A standard 22" bandana is a powerhouse piece of gear. It's an item that's long history goes back beyond the taming of the West and has been an outdoorsman's staple since then. And for good reason. A bandana can serve so many different uses that it essentially replaces a dozen other pieces of gear. If you traveling by foot, the idea of dropping a dozen items from your pack list can be pretty appealing.
There can be much more exhaustive lists made of what a bandana can be used for, but today I'm going to focus on 25. Some more in depth than others.
25 BANDANA USES:
1. Headband (Sweat Protection)
2. Head Wrap (Sun Protection/warmth)
3. Neck Wrap (Sun Protection/warmth)
4. Wash Cloth
6. Pot Holder
7. Hand Wrap (To Prevent Blisters With Repetitive Work)
9. First Aid Splint
11. Wrap Sprained Ankle/wrist
12. Ice Pack
13. Fire Building Tinder
14. Strain Sediment From Water
15. Dust Mask
16. Signal Flag
17. Improvised Bag
20. Blind Fold
21. Dog Collar
22. Fly Swatter
24. Check Wind Direction
25. Hobo Bindle
I'll go a bit more in depth into some of my favorite bandana uses here.
2. THE HEAD WRAP
I'm sure I'm the only one here that seems to be letting a little bit more light in on the top on the head these days. It can really be a bad thing on sunny days when I forget a hat. Luckily for me, I always carry a bandana and can tie one on, pirate style, in a pinch.
3. THE NECK WRAP
I have on occasion (more often than not...) found myself outside with out sun screen. One of the first places I get toasted in the neck. My neck has been saved many times by a bandana and a quick square knot.
6. THE POT HOLDER
A pot holder is one of those things you don't think about until you really need it. It's also something I would never add to my backpacking list... Not when a bandana will do nicely. Of course, the cast iron skillet in this photo isn't on my backpacking list either.
14. STRAIN SEDIMENT FROM WATER
In a pinch, you can strain the sediment from water using a filter made from bandanas, sand, gravel, grass and charcoal. I did it once here.
16. SIGNAL FLAG
Waving a high contrast flag around is a great way to get attention. In nature red is usually going to be a good contrasting color. Unless you're in New England in the fall, I suppose. I've also see people use bandanas to mark a fork in a trail for a later group to follow. Or to create a landmark in unfamiliar territory.
17. IMPROVISED BAG
This is a favorite of mine. By simply tying together diagonal corners with square knots you get a handy little pouch for carrying smaller items, like berries. It's kind of like a loose hobo bindle.
20. BLIND FOLD
I'm not just talking about pin the tail on the donkey here. You can use a bandana to block out unwanted sunlight to grab a quick nap during the day.
Hopefully this will get the gears turning on new uses for your bandana. Maybe it will empower you to be able to leave a few more items home on your next backpacking trip. I know I'm always looking to lighten to load.
Here at Colter Co., we are on a mission to improve the humble bandana. We add another layer of benefit to every bandana to make them even more useful in the outdoors. Whether it's knot diagrams, star charts, or board games, we are making bandanas better. Pack less, take more.