Some items can be used in one or two different ways for different functions.
Then there are tools like a bandana. I say “tool” because it’s essentially not even a piece of clothing, that’s just one of dozens of different uses for it. No. There are dozens of survival uses for a bandana, it’s crazy to not carry one.
What were bandanas originally used for?
Bandanas are originally from India. They were used as handkerchiefs. They were and are still made of silk and cotton. Mostly bright colors like red and blue.
In the U.S. They were born out of a struggle for independence. They are an American symbol. For more information on the history and background of bandanas, visit this page.
123 Bandana Uses For Survival
You’ll think about how much a tactical behemoth this one piece of clothing can do. Let’s start with the list.
Take the bandana and make a makeshift hat with it.
Soak in water and use as a neckband to keep cool
All-terrain sitting cloth
Tie to the car antenna for easy spotting
Keep your cat warm and in style
Use it to tie up an attacker
Tie to luggage for easy spotting
Padding a hotspot
Use it to cover your neck for protection against the sun
Tie around your head to protect it from the sun
Filter water through the bandana.
Open a stuck jar
Garden hose repair
Survival slingshot for defense
Wrap up a sprained ankle
Whisk away pestering insects
Use it as a mini-apron
Occupied sign on an outhouse
A backpacking strainer for pasta
Give as a gift
A flag for capture the flag
Gather wild blueberries in it
Emergency swim trunks, two for a bikini
Bind a stone and toss a line over a limb
Cleaning Patches for Firearm
To tie extra stuff to a backpack
Mark territory in the woods
Sling for first aid.
Stuff to make a pillow
To secure a splint on a broken arm or leg
Mini blanket for the Chihuahua
Signal (also see signal mirror)
Use it for self-defense, strangle an attacker
Cool off by wetting it in cold water and wrap it around your head
Use it to muzzle a dog
An emergency repair for a strap on a pack
Makes the perfect napkin when eating on a camping trip
A wind/dust mask
Whip it out when you sneeze as a handkerchief
A net to gather minnows for bait
Parachute for Barbie or Ken
Cover exposed food
Use it as a collar for your survival dog
Wrap it around your hands in the cold weather if you don’t have gloves
Bib or lap napkin
Use it to wrap up your arm if you get injured
Muffle a sneeze or cover a cough
Use it as a tea strainer
Moisten and wrap biscuits, pancakes to keep from going stale
To wipe sweaty hands when the chalk bag is empty
Tie together for a belt
Use it as a face mask so you’re not inhaling the ridiculous amount of pollution that’s in the environment these days
Add a piece of cord for a halter-top
Fill it with DIY materials
Use it as a sack to carry food
Collect Edibles in the wild
Cover your face for a daytime nap
Plug nose after encountering a skunk
Mark home baseline
Mark your trail as you’re hiking so you get lost-proof
Dry feet after fording a stream
Polish the car
Placemat or tablecloth
Clean Glasses and other lenses
Clean your concealed carry handguns
Wrap a gift
Cover a book
Mask for robbing stagecoaches and banks
Flag a passing motorist
Bullet Patches for Muzzleloader
Car window shade
To lead a line dance
Blow your nose
Replacement gas cap
Sending smoke signals
Make into a doll
Distract a charging animal
Plug sink drain
Use it as the filter to make coffee
Hobble a pack animal
Tie skis together to carry
Surrender flag (make sure it’s white)
Tie together and twist for a rope
Cheer at a parade or sporting event
Scarf or neckerchief
Tuck in the chest pocket of a tux for a rustic look
Use it to work on a hot car engine. Keep one in your roadside emergency kit
Decorate the Christmas tree
Wrap around snow or ice for an ice pack
Disguise your voice on the phone
As a blindfold to sleep past dawn
Washcloth for cleaning
Keep your shoes shiny, use it to shine your shoes like new
Use it to gage wind direction for navigating the wilderness
Blindfold for Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Flag down a taxi
Wrap it around your hand and use it as a potholder so you don’t even need real potholders if you don’t want them. A minimal kitchen at it’s finest
That’s a metric ton of functionality for a little piece of cloth. We covered over 100 different ways to use it and the list could still be twice as long.
Difference Between Bandana and Shemagh
A common belief is that a bandana and a shemagh are the exact same thing. Not exactly. Even though they are both tactical and multifunctional behemoths.
Shemaghs are the more popular choice amongst EDC advocates and preppers. They are larger and thicker in general.
Scarves are just lighter so using them for warmth isn’t very effective. Overall, you get more bang with the shemagh.
Here is a video by SensiblePrepper, he goes over 40 survival uses of bandanas.
Also, here is another video that is rather extensive.
If you’re interested in even more functionality for the bandana, watch this video of over 100 uses of the best survival bandanas.
We list a lot of different ways you could use a bandana for survival. Such a simple item can have so much versatility and functionality.
You can pack it in practically any go-bag and survival kit you have since they’re so small and can mold into any shape. Pack one or two, you never know when you’ll need to use it in one of these ways.
Do you usually keep a bandana with your EDC or any emergency kits?
If you liked this article, check out the guide on the different shemagh uses.