How to use everyday items to survive minor camping mishaps

You never know what might come in handy!
January 20, 2015

Regardless of whether we're a first-time camper or a seasoned adventurer, when we're out and about on the trail, more often than not, stuck in the middle of  nowhere, we have to be resourceful. Because when things go wrong, and they invariably do, we look for solutions in the most curious of places, whether it's using old shoe laces to tie up your hammock or fishing line to hang your clothes from. Just take a peek in your kitchen, bathroom or the bottom of your rucksack and you will find a whole host of things that could help you out.

Having been on some epic adventures including supporting Sean Conway on his 4 1/2 month swim up Britain and Dave Cornthwaite on his 1001-mile swim down the Lower Missouri, on every occasion I've been surprised by what you can do with everyday items that have also proven to be lifesavers or just comforting. Here are a selection:

Em Bell - 5 camping tips

1. The answer to everything: Electrical tape

Electrical tape is beneficial for fixing holes in tents, boats, rucksacks, shoes and anything else you can think of. It’s also a great waterproof plaster when you need it. During our adventure on the Missouri River, everything had electrical tape on it by the end; including us.

2. Use garbage bags to stay dry in a pinch

Garbage bags are a simple yet useful camping supply to pack. Get your hands on the large, heavy-duty 55 gallon type, cut a hole in the top and you can use it as a windbreaker or water-repellant if you’re caught unawares by a storm. Obviously they can also be used to protect the goodies in your bag and to store all your garbage until the end of your trip. That way you never leave anything behind and are able to leave the place as you would wish to find it.

3. Dental floss: more than just for oral hygiene

Make sure you carry some dental floss in your bag. It barely takes up any room and is surprisingly strong. If you’re on a hiking trip with a pair of well-worn boots and the soles split, it can be a game changer. Don’t panic. You can weave the dental floss through the sole’s grooves and tie it tightly in place. Wrap your electrical tape (mentioned above) over the top and you’re good to go. Then when you get home, pick up a new pair of  hiking boots for your next adventure! You can also use dental floss when putting together sticks and leaves for a fire.


4. Seam Sealer for an uninterrupted night's sleep

You’re certain to sleep better in the silence of the forest than you do overlooking the city – unless you prefer more comfortable camping and have a leaky mattress. Seam Sealer is a camping essential if you’re bringing an air mattress on the trip, just in case you happen to spring a leak. A dab of that with the electrical tape (again) will patch up the tear and make sure you have a comfortable night’s sleep for the rest of the trip.

5. An empty milk jug makes wonderful mood lighting

This definitely isn't a lifesaver but kids love this trick! Fill a gallon milk jug with water and wrap your headlamp around it. Make sure the light is facing inward and you will get a big, soft light to help you cook and eat your nutritious camping delights.

Packing extra shoelaces, making compasses from a wristwatch, using socks to start fires and catching rain water – the list goes on. There are hundreds of sneaky camping tips to keep you happy on your trip, but these are just a few camping essentials to help you sleep well, stay dry, and keep moving on a trip into the wild.

iPhone 2013 (1377)

Dave Zaple
  • RunDustin

    Love the mood lighting ;-) hehehe Bon chika wah wah! Awesome post #Merrellpack

    • NoBiasIntended

      bet you can add food colour for effect. rose lighting anyone?

  • Mike Shilko

    Anybody know what tent that is in the picture?

    • Bikemonkey

      It looks like a Hildebrandt tunnel tent, which I highly recommend. It is a Norwegian company.

      • BillinDetroit

        Looks big … with enough stakes to deal with a LOT of wind.

  • BillinDetroit

    Good list. I have duct tape packed in my BOB / backpack wrapped around an Altoid tin with my “gawd what a monsoon!” fire starting stuff (char cloth, cotton balls, fatwood & ferrocerrium / magnesium bar [Harbor Freight sometimes has them on sale at 99cents — I grabbed extras and stashed them throughout my packs]). Maybe I should get a small bottle or can of the WD, though.

    I have a separate fire kit for my main backpack and another for my top / fanny pack intended for side jaunts or fast & light skinning out. The fanny pack has the bare essentials in each main category (water, first-aid, shelter, defense, high-energy food, signaling, orienteering) and the main pack fleshes each of these out.

    I discovered a little ‘cheat’ with the char cloth: after making the char cloth, soak it in some (real) turpentine and let it dry in the sun. It’s much happier to hold a spark after I did that and it adds next to nothing to the weight. Us newbies need every leg up we can get.

  • TheMista

    WD-40 coating a kayak, then putting said kayak in the water? I don’t even know where to begin with how stupid and polluting this is.

    • theUg

      I highly doubt they were talking about the outer shell.

      • TheMista

        Even if not, some still ends up washing into the water.

        • Jared Haer

          Please tell me how stupid and polluting it is.
          Without looking it up,
          can you name one chemical in WD-40?
          If you care about the environment and environmental issues, don’t be afraid to actually invest some of your time in learning instead of reacting in a generic “chemicals are bad” manor to posts on the web, it’s not a very intelligent or effective position to take.

          • TheMista

            I can’t name a single chemical in WD-40, which, by your misspelled logic, means it makes a good salad dressing. So I took your advice and did a quick bit of research:

            DANGER! Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Flammable aerosol. Contents under pressure. Avoid eye contact. Use with adequate ventilation. Keep away from heat, sparks and all other sources of ignition.

            SPILL RESPONSE: Wear appropriate protective clothing (see Section 8). Eliminate all sources of ignition and ventilate area. Leaking cans should be placed in a plastic bag or open pail until the pressure has dissipated. Contain and collect liquid with an inert absorbent and place in a container for disposal. Clean spill area thoroughly. Report spills to authorities as required.

            So if you want to read more about the substance you apparently want to drink out of a shot glass while sitting around a campfire, please read here:


          • NoBiasIntended

            You’re nuts. You exaggerated your side to make them seem more ridiculous than what they are.

            Funny that you’re research was the Danger warning. You never did answer their question. Name one chemical?

          • TheMista

            I don’t have to name one chemical found in there; I included a link that has the list of chemicals. Why take my word for it when you can read a document from their website?

            Also, if you really think it’s safe, call the company and ask if it’s a good idea to risk putting it into freshwater rivers and streams. Pretty sure the spill warning on that document answers that question fairly clearly.

          • Troll

            He also said without doing research..

          • TheMista

            Did the info I got off D-40’s website magically appear?

          • terrisinclair

            This should be pretty easy to resolve right? I mean do you realize what you’re arguing about? Seriously?

            Beheadings, beatings, riots and guns.. and you all are fighting over wha???

          • Proud2bfromtheUSA

            WD 40 is made with fish oil Which makes it an excellent attractant if you need to catch fish spray your bait with WD40 you will be amazed at the results. Of course if you are worried about the pollutants of adding fish oil to the water course then I guess maybe we need to remove all the fish first so that they wont inadvertently pollute the water when they die of old age or when a predator catches them.

          • TheMista

            …or you could see what WD-40’s website has to say on the matter:

            Scroll down to “What a Fish Story!”

        • veloscente

          TheMista is right: WD40 has a 62%+ volatile (solvent) content and is 25% petroleum based. No mention of “fish oil” – unless that’s the 10% inert ingredient.
          Unless your boat is all-metal, dousing it in solvent & petroleum products is an AWFUL idea: WD40 attacks most synthetics & rubber. Spraying it on anything but metal will weaken & shorten the life of that product.
          These volatiles are air pollutants and petroleum will pollute the water.

          As for electrical tape, has anyone here actually used that stuff? The adhesive is poor, will only stick to perfectly smooth plastic if you wrap it over itself several times over, and is highly heat sensitive: the glue essentially melts in temperatures over 90deg F. Duct tape is FAR tackier, waterproof, much more durable to stretching & abrasion, and has a wider temperature range.
          Surfers & skiers use duct tape for field repairs where *real* waterproofness & durability is required. I’ve never seen a real outdoorsman bother to carry electrical tape.

          For all the “do your research” posters who didn’t do their research, here is your answer from the exceptionally thorough Wikipedia article:

          50% “aliphatic hydrocarbons” (volatiles)
          The manufacturer’s website specifically claims that this fraction in the current formulation cannot be accurately referred to as Stoddard solvent, a similar mixture of hydrocarbons.[8]
          <25% petroleum base oil, presumably a mineral oil or light lubricating oil.
          12-18% low vapor pressure aliphatic hydrocarbon (volatiles), to reduce the viscosity for use in aerosols. This fraction evaporates during application.
          2-3% carbon dioxide, presumably as a propellant, is now used instead of liquefied petroleum gas to reduce WD-40's considerable flammability.
          <10% inert ingredients.

          The German version of the mandatory EU safety sheet lists the following safety-relevant ingredients:

          60–80% heavy naphtha (a petroleum product used e.g. in wick type cigarette lighters), hydrogen treated

          1–5% carbon dioxide

          • Chipper Lakes

            lmao FINALLY some common sense….

          • hotrodlvr

            Indeed, electrical tape has limited ‘uses ‘ keyword ‘electrical’.
            Scenario…home invaders tell wife to wrap electrical tape ( the thin black gooey stuff) around a family member.Just about anyone can chew that stuff off in minutes.
            Duct tepe ..hmmm..
            If you can breath from your nose, have a trusted friend or family member ‘wrap’ your body in the REAL SILVER DUCT ….stuff….have a GOOD time trying…ya need witnesses.
            WD40…rusty or stuck METAL parts…..and OH YES…do me again…anything metal…yes …makes a weakling into a macho..big grins

    • Jeffronimo

      WD40 is biodegradable. Spray away

    • David

      WD-40 contain anchovy oil in it.

    • CitizenVetUSA

      WD 40 is fish oil…

  • Steve Lim

    How do you wrap a headlamp around a gallon milk jug?

  • Buck Disqus

    Exactly what did you do with the wd-40? Did you feed it to the editor who didn’t review this silly article?

  • StevenP

    What a bogus article. For starters, you need DUCT tape, not ‘electrical’ tape. Electrical tape is thin, stretchy (usually) black plastic tape that doesn’t stick that well. Second, ‘seam sealer’ is a WATERPROOFING liquid for tents. It on’t fix a leaky air mattress! Also, instead of dental floss(!), nylon fishing lin is much better–actually usable for the mentioned repairs. And why would you put WD40 on a kayak at all? It’s penetrating and water-removing thin oil.

    Emily, have you really ever been camping at all? If so, did you actually know what you were carrying and usng? Didn’t stop you from writing an article about it, that’s obvious.

    • whatever1959

      um, i’ve got electrical tape on my air mattress right now…without any seem sealer and since putting the tape on, it’s probably been used at least a couple of dozen nights and can go 3 nights without adding any air all…and my weight puts alot of pressure on it!

      • donjames911

        Gotta get some of that tape, what brand? Duck (Duct) tape however is more versatile, and can replace electrical tape while having many more uses. No need to carry both.

        • rqtguru

          Or better yet Gorilla tape. Home Depot or Lowes

          • jrg973

            They also carry a 12 inch wide Duct tape which you can use to store your para cord.

          • Bigdickdaddycane

            Big Daddy say gorillas be the best!!!

        • Charles_Miller

          Duct tape can also be used to pull all those hundreds of tiny cactus spines out of your flesh in one RIP… I’ve used it many times when backpacking the desert.

        • whatever1959

          i prefer electrical tape, no particular brand. i like it because it’s a little stretchy and it’s black…oh and it’s a smaller roll to carry/pack.

    • Rocketmissile

      Yeah! Read StevenP’s expert camping article at…where?

    • NewPines

      It’s DUCK tape not duct tape!

      • susancarrie

        No, it’s duct tape… Originally used to seal joints in air conditioning ducts. Ducks got nothing to do with it…

        • NewPines

          Duck tape was first made from duck, a canvas common a few years ago. It was conscripted to use sealing duct work and some used the term DUCT Tape when sold for that use. It is, however, and will always be: DUCK TAPE

          • Jennifer Standridge

            LOL. I agree it is duct tape. Coming from being a material analyst in maintenance and from generations of electricians. I prefer duct tape over electrical tape. Fishing line is also great.

          • NewPines

            You are misinformed. It is duck tape.

          • Jennifer Standridge

            Duck is the brand name.

          • NewPines

            May be. Duck tape was the original name because it was made from duck. It is an easy find, simply google origin of the name duck tape.

          • NewPines

            A lot of you have been asking about this Duct vs. Duck thing we’ve got going… here is an explanation from Jim and Tim, the Duct/k Tape Guys:

            Dear Duct Tape Users:

            Is it Duct or Duck? We don’t want you to be confused, so we will explain. The first name for Duct Tape was DUCK. During World War II the U.S. Military needed a waterproof tape to keep the moisture out of ammunition cases. So, they enlisted the Johnson and Johnson Permacel Division to manufacture the tape. Because it was waterproof, everyone referred to it as “duck” tape (like water off a duck’s back). Military personnel discovered that the tape was good for lots more than keeping out water. They used it for Jeep repair, fixing stuff on their guns, strapping equipment to their clothing… the list is endless.

            After the War, the housing industry was booming and someone discovered that the tape was great for joining the heating and air conditioning duct work. So, the color was changed from army green to the silvery color we are familiar with today and people started to refer to it as “duct tape*.” Therefore, either name is appropriate.

            Today, Duck® brand Tape is manufactured by ShurTech. After thoroughly familiarizing ourselves with the hundreds of duct tapes on the market, we have found Duck® brand Tape to be the most consistent in quality. And, we are delighted with the large array of colors that they manufacture (including camo tape and new “X-Treme Tape” which comes in hot day-glo colors).

            Jim and I do lots of appearances promoting Duck® brand Tape and do so without reservation. Therefore, we go by both The Duct Tape Guys, and The Duck Tape Guys. And, we use the words Duck and Duct interchangeably throughout our web site.

            So, whether you call it Duct Tape or Duck Tape… you are still using the “Ultimate Power Tool” in our estimation.— Jim and Tim, the Duck/Duct Tape Guys

            Click here to learn about just how much duct tape Duck® brand company sells! It’s absolutely AMAZING!
            Note: To be legally called “Duct Tape” the tape must meet or exceed certain heat requirements.
            Some Duck® brand Tapes do meet this classification and will tell you so on their label.

            Duct Tape by Any Other Name (is just as sticky)
            As a public service to Duct Tape Novices and Pros alike, here is a short list to acquaint you with some other names given to “The Ultimate Power Tool.”

            Gaff Tape (also Gaffer’s Tape): This special grade of duct tape (often colored black) was developed by the entertainment industry to hold lighting equipment and cables in place and has a dull finish so that it won’t reflect lights. Gaff Tape also has a specially formulated, less tacky adhesive that won’t leave a residue when it is removed.
            Spike Tape: The thin rolls (1/2 inch wide) of many colors used in theatres to stick on the stage so actors can find their mark or stagehands know where to set the scenery. It is usually the matte finish gaff tape type.
            Rock and Roll Tape: Whether they can afford gaff tape or just good old black duct tape, underappreciated rock and roll roadies keep the music industry alive thanks to their love of the America’s favorite adhesive.
            100 MPH Tape: A name recognizable, no doubt, to U.S. Army Veterans.
            200 MPH TAPE: Pit crews across the nation’s auto-racing circuit know that duct tape holds even when you’re going over 200 M.P.H. The nickname was so common, “Duck” brand duct tape manufacturer Manco has even trademarked it!
            1,000 M.P.H. tape: The U.S. Navy uses duct tape to repair radomes. A Radome is the dome that fits over a radar antenna. On an airplane, that’s usually the nose cone. It has to be transparent to the radar waves. (Any repairs must be radar-transparent, too on fighter aircraft.) Since the planes fly so darn fast, they call it “thousand mile an hour” tape.
            Missile Tape: The Aerospace industry, according to a Martin Marietta worker, used a green duct tape that they secured and routed wiring and cables on test missiles. They called this green duct tape “missile tape”.
            1,000 Mile tape: Norman Vaughn, arctic explorer for whom Antarctica’s Mount Vaughn was named, puts it on his dog sled runners to prevent ice build-up and says it lasts 1,000 miles. He is also the one who recommends sleeping with the tape to keep the adhesive pliable in cold climates.
            Canoeists’ Companion: Very few canoeists would be caught without a roll of duct tape. Why? Hit a rock, rip open the hull, you’re done canoeing unless you have duct tape along!
            Wisconsin Pewter on a Roll: Any Packer fan will tell you what’s really keeping that cheese on their heads: duct tape.
            Minnesota (or, insert your own rust-inducing state here) Chrome: In the land of lakes, snow, road salt, and rusty cars, they use duct tape a lot more often than they visit the auto body shop.
            Hikers’ Helper: Along with a good sleeping bag, a Swiss Army knife, and dry matches, duct tape makes sure outdoors enthusiasts are prepared for anything.
            Jesus Tape: In Finland and Sweden, they refer to duct tape as “Jesus Tape.” They also refer to it as Gaffer’s tape (or “roudarin teippi” in Finnish).
            Plastic Surgeon on Roll: Pulls skin tight, lifts and separates—we all look better with a little bit of duct tape.
            First Aid Kit on a Roll: A great emergency substitute for splints, bandages, tourniquets, sutures, etc (see our HMO on a Roll page offering medicinal uses for duct tape – including endorsements by doctors and those in the health services professions).

            Call it what you will, we still call it, “The Ultimate Power Tool!” May the tape be with you!
            —Jim and Tim, the Duct Tape Guys

          • roger andrews

            did the soldiers and sailors also use ‘duck’ tape on their ‘DUKW’S?

          • Bubba

            Duck Tape is ONE brand name of duct tape. The foil tape is used on ducts too, but called foil tape.

          • just sayin

            Duct tape is foil material and is actually used by HVAC to seal duct connections – the tape you are referring to is in fact duck tape (got the nickname bc of its waterproof properties) and is not used in HVAC on ducting because it doesn’t hold up

          • jrg973

            the guts of para cord comes in handy.

          • jrg973


      • AFB1


      • donjames911

        Actually, its both. Originally used to repair navy duck fabric, HVAC types found it was ideal for sealing air ducts. Thus the two names, both of which can be found depending on the store you are visiting.

      • hotrodlvr

        It is DUCT tape. Duck tape is a BRAND name of ‘designer coloured’ tape…it is a wannabe DUCT tape. The good ‘ol silvery stuff and WD40 belong in everyones tool box/survival kit.

      • MsColleen

        No, it was designed for sealing HVAC ducts, therefore duct tape.

        • NewPines

          Nope. Designed as duck tape, made from duck.

          • Art

            Wow! And I thought it was made from dead duck’s spleens. My life has been a failure )-:

      • Midlandr

        “Duck” tape is a brand. Duct tape is the name of the product originally used to seal duct work. “Duck” tape sticks to feathers.

    • poorolebill

      GOrilla Tape is FAR superior to duck/duct tape. And yes, there is a brand called Duck tape!

  • David Bell

    Who takes a mattress..that is not real camping.

    • whatever1959

      i do! you camp the way you want to and everyone else will camp they way they want to!

      • David Bell

        no…that’s still not camping

        • Donna

          Yes it is, especially for car campers. You want to go minimalist, you go ahead. Bet you don’t sleep on the floor at home, do you?

        • susancarrie

          Hooey! Camping is what you can finagle-improvise to be really comfortable and still enjoy the outdoors. What’s not camping are these huge RV’s that are bigger and better equipped than the place I raised a family…

        • whatever1959

          who says? are you the ultimate authority on defining words? camping means different things to different people…just like clean means different things to different people…i could give hundreds of examples.

    • NoBiasIntended

      If you can carry it, why not unless you like a stick in your ass. In hind sight, that might be the issue.

  • Arthur Radley

    Seriously DUMB article.

  • Emily Bell

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Just wanted to clarify a few things.

    WD40 was used inside our support boat, not on the kayak itself. No WD40 went into the ocean. I found electrical tape worked better for me on my last trip. I used it on my blisters and cuts and found it stayed on longer. Some people use air mattresses to make their camping experience a bit more comfortable. I don’t actually use one but use seam sealer to fix other peoples on camping trips with schools and my family. Dental floss is easily obtainable and could definitely be useful – obviously there are other options. The head lamp idea is a novelty suggestion and the kids absolutely love this one!

    I have been camping my whole life and then spent 60 days camping on the banks of the Missouri as I paddle boarded it and then spent 4 1/2 months camping while I kayaked the length of Britain. I’ve used the things on this list and so wanted to share the tips with people that may never have camped before, to help them get started.

    • robnati

      Thanks for taking the time to share these ideas.

    • tjthebaitmaster

      If you’re camping in cold country, a nice piece of high density foam will be much warmer than a mattress. And it will never leak. I use a foam roll up that has some air in it, but when you roll it tight, it doesn’t take much room to pack. As far as DUCK tape, get the real stuff, not that $3 a roll stuff.

  • whatever1959
  • Pedro Mercado

    Total Article FAIL.. lmao, still laughing at all the bad advice. I’ll make sure to look for Emily on Naked and Afraid next season as a self decribed outdoors woman!

  • Mike Elliott

    Dental floss with a large needle is mandatory . Heavy catfish fishing line also. Duct tape is better. The guy who said he patched his air mattress and still using it with electrical tape is either lying or weighs fifteen pounds

    • John Ashurst

      I’ve known electrical tape used to seal a puncture in a bike inner tube so I guess it will cope with a mattress. You use seam sealant to seal a hole in a self inflating mat by squashing it down and applying the glue. As the mat re inflates it draws the glue into the hole.

    • susancarrie

      I wanna know where they are getting this electrical tape! I have fond memories of the old sticky-fabric stuff, really useful.n all you can get now is the plastic crap which isn’t even very effective mending. Or insulating wires, let alone shoes. Duct tape still rules!

  • Goeasy0

    Empty fabric softener jug for late night urinal, pull out the pour spout. Sturdy, wide mouth, screw top and smells good while filling.

  • dantopic400

    What I like to do is make a shot glass out of electrical tape, and drink WD-40 out of it.

  • Woolis

    I want to see Emily’s milk jugs!!

  • Gary Puntman

    I’m glad I found this list of items. I am going to be going camping a lot for the rest of the summer. I want to make sure I have the right supplies. I am willing to buy some new supplies and spend some money.
    Gary Puntman |

  • Eric Von Hollen

    Nice…so bring more trash is the idea!?!?1

  • TS Eliot

    Have used dryer lint in a cardboard egg carton coated with candle wax to start a fire with wet wood in driving rain. Works.

    • tubesaft

      On Wild Alaska one man used Moose poop for a fire starter. It was dried out on a frying pan and then soaked in paraffin. I used charcoal and did the same thing. Both burn for several minutes.

  • Bob Deck

    MSDS Info on WD40
    Aliphatic Hydrocarbon 64742-47-8 45-50 Petroleum Base Oil 64742-58-1
    64742-65-0 <25 LVP Aliphatic Hydrocarbon 64742-47-8 12-18 Carbon Dioxide 124-38-9 2-3 Non-Hazardous Ingredients

  • NewPines

    Duck tape was first made from duck, a canvas common a few years ago. It was conscripted to use sealing duct work and some used the term DUCT Tape when sold for that use.

  • NewPines

    WD-40 is a corrosive, not a lubricant or a preservative. Why someone would coat the inside of their kayak with is is a mystery.

    • Emily Bell

      WD-40 was used on the support boat, not the kayak – read my response below. Thanks!

  • Gene Pershing

    “Cut a whole in” a plastic trash bag? A whole what? Doesn’t anyone remember how to spell or proofread anymore or know the difference between hole and whole?

  • JohnH

    I can see “Bear Grylls” laughing his butt off right now, the only real value in this post that I can see is using the 55 gallon Garbage bags to make a quick and fairly watertight “Poncho” I have used this myself while sailing off shore of Florida, I tripled them to help keep myself drier and warmer during some very severe rain storms. (My Wet weather gear (Jacket) developed a zipper malfunction and was leaking) The use of the Garbage bags saved me from certain hypothermia!

    • tjthebaitmaster

      We’ve used heavy garbage bags to cool venison, on hunting trips. Close it up tight, and drop it in a cool stream. Except one time a bear got our venison liver. My latest camping goody…. one of those $2 solar lights for outside the tent door. Doesn’t weigh anything, and no batteries to replace. A couple of times it’s been my “guiding light” coming in to camp after dark. Bring it into the tent at night, and have a night light.

  • Jennifer Standridge

    How much money did you make writing your article Emily the expert?

  • NewPines

    Nope, it is duck tape. Do some research. It is an easy find.

  • Mr. Stevenson

    I don’t camp. In fact, my idea of roughing it is slow room service, but I did read all the comments. As a retired English teacher, it was a pleasure to read comments that, for the most part, were well-thought-out, well-written and logical. I even suspect that there was some serious proofreading involved. Comments I have read elsewhere make my head hurt and make me fearful for the future. Thank you all for restoring my faith in the literacy of my fellow Americans, which ever side you are in in the WD40/duck(t) discussion.

    • tjthebaitmaster

      A pleasure to read, spelling and punctuation in the right places. I can overlook the typos, but a lot are just plain bad spellers. If you’re one of those, have someone else fill out your resume’.

  • Mr. Stevenson

    Oops. Talk about proofreading: the first “in” in the last sentence should be “on”. Happens to the best of us.

  • Dax75

    electrical tape isn’t good for much of anything other than what its made for… I think the author means Duct Tape which is far more versatile.

    • Bubba

      Actually, I saved a man’s thumb with electrical tape. He was directing a boom truck lift of a 4800 pound tower section and had his left hand on a 11,500 pound spool of wire rope (steel cable). He directed the tower section into the spool, but his hand was in the way. It pushed ALL of the flesh on his thumb down to the webbing, exposing all of the bone. He came into my shack and actually waited for me to get off the phone. I did the moment I noticed him standing in a three foot diameter ever expanding pool of blood.

      I took the napkins off his thumb, grabbed the flesh and pulled it out. Amazingly, even the thumb nail was still intact. I wrapped it in a diaper and wrapped the dapper tightly in Scotch 88 electrical tape. I drove him to the hospital, and amazingly, they saw him right away. In 24 hours they saved his thumb.

      I have often used electrical tape, specifically Scotch 88 for first aid. It works great, is waterproof, and very elastic. Don’t use it, or most any other tape directly on wounds.

  • Dax75

    Dental floss/electrical tape or duct tape is not going to hold a boot together during a hike… you could however take floss and a sewing needle and sew the soles back together… providing you had a pair of pliers to force the needle thru the sole. I don’t think the author has done much camping, judging by the supplies she thinks are essential.

  • wryawry

    Little-known use for WD-40: makes a very effective blowtorch for incinerating the otherwise unburnable goatshead tumbleweeds that are taking over shoreline campsights along the Colorado River and Lake Powell.
    Use with extreme caution!!

  • Elaine

    It always amazes me how rude people can be when they aren’t talking face to face with someone. Btw, WD40 is about 80%petroleum product according to the company – not fish oil (Thank you, TheMista, for that web site.), but what was the real purpose of using it on the inside of the boat? I would prefer duck tape over electrical, but I expect electrical tape takes up less room. I like the floss idea if I am not bringing along fishing gear. Thank you for the article, Emily.

    • tjthebaitmaster

      wrap some duct or duck tape around your flashlight. Dont need the whole roll.

  • rqtguru

    gorilla tape and shoe goop

  • RoseFlorida

    Isn’t the WD-40 is heavy and does it not make poor use of the space it takes up? Whatever it is used for on a camping trip are there not substitutes that make more sense?

    • Peter Erik Bensen

      It is available as a non-pressurized aerosol also, in compact sizes.

  • Domestic Gnome

    All wrong – it’s gaffer’s tape you want. Now that sh## sticks!

  • AnonymouseIsAWoman

    Wow. And the people I keep running into who ask for supplies are usually asking for toilet paper. Personally, I prefer my nice white gas lantern. No batteries to replace.

  • Arklahoma

    I’m more of a backpacker than just a camper, here’s a couple things on my essential list:

    1) 2’x7′ roll of Reflectix insulation. It’s far warmer than foam, even lighter weight and still cushiony to sleep on, will trap heat reflecting off the campfire if placed behind you, or you can sit on it around the campfire as a seat.

    2) Duct tape. One use nobody mentioned yet–a small piece sticky side up is great to collect magnesium shavings for starting fires in wet weather, and the tape itself is flammable, unlike electrical tape.

    3) 2 gallon ziplocs. They keep things dry, and can easily be made into pillows when clothes are stuffed inside, you can wrap one shirt over the outside if you don’t like to touch plastic at night.

  • turtle244

    silly list ? electrical tape is worthless but maybe in conjunction with a solvent where the tape is rendered into somewhat of a goo and then allowed to dry it might help patch a leak also not likely that a solvent alone – seam sealer ?- is going to patch a leak. I’m not sure what value there is in covering a kayak with WD40 ? silly list.

  • unknown

    I was thinking a couple of hookers and some blow

    • Billy


  • Ben Cook

    For starters everyone knows toilet paper is the most important item.

    It is called duct tape morons. Duct tape is used to seal heating ducts thus the name. Ducks don’t need to be sealed.

  • Briez

    Bringing a plastic bag along on the more heavily used hiking trails is essential to picking up the garbage left along side the trail by idiots who have no respect for their surroundings. Interestingly enough, the worst offenders are tree hugger’s in training and foreigners.

  • mac

    For me a Hillary propane single burner, medium sized frying pan, and olive oil for pan searing a steak, two mini mag lights, an old 4″ paint brush for brushing off inside and outside of tent, Coleman inflatable mattress, gel soap, and bacitracin or caladryl clear. Sounds like a lot and it probably is but I actually try to camp light. I probably bring more than the seasoned outback hiker /camper does but less than the camper who brings a trailer with all the amenities of home. I have four bags. Two “travel bags” for when I am away from the camp which include one nylon bag for stuff that can spill and two “camp bags” with extra clothing and another nylon bag with extra stuff that can spill that I don’t take with me on day excursions.

  • Charles_Miller

    Actually, WD-40 is NOT a “penetrating oil”… WD-40 is a DEGREASER. WD-40 REMOVES oil and grease and has no actual lubricant or protectant characteristics. For a REAL lubricant and protectant, use a can of Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil.


Emily Bell

Cycling, Hiking, Kayaking, Trail Running, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
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RAB waterproofs, Merrell Barefoot Running Gloves
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