MacGyver Fixes for Outdoor Mini-Emergencies

No matter how much you try to prepare for everything that can go wrong during an outdoor adventure, sometimes a situation occurs that can provide a major inconvenience or even cut your trip short! Here are a few clever fixes for those little problems that can pop up during an excursion.

Boot Sole Blow Out
Boots can come apart where the rubber meets the leather, proving to be not only an inconvenience, but often a hazard. A loose boot sole can contribute to injury and slow travels. If you find yourself facing this difficulty, a simple sock may do the trick if you have no other options. Simply take your boots off and remove a sock from your foot (even better if you’ve doubled up). Pull the sock over the boot with the loose sole and secure through the laces at the top. It may be necessary to rip the heel of the sock so that it will fit over the entire boot. Though not ideal, it can allow you to get to your destination without a flapping hobo shoe. Just be sure to check and adjust as needed.

Trouser Malfunctions
Walking while constantly having to hitch up your britches can be a major annoyance. Whether it’s a missing button or a broken belt, you may have a few options, depending on what items you have with you, as long as you’re not worried about fashion. Duct tape can be rolled up, rope-like, and tied around your waist to act as a makeshift belt. This can also be done with a spare shoelace, or two, if you can spare them. If your pants are loose enough and your button still exists, you can roll the left-handed belt loop and affix it around your button for a more secure fit. Substitute suspenders can be fashioned from any rope-like material you have, including webbing or duct-tape.

Hair Hindrances
If you have long hair and are not used to wearing it down and flowing around your face like a woodland elf, you may find it to be a particular distraction during a trip. If your hair is long enough, it can be secured in a bun with a couple of sticks. There are many good online tutorials on how to accomplish this trick with the use of pens, pencils, and chopsticks, for reference. You can also tear a piece of fabric from your clothing for this purpose to secure your long locks. Make a duct tape headband or hair tie by rolling the material into rope-like form. Use a portion of your shoelace if it is long enough to cut.

Skin Situations
Chafing, bug bites, and blisters can all contribute to overall annoyance and discomfort while outdoors. An invaluable item to carry with you is baby powder, which can provide an instant remedy for excessive sweating and chafing as a result of skin on skin rubbing. For itchy bug bites, some folks suggest dabbing on mud or toothpaste to soothe and help dry the area. Blisters forming in boots can sometimes be a death knell for a hiking trip. Address this issue immediately after noting a ‘hot spot’ (an area where a blister may be starting to form as a result of friction). Use what you can to lube the area–Vaseline works great if you carry this with you. Otherwise, you can try to cover the area with duct tape or additional padding. Tie your boots tighter to prevent friction as a result of continued slippage.

Tent Troubles
Increase your camping comfort by taking care of small tent glitches. A tear in the material can be resolved by placing two pieces of tape over the opening, one on the inside and one outside. If you didn’t pack duct tape, check your first aid supplies for moleskin. A stuck zipper on a tent can sometimes be loosened with some lubricant–lotion, Vaseline, or soap may help do the trick. Broken tent poles can possibly be improvised with flexible sapling branches, if available, though these won’t hold up to much stress. Sometimes spending a bit of extra time devoted to fixing a small problem can make for a more comfortable night spent outdoors until you are able to buy replacement parts or properly fix the issue at home with the help of the right tools.

Do you have any MacGyver fixes of your own for outdoor mini-emergencies?