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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Multitalented EDC Bandana

I've never carried a bandana, and didn't quite "get it." I've scene them posted occasionally in EDC pocket dump threads, and wilderness survival guru Dave Canterbury considers them a "must have" item. But I'd never given it a try as a part of my on-person EDC--until this past week.

I'm constantly refining and tweaking the gear that I carry. I'll switch things up for a week or two and see if I like/use an added item. If it's too bulky and I don't use it, I'll give it the heave-ho. So, I decided to give the ol' bandana a shot and shoved one in my back pocket.

The bandanas that I have are about 2 ft by 2 ft--some came from REI, some came from Wal-Mart. They are 100% cotton.

The first thing I noticed about carrying a bandana was how it disappeared and became totally unnoticeable in my pocket. Definitely no burden to carry.

Have I used it? Yep. Mostly to clean off reading glasses, sun glasses, screens of devices, as a towel/napkin, and to protect delicate objects when they're riding in my pocket. For example, I went through a car was the other day, and the dryers didn't get the side mirrors. Voila--bandana dried it up. While not exactly a "critical" use, it's been useful.

I've also been racking my brain and trying to come up with creative uses for bandanas. Some are boring, mundane uses, others are more survival-related. Here are a few ideas:

1. Towel
2. Sponge (soak up dew, moisture and squeeze into your mouth)
3. Napkin when eating
4. Padding for sensitive items (sunglasses, electronics)
5. Head covering
6. Covering your eyes during a nap
7. Blindfold
8. Cowboy-style for protection from breathing in dust
9. If soaked with water and worn over your mouth, provides some protection from smoke inhalation
10. Tourniquet
11. Bandage
12. Sling
14. For making char cloth
15. Hobo-style bindle
16. Keeping small things (nuts, bolts, spent brass, etc.) organized
17. Cleaning rag
18. Improvised weapon (tie a weight onto one corner and presto--flail--or use as any other flexible weapon)
19. Gag
20. Soak with water and wrap around your neck/head to cool you down on a hot day
21. Pre-filter for water filtration
22. Signal (wave to attract attention)
23. Concealment - many people who pocket carry their CCW will place a bandana on top of the gun to further cover it and disguise the outline.
24. Snot rag
25. A wick for a molotov cocktail
26. Cover and protect your hand when climbing or if you need to say, punch through a window.
27. A pot holder
28. Write notes on it you have a sharpie or other permanent marker
29. Entertain young children and toddlers - my boy can be pretty easily distracted and entertained with a bandana.
30. Pack it with ice and use it as a cold pack.
31. Some basic cordage/tying needs--tie something to your pack or belt.
32. Shining cloth for shoes, chrome, etc.
33. Show your gangsta style
34. Sweat band
35. A patch for torn clothes or packs

And of course there are a bajilliion more uses. For the versatility, price ($1-$3 or so) and weight, a bandana is a no-brainer. After a week of carrying, it's made it into my EDC rotation. If you haven't tried out carrying one, give it a shot. You'll like it.

Amazon sells them by the dozen for $12.95. Not bad. Dave Canterbury/Pathfinder School recommends using a 3ft x 3ft bandana, but I haven't been able to find that size. The biggest size that I can find is are called "trainmen" style bandanas, which are 27" by 27"--they are $3 from Amazon. Bigger is better with bandanas, and they pack down to nothing, so no worries about excess bulk.