15 Uses for Bandanas That Could Save Your Life

15 Uses for bandanas that could save your lifeWhen you are in a life or death situation you have to find the value hidden in every single thing that you have. A bandana is a great example of a camping survival tool. A simple item to have with you while camping, but when things take a turn for the worse, the bandana becomes a valuable and flexible item. An item that can save your life.


Any color bandana can be used as a visual signal depending on your situation. Simply waving it in the air can give you a better shot at being spotted by any rescue team that might be looking for you. You can also tie it off on a branch or on some sticks and place it outside a cave in which you might be staying so they can locate you without you having to stand out in weather.


If you ever need to stop a wound from bleeding out, you will need to make a tourniquet. A bandana can be used as one if the need arises. You want to make sure you put the tourniquet 'above' the wound, meaning higher up the limb, closer to the center of your body. If the wound is right on a joint you want to make sure you place the tourniquet as close to the joint as possible, while still being above.


If the need arises, you can tear your bandana into thin strips. Then you can lace these strips together to form a rope. A rope is possibly the most important camping survival tool. This rope can be strong enough to carry a little bit of weight or keep a bandage in place. Obviously this ruins the Bandana. If you need to keep the bandana intact, you can spin it to make a shorter rope that is not as strong, but you keep the bandana whole.

Sun Protection

The sun can cause a lot of problems when you are walking for hours and hours under the hot rays. A little bit of sun protection can go a long way if you are going to have to endure the sun for a long time. You can put the bandana over the back of your neck to keep the sun off. Couple this with a hat and you'll have a decent amount of protection no matter how long you are outside.


If you fall or otherwise injure your arm, you will need a sling to keep it still as you try to make your way back to society. If the bandana is long enough, you want to tie the bandana off around your neck and form a loop so you can put the injured arm inside of the loop. If the bandana is smaller, look to just make a loop with it and then use a different rope or shirt to finish off the sling.

Water Filter Protection

When talking camping survival, clean water is one of your most important resources. While a bandana is not going to be good as a water filter, it can add a lot of longevity to the water filter you already have. When you are filtering out your water, have your filter set up so the water must pass through the bandana first. This will keep all the big stuff away from the filter which will protect it and keep it in good working order for a long while.


If you happen to get an open wound while out on the trail a bandana can make for a life saving bandage. You'll want to clean the wound as much as possible and you might want to get something to tie the bandage down. But once you do that, the bandage can keep even large wounds covered and protected.


We don't all have breadcrumbs with us as we venture into the outdoors. If you are going out in a direction that looks like every other direction, you can use bits of a bandana to mark your way. This will allow you to come back if you need to, or you can make sure you don't follow your old ways and keep heading some place new. It's best to tie off these small pieces on trees and bushes instead of just leaving scraps on the ground.


Sometimes you are going to need to carry stuff around, but you'll need your arms available. This could be food you've foraged, supplies you've found, or anything else. With a few simple folds you can turn your bandana into a small, portable pouch which could be your only way of carrying extra supplies.

Toilet Paper

There comes a time when you need that fresh and clean feeling after using the outdoor bathroom. You may not always have paper towels, toilet paper, or other things. A few scraps of a bandana can be your gateway to a clean experience.

Cold Protection

In the winter you need to protect yourself from the cold. Not only do you need to keep the snow and rain off of you, but you also need to keep the air off of you. A bandana can be used to as ear muffs or neck gaiters which will keep your skin protected from the cold, cold air.

Ice Pack

If you need to form an ice pack, the bandana can be your only way. Simply put a pack of snow, or ice, in the middle of the bandana and fold around it. You want to make sure you get a good amount of cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent any negative effects. This also works without snow or ice, just leave your bandana in some water, preferably a moving stream, until it gets cold. Then wrap that around the hurt area. This works especially well for unexpected burns.

Wind Protection

Many things might need a little bit of help staying down when the wind starts. A bandana can help tie off your tent to a tree. It can also be used to tie certain light-weight gear to things that weigh more, so it stays where it belongs.


A bandana with a little bit of thread and a needle can be used to patch up just about anything you might have with you when you are camping and hiking. It won't be waterproof, but it will let you rest easy in your sleeping bag and tent knowing it's completely closed off.


Walking in the hot heat of the summer, under a big, bright sun can make you sweat a lot. Keeping the sweat out of your eyes and off your face is important. You can wear your bandana as some kind of cloth around the head. This cloth will soak up the sweat and keep it off of you. You know, like a bandana. These 15 uses show the potential of the bandana. While normally it is just a great fashion choice or a perfect train robber accessory the bandana becomes a great tool when you are stuck in the outdoors and your choices are limited. Making every item as useful as possible can be the difference between life and death.

Article written by

Troy Robbins is an accomplished outdoor journalist. He has his BA in Writing from Chester College in New Hampshire. Troy has over three year's experience writing a broad range of topics including poetry, graphic novels, screenplays, short fiction, and e-sports articles. Troy is an avid gamer, hockey player, and a professional coffee drinker.

One Response

  1. Pat April 13, 2016 at 7:49 PM | | Reply

    Nice article Troy. I must admit I laughed out loud when I read the part about toilet paper. I think there are a few other items I would use before sacrificing my prized bandana for a clean backside 🙂

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