One of the most versatile pieces of gear you can carry on your daily adventures is also one of the least expensive. I’ve picked up a 3 pack of cotton bandannas for as little as $1.99 at the local big-box store before a trip. The good old cotton bandanna is something that has a million uses, but here are 30 important ones. You don’t have to be travelling somewhere to use it. You can keep a couple in your car, just in case you can use it in your daily adventure.

Blow your nose – Of course!

Hold a splint – With a couple solid pieces of wood, your cotton friend can help you secure a sprained ankle or broken bone.

Bandage – Stop the bleeding and cover up that wound so it’s clean when you get to the clinic.

Smoke/dust mask – Use it wet or dry depending on how dirty the air is.

Neck gaiter – Keep the back of your neck from getting burnt on a hike.

Dew rag – The classic use of the paisley bandanna on your head. If you have long hair, this can keep it tamed, or keep a chrome dome from a sunburn.

Water pre-filter – If you are acquiring water from a local source, use the bandanna to filter out large particles before purifying it.

Shelter ties – If you have to build a makeshift shelter, you can use bandanna strips to secure poles or crossmembers.

Stabilize stick in eye – In the case of a sharp stick in the eye, you don’t want to pull it out. Use a circle of fabric to secure the object and get to a doctor immediately.

Cool compress – If you’re feeling overheated, you can wet your bandanna and cool yourself with the evaporative effect.

Sweat wipe – On the contrary, use it to wipe sweat from your brow so it doesn’t get in your eyes.

Clean glasses/sunglasses/goggles

Gather wild foods – It’s an easy way to corral those wild berries along the trail. (Just make sure you know what’s safe to eat!)

Signal flag – Great for waving someone down for a ride or assistance.

Tourniquet – Hopefully you never need this one, but if you have to stop major bleeding of a limb, this can do it.

Pot holder – Don’t burn yourself on the coffee pot at camp.

Washcloth – We all get a little dirty now and then, use it to wash your face.

Toilet paper – Last resort! (Don’t litter, though.)

Eye patch – If you need to cover an eye to keep from scratching.

Snow goggles – If you need to prevent snow blindness, cut a slit in it and cover your eyes.

Arm sling – Try not to break your arm, but if you do, a couple tied together can help stabilize the injury.

Trail marker – Tie small strips of it to branches if you need to remember your trail.

Coffee filter – Use it teabag-style to get your morning joe if you’re in the wild.

Sleep mask – If you need darkness to nap on the plane, you can blindfold yourself with it.

Ear cover – Keep the wind out on a blustery day or keep them warm with it.

Flyswatter – Shoo away those pesky insects with it.

Luggage identifier – Have black suitcase? Tie a couple on the handle to make it easier to spot at baggage claim.

Makeshift belt – You might need to tie strips of it together, but at least your pants won’t fall down!

Minnow net – Need to catch some bait for fishing?

Ponytail tie – It’s okay for this, but not for a man-bun.  Never for that.

I’m sure there’s a couple I’ve missed. What do you use a bandana for in your daily adventures?

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