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Bandanas are inexpensive and easy to carry in your emergency kits. They are useful in many, many ways. Purchase a few at a time until you have a little stash at work, at home, and in the car.

Personal Comfort

  1. You lose quite a bit of body heat through your head so a scarf or head covering is essential during cold weather. During hot weather a scarf will prevent the sun burning your scalp and will help to cool you.
  2. Hair Tie. When your hair needs to be tied back and out of your face, a bandana can help or use to wrap your hair like a doo rag.
  3. Sweat band. Tie around head to catch sweat when hot and/or working.
  4. Wash Cloth. Small enough o store easily and gets the job done.
  5. Tie the corners together and fill with leaves or pine needles and use it to sit on when you are on rocky ground or use it to sleep.
  6. Sleep Mask. Need to sleep when it’s still daylight? Fold the bandana and tie it around your head covering your eyes.
  7. Tuck a bandana partially under your hat allowing the remainder to hang over your neck to protect against sunburn.
  8. Heat up. Heat a palm size rock near the fire. Carefully place in center of bandana. Place in bottom of your sleeping bag or over your clothes on your chest to keep your core warm. Great if stranded in the winter or during a power outage.
  9. Heating pad. Fill with small rocks that have been warmed by the fire, tie shut and use on sore or pulled muscles. Again, place over clothing.
  10. Cool down. Wrap a wet one bandana around your neck for evaporative cooling when hot.
  11. Use as feminine product substitute. Doesn’t sound like fun but that’s the way our grandmas had to do it.
  12. Earmuffs in cold weather.
  13. Wear over hat to tie it on when you are experiencing a windy day.
  14. Wrapping for soap so it is easier to handle when bathing or washing clothing in a pool or river.

On the Move

  1. Trail Marker. Because bandanas are easy to see they are great to use when marking a trail, either for you to follow when returning or for others to find or follow you. Tear your bandana into strips and tie tightly at eye level to mark your trail. A trail is crucial if you are stranded and choose to leave your car.
  2. Lean-to. Tie together the supports for a lean-to.
  3. Wrap around your ankles and walk through tall grass in the morning. The bandana will soak up the dew. Wring out the bandana for water.
  4. Bite prevention. Wrap around your ankles over your pant legs to prevent insects and ticks from climbing your legs and biting.
  5. Dust buster. Wrap bandanas around ankles and wrists over pant legs and sleeves to prevent dust entering during a dust storm.
  6. Fish net. Tie bandana on two sticks in several places to make an improvised net to scoop small fish from the water. OR Cut into strips and weave. Attach to two branches and scoop up fish.
  7. String a line. Tie a stone in center of bandana, tie on a rope and toss over a limb. This works great for stringing up a HAM radio antenna. To hang a clothesline or when constructing a shelter.
  8. Pre-Filter. Pour water through bandana before purifying to strain out debris.
  9. Fold two bandanas together into fourths and use as a potholder.
  10. Use to collect kindling or berries.
  11. Cut into strips and braid or knot to make a rope.
  12. Snow Blindness. Fold Bandana. Cut two small slits in bandana and place slits over eyes. You will be able to see but will protect your eyes from the sun’s rays reflected off the snow.
  13. Pin a few together to cover the opening of your emergency shelter or snow cave keeping the wind out.
  14. Food cover. Place over food/drink to keep flies from enjoying your food.
  15. Hobo pack. Tie on a stick to carry food or small items while walking.
  16. Bear protection. Tie food in bandana and hang in tree out of reach of bears and other animals. (See number 20)
  17. Fold and pad shoulders when carrying a heavy backpack.
  18. Mark dangers. Place strip on guy lines on tents, HAM radio antennas or mark clotheslines so you don’t run into them.
  19. Emergency repair for a broken strap on a pack.
  20. Hang lantern in tent or tree.
  21. Smoke signal. Soak the bandana and carefully hold above the fire until smoke gathers, then release the smoke. Do this in an open area for best results when stranded or lost.


  1. A bandana can make a great impromptu sling.
  2. Be careful when using a tourniquet and only use when bleeding can’t be stopped in any other way.
  3. Pressure bandage. Fold and place directly over wound and apply pressure. When wound is on the leg or arm wrap a second bandana around the appendage and over the folded bandana to apply the pressure.
  4. Use to tie on splints.
  5. Ice pack. Hold four edges and fill center with ice or snow. Tie and place on wound or injury.
  6. Eye patch. If you injure your eye fold a few times, place over injured eye and tie around head.
  7. Sunburn relief. Soak bandana in cool water and place over sunburn.
  8. Headache relief. Soak bandana in cold water and place over eyes and forehead.
  9. Skin protection. Wrap around skin before placing on a splint or brace. The fabric will prevent the splint form rubbing the skin and doing damage.

A few More

  1. When you don’t have a box of tissues use a bandana.
  2. Even when eating during disaster napkins are important.
  3. Dish cloth. Wash those dishes.
  4. Tie around the neck of young children.
  5. Strain pasta or veggies.
  6. Wrap it around your face as a dust mask.
  7. Wrap around hand when picking up debris or a messy item.
  8. Place a rock or other heavy items in a bandana and tie a knot holding in the item and use as a defensive weapon. Keep in your pocket during civil unrest or under your pillow when sleeping in the wild or while camping in the yard protecting your home from looters. Let’s hope you never need this one.
  9. Cleaning cloth. Clean your gun.
  10. Sling shot. Another way to protect yourself or with a little practice to kill a small animal. If you are stranded and hungry this won’t seem so distasteful.
  11. Plug a hole. Wrap around a puncture in an auto hose or a garden hose.
  12. Include bandanas that are unusual and all the same color in your 5-day kits. When you are faced with a crisis or in an evacuation center have each family member tie the bandana around his or her head. It will now be easier to find a lost member. People will remember seeing s cute little boy with a bandana but they may not remember seeing a cute little boy whose description could be one of a hundred little boys. You may want to purchase fabric and make your own for this so your bandanas truly stand out.
  13. As with number 57 use a bandana to make your group easily memorable when vacationing and enjoying an amusement park or other venue with crowds where you many easily be separated.
  14. Tie together to replace a broken belt or when clothing you are given after a disaster is too large.
  15. Pet ID. Tie a bandana around the neck of a pet and again it will make the pet easier to identify if they should become lost.
  16. Toy time. Fill the center of a bandana with sand, rice or small pebbles and use to toss at a target or through a hole in a piece of cardboard or into a pail. It is important to keep children occupied when stranded, in a shelter or when the adults are sorting or cleaning up after a disaster.
  17. Place on antenna or hang out closed window to signal you are in need of help.
  18. Tie brightly colored bandana on a long stick to attract attention. A moving bright color will get noticed from a distance if rescuers are looking for you.
  19. Attach to end of a long load when evacuating.
  20. Mark your belongings. Tie around belongings to make them easily identifiable from other.
  21. Finally TP. Obviously you will need to wash after each use but as a last resort, better than nothing.

Now it’s time to add bandanas to your emergency kits, along with this list. Place a copy of the list in your preparedness binder. Also, consider purchasing or making bandanas as gifts for others who are striving to become more prepared, again, include a copy of this list with your gift.

This week a post on Carolyn’s Facebook page with an evacuation list has reached 50,000 readers. Check out the list to add to your binders just in case. If you haven’t already done so also like her page and show her your support.