • See: Given the variation in binding ramp angle, the lack of adjustable lean is b...
  • reukk: I know this is an old post but seeing how these skis haven't changed for th...
  • Louie III: Yep, the SENDr has much more camber than the Empire, much more like the Fin...
  • Steve: Phil - Its not a full-rocker ski. Has the profile like the FINDr, but with...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Nice work Aaron, it's mystifying as to why boot companies don't provide mor...
  • Stewart: What about the Synapse 109?...

  Recent Posts


Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version