A battle between great tapes … who will be the last one standing?

A battle of epic proportions!

During my first long cross-country ski of the winter, I ended up using both of the MVP tapes in my repair kit. I was skiing alone, so I had a lovely internal dialog along the lines of, “If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one tape, which would it be?” This post is the result of that discussion.

The Contenders

In this corner … Leukotape P!

Leukotape P is my go-to tape for blister prevention. Emphasis on prevention … the tape should be used on hot spots, not existing blisters.

It is not an understatement to say that Leukotape solved some of the most challenging conditions of my longer trips—foot care. A reporter at the local newspaper once asked me for my top ‘essential Alaska gear‘ recommendation and he laughed when I said Leukotape! With all of the other cool stuff to choose from (skis, packrafts, backpacks), I chose a $10 roll of tape?!?

Leukotape P is “high strength rigid tape with a very strong zinc oxide adhesive” designed for corrective positioning of the patella and shoulder. But the breathable fabric and incredible adhesive make it a great option for blister prevention. The adhesive (once bonded) can withstand significant abrasion and moisture. I’ve had Leukotape stay in place for weeks.


  • If you have identified common offenders (for me: the metatarsal pad, big toe, and pinky toe), cut strips of Leukotape, round the corners, and apply the tape the night before your outing. Wearing a pair of socks can help prevent the tape from peeling during the night. After a night of warm and dry feet, the adhesive should be locked in. Note: We used to apply tincture of benzoine as a skin adhesive before applying duct tape. I haven’t done this since we stopped using duct tape, but it might make the Leukotape bond even better.
  • For on-the-fly application, air out your feet to drive off moisture before applying the tape.
  • If the tape peels during the day, clean and dry your feet at night and apply fresh tape. Hopefully, the adhesive will bond overnight.


  • The adhesive doesn’t bond as well when cold. It is best to store some tape in an inner pocket for on-the-fly application.
  • Leukotape doesn’t have a great shelf life. The adhesive will peel off of old tape as you unroll it.
  • Once the adhesive is well bonded, it can be really hard to remove—it can peel damaged skin. Coconut or baby oil will help remove the adhesive.
  • Some people develop skin irritation, especially at the edges of the tape. I have experienced this, but not always, which is confusing. The tape does include natural latex rubber and rayon. [I received a very helpful comment to this point … any tape that stretches the skin can cause inflammation and blistering. It isn’t necessarily an allergic reaction. I’m going to try different taping techniques to see if a looser fit makes a difference.]

And representing the great state of Ohio … Gorilllllllla Tape!

I was first impressed by Gorilla Tape when we applied it to the back of Sarah’s saturated hiking shoe. The heel cup was giving her trouble, so I cut the seam, removed some plastic, and then taped it over. I remember saying, “There is no way that this tape will hold.” To our surprise, the tape held and the repair solved the problem. Hooray! I’ve been carrying a roll of 1″ Gorilla Tape in my repair kit, year-round, ever since.

Gorilla tape got another endorsement during my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training when we were instructed to make splints with branches and tape. This is how I used the tape last weekend … I made mini splints to serve as powder baskets on my ski poles!

Note that these splints work because of the tape-to-tape sections between the branches … that’s where the strength comes from. And you want spaces between the branches so that the splint can be wrapped around the patient’s limb.

Gorilla tape is stronger than duct tape, has better moisture resistance, and works better in the cold. In this arena, duct tape is in the corner ready to give Gorilla Tape a shoulder massage. I like the 1″ roll because the full roll is a beast to carry.

And the winner is …

If I could only choose one, it would be Gorilla Tape. I’ve used Leukotape for repairs, but it just doesn’t match Gorilla Tape’s thick backing and weather-resistant shell. And I’ve got other ways to avoid blisters—the island has Netflix … right?


  1. They’re both winners:

    Leukotape for (as you note) blister prevention and, generally speaking, pretty much any skin-covered area where friction is at issue.

    Gorilla tape for (again, as you note) repairs and improvisation for likely a large number of applications.

    They’re complementary, not competitive, in my view.

  2. About a year ago I discovered I was allergic to Leukotape after about 4 years of using it. 2 weeks ago I put some Gorilla tape on my heel before a string of 6 days of skiing. I’ve now learned I’m QUITE allergic to Gorilla tape as well and am dealing with a helluva rash on both heels. Readers beware, both tapes are awesome but some people have issues with them. The search continues for the next super tape that I’m not allergic to. Future testing is going to occur on a forearm rather than my heels. This is miserable!

    1. The inconsistency with my own leuko-related rashes has me pretty confused. I want to think it has to do with more than the lueko … maybe sweat+leuko or cold+leuko or ???

      I only have issues when the tape is on for many days, and I know when it is happening.

      I don’t suppose the tincture of benzoine before leuko would change anything … but maybe you can toss that on your forehead while you are in the testing phase 😉

  3. Several years ago we learned about your love of leukotape and it has since been referred to a Lucmehltape in our house. I used it to patch some worn spots in the cloth part of our Chariot and it held up pretty well for several years.

    1. I love the association! I first heard about the tape from some PJs, and I think they heard about it from Kellie Okonek.

  4. While Leukotape is great for many things, i learned the hard way not to use it on my face for frostbite prevention, after peeling a bunch of skin off my nose and cheeks. Stick with kineseio tape for that.

    1. Oof! Rough.

      I still haven’t found a good subzero-windchill face solution. A simple buff works well enough unless I’m wearing glasses or goggles, and then they fog up. There was a cheeks-and-nose shield on the market ten years ago … elastic straps that wrapped around the ears … but it was hard to keep track of.

      I usually end up spreading snot over my nose and cheeks because I’ve been told that is an old Iniupiaq trick.

      I haven’t had a hood with a ruff since I was a kid, but I assume that would be a good solution too.

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