When you’re in the sticks, you absolutely, positively must maintain some semblance of self-reliance out there — no matter how long your backwoods stay happens to be. Simply put, the duration of your trek or tramping may not necessarily last for a week, but you’ve got to be prepared for the possibility that it might.
At the same time, you might very well be planning on staying out there for more than a week, but nothing will dampen your camp like a massive rip in the roof of your tent. These things happen, but that’s why we plan for such events in advance … because Murphy’s Law tends to kick in when it’s least convenient.
But then, there’s superglue.
Strong Enough for a Battlefield
Superglue — or Loctite or Krazy Glue — reigns from a very sturdy and handy class of adhesives. However, whereas an adhesive like Gorilla Glue (which is still quite handy in a pinch) may take a fairly long time to bond, superglue does the job within seconds … at least fast enough to accidentally bond your fingers together, so keep that in mind. Been there. Done that. Still trying to de-bond the T-shirt from my skin. Ok, moving on.
Anyway, the original brand-name Super Glue was developed in WWII in order to bond metal on metal — which is arguably where this stuff shows its true colors in strength. From the SuperGlueCorp.com website:
Super Glue was initially discovered in 1942 in a search for materials to make gunsights for the war. #8 Note: The problem was that super glue stuck to everything so its development was set aside until the early 1950′s when it began to gain popularity commercially.
With bond strength that sturdy, the fact that it comes in a compact, lightweight and extremely packable bottle makes this stuff a backwoods gear no-brainer. Here are three excellent reasons as to why that is the case.
No. 3: Bonds just about anything (except fabrics)
One thing I should mention is that most superglue products do not work very well on fabrics. However, in the backwoods, tearing fabrics is usually not what gets us into trouble.
It’s when we rip a hole in nylon webbing — that’s when we do get into trouble. In such cases, superglue can fix a tent, a tarp, a pack, a rainproof parka, etc. Not to mention the obvious stuff, such as flashlights, fishing poles, compasses, and the sort.
No. 2: Incredibly handy if you need stitches
According to Andrew Weil, M.D., this stuff can actually be used to treat minor cuts in an emergency. Now I’m obviously NOT talking about those huge gushers that need to be treated immediately. However, its “wound-sealing attributes were noted in the Vietnam War, when medics used it before sending troops on to surgery.”
So basically, superglue is perfect for bonding and healing those whittling mishaps that cause our fireside project to turn that familiar red hue. It may not necessarily be a substitute for stitching a bleeder on the leg, but it will do the job for a mundane dripper on the knuckle.
No. 1: Fire
And last, I will leave you with the coolest reason why superglue is a pack item essential
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Yes, that is correct. You can actually start a fire by dripping a whole bunch of superglue on a cotton ball, due to a thermochemical reaction that takes place. So, if you’re out of matches, you don’t have your firesteel on hand, and you left your Zippo in the truck, you’re STILL not going to freeze to death tonight. When you’re done treating your minor cut, you can fix the tent before the rain starts falling, and then start a campfire — using nothing but superglue and a cotton ball.
A multi-purpose item, to say the least.
How have you used superglue for survival? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below: