36 Survival Uses Of A Bandana

The bandana is high on top of the often-forgotten-survival-items list. People don’t usually regard this item as a survival item which is why it gets left out often. However, like rope or cordage and duct tape, the bandana can have a thousand different uses in a survival situation – but not a single specific one.

In this post, I have gathered a list of survival uses for a bandana from different prepping and survival blogs. So here are 36 uses for bandana and more reasons for you to start including them in your emergency kit, BOB or EDC if you haven’t already…

1. Signal – a bright colored bandana is best; hung up as flag over a campsite or swing it around on a stick.

2. Makeshift bag/ Hobo pack – tie opposing corners to carry all sorts of loose items.

3. Tourniquet – not so much for snake bites, but for a dangerously bleeding extremity.

4. Cordage – tear off strips and twist them to a cord or you can use the whole bandana.

5. Mask – protection against dust, allergens, sand storm, as smoke filter

6. Sun protection

7. First aid sling to fix a busted arm

8. Cold compress – wet the bandana or fold it up with snow or ice for a cold compress.

9. Towel or washcloth

10. Sling (weapon)

11. Water filter or more specifically, a pre-filter (to clear the water and protect your water filter from premature clogging)

12. Bandage (must be clean)

13. Dish rag

14. Pot mitt

15. Warmth provider – use bandana to stave off frostbite, as earmuffs or as gaiter

16. Mark your trail with pieces of bandana

17. Gear wrap – prevents your gear in your backpack from making a noise and attracting unwanted attention

18. Napkin

19. Eye patch

20. For fire – you can soak a cotton bandana in oil to make a torch or you can use it dry as tinder when building a fire

21. For collecting wild edibles

22. Sweatband

23. Waist pack/pouch

24. Cleaning patches for firearm

25. Bullet patches for muzzleloader

26. Gun wipe cloth (with oil)

27. Clean glasses and other lens

28. Bind a stone and toss a line over a limb

29. Sneezing

30. Padding a hotspot to keep from blistering

31. Protection from foul odors (add a few drops of essential oil)

32. Wet and wear in hot weather to keep you cool

33. As a net to catch minnows and other bait

35. Cloth diaper for a child

36. Toilet paper (if you have no other options)

Any other survival uses for a bandana you’d like to add to this list? Post them in the comment below!



  1. Scott Murray on November 26, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Sea anchor

  2. Joseph Loya on December 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    You can use it to make char cloth if you are low on tinder and extend your ability to make fire which may be nessesary if you find yourself on the move which you might do if you have to self rescue.

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