When I was packing for my very first trip, I threw in a 22” x 22” piece of cloth, commonly known as a bandana. Every survival guide recommended it and it’s no weight, so why not? I couldn’t think of a reason not to. Into my pack it went.

I can remember on one particular trip, there were mosquitoes – a lot of mosquitoes. Too many mosquitoes! It was a problem, especially because I didn’t pack any effective bug repellent. I was told there were supposed to be few bugs in the region I was visiting, but a record breaking snow fall the winter prior had left plenty of water for the vermin to procreate. So there I was, hiking around for miles while unwillingly helping to breed more of these blood suckers. I did what I could to stop them; I rolled my sleeves down, I brushed them off, I used the weak-ass repellant that I had.
It wasn’t until I took a break to wipe my brow with my bandana that I started batting the mosquitoes away in anger. It worked. Even a light wave of the bandana by my face was enough to get them away from my face for a few seconds. From that point on, I kept track of all the wonderful things this piece of cloth could bless me with:

The whip – whip around face to keep clouds of mosquitoes away from face and ears

Cool kid – dampen and tie around forehead to cool off while hiking

Bandit cooking – tie around face, as a bandit would, during prep and cooking to keep mosquitoes out of face

Hiker’s Shower – dampen and wipe down sweaty spots and any hot spots at the end of the day to have a sense of cleanliness

Pot sticker – dampen and use biodegradable soap to clean out pots, bottles, and utensils

Sweat band – tie around forehead to stop sweat drips (especially helpful if you wear glasses)

Booger buster fold in half and blow, in classic handkerchief style

Now, I always pack bandannas on every trip. They are extremely useful even when you aren’t in a survival situation. I’m excited to use the trail map bandanas available here. It’ll ad another great attribute to the bandanna.