Camping & Survival

35 Ways to Use a Bandana

Survival Bandana

A bandana is a must-have item in my backpack. I always make it a point to carry several with me when I head outdoors. In my opinion the bandana may best be described as the cloth cousin of the do-it-all duct tape, because like duct tape, the number of uses for a bandana are virtually endless.

Survival Bandana
Survival Bandana
According to the dictionary the word “bandana” means a large, printed scarf for the neck or head. The origin of the word dates back to the 1750’s from the Hindi word bandhnu which refers to the method of dyeing cloth using “binds.” Throughout the centuries and across the globe bandanas has a history as rich and colorful as some of the fabric they are made from.

Cowboys used bandanas to help protect them from the hot sun and dusty trails. Servants used bandanas to help keep their hair covered and away from their faces. Bikers like to wear them under their helmets to help them stay cool. Even gang members use bandanas to help identify which gang they belong too. The fact is, a bandana has many uses and is worn by all ages of people all around the world.

Bandanas are much bigger than a normal handkerchief and while some bandanas reflect simple designs others offer vivid, one-of-a-kind, tie-dyed works of art. Bandanas can also be found with a variety of printed survival tips, first-aid techniques and map navigational lingo on them, another must-have item for outdoor enthusiasts.

First-Aid

  • Tourniquet
  • Bandage
  • Sling for injured arm
  • Binding for splint
  • Fill with ice and use as a compress
  • Eye patch
  • Poultice
  • Soak and put around neck to keep cool

Survival

  • Cordage
  • Net
  • Use it to filter debris from water
  • Mark your trail
  • Shelter
  • Signal Flag

Accessory

  • Headband or head cover
  • Instant nap sack
  • Sweatband
  • Belt
  • Cover your nose and face during dusty weather
  • Leg gaiters
  • Hand protection
  • Ear cover

Endless Options

  • Pillow cover
  • Wash rag
  • Firestarter
  • Wind protection
  • Emergency lamp wick
  • Collection bag for edibles and other things
  • Handle to carry branches
  • Drying cloth
  • Seat cover
  • Pot holder
  • Lunch box
  • Fix broken tent poles
  • Emergency toilet paper

Bandanas are cheap and available nearly everywhere camping gear or clothing is sold or you can make them yourself. Take a large piece of fabric and cut a square to a size which best suits your needs. The average size for a bandana is typically 27 x 27 inches but come in other sizes as well. Sew a small hem around all four edges of the fabric or if you do not have a sewing machine you can use a small bottle of fabric glue and smear a bead of glue over the edges to prevent fraying.

One thing for sure, bandanas are here to stay. Why? Because they are cheap, lightweight, easy to find and are useful in many applications. This list is just scraping the surface of possible uses for a bandana. Now it is your turn, share a few of your favorite uses for a bandana in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. There is a product called Hobo Hanky that is about 4 times larger than a bandana, that’s about 42X42 inches. It’s as big as a shemagh but it’s modeled on the kerchief that was carried by cowboys and hobos, hence the name. It also makes a great bindle.

  2. it can also be used as a self defense tool. Flexible weapons are a complete system with the Filipino Martial Arts. Check out the Sarong DVDs by Ron Balicki and some older stuff by Pak Herman Suwanda. You may find some video clips on Youtube.

  3. So… where’s the link to Cheaper Than Dirt’s bandana sales page? You show a ‘survival’ bandana that links only to itself?

  4. As a mask to preform robbery or some other type of illegal activity. Obviously I’m not talking about lawyers, politicians and other unsavory characters that don’t use them only, petty criminals.

  5. I,HAVE USED IT AS A GLOVE, TO CHANGE BARRELS ON A VERY HOT MACHINE GUN, & ALSO HAVE HUNG WILD GAME, IN A TREE AS, TO PROTECT MY HARVEST FROM PREDATORS. ALSO AS A WARNING DEVICE, AROUND THE CAMP WITH EMPTY CANS, TIED TO ONE MAIN LINE, THEN CUT SMALLER PIECES, THREAD THREW EMPTY CANS, TIE TO MAIN LINE,JUST A SMALL PIECE WITH ONE KNOT IN THE BOTTOM OF CANS, & MAKE SURE THE CANS ARE CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER,SO THEY WILL HIT ONE ANOTHER, WHEN SOMEONE OR SOMETHING HITS IT, YOU WILL HEAR IT. THIS A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A BANDANAS, AS WITH PARA-CORD, THERE IS 101 WAYS TO USE IT. ONLY YOUR IMAGINATION,IS YOUR CUT OFF POINT. BE CREATIVE, LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD, YOU CAN PUT A ROCK IN LIKE A MONKEY FIST & NOW YOU HAVE A VERY GOOD WAY TO DEFEND YOURSELF, AND TO THROW OVER A TREE BRANCH AS I’V DONE TO HANG WILD GAME, ALSO IF YOU ARE OUT OF WATER, YOU CAN PEE IN IT, AND THAT IS NOW YOUR COLLECTION DEVICE, & A FILTER, HOWEVER I WOULD HAVE TO BE VERY THIRSTY TOO DO THAT, & IF THE BANDANA HAS NEVER BEEN WASHED, YOU WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE INK THAT WOULD BLEED THROUGH, BUT IT WOULD SAVE YOUR LIFE. YOU CAN GO ALONG TIME WITHOUT FOOD, BUT NOT WITHOUT WATER & BELIEVE ME, (FOOD IS A LOT MORE PLENTIFUL THAN WATER).. THANK YOU, G.W.O.

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