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.
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.
- Sling for injured arm
- Binding for splint
- Fill with ice and use as a compress
- Eye patch
- Soak and put around neck to keep cool
- Use it to filter debris from water
- Mark your trail
- Signal Flag
- Headband or head cover
- Instant nap sack
- Cover your nose and face during dusty weather
- Leg gaiters
- Hand protection
- Ear cover
- Pillow cover
- Wash rag
- 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.