We often include bandanas on our Adventures in Good Company trip packing lists and people often ask: do we really need one?
True, it is not essential, but it is incredible multi-useful and here are just 5 suggestions.
For your head. You can use it in lieu of a hat to cover the top of your head on your kayaking vacation. You can use it as a sweatband around your forehead to keep sweat and sunscreen from running in your eyes on your next hiking adventure. You can wet it in a cold stream and either wrap around your head or tie it around the back of your neck. This will cool your body temperature down a couple degrees
For your lunch. You can use it as a napkin, or like a plate to hold your sandwich. You can pour some of the trail mix into it and use it like a little sack to eat your snack out of. You could even use it to collect wild blueberries or raspberries should you be lucky enough to find ripe berries
First aid. You can use it as a cold compress on bumps and bruises. You can use it as a makeshift sling for an arm. You could use it to secure a splint. Or should you need it, you could use it as a tourniquet to stop bleeding
As a pot holder. I am sure there are many uses for a bandana in a camping kitchen, but my favorite and most common use is when I am cooking over a stove and need something like an oven mitt. I wrap it up in my hand and can then use it to grab hot pan lids, coffee pot handles, and even a pot itself
Instead of using toilet paper, dedicate one of your bandanas for this function. You can then rinse it off in a stream, the sea, or even a little of your drinking water. Then hang it to dry on your pack or across your canoe thwart. Urine is sterile so this an environmental and cleanly use, but make sure you thoroughly dry it out each day. If you continue to store it in a zip lock after each use, even if you rinse it, it will soon become bacteria laden and stinky. And definitely do not use this bandana on your head or to grab food at lunch!