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Bandana & Survivalism: 30 uses that can save your life

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Bandana & Survivalism: 30 uses that can save your life

A bandana is one of those objects that can be used in thousands of different ways, some of them very original. It's like tape or rope. These objects weigh only a few grams, are very cheap, and are a must have in your survival bag or urban survival gear.

So, through this article, discover 30 uses for bandana that can save your life!

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I - The bandana: more than just a piece of fabric

A bandana is just a piece of cloth to blow your nose, right?

For most, yes, but if you are a serious survivalist, you understand how a single piece of cloth can be an extremely valuable resource if used wisely for survival.

Survival kit

A survival bandana is a tool like any other survival tool.

Many are made from durable materials, while others include survival knowledge.

That's why you should spend money to add one to your survival gear.

So today I'm going to share with you, my 30 favorite survival uses for a bandana.

But first a little story....

How I used a survival bandana in real life

It was in Thailand, around 2am when I fell off my motorcycle while crossing a bridge at 90 kilometers per hour.

Yeah, too fast for a beat up country road on a crappy rental bike. Especially after a rainstorm and a few Chang beers.


But I wasn't alone. In front of me, my two friends had also fallen off a few seconds earlier.

Fortunately, we were alive. So we got up and were stunned to assess the damage. It was rough, but nothing serious: road burns all over our legs and arms, several cuts, many bruises.

No one was going to the hospital, but we were going to be in a lot of pain over the next few weeks.

The moral of the story

I tell this story for one reason in particular: after this fiasco, I had to cover my calves and forearms to protect them from the intense Southeast Asian sun and the insects that kept wanting to lay eggs in my wounds. But I only had shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts.

Besides, I wasn't going to spend the next few weeks sweating in long sleeves and pants while waiting for my wounds to heal. The solution? Survival bandanas tied around my arms and legs.

survivor bandana

They constantly dried the blood from our clothes, kept the sunlight out, kept the bugs away and, while leaving some air to help promote scabbing and healing. Soon, we all adopted this tactic, and it helped us tremendously.

These bandanas came in handy several more times in this adventure, and for many different reasons. To protect our wounds, to protect our skin from the sun, to keep moisture from evaporating from exposed skin, as pot holders and wash cloths, and even eventually as a rope for tying.

It was on this trip that I realized that bandanas are one of the simplest, most versatile, lightest and cheapest survival tools you can take with you. Almost everyone can afford at least one, they tie easily on a bag, can be worn anywhere, are discreet and serve a multitude of purposes

survivalism bandana man


II - Bandana: 30 vital uses

So without further ado, here is a list of potential uses for bandanas in the context of survival:

  1. Signal (see also signal mirror)
  2. Neck girdle for cold weather
  3. Tourniquet (but for snake bites, use a Sawyer extractor)
  4. Pot cover/lid
  5. Wild food collection
  6. Sunscreen for neck
  7. Harness/sling (first aid - see also the medical kits for you BOB)
  8. Sling (as in David and Goliath)
  9. Shoulder strap (for a stick)
  10. Rope (in strips or as is)
  11. Washcloth/Towel (Bathing in a collapsible bucket)
  12. Sweatband
  13. Waist bag/pouch
  14. Packaging to store food
  15. Covering a space
  16. Cleaning for firearms
  17. Wrapping and sizing paper for bullets
  18. Gun wipe (with oil)
  19. Toilet paper
  20. Marking a trail
  21. Dish rag
  22. Table napkin
  23. Eye patch
  24. Water pre-filter (like coffee filters)
  25. Cleaning glasses and other lenses
  26. Earmuffs
  27. Tie a rock and throw a line over a branch.
  28. Dust mask (for urban survival)
  29. Moisture and wear in hot weather
  30. Sneezing

Whatever the reason, I strongly encourage everyone to keep at least one survival bandana in your bug out bag and even more so in all your supply caches (bug out bags, medical bags, survival vehicles, survival cabins, underground food containers and survival caches).


You never know when the need may arise to use a bandana in a survival situation. Sure, maybe you never get the chance or maybe tomorrow you'll be thrown into a chaotic series of events that will leave you miles away from everything, lost, disoriented and confused.

Bandanas (also known as cloth face masks) are one of those easy to care for pieces of equipment that can honestly save your life if you really need them.

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III - Summary of the Bandana's usefulness for survival:

Obviously, the list of potential uses for a survival bandana presented here is not exhaustive, but represents the most obvious, and some of my favorite creative uses. You can probably think of a few more, and in an emergency, under pressure, who knows what kind of crazy uses you'll find for your bandanas.

If I hadn't packed a survival bandana when I was traveling, I could have gotten an infection, severe skin damage, or worse, baby flies coming out of my skin. But because I was prepared, and because I understood the versatility of the survival bandana, I was able to save myself from these horrors.

If you have any other survival bandana ideas or stories, please feel free to share them. People need to understand how easy they are to keep and how useful they can be in a dangerous situation.

If you're looking for the perfect bandanas for survival or camping, I'd check out this collection of men's bandanas.

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