A Way to Save Your Life: A Survival Bandana 

Is a survival bandana a mere piece of cloth or something more? Fellow Preppers, a bandana enters the top 10 list of your gear and is irreplaceable for hiking in the wilderness. Use it to cover your head in the hot weather, protect your neck and skin, keep it as a sling, towel or wrap carbonic ice. Learn which fabric fits better for which purpose — cotton, polyester, or microfiber. And always remember to have a bandana in your bag.

Many people think that such a piece of cloth as a bandana is completely useless – just a thing to blow your nose with. Well, not if you are a true survivalist, as all preppers know that such a simple cloth item is an extra valuable tool.

What is a survival bandana? It is any bandanna utilized as survival gear: and it is as useful as any other survival tool. Many of such are made of durable fabric. Some have survival information printed on them. So you should spend some money and buy this piece of survival gear.

This article will discuss my TOP-20 beloved survival employments for a bandana. Let’s start with a short story!

How to Use A Survival Bandana In Everyday Life

The story took place nearby Pai, Thailand, in the middle of the night. An accident happened to my motorbike and me: I was crossing a bridge at 85 kilometers per hour. That’s around 53 miles per hour. It was probably too fast and risky for an old country road on a terrible motorbike. I guess that it was hazardous due to a few Chang beers and a rainstorm outside.

But damn, I wasn’t the only person in this situation. Two of my friends, Joe and Kyle, also destroyed their bikes just a few moments earlier. This bridge full of puddles knocked the motorcycles out from under us and hurled our bodies like feathers. One after the other, we were flying into the bushes and darkness beyond the road.

It was an absolute miracle that none of our bikes that sped past us didn’t leave us headless. And, fortunately, we were alive. So we managed to stand up, afterward simply staring in shock at each other and our motorbikes. We started evaluating the damage. My friends and I felt terrible, but we had no serious damages, only burns on our legs and arms, several cuts, and many bruises. None of us was willing to go to the hospital, though we all knew it would be a painful week.

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What is The Point of my Story?

After our accident, the moral of the story is per the following: I was forced to hide my calves and forearms to cover them from Southeast Asia’s sun rays. There was another threat – bugs. The bugs that could lay eggs in my sunburnt legs. But the only things I could hide my wounds were shorts and short-sleeve T-shirts.

Besides, I wasn’t planning to spend the following weeks walking in long-sleeve shirts and trousers, waiting for my burns to get better. In this way, my solution was a survival bandanna tied around my arms and legs.

This tool helped to keep the drying blood off the clothing and made our wounds resistant to sun rays. The bugs could not get through their material; additionally, the material let the air heal my wounds and burns.

Soon we all started using this strategy, and it helped a lot. Everything was getting better. During this trip, those bandanas became helpful for a wide range of reasons: they were used to protect our injuries, shield our skin from daylight, to keep moisture from evaporating from uncovered skin. It was used as a potholder, as a washcloth, even as a rope for binding.

On this very adventure, I came to the conclusion that such items as bandanas are one of the simplest, most flexible, lightest, and cheapest survival tools you may take literally anywhere! It is so cheap that almost everyone can get one. They can be at ease attached to a backpack. They can be carried everywhere and used for a variety of purposes.

Ways of Use of a Survival Bandana

Let’s now talk about the possible uses of a bandanna in the survival wilderness. Anything might happen, starting from a bike accident in a foreign country and finishing with the helicopter crash in the desert. Another scenario: maybe the end of the World has finally come, and society has come to a point where everyone is on their own, and you are ready to rush to the high country…

Whatever might happen, I really suggest having at least one survival bandana in the Bug-Out Bag and more in all your stockpiles (in the get-home bagsmedical bagssurvival vehicles and cabinsunderground food stockpiles, and survival caches).

My point is that such a survival tool may become helpful in many unexpected cases; of course, you might not get a chance to fall into an accident right now, but who knows what will happen in the future! Maybe in your next adventure, you’ll be completely lost in the gloomy woods, kilometers away from any city, not knowing where you are: you will be lost and confused.

They are those items from survival gear that are easy to carry around anywhere you are. They WILL save your life if you truly need them.

Below one can find a list of my beloved uses of a bandana.

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TOP-23 Uses For Survival Bandana

1. A Sign for Help in Wilderness

Well, it is certainly fun to have a rebellious military camouflage bandana, and it probably will hide you in bushes if looking from a distance. But let’s be honest, it’s not going to make you invisible. They do right the opposite. Imagine you went out hunting and, out of a sudden, broke both of your legs while wearing full camouflage… And you will be lost as no one would be able to find you!

But not with a couple of bright neon bandanas, which you can take out of your backpack and tie around yourself. It is the same thing as signal mirrors – the search teams around the US suggest using colorful bandanas as a sign for help because they are easily distinguishable from basic colors. So, my key point is that you should go for bright colors and a unique design (not the camouflage-colored). Moreover, if you need to call someone and at the same time remain completely silent, various colorful bandanas could be used to signal to each other from a distance.

2. Dirty Dishcloth

I am absolutely keen on cooking while at camp. I have a pretty cool set up of camp cookware that I carry with me anywhere I go. But when I’m far away from all of the cooking utilities, sometimes washing dirty dishes can be really painful. In extreme circumstances, bandanas can be soaked in soap and used as dishcloths for clean-up.

3. A Fabric Handkerchief or Napkin

This one surely doesn’t need any explanation, but still. If you sneeze frequently or have allergic reactions to something, wipe your nose with a bandana. If you don’t have regular paper napkins or paper towels lying around, your bandana will help. Anyway, ensure you clean it up when you’re done sneezing.

4. An Improvised Tourniquet  

No one usually thinks that they would fall into a situation when they will lose their leg or arm, but you never know what’s to come. If you require a tourniquet, then you can use a bandanna. Just pull it very tight – it will work well as a really fast-application tourniquet. But in a situation in which a snake bit you, you can use a Sawyer Extractor. This will work much more effectively to prevent the spread of the poison.

5. Rope

As I already said, do not be afraid to cut your survival bandana into pieces to make it more useful. Frequently the teared-up bandanas are much more useful than in a wholesome shape.

If you need to make a rope for an improvised tourniquet, or tie tent poles together, tie something to your backpack, tie somebody’s hands, tie an animal, literally anything! Bandannas will do great. Its material usually does serve as a trustworthy and strong cord.

I would prefer to have a paracord with me like a rope, but a bandana will do great if you truly need it in a crisis.

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6. A Waist Bag or Shoulder Bag

You can easily make a small waist bag: tie the right knots in the right places. It will work as a hand-made pouch to keep your favorite treats close by. I would rather go for a tactical molle shoulder bag for survival. But remember – we have to be creative.

It works both for calm camping and for survival. It might even be suitable, for example, at the next music festival – sneak anything you want inside (but I didn’t tell you that, okay?).

7. A Fabric Towel or a Washcloth

If I forget something when I am getting ready with my backpack, it’s usually a washcloth or a towel. I literally ALWAYS forget about this thing, but, at the same time, I DO remember to pack everything else. The problem is not as bad as it was, as now I know how to use bandannas for such purposes.

They are tiny compared to towels. They can be easily packed. And as for me, they are much easier to remember to bring. On the other hand, apart from a towel, you can’t wrap it around your thighs to cover your body after a swim. But name anyone who isn’t into a bit of nudity in the wilderness? Being a bit naked is a strange thing, but at least you won’t be wet.

8. A Wilderness Holder for Pots

Hot things burn hands – that’s simple physics. So, be careful and protect your hands with a survival bandana next time you handle the hot pot to somebody else. I can’t claim that it will soften all the heat, but it will surely help reduce the pot’s temperature.

9. Making Trail Markers

Tired of getting lost when you go hunting in the wilderness? Many hikers, hunters, and other survivalists use neon plastic tapes to place them on the tree branches and mark their way home, just like in the tale about Hansel and Gretel. There is one exception from that tale. Here no one will eat the plastic from the trees to get lost in the woods.

Similarly, bright and colorful survival bandanas can be cut into ribbons and hanged around the trees to track the route and keep the direction straight. Go ahead and don’t mind cutting it into a few smaller pieces to mark anything you need. This technique is instrumental! And the bandanas are easy to replace. If your bandana is in bad condition, then don’t take it with you for your next trip; instead, spend some money on a cheap new bandana – add it to your survival gear.

10. A Sling

Fortunately, when we smashed our bikes, we didn’t break our bones. Well, in case they were broken, a bandana would be the perfect material for making a sling. Slings keep harmed arms and legs near the body, making them raised at a higher point to reduce swelling.

Anyone who has ever used a sling knows that they are accommodating when you have a harmed arm/shoulder. Specialists and first responders always have some triangle bandages in their injury kits to make slings on the go; however, homemade injury kits probably won’t have any of those. Without a real sling or triangle bandage, bandanas can be employed to hold harmed legs and arms overhead – even though they are a bit smaller than normal triangle bandages.

11. Another Sling

You read that right, and I put “slings” twice. That is not a mistake – I want to emphasize that you can make two various types of slings out of a single bandana.

We already talked about the 1st method, and the 2nd is the sort that David used to fight Goliath, the sort that our ancestors from the bygone eras used to hunt animals and shoot the enemies.

Look for a simple DIY on the best way to tie a sling, and you’ll know how to do it similarly with a bandana. This can prove to be handy for chasing little animals when you have no other food source or for protecting yourself when you have no different methods for doing as such.

12. Hobo Pack

This one is a typical Great Depression Era. Find a stick, bind the corners of the bandana together at one end of the stick, and here it is! Now you have a small useful bag on your shoulder.

Of course, it’s not very good for storing dozens of stuff, but it can certainly take everything out of your pockets and allow any survivalist a little more room to pack.

13. A Bag for Collecting Wild Berries and Ingredients

First of all, don’t collect berries or mushrooms, or any other plants without a basic understanding of wild edibles. It may be very threatening to consume random food-alike things you see in the woods. But if you have the TOP wild edible information base, then you will definitely be safe, so make sure to read about it.

Consider buying a book called “From Dirt To Plate” on the topic of foraging for food, if you’re really engaged in this question. Not to mention, if you know how to do things right, you would be able to use bandannas as containers to collect foods and bring them to your camp or bug-out location.

14. Neck Scarf for Cold Weather

Winter is surely my favorite time of the year. For what reason? Because it is the skating and skiing time, and snowshoe time, igloo season, and the time of huge cozy sweaters and snowy-silent nights. But in this weather, your face can simply freeze, and even a tiny layer of fabric can make a huge difference. So if you have a survival bandanna wrapped around your hand and the cool wind and snow are freezing your face off, just wrap the bandana around yourself like a bandit. In other words, use it as a neck gaiter. You might be surprised how efficient this method is while trying to cope with cold weather.

15. A Sunblock

When I’ve been in Asia, I would usually fold an end of my bandana under my cap. This satisfies two needs: first, to prevent the sun from literally burning alive my pale white skin and from heaving a heat stroke on my head. What’s more, I used this method to keep the sweat from evaporating from my skin.

If you stay for a long time in extreme heat like that, the exact opposite thing you have to do is to remove your clothes and let your sweat evaporate into the hot air. In this way, it is smarter to utilize cotton pieces of clothing to keep as much moisture as close to the skin as could be done – so that means, leave the shirt on and use a bandana to save your sweat!

16. A Dust Mask

Sometimes I think about that movie scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the moment when Thompson’s out in the desert chasing after dirt motorbikes in a buggy. The dust was so thick in the air that almost nothing could be seen, and you couldn’t breathe. By the way, inhaling such large amounts of dust or smoke can be very harmful to the human lungs, particularly if you have to breathe in this dust for a long time. For sure, a gas mask or a respirator would both serve as the TOP choices in such an emergency situation, but it’s not an easy thing to find them.

Bandanas are also called cloth face covers. So you can tie a bandana around the mouth and nose area (you can cover even the whole face). This construction will help to filter out a huge amount of dust. Besides, this thin layer of cotton would do great in the long run to filter the toxic and polluted air. This simple tool will save your lungs!

17. A Water Filter

Do you know the mechanism of the coffee filter? A bandana can work just like that filter but with water. By utilizing a piece of very tight-knit material (e.g., cotton) to filter water in the wild, you may get rid of the garbage and undesirable waterborne impurities.

This will not replace your pump water filter or iodine tablets (by all means), yet in case it is the only thing you have available for filtering the water, surely use it. By the way, it will not save you from each water infection or impurity… but it will protect you from some of them!

18. Weapon Cleaning Cotton Patches

Every person who has a gun knows that a survival firearm cleaning process is crucial if you want your firearm to work properly in the wilderness adventure. But you never know in which emergency you will have to use your gun and in which situation when you will need to clean your firearm with patches. Bandanas will serve as an improvised substitution for a gun cleaning kit.

Just cut it into tiny bits and carefully apply some gun cleaning oil on them, and then get down to business!

19. Some Toilet Paper

Well, I guess no words are needed here.

20. Muzzleloader Bullet Patches

Bandanas will do good as bullet patches. It can separate the bullet and gunpowder if, for some reason, you’re stuck in the woods with a muzzleloader.

21. Improvised Earmuffs

They certainly will not be as warm as the original earmuffs you can find in the shop, but if your ears are really cold, wrap a bandana around your head and tighten it. It’s not a good substitution for a wool hat or a fleece muff, but it’s surely better than cold ears. A survival bandana might save one’s ears from being frozen off.

22. An Eyepatch

It is really terrible to lose an eye. My condolences to anybody out there who’s been stuck with this severe problem. Yet, anything might happen, and if you somehow happened to lose an eye in a survival circumstance, you most likely won’t have a chance to get to a clinic to get a bandage.

If the injury is not covered, it can easily get infected and be exposed to the little bits of dirt or unwanted visitors (like the bugs that attempted to get into my road-burn wounds).

23. Tie the Stone and Throw The Rope Over The Branch

Imagine that you have to throw a rope over a tree branch or steel beam. It is pretty troublesome to tie a cord or a string to a stone. But if you cover the stone with your bandana and tie the string to that construction, you will have a much more useful tool and a much lower possibility of failure while tossing the rope.

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Final Word on a Survival Bandana

Clearly, these aren’t all of the possible survival uses for a bandana, more like a couple of the obvious ones and some of my most inventive uses. You may possibly think about a couple of additional creative methods, and in various emergency situations, under pressure, I am sure you will invent even more of such!

Now I frequently think: if I hadn’t taken the bandana with me when I was on that trip in Asia, I might have gotten an infection, serious skin damage, or even more horrifying – baby flies jumping out of my skin. But because I was prepared and had some knowledge about the flexibility of uses of a survival bandana, I had an option to save myself from these horrors.

In conclusion, I would like to tell you about a great video that discusses 101 survival uses of a bandana. This video will cover all of the topics: from bushcraft uses to medical ones, from strategic ones to humor-like.

Feel free to share any other stories or ideas about the survival bandana. The survivalists and simple people need to understand how easy it is to keep them around and how useful they can be in a terrible situation.


How To Use A Survival Bandana To Save Your Life?

There is a ton of uses for a single bandana. But my favorite ones are the signaling flag, the arm sling, and a fire starter – those are the applications of a bandana that would 99.9% save your life in the wilderness. There are many survival tips about a bandana, so make sure to read the article above!

Who invented the survival bandana?

Bandanas were invented in India as colorful handkerchiefs for the head, mainly in red and blue colors; They were made from different fabrics, e.g., the silk ones were knit from the best quality material and were really popular. Their main function was to protect people from the heat of the sun.

Soon, people adapted the bandanas for multiple of various uses.

How can I use it in everyday life?

A survival bandanna could be used as an accessory. They are suitable for any outfit, regardless of your style. Most kinds of bandanas are fundamental; thus, they serve as an incredible and simple alternative for a hat. Most of them are available in any color and design, but many preppers go for a basic ‘head for survival’ cotton-style or microfiber lens bandana. Some people like to add a bit of modern touch by having a bandana with useful information printed on it, e.g., skills needed for surviving in minimalist camping.

Why does one need to have the survival bandana?

Bandana is a piece of gear that covers dozens of applications: it can handle everything literally, from keeping your head warm to filtering the water. In this way, it is crucial to carry this piece of cloth with you anytime you are on a trip or in a wilderness.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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