survival bandana

instructional article

DIY survival fishing kits for kids

Colter co. survival fishing kit

This summer I am taking a small group of 12-14 year old scouts (including my son) on a 4 day camping trip. It’s going to be awesome! We are going to be focusing on building shelters, and basic survival skills like fishing. In preparing for this I helped put together some ultra simple fishing kits. I wanted to make these are simple as possible for them to use safely. They would be a little over simplified for an advanced angler but for the sake of young anglers I have made these super simple. They only require one knot to be tied and don’t require any tools to add or remove weights.

Here’s what I included:

survival fishing kit Colter Co.

3 - Red #8 hooks with leaders

1 - #8 spinner with leader

2 - 5/8” bobbers

5 - Swivels

5 - Small bullet sinkers

3 - Small dipsey sinkers

1 - PowerBait nuggets (not pictured)

The weights are all the kind that slide over the line which means you don’t need to use your teeth or a multitool to add or remove them. They also allows you to fish easily from a bobber or off the bottom with floating bait. I find the sliding sinkers preferable for fishing off the bottom. Be mindful that this options should be used only when you know what the bottom of the water is like. If there are lots of snags and down trees a bobber is going to be a better approach.

I chose to include the PowerBait nuggets because they are super easy to put on. I’ve tried to eliminate any possible way for these guys to get their fingers hooks. Putting bait on a hook is prime hooking territory. The nuggets are pre-formed in a good size and are very easy to slip onto the hook. I made sure to get floating bait to be able to fish off the bottom.

survival fishing powerbait nuggets Colter Co.

I decided to use the hooks that are pre-tied to the leader. I don’t usually use these because they take up more space in the tackle box. But I was thinking about these 12 year old trying to tie a a line onto these tiny hooks and imaging all the hooks in finger and I didn’t want to mess with that. These pre-tied hooks just need to be attached to a swivel. The only knot you need is to tie the line to the swivel. I picked the red colored hooks so, in a pinch, you could tie a bit of colorful paracord or something on and make it a lure.

survival fishing kits Colter Co.

I’m going to try a replacement to the tradition rod and reel this year. I got a hand reel, or Cuban reel. It’s basically a plastic line holder that has one lip formed at an angle that allows the line to come off easily. While holding the “reel” facing forward, throw your weighted line out and the line comes off the reel just like a spinning reel. The line is then wound around the reel by hand. It’s very small, light weight, and doesn’t have any of the breaking issues that can happen with the delicate fiber glass rod or small moving parts. Can you cast as far with this set up? Probably not. But I think the pros should out weigh the cons. I’m going to try it this year and I will report back on how it goes!

I did make one improvement to this product by cutting a small slit in the rim with my pocket knife. It gives me a place to hold the line securely when in transit.

Survival fishing kit Colter Co.

In training for this outing I taught the boys how to tie a clinch knot. For this particular fishing set up, that’s the only knot you would really need. If fishing knots are your thing, or if you are looking to do fly fishing (which uses waaaay more knots), we make a handy fly fishing knot reference bandana that will help you refresh your memory on some of the knots that are farther back on the line and tied less frequently.

I am also going to be providing a “Stayin’ Alive Bandana” to each of the boys with reference information on the 4 top priorities for survival: shelter, water, fire, food. If you are teaching youth about survival, this is a solid way to make sure they have a lot of information in a format they can use for lots of other things and are more likely to take with them. Also it doubles as a bright location marker with reflective silver ink for high visibility at night.

Tell us about the amazing outdoor activities you have planned this summer! Are you teaching kids survival skills? What skills are you focusing on?


instructional article

Do you know the 4 fundamentals of Survival?

Knowing how to keep yourself alive is a fundamental human skill! In our increasingly convenient modern world some of these fundamentals can seem less important. When we can easily turn on the faucet and get water whenever we want it’s not hard to forget that one day you might be in a situation that doesn’t provide you with such a luxury.

In a moment your focus can shift from “ugh, my phone battery is at 7%” to “what do I need to stay alive through the night.” It’s best to have a store of age old human knowledge for just such an occasion.

The fundamentals of human survival can be simplified into 4 priorities:


In that specific order. If you spend your time working on finding food before you have a shelter established you might just end up freezing to death with a full belly. Make sure you approach them in the right order!

When I started Colter Co. it was for the purpose of providing outdoor information in a format that was in itself multifunctional (enter the bandana…) I don’t really like packing books on camping trips, especially when weight and space is an issue. I’m super happy to add a TRUE wilderness survival bandana to our collection!

Yes, there are other survival bandanas on the market, so what makes this one better? It focuses not just on helpful outdoor skills, but on the PRIORITIES for your efforts. One of the biggest challenges of being in a survival situation is not panicking! Many other survival bandanas are a shotgun blast of facts and tactics that don’t help an already frantic mind know WHEN to take on your next task.

It’s also printed with high visibility reflective ink on a bright hunter orange bandana. Being visible is key to being found. When you build a shelter out of natural materials it can become very easy to blend in. The worst case scenario would be having a rescue team walk right past you while you sleep in your shelter. This bandana makes an awesome shelter marker and with the reflective ink it will light up super bright when hit by the beam of a flashlight.

As always, our bandanas are printed on American made cotton for superior durability and softness.

This is a great way to add a higher lever of preparedness to your survival kit! It also makes a great gift of knowledge and preparedness to a young adventurer.

If you can’t decide on which of our designs you love the most you can always make it a part of a 3 pack or a 6 pack :)

instructional article

25 Reasons to Carry a Bandana

25 bandana uses-survival bandana

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. 


1. Headband (Sweat Protection)
2. Head Wrap (Sun Protection/warmth)
3. Neck Wrap (Sun Protection/warmth)
4. Wash Cloth
5. Towel
6. Pot Holder
7. Hand Wrap (To Prevent Blisters With Repetitive Work)
8. Gloves
9. First Aid Splint
10. Tourniquet
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
18. Rope
19. Sponge
20. Blind Fold
21. Dog Collar
22. Fly Swatter
23. Sling
24. Check Wind Direction
25. Hobo Bindle

I'll go a bit more in depth into some of my favorite bandana uses here. 


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. 

25 bandana uses- survival bandana


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. 

25 bandana uses - survival bandana


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. 

25 bandana uses - survival bandana


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

25 bandana uses - survival bandana


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. 

25 bandana uses - survival bandana


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. 

25 bandana uses - survival bandana


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. 

25 bandana uses

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. 


New Product Launch: Know Your Knots Practice Rope Kit

Colter Co. is happy to announce the Know Your Knots Practice Rope Kit. The perfect, portable way to keep your knot tying skills fresh. The kit includes two 5' lengths of smooth quality climbing rope with a oiled tanned leather and brass utility strap, and a Know Your Knots bandana for reference. Throw it in your pack and practice around the campfire. Or on the bus. Or during a conference call (no one can see you over the phone.) Once you've mastered the 16 knots on the bandana you'll be able to tie your way out of just about any jam that comes your way. 

This makes a great gift for a new scout, as a rank advancement gift, or to the diehard outdoorsy person in your life. I do believe there's a father's day coming up... Just saying

You can buy it here