Five Reasons to Have a Bandanna
Kevin Felts 04.04.17
Over the past 30 years there has been one item that has been constant in my outdoor gear, and that has been the bandanna. When I find a new knife and I like, it replaces the old one. Backpacks are replaced with newer and better designs. Boots and clothing wear out.
The bandanna packed in my Maxpedition Vulture II is around 20 years old. The one I used between the 1980s and 1990s was lost a long time ago.
What makes the bandanna so wonderful? It may be just a piece of cloth, but its uses are almost infinite.
The bandanna can be used as an emergency bandage. It may not be absorbent like a real bandage, but it can also be used as an emergency tourniquet. Nor will it be sterile like a freshly opened bandage.
I can not count the number of times I have gone camping or hiking and my first aid kit was a bandanna, pair of tweezers, and a tick lasso tick removal tool.
Not having a fully stocked first aid kit may seem odd to some people. However, over the past 30 years the vast majority of accidents were taken care of with basic first aid. Apply a bandanna and direct pressure to stop the bleeding.
When you get back to civilization seek medical attention.
The bandanna makes a good sweat rag. Here in Southeast Texas our summers get in the upper 90s to low 100s and with humidity in the 90 percent range. Doing anything outdoors in July and August is like being in an oven.
Since the material is lightweight, it can dry somewhat fast. I will sometimes tie a bandanna around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes. Or use it as a rag to wipe my face off.
While on a hiking or camping trip I will use a bandanna as a table cloth. Spread out on the ground with cooking and eating utensils placed on top of it.
This adds a layer between the ground and my food. It helps prevent bugs from climbing from under a leaf and going directly onto my food.
After the meal is over, the bandanna is used to to wipe my hands, face and utensils. While hiking, I like to eat next to a stream. This is to make sure I have plenty of water to cook and drink with my meal.
After everything is wiped off, the bandanna is washed in the stream. It is then hung outside the pack to dry. It may be tied to a D-ring or webbing, just something where it can air dry.
In July 2016 I went on a hot weather hiking trip with a gear sling pack. After around five or six miles the shoulder pad was grinding into my shoulder. The pain got so bad it was unbearable. At a couple of points I thought about dropping the pack and going back to get it later.
A bandanna was folded several times and placed between my shoulder and the strap. This relieved some of the pain. I eventually had to take the pack off and carry it by hand.
Bandanna is More Than a Cloth
With so many colors and patterns, the it is more than just a cloth, it is a reflection of the person who uses it.
For the past 30 years my bandannas have been woodland camo. However, I would love to have one in tiger stripe camo.