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The Gear Junkie: Gorilla Tape

Duct tape has long been a personal panacea for me in the outdoors, patching torn Gore-Tex, padding blisters, and performing a litany of ad hoc operations on the trail.

So last fall when a new adhesive product called Gorilla Tape came on my radar claiming superiority to duct tape, I was immediately game to put it to the test.

Gorilla Tape, made by The Gorilla Glue Company (www.gorillatape.com), is about 2 inches wide and comes in 105-foot rolls. It goes for a premium price of $10 to $12 per roll, depending on the retailer.

Like duct tape, Gorilla Tape is marketed as a universal salve for quick fix-ups. In the outdoors this means repairing broken poles, patching punctured tarps, mending backpacks, and serving as surrogate first-aid in times of dire need.

But Gorilla Tape is a different animal, so to speak, with a beefier build that includes a rubbery top skin, reinforced fabric backing, and an adhesive layer that’s purportedly applied two to three times thicker than the sticky stuff found on duct tape.

Indeed, The Gorilla Glue Company has called its tape the toughest on the planet.

In my tests, the tape performed as promised, sticking to nearly any type of surface I could find. For example, in lieu of stitching, I put a strip of the thick black tape on a tear in a down jacket and let it be the whole winter long. The tape never budged, keeping the jacket’s fluffy down insulation inside its face fabric as I skied and hiked for two months.

There is little stretch or give to Gorilla Tape, which is a disadvantage for certain applications where an exceedingly tight wrap of tape is essential.

For blister repair, Gorilla Tape is not optimal. Instead, I will still rely on duct tape, as a thin sheen of the silver stuff adds zero resistance inside a sock.

Overall, Gorilla Tape is undeniably stronger than duct tape, though it’s much thicker and heavier too. It has a place in the outdoors, but for me the gorilla will not soon replace the duct.

(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)

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