There are few products in this world more versatile than duct tape.
No bike tourist should be caught without at least a few feet of it to use in emergencies.
You don’t have to carry a lot of duct tape. For all but the longest of trips, a little bit of duct tape wrapped around a tire lever, your pump or a small square of cardboard is better than lugging around an entire bulky roll.
What can you use duct tape for? Here are a few ideas:
- Temporary repairs to clothing – Wrap duct tape around shoes when the glue gives out and the soles start flapping or use it to temporarily patch rips and tears in your Gore-tex rain gear. (It’s best to replace the duct tape as soon as possible with a professional patch, because the glue can leave a sticky residue on the fabric.)
- Patch an inner tube – You should really carry a puncture kit but duct tape can get you out of a tight spot. You can use duct tape to cover the hole and get at least a short distance down the road.
- Smooth over a broken rim – If a piece of metal shears off your rim, a few layers of duct tape can cover the sharp edges and allow you to carry on to the next bike shop, as Tara & Tyler of Going Slowly discovered. They used a variety of duct tape called Gorilla Tape (it’s made to stick to uneven surfaces).
- Emergency rim tape – Two layers of duct tape will act as emergency rim tape, saving you from a string of flats, until you can get to a bike shop to fit proper rim tape.
- Hold together open food packages – Keep bags of pasta, rice and other dried goods from spilling all over your panniers by duct taping the top closed. If you’re afraid a bottle of liquids will pop open, you can duct tape that closed too.
- Repair a leaky water bottle – It’s not a long-term fix but a bit of duct tape will let you keep the water in your bottle for a few more days, until you can find a replacement.
- Fix broken sunglasses – When you break an arm on your sunglasses or lose one of the screws that hold the glasses together, duct tape can come to the rescue.
- Repair a broken tent pole – Duct tape can hold a pole repair sleeve in place. If you don’t have a repair sleeve, you can make a temporary splint out of a stick and duct tape.
- Cover up blisters – If your shoes are rubbing in all the wrong places, put something soft like a bit of toilet paper over the blister and then add some duct tape on top.
- Replace the spacers on Ortlieb panniers – Ortlieb panniers have little spacers that fit inside the hooks and allow the panniers to clip onto racks of different diameters. On rough roads, these spacers can work themselves loose. We wrapped a bit of duct tape around our racks to keep the panniers fitting snugly.
What other uses for duct tape have you found on tour?