Do you carry ranger bands? If the answer is no, you're missing out. What are ranger bands? Well, on paper, they’re simply pieces of inner tube cut to various sizes. A rubber band on steroids, if you will. But in the field, they’re far more than that. Like the best multitaskers, they’re beautiful in their simplicity. With enough creativity, their uses are nearly limitless. Here are just a few:
- You can use them to keep the lid on your Altoids tin survival kit.
- You can stack a bunch of them (or one big one) around the handle of your knife for better grip.
- Use them as constriction bands for first aid.
- Bundle batteries together to keep them from rattling.
- In a pinch you can strap a flashlight onto a weapon.
- Seal your Zippo lighter to keep water out and fuel in.
- “Poor man’s Hogue grips” for handguns.
- If your knife sheath doesn’t have a slot for your ferro rod, use a ranger band to secure them together.
- Splinting a broken or sprained finger.
- Holding pairs of rifle pistol mags together.
- Holding bundles of fatwood together.
But out of all those uses, their best one is arguably for firecraft. Ranger bands are a top-notch fire extender. They won’t catch a spark, but if you have an open flame, they’ll burn easily. Lighting one is like starting a mini tire fire. Even the small ones will burn for 10-15mins in all conditions, including rain and high winds, and they're virtually impossible to put out. This is great when the stakes are high and you've got wet kindling you need to dry out. A steadily burning ranger band (especially a larger one) will often be what it takes to dry kindling out to the point where it will burn on its own. Like many of the other tools in your toolbox, they aren’t the magic bullet to great firecraft. But they certainly to help, and sometimes you need all the help you can get. Ranger bands are cheap, lightweight, and easy to make. The ones I’m using currently are out of a bicycle inner tube I purchased off Amazon for less than $2. With all of their uses, there’s no reason not to have dozens of them sprinkled throughout your kit. If you don't carry them, what are you waiting for? Any more uses for ranger bands we missed? Tell us in the comments!
Want to see a ranger band fire extender in action, along with a plethora of other fire-starting tips and tricks? Come join us for Firecraft Essentials on Saturday, May 11th from 9am-7pm! Register now at https://www.sarcraft.com/course-registration/firecraft-essentials-1!