Ultralight Ranger Bands |An Elastic, Durable Addition to a Hiker’s Tool Kit
I’ve added these ultralight utility bands, called ranger bands, to my kit along with a compact multi-tool (e.g., a Leatherman tool), a few yards of duct tape and 50 feet of parachute cord.
Ranger bands are small sections of bike inner tube that are individually cut across the tube itself. The tube cuts quickly and cleanly with a common pair of household scissors. These bands are a larger homemade variant of the common rubber band. Strong and versatile, they are handy and straight forward to use. They can be cut in various sizes and lengths and band diameters will range from that of a touring bike inner tube to that of a motor cycle. Possibilities abound.
Resistant to Weather and Mild Abrasion
Once wrapped around a box or knife handle they hold securely and provide a solid friction grip. I’ve noticed that some fixed blade knife handles can be a bit smooth for my liking. Stretching a ranger band over the handle of the knife offers a better grip and more easily reversible solution than just wrapping the handle in grip tape. But as you can imagine, getting the band in place can be quite a chore. It may take several minutes of tugging and pulling to get the band into position; watch your fingernails!
Also, keep in mind that with age, rubber products lose their strength and become brittle so I recommend that you check the bands occasionally.
Before purchasing an inner tube, check with your local bike shop to see if they have any tubes available. When I did this the shop owner gave me one at no charge making the the ranger bands in my kit not only ultralight but ultracheap. Whether you have a specific idea for them or you’d just like to have them along on your hikes, ranger bands make a great addition to your kit and, like common household rubber bands, are really nice to have on hand when they’re needed.