Introduction: Emergency Duct Tape Field Stretcher

Once I got started, this ible tapped my ancient military training/skills and it took on a life of its' own. (It also led to other duct tape ideas resulting in brain overload, duct tape dreams and a measurable lack of sleep. Thanks Instructables!)

There is always room for design improvement with any DIY project. This duct tape stretcher won't win a beauty contest, but it's dang sure strong and competent enough to get your injured buddy where they need to go.

This emergency stretcher is just this: for use in an emergency. Always use caution in transporting an injured person. 

Step 1: Getting Started


Duct tape
Sharp knife (if you value your teeth or your dentures)
2 Poles- 5' Long (or longer) and STURDY!

I used 2 push-broom poles, but in the field you'd be improvising with tree branches, driftwood, old fence posts, etc. If you're using small trees or  tree branches, strip the bark as needed and clean the poles as best you can. Work quickly but don't cut yourself. Green wood poles will work, but the drier the poles, the better the duct tape will adhere to it. 

Always test dry poles or branches against your knee. If they don't snap, they're good.

Step 2: Start Building

Peel of 4 strips of duct tape at least 50" long.

Fold each strip in half horizontally to make a strong duct tape strap.

The straps need  to offer at least 20" of torso space (width) between the 2 poles. With that in mind, gather both ends of each strap and tie with a square knot. Tug HARD so they won't come undone. 

Strategically position the 4 straps around the poles and secure them with small strips of duct tape.

Step 3: Reinforcing

The initial straps are positioned and secured? Check.

Now pull a LONG strip of duct tape to stabilize those straps. Starting at the center of the positioned straps, run this long strip of duct tape from one end to the other.  Flip the stretcher over and continue by overlapping the duct tape onto itself.

Now there will be 6 rectangular duct tape forms to build on.

One third section at a time, add the criss-cross straps the same way. Just criss-cross on one side, flip the stretcher over and overlap the duct tape onto itself.

Now, reinforce the original tied straps with a complete wrap of duct tape. I know scotch tough duct tape is TOUGH, but it's always better to err on the side of caution. 

It's hard (for me anyway) to actually describe this process in words. I sure hope my pictures are helpful and do a much better job!

Step 4: Finishing With SAFETY in Mind

For  safetys' sake, add wrist restraints. You might not need them, but you just never know.

Pull off a 30" strip of duct tape and fold it (horizontally) onto itself. You need 2, so do this twice.

Position the strips and place them onto the stretcher bars with a half-hitch.

Next come the makeshift headrest. I folded up an old tee shirt  and attached it with duct tape.

LAST (but NOT least) is the important step of securing the person to the stretcher. This can be accomplished with... MORE duct tape!

Secure the forehead, chest, waist, thighs and chins as necessary. Sorry I couldn't get this pictured.  I didn't have a blow-up doll or wifely volunteer! ;-O)

Now, haul that incapacitated person to the hospital! 

UNLESS they are just a drunk buddy!  In that case, just leave them strapped in until they sober up and beg to be freed. They might even offer you money! 

The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest

Finalist in the
The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest