Saved by…A Shirt or Bandanna

Everyone brings a shirt or bandanna into the backcountry. Here, 9 ways to increase its usefulness.

Use it to…

  • Make rope (cut into thin strips and twist).
  • Crudely filter water or collect dew for drinking.
  • Make a schemag (traditional Arab headdress) to protect face/eyes from sunlight/dust/sandstorm.
  • Make a hat/neck gaiter. For a cooling gaiter, “Pee on it, then wrap,” says Bear.
  • Mark a trail (cut into small pieces) or signal for help.
  • Fashion an arm sling.
  • Make a tourniquet or bandage.
  • Rig a hobo bag (to carry essentials if you get separated from your pack).
  • Make char cloth (see the video). By burning cotton in an enclosed container, you can create an excellent firestarter that ignites with the merest of sparks.