Here are my top 25 most interesting uses for this humble swatch of fabric – in no specific order.
Signal – a bright colored bandana can be hung up as a flag over a campsite that might be lost in tight brush or tall grasses, or swing it around on a stick as a signal flag.
Bag – tie opposing corners together to make a bag to carry all sorts of loose items.
Tourniquet – not so much for snake bites, but for a dangerously bleeding extremity. This is a serious deal, when you have to decide to lose the limb or lose the life.
Cordage – tear off strips or use the whole bandana twisted into a cord.
Breathing Mask – tie it around your face like a bandit for a sand storm or as a pollen protector. Wet the bandana to help a little more as a smoke filter, if you get caught in a fire.
Sun Protection – tie it on your head like a skull cap and leave some cloth hanging down the back of your neck.
First Aid Sling – fix up that busted arm by using your bandana as a sling.
Cold Compress – from a fever to a sprain, to a venomous bite, wet the cloth down or fold it up with snow or ice inside for a cold compress.
Bullet Patches for Muzzleloader – now we’re talking.
Washcloth or Towel – wash with it or dry with it; or have two bandanas and you can enjoy both options.
Kitchen Helper – whether you need a pot mitt to get your kettle off the fire, or a dish rag to clean up after the meal, the bandana has you covered.
Sling – Just a few weeks or months of practice at slinging rocks, and you’ll be hitting the side of a barn (or better). It also helps to imagine that you are David and you’re fighting a giant.
Water Filter – just a pre-filter really, but it will improve the clarity of the water, and it can protect your precious water filter from premature clogging.
Snot Rag – I remember my grandfather using a hankie, pretty gross if you think about it, but when disposable tissues aren’t an option, there’s your bandana ready for action.
Bandage – hopefully it’s a clean, new bandana if you have to slap it on a wound. But if you are out of sterile dressings, your new bandana will be cleaner than the sock you were wearing.
Cleaning Patches for Your Firearms – gotta keep those barrels clean.
Bikini for Your Lady – there’s supposed to be a way to tie up four bandanas to create a reasonable, modest bikini. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to do some more research on this.
Warmth – tie it around your neck for a gaiter, tie it around your ears for muffs, tie it around your face to stave off frostbite.
Hat – several ways to tie it for a serviceable head covering. Anyone with long hair can use it as a headband.
Mark a Trail – whole or in pieces, mark your trail and then collect the pieces before you bug out of there.
Gear Wrap – wrap up your gear in your backpack to prevent it from making noise
Napkin – that’s obvious enough.
Eye Patch – whether you have an eye injury, or you’re playing pirates with the kids.
Fire – if the bandana is cotton, you can soak it in oil for a torch, or use it dry as back-up tinder for emergency fire starting.
Toilet Paper – this could be your final use of the bandana, as you gratefully employ it one last time.
Tell us your most creative moment with the versatile bandana by leaving us a comment below.