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.
- Makeshift hat
- Doll blanket
- Kite tail
- 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
- Polish fruit
- Hobo Pack
- Ear Muffs
- 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
- Clean eyeglasses
- Emergency diaper
- 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
- Fly swatter
- 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
- Waist pack/pouch
- 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
- Warning flag
- Salad spinner
- 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
- Pocket protector
- Eye patch
- 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
- Dish Rag
- Use it to work on a hot car engine. Keep one in your roadside emergency kit
- Relay Baton
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Wrap around snow or ice for an ice pack
- Hobo pack
- Disguise your voice on the phone
- Toilet Paper
- 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
- Pot Holder 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.
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?
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