The Many Uses for a Bandana
By Erika M. Seitz

  Bandanas have many uses; each trip I go on with my dog, we always get a new bandana. My dog wears her bandana around her neck, and I usually wear mine around my head, neck or tie it to my pack or boat. The bandana acts as a souvenir to me after I finish a trip. It is my reward for an accomplished camping trip. My crew and I have started the “bandana club” in which, during each camping trip, we all get the same color bandanas and spend the time using them in some fashion. You will find out more later in the article. They make for fun pictures and memories that are not soon forgotten. Note to self; if you are fall camping, it might be a good idea that your bandana is of the neon color assortment. Remember there are hunters out there that may mistake you for a deer… A bandana can save a life!

  I first started this idea at the beginning of the season in 2008 at Mt. Cardigan in Canaan, NH. There was still about three feet of snow on the trail, but it was nice and packed down from hikers snowshoeing and skiing. Once I stepped to the side of the trail by mistake, and I slid down into the snow up to my thigh. I was wearing shorts too. Conveniently I had my red bandana, and used it to wipe off the blood from my leg and ankle. I know it sounds distasteful, but in an emergency situation, you will be glad you have it. I wasn’t kidding when I said bandanas can save a life.

  A few trips later I stopped at a camping store called L.L Cote on my way to Lake Umbagog (pronounced um-bay-gog…the locals are quick to correct you if you pronounce it wrong). The state campground has fantastic remote sites that can only be accessed by boat Anyway, the store had a rack of really nice bandanas made in India, with some really colorful designs. I picked 2 out of the bin below the rack that were missing tags. They were not defective. The woman at the counter sold them to me for $1.98 rather than $4.99 because they didn’t have a tag like the others. When we got to our remote site (#33 and beautiful might I add) I realized that I had forgotten the dish towel for our dishes. I whipped out my bandana and did all the dishes, then cleaned it up and put it back on my head.

  These are just a few examples out of many situations I have encountered where my bandana has saved my behind. Some other uses for bandana’s include but are not limited to:

  Snapple the Kayaking RedboneBandana’s are very easy to clean. I use Dr Bronner’s magic soap which is a vegan vegetable based oil and the only one that is fully safe to use to cleanse within a river or lake. Most state parks and campgrounds require you to wash 50-100 feet from a water source anyways. You can find this cleaner at any health food store, or the natural foods section of a Hannaford or Shaw's. It can also be found at Eastern Mountain Sports. I prefer the lavender scent, but would also recommend the Eucalyptus scent especially in the spring, as Eucalyptus is a natural bug deterrent.

  Bandanas are fast drying and fast acting. One trick to drying your bandana, as recommended with anything you want to dry quickly, is to put the wet product in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night. The heat from your body will work to dry your bandana in the night. Don’t ask me how this works, because to this day the concept still seems silly to me, but it actually does work. Certainly there are circumstances. A sobbing wet bandana on a rainy or cold night might take a little longer to dry than the average 5-7 hours of sleep that a typical camper spends in the sleeping bag. But if you ring out the water to the best of your ability, the expected results are positive. Enjoy your camping trips, and add a few bandanas to your camping gear inventory, you won’t be sorry!