Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WD-40, Duct Tape & 550 Cord

“All of life’s problems can be solved with two things—duct tape and WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn’t, you need duct tape. And if it doesn’t move and it should, you need WD-40.” – Unknown

OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Throw in 550 cord and the statement is almost true. Few things in our universe are as versatile as these three and two of them should be in your Bob (Bug Out Bag) while the third has earned a place in your vehicle's kit.

WD-40 is a water-displacing spray originally designed to repel water and prevent corrosion and later found to have numerous other uses. I use it to lubricate my guns, loosen rusted locks & bolts and as an insect repellent. Sprayed on electric circuits WD-40 protects them from moisture. WD-40 in the distributor cap displaces moisture allowing a car to start. It seems to attract fish to lures The company claims 2000 uses for WD-40 but there are many (like the fish lure) unofficial uses. WD-40 should be a part of your vehicle emergency kit if for no other reason, than it removes all traces of duct tape.

Duct Tape "(sometimes called duck tape [or 100 mile an hour tape]) is a [water resistant] vinyl, fabric-reinforced, multi-purpose pressure sensitive tape with a soft and tacky pressure sensitive adhesive. It is generally silver or black in color ..." You can also get it in OD green and various camouflage patterns.

On the road you can duct tape broken vehicle hoses or hold a bent bumper off the road, make field expedient bandages and splints and use it as make do electrical tape. The MythBusters patched a fist sized hole in a boat with Duct Tape. Then they made a sail boat out of it. Duct Tape should be a part of your emergency vehicle kit and a small roll should be in your BOB.

Like The Force, duct tape has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. -- Anonymous

550 Cord or Parachute Cord "…is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians." It comes in many colors, but OD green, black, brown & tan will blend in with surroundings better than red, yellow or orange.

As one web site puts it 550 cord possesses …"great strength, durability, [is] quick drying, [and has] rot and mildew resistance. 550 Para Cord consists of seven separate nylon strands inside a sheath to provide strength. The individual strands can be removed for other uses and the sheath can be used by it's self for lanyards of all types."

In addition to its usefulness as cordage 550 cord can be used for field expedient belts, boot/shoe laces, rifle slings, climbing rope (Careful with that one. We once used 550 cord to slow our decent down a very steep slope, but I'd hesitate to rely on a single strand of 550 cord to repel down a cliff.), tie downs, tie ups (I once tied a fallen something or other on the underside of my wife's car up off the road with 550 cord until we could drive to the dealership), snares as well as trip wires for alarms & booby traps. The inner cords can be removed and used as sewing thread, sutures or fishing line. Use 550 cord as a lanyard to insure you don't lose vital items like your Swiss Army knife, Leatherman Multi-Tool or compass.

Wherever possible melt the ends to prevent fraying. Buy MIL SPEC MIL-C-5040 cord. Real parachute cord has a tensile strength of 550 pounds. Authorized manufacturers change over time, but two of the current ones are: E.L. Wood and Gladding Braided Products

550 cord should be a part of your emergency vehicle kit and a small hank of it should be in your every day carry BOB.


Dave, I like the blog, and I like it a lot. I just wanted to pass along the feedback to encourage you to keep writing it.
Don from Kansas

Thanks, Don, encouraging words are always welcome because notes like yours tell me people are reading (and hopefully getting something out of) the blog.

Of course everyone can't remember everything they read here, but if each person takes away one or two ideas from each article there preparedness level will be that much higher. In the case of this article the "action step" would be to go out and buy a roll of duct tape, can of WD-40 or 100 foot length of 550 cord.

To Comment on this post
E-Mail Me
Unless you specifically ask me not to, I'll post your reply here in the blog so everyone can read it. Of course I'll remove your last name, email address or any other specific information for privacy reasons.