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Backpacker's Health & Safety The Backpacker's Health & Safety forum is for the discussion of health and safety/survival issues that directly relate to backpackers.


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  #1  
Old 05-27-2013, 02:38 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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ContainsImages Flagging Tape

Chances are, you've used or have at least seen flagging tape. It's used by various outdoor enthusiasts (e.g. geocachers, hikers, hunters, spelunkers,...) to mark areas for a variety of reasons.

There are several popular colors that are commonly seen in the wild including but not limited to orange, red, and blue. Flagging tape is also used in a professional manner by the forest industry and others.

I carry some in my survival kits to be used to mark my path (if and when needed) through an area. I retrieve the flagging tape on my return (which I highly recommend for a number of reasons).



Some time ago, I set out to purchase some flagging tape that was somewhat unique, to avoid confusion with the common colors that are seemingly abandoned in the wilderness.

I found that there are hundreds of color and pattern variations available. The striped flagging tape, above (lower right), is supposed to be orange with reflective stripes. It doesn't reflect in the slightest. It's essentially worthless in that respect.

[For those interested, there are other reflective options available (e.g. limb lights, reflective tacks, and reflective trail markers).]

Do you ever carry or use flagging tape in the wilderness?

Reality
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:59 PM
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Rambo Rambo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality
I retrieve the flagging tape on my return (which I highly recommend for a number of reasons).
Reality

Thank you, Reality. I wish everyone would do that. I sometimes have a roll with me, almost never use it, but I have carried loads of it out of the woods. I think it must last forever. Is there a biodegradable version?
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  #3  
Old 05-27-2013, 07:16 PM
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arl arl is offline
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I had never thought of it. Very useful idea for a number of applications. I am interested to see what other applications are brought up.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:44 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I've used flagging tape (and/or reflective options) for the following:
  • To mark path to scouted campsite to easily find in near future
  • Marking a path to latrine area, for easier night navigation
  • To find my way out of areas in which I've bushwhacked
  • To mark a path to a spring
  • To mark an entry point into the woods (e.g. on other side of a meadow)
  • For marking a water cache in the desert
  • To flag my guy lines when group camping
  • For temporarily marking items around camp (e.g. my mug,...)
There are other uses, but these are those that come to mind. I'll share more later, as I remember them or think of new ones.

I unwind the amount that I wish to carry from the spool. It's very light and stows away in a very small place (e.g. as an example, an Altoids survival tin).

If you cannot find biodegradable flagging tape, consider cutting strips from a biodegradable groundsheet. However, it's best to simply retrieve them after use.

Reality
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  #5  
Old 05-27-2013, 08:27 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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it's worth noting that 'biodegradable' plastics, in open air, take a LONG time to degrade. weeks to months.

that said, i've used this stuff, it's quite handy. my father has this hideous orange-green stuff he uses to mark trees for harvest on his property. with the right color, even areas as rugged as the PNW or central vermont are no obstacle to mark.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:23 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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I carry some waterproof paper, a waterproof pen, some flagging tape and tacks or wide-head nails in emergency kits. If it is necessary to leave a note a doubled length of flagging tape fluttering in the breeze attracts attention and the note nailed down provides information. You can also write on the flagging tape itself.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:22 PM
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EagleRiverDee EagleRiverDee is offline
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I carry some flagging tape in my PSK (personal survival kit). I haven't had to use it, but it weighs next to nothing and some day I may need to mark a trail or a location and it could come in handy.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:31 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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It looks like I'll be adding a little flagging tape and a couple tacks to my kit. I do have some reflective clips that I can attach to things along the trail to help guide me back at night. Years ago, when my brother and I did our 47 mile CDT hike, we stuck an LED light in the trees off the edge of the trail where we'd camped in the woods. When we came back in the dark from our 13 mile day hike to the Chinese Wall, that light was glowing in the woods, welcoming us back to camp. We'd also placed branches in the trail as an arrow pointing to our site but they got covered by snow. We were really happy to see that light. I do that every time I leave camp now.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2013, 10:50 AM
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Slosteppin Slosteppin is offline
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I'm a member of a chapter of the North Country Trail association. The North Country Trail is a work in progress. Each year we are looking at reroutes to improve the trail.
I use pink or orange flagging tape to mark proposed new trail. When we build the new section of trail all flagging is removed.
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