If you haven’t heard of ranger bands, you’re missing out. These simple and extremely versatile bands are limited only by your imagination in ways they can be useful. Campers, backpackers, climbers, scuba divers, police, firefighters, survivalists, and others use ranger bands to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Ranger bands are used for strapping, lashing, and waterproofing. They’re perfect for situations where duct tape or zip ties wouldn’t be practical. They’re also stronger and more durable than rubber bands.
Read on to find out more facts about ranger bands. Learn what they are, what they can be used for, what they’re made from, and where to get them.
Why Are They Called Ranger Bands?
The term ranger bands come from the U.S. Army Rangers who used thin strips of inner tube to secure gear to decrease noise, and to keep items like knives and flashlights handy. They are versatile, durable, and resistant to abrasion and weathering.
What Are Ranger Bands Made Of?
Ranger bands can be made out of a variety of materials. Bicycle inner tubes are commonly used because they’re thicker and much more durable than the “rubber bands” you use around your home. You can also find extra-durable ranger bands made from EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber.
What Are Ranger Bands Used For?
Talk to any outdoor enthusiast and they’ll give you at least 20 uses for ranger bands. Whether you’re hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, or survival training, ranger bands are the most versatile piece of equipment to pack and carry.
1. Fire tinder
The rubber is completely waterproof and makes an excellent source for fire tinder. An extra thick band can burn for up to 3 minutes. They start easy and burn hot. Remember, burning rubber produces smoke and fumes.
2. Attach a tourniquet
Use ranger bands to strap a tourniquet to your rifle. This way it’s easily within reach, and quick to release from the rifle when it’s needed.
3. Micro (Altoid Tin) Survival Kit Strap
The band keeps the lid closed in case it gets dropped. You can also use ranger bands to strap the survival kit to your knife.
4. Non-slip grips
Wrap around flashlights, lighters, hatchets, gun grips, or anything you want a non-slip grip on when you need it. This is helpful in especially hot or cold weather for handling metal items more comfortably.
5. Attaching foliage for camouflage
Use ranger bands to secure foliage to items for camouflage.
6. Protection from ticks and other pests
Wooded areas in the warmer months are a haven for ticks. Protect yourself from these parasites getting under your clothing with ranger bands.
Secure the bottom of your pantlegs and long sleeve shirt cuffs while in wooded areas. This works well for other pests too.
7. Strapping gear to your pack
Secure your waterproof gear such as tarps and ponchos. Tightly roll and secure to the bottom of your pack with ranger bands.
8. Removing a stripped screw
Wrap a ranger band over the end of a screwdriver tip and make quick work of removing a screw with a stripped head.
9. Securing small items
Have you ever lost the little red straw off your can of WD-40? Secure it to the can with a ranger band. Ranger bands are also good for holding a P38 can opener on a paracord.
10. Attach a light to a rifle
Small tactical flashlights can be secured to the barrel of a rifle using ranger bands.
11. Securing shotgun shells
Use ranger bands to strap together several shotgun shells. They won’t roll around in your pack and can be easily placed in a pocket for quick retrieval.
12. Securing bulky items
Roll clothing, jackets, sleeping bags, and other bulky items and secure them with ranger bands to reduce bulk.
13. Rifle sling strap
Secure your rifle sling to your rifle for storage or transport, and have easy access when you’re ready to use it.
14. Manage wires on rifles
When you start adding gadgets to your rifle, it can get messy. Secure the cables from your lights and lasers to your rifles with ranger bands.
15. Attach batteries to devices
Strap extra batteries to your flashlight, camping lantern, radio, or other battery-powered devices so they can be located quickly when you need them.
16. Scratch protector
Slide wide-cut ranger bands over your signal mirror and compass to protect them from scratches.
17. Secure long backpack straps
You can easily manage the extra webbing straps on your backpack by folding and wrapping them with ranger bands. You can also use ranger bands to connect backpack straps for more even weight distribution.
18. Belt attachment
Slide a ranger band onto your belt and use it to attach your hunting knife or other gear you need handy at your fingertips.
19. Securing cords/cables
You can secure any kind of cords, twine, string, or cables to keep them tidy in your pack.
20. Bundling loose gear
Ranger bands can be used to bundle together many kinds of loose equipment such as tent stakes, electrical cords, and camping utensils.
21. Secure a cell phone
Slide a ranger band around your cell phone to keep it from sliding around on the dash of your car.
22. Attach items to backpack straps
Have small items you use frequently, but they disappear in your pack? Use ranger bands to secure these items to your pack straps so they’re handy when you need them.
23. Wrap a zippo lighter
Use a ranger band to wrap your Zippo lighter. The band helps seal the lighter so there is less fuel evaporation, and prevents it from opening in your pack or pocket.
Why Are Ranger Bands Better?
If you’ve tried to secure something using regular rubber bands, you know they can be flimsy and break easily. They also tend to get brittle over time and lose their ability to stretch.
Ranger bands are made from heavy-duty rubber such as bicycle inner tubes. These tubes are predominately made of butyl rubber, which is synthetic and very elastic. They are latex-free and are ideal for use outdoors.
The most durable ranger bands are made from EPDM rubber. Bands made from EPDM rubber have outstanding capabilities to stand up to heat, UV light, and saltwater. They can withstand temperatures from -50 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to Get Ranger Bands?
Ranger bands can be made or purchased in several sizes and thicknesses.
Bicycle inner tubes can be used to make ranger bands. You can ask your local bike shop for blown tubes if they have any. Using scissors, cut various-width bands for a variety of purposes.
Additionally, ranger bands are available for purchase. Online and big box stores often sell them, usually along with camping or hunting gear.
If you’re looking for an easy way to secure camping, hunting, fishing, or survival gear you should give ranger bands a try. They are inexpensive, extremely durable, and don’t take up much space. The more you use them, the more uses you’ll find for them.