According to Merriam-Webster a bandana is a square piece of cloth that is used as a head covering or worn around the neck. This definition is missing all the other useful ways a bandana can be used. As I’ve mentioned before, when you pack you want to make sure everything has at least two uses, and in this case the bandana has at least 16 uses which makes it a must-pack item when traveling. For less than $1 each, this travel item is definitely budget friendly.
One of the more obvious ways it to use it as a handkerchief, a small piece of fabric carried in ones pocket with the intention of blowing or wiping ones nose.
2. Head cover
If the sun is beating down on you and you don’t have a hat, the next best thing is to keep your head covered with a bandana.
Folded many times over and tied around your forehead works as a way to keep sweat from rolling down your face and into your eyes.
4. Neck/Shoulder cooler
Dip the bandana is water and wring out most so that water is no longer dripping. Even on the hottest days a wet bandana on your neck and/or shoulders will help cool you down significantly.
Think of it as a reusable napkin to wipe your face or any spills. Make sure to wash your bandana daily if possible as it will get dirty in this manner.
6. Face Mask
Pollution and dust can be a major issue in many countries. Holding up a bandana up to your face or tying it around your face will help keep most of it out of your lungs. You can also use it to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
7. Shoulder Cover
Many churches and temples require you to have your knees and shoulders covered before entering. You can use a bandana to cover up when needed so you aren’t denied access to many places.
In extreme circumstances, it can be used to tie around an injured limb to slow down blood loss.
9. Snack Bag
In happier circumstances, it can be used as a bag to keep small food items in one place.
10. Water Filter
A bandana can be used as step one in filtering water. It will remove large objects like rocks, sticks, leaves, and bugs. You will still need to boil the water or use a Sawyer Straw.
Sometimes there’s no time for a full on shower or it’s too cold to jump under a shower head. This is where the washcloth bandana comes in to help ensure you still get cleaned up.
12. Headband/Hair Tie
Keep your hair out of your face by wearing it as a headband. If you have extra long hair, use it to tie a ponytail or braid.
13. Ice Pack
Wrap around a few handfuls of ice to use as an ice pack. You shouldn’t apply ice directly to skin.
Another DIY emergency accessory item. Hold your injured arm steady in the bandana that’s wrapped around your shoulder.
15. Splint Tie
Rolled or sprained your foot or wrist? Keep it steady with a couple sticks held in place with a bandana.
16. Fly Swatter
Using the ‘rat tail’ method, roll the bandana and use it to precisely hit any pesky flies.
Check out this nifty infographic of all the ways to use a bandana below.
What’s your favorite way you use your bandana?