Trail Marking Tape/Orange Flag

The Orange Flag!
I just have to blog a little about this; it certainly can become a life saver.

The orange flag (is what I like to call it) can provide you with safety, security, be a guide to you and more importantly could save your life. Alright call a shrink! This guy lost it for sure!

Give me time to defend myself and try to make you understand why I think this orange flag is very important.

  1. It is a type of plastic, so it could help you in getting a fire going when everything is wet.
  2. When using it for different tasks it will not deteriorate and fall to pieces because it’s made of a plastic kind of a product.
  3. It can easily be used as binding. Even though it is thin it is quite strong.
  4. It is very cheap to buy and lightweight to carry.
  5. The orange flashy color can be used as a rescue tool, so that people can spot you more easily. Even in the dark when a flashlight hits this orange tape, they will not miss it. 


Now all of these reasons above are important when talking about this Orange Flag.

I will now speak about a few things that are a little more important to me when I say…. 

Carry this in your Pack!!  By the way this is not just important only when lost. It’s also important to keep you from getting lost!


Example 1

You are out on the trail one day and decide that you want to do a little wild camping. So you need to get off the trail. You decide to go about 200 feet and find a perfect campsite. You and your lovely wife are enjoying yourself.

All of a sudden you hear your wife scream. She has fallen and broken her leg. What to do! It is too painful to carry her. So you make her as comfortable as you can and tell her that you will be right back with rescuers.

You go out and hike the 5 miles out of the woods. Finally get to the rescuers but it’s now nightfall. They decide to wait in the morning to go out and rescue her.


The next day you are excited because you are finally going to get to your loved one. As you trek back into the woods. You realize that you do not remember where you got off the trail. NO!!! Now it will take so much longer to find her.

Finally 4 days later you spot the campsite but sadly your wife does not respond to your call. Then in horror you find out that she is gone. You did not think it would take this long to find her!

Is it because of the elements!? Is it because of hypothermia? Or dehydration that all of this happened? What just happened here! As you are crying out in desperation!

It’s because you did not take the time to mark where you got off the trail! That why she is dead!


Wow!! This story sounds way too dramatic and could not happen. I am sorry to tell you that it is from real events. I did not invent this story! It really happened. Sadly this type of thing happens more often than you know.

So my point is, if this would’ve happened to us and we would have had this little orange flag what a difference it would have made in finding the one who is in need of help. Not only does it mark the way in which you camped but because it is orange you can get to her faster without having to stop here and there to see where you marked your trail.


Example 2

You are doing some wild camping again. You find a good spot. You set-up camp. Now you need to find a water source. The thing is you thought it would be fairly close but now you realize it is a lot further.

Now you try and get back to your campsite but can’t remember where it is! Problem! Taking the time to use the orange flag by tying off a piece every 50 to 100 feet (depending on your woodland). You should mark it starting from your campsite to your water source.

You can do that for other different reasons. A good firewood area. An awesome fishing or hunting spot that you just found, a place where there is a huge patch of blueberries that you can go to each day and feast and even to the poop center that you made 200 feet away.

You do not have to go very far to put yourself in a situation where you can’t find your way back!


There is no shame in marking your trail when you can. Don’t let people tell you that you are not a true woodsman if you do this! Actually a true woodsman should always make the wisest decisions to keep him and others as safe as possible. And marking trails when you’re in unfamiliar woods is no exception!

To make life easier when doing this make sure that when tying the orange flag to trees use both end tags to show you the direction you must take.

So, when you get to one of the tags you will easily know where to look for the next one. When you are done take the flags off the trees starting from the designated area that leads to your campsite. Don’t want to get lost while doing this.trail making tape

 Also it is great for night time (although I do not suggest traveling at night). But sometimes we need to, these orange flags will glow when your flashlight hits them and guide you safely back.

I truly hope that this little tip was helpful in more than one way. Now! If you weren’t already doing it, hopefully you will start carrying this important piece of gear.


You can find this at your local hardware stores depending on where you are located. If you are looking for other colors we have also provided some links for you below!




9 thoughts on “Trail Marking Tape/Orange Flag

  1. I’ve tied short strips of orange tape to guy lines at my campsite to keep from bumping into or tripping on these ropes. Also warns others!

  2. As above, great for marking guylines; have done that for years at campgrounds to alert others and myself. Take the tape off the cylinder, winding it around two fingers (for example) for as much length as you wish, then cut and flatten it for a more compact package. Secure around the bundle with a twist tie or rubber band. Make more bundles to stash in your various kits and bags. On rental cars, tie a piece on the antenna. Can also cut it up the middle for narrower pieces. Keep a piece in your wallet: you never know!

    Another hint: orange vetwrap (that stretchy stick-to-itself wrap). Put some around tool and knife handles for identification or finding on the ground. Can also be cut narrower. Bandages (but you knew that).

  3. I carry trail tape even when hiking in the UK. Our wilderness areas are mall compared to Canada’s, but it’s all about Being Prepared.
    Mark your favourite campsite or, if lost, use it to find your way back to the trail.
    TIP: If you know your way out then take the tape with you. As it’s plastic-based it won’t decompose.
    Leave no trace!

  4. Just another short tip:

    When marking the trail, always tie the orange tape at eye level. That way if you have to travel or travel at night, you’ll be looking straight ahead and not up and down where it’s possible to get a stick in the eye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *