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.

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.

  1. Makeshift hat
  2. Doll blanket
  3. Kite tail
  4. Soak in water and use as a neckband to keep cool
  5. All-terrain sitting cloth
  6. Tie to the car antenna for easy spotting
  7. Keep your cat warm and in style
  8. Use it to tie up an attacker
  9. Tie to luggage for easy spotting
  10. Padding a hotspot
  11. Use it to cover your neck for protection against the sun
  12. Tie around your head to protect it from the sun
  13. Filter water through the bandana.
  14. Tourniquet
  15. Open a stuck jar
  16. Garden hose repair
  17. Hatband
  18. Survival slingshot for defense
  19. Wrap up a sprained ankle
  20. Whisk away pestering insects
  21. Use it as a mini-apron
  22. Occupied sign on an outhouse
  23. A backpacking strainer for pasta
  24. Give as a gift
  25. A flag for capture the flag
  26. Polish fruit
  27. Hobo Pack
  28. Ear Muffs
  29. Gather wild blueberries in it
  30. Emergency swim trunks, two for a bikini
  31. Bind a stone and toss a line over a limb
  32. Cleaning Patches for Firearm
  33. To tie extra stuff to a backpack
  34. Clean eyeglasses
  35. Emergency diaper
  36. Mark territory in the woods
  37. Sling for first aid.
  38. Stuff to make a pillow
  39. Cordage
  40. To secure a splint on a broken arm or leg
  41. Mini blanket for the Chihuahua
  42. Signal (also see signal mirror)
  43. Use it for self-defense, strangle an attacker
  44. Cool off by wetting it in cold water and wrap it around your head
  45. Use it to muzzle a dog
  46. An emergency repair for a strap on a pack
  47. Makes the perfect napkin when eating on a camping trip
  48. A wind/dust mask
  49. Whip it out when you sneeze as a handkerchief
  50. A net to gather minnows for bait
  51. Headband
  52. Sweatband
  53. Parachute for Barbie or Ken
  54. Potholder
  55. Cover exposed food
  56. Use it as a collar for your survival dog
  57. Wrap it around your hands in the cold weather if you don’t have gloves
  58. Fly swatter
  59. Bib or lap napkin
  60. Use it to wrap up your arm if you get injured
  61. Muffle a sneeze or cover a cough
  62. Use it as a  tea strainer
  63. Moisten and wrap biscuits, pancakes to keep from going stale
  64. To wipe sweaty hands when the chalk bag is empty
  65. Tie together for a belt
  66. Use it as a face mask so you’re not inhaling the ridiculous amount of pollution that’s in the environment these days
  67. Waist pack/pouch
  68. Add a piece of cord for a halter-top
  69. Fill it with DIY materials
  70. Use it as a sack to carry food
  71. Collect Edibles in the wild
  72. Cover your face for a daytime nap
  73. Plug nose after encountering a skunk
  74. Mark home baseline
  75. Mark your trail as you’re hiking so you get lost-proof
  76. Dry feet after fording a stream
  77. Polish the car
  78. Placemat or tablecloth
  79. Clean Glasses and other lenses
  80. Clean your concealed carry handguns
  81. Wrap a gift
  82. Cover a book
  83. Mask for robbing stagecoaches and banks
  84. Flag a passing motorist
  85. Bullet Patches for Muzzleloader
  86. Car window shade
  87. To lead a line dance
  88. Blow your nose
  89. Replacement gas cap
  90. Warning flag
  91. Salad spinner
  92. Sending smoke signals
  93. Make into a doll
  94. Distract a charging animal
  95. Plug sink drain
  96. Use it as the filter to make coffee
  97. Hobble a pack animal
  98. Bookmark
  99. Pocket protector
  100. Eye patch
  101. Tie skis together to carry
  102. Surrender flag (make sure it’s white)
  103. Tie together and twist for a rope
  104. Cheer at a parade or sporting event
  105. Scarf or neckerchief
  106. Tuck in the chest pocket of a tux for a rustic look
  107. Dish Rag
  108. Use it to work on a hot car engine. Keep one in your roadside emergency kit
  109. Relay Baton
  110. Decorate the Christmas tree
  111. Earmuffs
  112. Wrap around snow or ice for an ice pack
  113. Hobo pack
  114. Disguise your voice on the phone
  115. Toilet Paper
  116. As a blindfold to sleep past dawn
  117. Washcloth for cleaning
  118. Keep your shoes shiny, use it to shine your shoes like new
  119. Use it to gage wind direction for navigating the wilderness
  120. Blindfold for Pin the Tail on the Donkey
  121. Flag down a taxi
  122. Pot Holder so you don’t even need real potholders if you don’t want them. A minimal kitchen at it’s finest
  123. 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.

Further Resources For Using A Bandana

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?

Up Next: Make A DIY Blowgun

survival uses for bandanas survival hacks

123 Survival Uses For Bandana
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