60 Uses for a Bandana for Survival Purposes

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By Joel Jefferson •  3 min read

A bandana is another one of those things that is useful for a thousand things but nothing specific. It’s right up there with duct tape and rope.  The things only weigh a couple ounces, they are dirt cheap and are a must-have in your Bug Out Bag or Urban Survival Gear. Here is just a shortlist of possible uses for a bandana.

  1. Signal (also see signal mirror)
  2. Neck Gaiter for cold weather
  3. Tourniquet (But for Snake Bites use a Sawyer Extractor)
  4. Pot Holder
  5. Collecting Wild Edibles
  6. Sunblock for neck
  7. Sling (first-aid – also see medical kits for you BOB)
  8. Sling (as in David and Goliath)
  9. Sling (for a staff )
  10. Cordage  (strips or as is)
  11. Washcloth/Towel (Bathe out of a Collapsible Bucket)
  12. Sweatband
  13. Waist pack/pouch
  14. Hobo Pack
  15. Padding a hotspot
  16. Cleaning Patches for Firearm
  17. Bullet Patches for Muzzleloader
  18. Gun Wipe Cloth (with oil)
  19. Toilet Paper
  20. Mark a Trail
  21. Dish Rag
  22. Napkin
  23. Eye patch
  24. Pre-water No products found. (like Coffee Filters)
  25. Clean Glasses and other lens
  26. Ear Muffs
  27. Bind a stone and toss a line over a limb
  28. Dust Mask (in Urban Survival)
  29. Wet and wear for Hot Weather
  30. Sneezing
  31. First aid bandage
  32. Ice pack when snow and ice are available
  33. Snow goggles
  34. Lash poles 
  35. Lash a tripod 
  36. Make a dip net 
  37. Use as a wind gauge
  38. Use as a press to squeeze water from saturated materials 
  39. A glove to pick up dirty items 
  40. A tool lanyard 
  41. Collect morning dew
  42. Patching material for gear repair 
  43. Make char cloth 
  44. Make a fly fishing lure
  45. An automatic signaling flag for traps 
  46. A muzzle 
  47. Improvised handcuffs 
  48. A blind 
  49. Padding in footwear 
  50. A cheek pad for long gun stocks 
  51. Fashion a zipper pull
  52. Hat liner 
  53. Padding under straps 
  54. Lens cover to protect optics 
  55. Clean out water bladder tubing 
  56. Wave away annoying insects 
  57. Keep track of tools and people by tying brightly colored bandanas to them. 
  58. A potholder for removing hot items from a fire
  59. Improvised tea or coffee bag
  60. A general collection container

More Than One 

Since bandanas are so cheap and easy to carry it is a great idea to have more than one, but you should keep them separated. Have a few available that can be used frequently for “dirty” work such as wiping sweat off your face or tying gear up. Keep the rest of them clean by storing them in a baggie in your pocket or pack. 

Cutting a Bandana 

If you need to cut a bandanna for cordage the first approach is to cut the material into straight strips. This works but it limits the overall length of a single piece of cordage.

To get the most cordage and longest single piece possible out of a bandana try this instead. Start at the corner of the bandanna and begin cutting around the perimeter. As the cut progresses turn the cutting tool so that you are cutting in a more circular motion. By spiraling inward, you can achieve a much longer piece of cordage. 

What Else?

Bandanas have many uses and we highly recommend them. They have many use-cases and should be an essential part of any type of “go” bag.

Leave a comment and tell us what else you use bandanas for.

Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.