Top Survival Uses for a Bandana

By Nick Oetken
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Use brightly-colored bandanas to signal for help because they naturally stick out against the green foliage
Use brightly-colored bandanas to signal for help because they naturally stick out against the green foliage
 
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A bandana might seem like another useless item for your outdoor escapades. Some see it as just a fashion item, while others see it as a piece of cloth necessary for nothing more than blowing your nose.

 

However, every survivalist knows the importance of random materials and how these materials can prove to be valuable resources. A bandana is one of those items that can be put to good survival use.

Hence, it is important that you add a bandana to your list of survival gear; we assure you, you won’t have any cause to regret it later! Also, you can tie it across your head so it is very easy to carry around.

 

The beautiful thing about bandanas is this: you never know when the need for one will arise in a survival situation, and they’re so small and light that there’s really no reason not to bring one in the first place. Most times, the chances for a bandana use might never arise, but hey, better safe than sorry, right?

Now, let’s dive into the real reasons you may need a bandana when you venture out into the wild…

1. Calling For Help

A brightly-colored bandana can be seen perfectly from a distance, even against dense foliage. If, for example, you go hiking and an accident happens and you see other hikers on the opposite side of a ravine but you can’t call out to them, simply reach into your pack, grab your beautifully colored bandana, and make a flag to wave in the air. It will be more noticeable to search and rescue teams, who recommend using brightly-colored bandanas to signal for help because they naturally stand out.

2. Signaling Others

You can also use bandanas to signal to others in situations where verbal communication is restricted (such as if you want to keep quiet around other people). With this, communication over long distances is made easier. You can even work on “bandana codes” with your friends and team.

3. Rag

A bandana can be used as a rag and also used to clean dirty dishes. Most people cook when they go camping, and sometimes having to wash the dishes can be a bit of a difficult task without a dishwasher. Bandanas can be soaped up and used as dish rags to get in there and clean up. You can also use a bandana to clean firearms or to remove grime from knives.

You can use bandanas to create trail markers
You can use bandanas to create trail markers

4. Trail Markers

This is perhaps the most simple useful function of a bandana. When you create trail markers, it prevents you from getting lost. Hunters, explorers, and hikers make use of neon plastic tape to mark their progress and way home.

They achieve this by tying these tapes to tree branches. You can also cut your bandana into tiny little pieces so you can tie the pieces to tree branches to find your bearings and also find your way back home.

5. Handkerchief

Bandanas are also very useful as handkerchiefs. You can wipe your nose when you sneeze and wipe your face when extremely sweaty. There will be nights when the cold will bite at your lips and your neck. At this point, every tiny piece of clothing becomes as important as everything else.

So, next time you are caught in extremely cold weather and it feels like you are going to freeze, cover up your whole body from head to toe and use your bandana as a neck gaiter. You will be shocked to see how effectively this reduces how cold you feel.

Use a bandana as a mask to help protect you from dust and allergens floating in the air
Use a bandana as a mask to help protect you from dust and allergens floating in the air

6. Cordage

I previously mentioned that you can always tear your bandana into tiny little pieces. As cordage, it is more useful when completely intact. You might need to bind an animal, tie something to a tree, or bind something to your backpack. Whatever it is, a good quality bandana can do the job for you due to the kind of fabric they are made of, which makes for strong cordage.

7. Towel/Washcloth

Most times, we forget the most basic things when we are going on a survival trip – like a towel, washcloth, or toothbrush. We always try so hard to remember everything but we never end up remembering these simple things. So, most times, we have to make do with something else.

Bandanas can be solutions to the towel problem. They are smaller, easier to pack, and of course very easy to remember. You can use your bandana to dry your body after a bath. You can even attempt a little nakedness in the wilderness…

A bandana can be wrapped around an arm or a leg to help cover a wound
A bandana can be wrapped around an arm or a leg to help cover a wound

8. Cover a wound

In certain situations, a physical wound of some kind to your skin and flesh is almost unavoidable. At one point or another, there is a chance you might have a scrape to the elbow or a gash in your leg.

In such a situation, you can use a bandana to cover the wound. When you do this, you are preventing it from getting infected or getting exposed to unwanted insects and organisms, which would be detrimental to your survival efforts. If you have an eye injury, a bandana can serve as an eyepatch too.

In conclusion: these aren’t all the survival benefits of the bandana, but these are perhaps the most useful ones. Hopefully, you now see why and how a bandana can be so useful when you need it most!

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