There are dozens of articles and youtube clips, which are competing in who will find more useful ways of using a bandanna. They go from ‘blow your nose’ to one time ’emergency diaper’ or ‘toilet paper’. Under right circumstances, all these proposals can make sense. When it comes to prepping, a bandana is one of the most interesting items. It certainly has more than one purpose, which is – being worn tied around the head or neck.
In this article, I will try to list the most important ways of using a bandana in an emergency situation.
Having a bandana in your survival kit is really important. That’s why it is still a standard equipment for boy scouts.
- Wear it loosely around your neck to keep the wind and water out
- Keeps the sun off your neck (neck band)
- Sweat absorber
- If you don’t have a hat, using it as (making it into) a head cover, in cold weather, it can prevent losing your body heat
- As a cooling towel. Keep you cool in warm situations if dunk in cool water for couple of minutes before use
- If your bag strap breaks, you can use bandana as improvised strap
- You can use it for fire tinder
- You can use it as a signaling device
- Dust mask. Protection against smoke, dust, and debris
- Use it to mark your trail (best if cut in strips first)
- For head wounds, eye wounds …
- First aid sling. As a makeshift to support your arm or your leg
- As a makeshift tourniquet
- As a water pre-filter
- As a first-aid bandage
- As a tablecloth to lay your food out
- Keep clean your knife and weapons
- To hide your identity
If you have any additional ideas feel free to put them into the comments section!
How to choose the right survival bandana?
In terms of material, size, and color – the question is how to choose the right bandana?
Cotton breeds and it’s very comfortable but it also gets really wet. Overall it should be the better choice over nylon materials.
Bright vibrant colors are good for signaling. Camouflage patterns are of course good for going undetected or low profile.
You can also have important information written on it, or it can serve as a map.
Therefore, you should have more than one in your backpack.
Alternatives to bandana?
Many people prefer shemagh over a bandana, mostly because of its size. The Shemagh (pronounced “shamay” or “schmog”) is also known as Keffiyeh. It’s usually made of cotton and is a lot bigger and heavier than a bandana. On the other hand, a bandana is much smaller, and because of that it is very practical, it fits your pocket, it’s light, dries fast, etc… But, many people still find it too small to be as useful as shemagh. While the standard bandanas are approx 22inchx22inch (or 56cm) in size, I’ve seen jumbo sized bandanas of 27″x27″ size.