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The BEST Duct Tape?

Posted January 27, 2016 11:54 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: adhesive duct tape repair Specs

I'm in the midst of a winter repair project that has me seeking the best of the best duct tape, within reason.

The repair stems from a Labor Day river tubing trip down the Battenkill in nearby Vermont. (Photo at right is not me.) I own six Intex River Run 1 inflatable tubes that friends and family use several times a season. The last time they were used, one of the tubes emerged from the river with a 10-inch jagged gash. It had to have happened within the last few minutes of the 5-hour float, as the occupant waded ashore just as the tube became useless. This is the first popped tube in a dozen trips.

It might be good enough to throw it out, and suffice with a fleet of five tubes or just buy a new one for about $20. But this will likely happen again, so it makes sense to invest in repair materials that will cost about the same. Besides, one less tube is one less person or ice chest of beer that gets to float the river. Even in the cold of January I'm thinking of warm days ahead.

The tubes are manufactured from 8 gauge vinyl sheeting. Intex makes a repair kit that comes with a small amount vinyl patch and vinyl cement, but the patch was too small for my use. I instead ordered a patch for a vinyl airbed, and it was large enough for me to trim and cover the gash. After applying the adhesive I clamped the tube between two small boards and left it to sit for 72 hours in the basement.

After that I blew the tube up indoors and put 20 lb. of dumbbells on it; 24 hours later there was no air leak. The patch job seems stable and it will likely hold up. Not bad considering I spent about $7 so far on materials, though I've waited two weeks for the deliveries.

I am a bit worried about it the patch's integrity for a full day of tubing however. Ideally this patch will support a 200-lb. load for 5 hours, while being constantly exposed to water and UV light. There's also the chance for more abrasion from rocks and other river debris at the patch site. If this patch were to fail mid-float, someone is walking the rest of the way to the car.

Naturally I'm investigating the best duct tape possible for this function. I'm currently leaning towards Mil Spec duct tape, as known as 100 MPH tape. I'd heard of it before and the reviews seem positive. While researching it however, I learned of AMG MG260 Military Grade duct tape, but I can't distinguish what makes it difference that 100 mph tape (other than 100+ mph wind resistance?), or a tape like Sticky Ass Tape, which also claims to stick even in the face of 200 mph wind. Popular Mechanics backs Gorilla tape for water resistance tasks.

I've searched the CR4 archives and there was never a "best tape" debate. If you have an opinion, weigh in. I've only got five months to figure this out.

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#1

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/27/2016 1:40 PM

I'm interested in hearing the recommendations! Good for many applications.

On a related note, a few summers ago I popped a tube in a pond. I got too close to the dock and there were some very long screws poking out. I'm not sure which was scarier - those or the pair of carp that were four feet long!

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/27/2016 2:53 PM
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#3

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/27/2016 4:14 PM

This stuff is pretty good...

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#4

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 4:53 AM

Just to stir it a bit - why is it called duct tape?

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 8:38 AM

Originally developed to tape together duct/vent plenum.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 9:21 AM

No, it was originally called DUCK tape, because it was water resistant after application and could even tolerate a small amount of water under it during application.

Later on people hearing the phrase duck tape assumed that there was a 'swallowed T' and erroneously corrected it to duct tape.

The rubber-based adhesive, cloth-backed tape is actually USELESS on ducts, as the furnace-heated air will cause the adhesive to 'dry out'/'vulcanize'/become hard and non-sticky, and the tape will fall away.

For ducts you want ALUMINUM 'Duct Tape,' That stuff has a high-temperature adhesive that will survive for YEARS on HVAC Ducts. It's also really pricey, compared to the cloth-based Duck Tape, but as I just said, it's a roll of aluminum with adhesive on one side, and that's going to cost more that that loose-weave cloth and plastic film backing.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 10:08 AM

Almost correct. The original duck tape was made from duck cloth (basically a heavy woven cotton), and happily it did have water-repellent features. Early users did indeed use it for taping up ventilation ducts, presumably not hot-air ones.

The picture is confused by an appropriation as a brand name.

The manufacturers produce a range of tapes for a colourful variety of purposes

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 11:20 AM

Thanks for the correction, and it was the duck/duct confusion that let Duck Brands trademark what had been previously a generic description. You're not going to get THAT opportunity coming along too often. Could you imagine a company, let's call it Set Fasteners, trying to get a trademark on their brand of 'headless machine screws for securing sliding shafts and rotating collars,' securing their position as the name to think of for Set ScrewsTM?

(Took a while for me do come up with that example, I was trying to thing of a generic name that someone would try to trademark into a brand, but my first 10-15 examples were brand names that had been genericized, the exact OPPOSITE of what happened with Duck brand tape.)

(None of this is to say that Duck brand is bad, they're clearly in the 'good quality' range of duck tape manufacturers, and their range of colors and styles is a major selling point. Back when I had a Jeep with a soft top, I was using their brown and clear tapes to patch holes in the aging fabric and soft vinyl windows. It was great stuff, the brown tape needed to be reapplied every spring, but that was more to being exposed to 55-60MPH driving on the highways around Chicago, with all the Winter Snow and Winter Salt than it was to the tape being deficient.)

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 11:24 AM

(Checks Duck brands website)

Wait they also have the trademark on the 'bubble pattern packing sheets' that Adam couldn't say the name of on the last Mythbusters?

Until I saw the episode last night, I didn't even know that phrase WAS trademarked. man, Duck brands is really on the ball for getting a hold of the name recognition angle.

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#14
In reply to #7

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 2:18 PM

"It's also really pricey, compared to the cloth-based Duck Tape,"

Over here I pay about £1.60/roll (50mmx30m) for both duct tape & aluminium tape.

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#5

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 4:54 AM

Gorilla, sticks better than **** to a blanket!

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#9

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 10:22 AM

The best duct tape is the one that works for your application.

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#10
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Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 11:02 AM

That is a truism:

"The tool that works best is the right tool for the job."

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#13

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/28/2016 1:15 PM

The tape information is useful and interesting. For your application wouldn't the best solution be to take a spare tube (not inflated), put it inside one of the huge zip lock bags with a small bicycle pump. Then you could use most any duck tape to tape it to the top of the ice chest of beer that you take down stream with you?

The spare tube will work no matter how big the rip or hole might be. You can "apply" the spare tube in the rain (duck tape won't stick on a wet surface). Also, and possibly most important to you, the bag of stuff will reduce the solar loading on your ice chest and help keep your beer cold longer.

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#15

Re: The BEST Duct Tape?

01/29/2016 6:42 AM

I'd go more for a product from 3M that is readily available.

It's a glass fibre re-inforced tape that has to be cut across the line and will not split along grain.

Most duct tapes are intended for static conditions (in ducting). The glass tape has strength in both strain directions and was available with a selection of adhesive coatings for different "strength" requirements. In engineering terms, some of these are typically used for paint adhesion testing (Crosshatch test) but there are stronger versions (of adhesive) used for construction joints.

You will need to check adhesion compatibility with the specific material involved.

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