11 Outdoor Uses for a Bandana
May 25th, 2016 by Curtis Condon

Fabric and color are two things to consider when shopping for an outdoors bandana. Generally, you want an eye-catching color, such as red or orange, since the bandana may be used as a marker or signal flag, and because it makes it harder to lose. Cotton is a good, all-around fabric choice, due to its light weight and comfort. Cotton also is very absorbent, which comes in handy when used as a drying cloth, cooling wrap or sweatband. Photo by Tarik Kizilkaya

Bandanas are a lightweight, versatile outdoor necessity. Not only can they make a fashion statement, they also have dozens of practical uses. Here are 11 of the most notable ones:

  • Head cover. Buff. Do-rag. Whatever you call it, a bandana can keep the sun off of your head and junk out of your hair.
  • Signal flag. Also great for marking things, such as trails, hazards or rally points.
    First-aid gear. Use as a bandage, tourniquet, sling or makeshift ice pack. It also works for binding a splint.
  • Cleaning cloth.
    A bandana offers hundreds of cleaning uses. Wash your face, wipe your gear, clean a wound, wash dishes, clean your glasses, blow your nose—you get the idea.
  • Coffee filter. Separate the grounds from coffee by pouring it through a bandana. Also, use it as a salad spinner, a pasta strainer or a water prefilter.
  • Sweatband. Cotton fabric works best. Roll it up and tie around your head to keep sweat out of your eyes. Bandanas also work great as wristbands to keep hands dry when using trekking poles.
  • Cooling wrap. A bandana soaked in water and tied around the neck provides a refreshing treat on a hot day.
  • Pot holder. Protect your hands from burns while handling hot pots or pans on a stove or over a campfire.
  • Face mask. Wear it over your nose and mouth to protect against wind, sun, smoke and dust.
  • Tinder. A dry, cotton bandana can be torn and “fuzzed” to create firestarter. Use this as a last resort, only if other fire-starting materials are not readily available.
  • Cordage. Use a bandana for binding things. For addi-tional length, tear it into strips and tie them together.

Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s easy to overlook the little things. They don’t take much time or effort—and don’t seem significant—but they can make a big difference.

What follows are three “little things” you might consider before heading out on your next fishing excursion.

Keep your hooks sticky sharp. It just takes a few minutes to sharpen them yourself or pick up new ones at the sporting goods store.

Spin on a fresh spool of line, especially if it has been months since you last replaced it.

Take along a thermometer. Water temperature is an important factor. An accurate read allows you to predict hatches, and find cooler water in summer and warmer water in colder weather.

Outdoor 101: Different Rope for Different Folks

  • General-purpose rope. Made of hemp, cotton, or other natural or synthetic material, it has limited strength, but can be used for lashing light loads, clotheslines and practicing knot tying. Its primary advantages are it is cheap and readily available.
  • Poly rope. This is a waterproof version of general-purpose rope. It is inexpensive, durable and floats, but it can be difficult to work with.
  • Marine rope. It is strong and weatherproof, which makes it ideal for rigging and mooring lines.

What Day is It?
June 4: National Trails Day
June 18: Go Fishing Day
June 18: Picnic Day
June 25: National Catfish Day

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.