The Best Survival Bandana for Preppers and Survivalists

Survival tools abound, but one is often underestimated: the humble bandana. The bandana is the easiest survival tool for any survival gear. The Survival Bandana goes further and offers more versatility so you are better prepared for emergencies. They can signal, inform and even have updated first aid designs.

Most bandanas we know are made of fine, cheap cotton fabric with a colorful paisley pattern. These bandanas are popular accessories for everyone from cowboys to gang members and all the hipsters in between. They are cheap and do their job in no time, but there are better quality survival wipes to choose from. That’s where we come in. We have researched and tested all survival bandanas and selected the best overall choice at a reasonable price, as well as a high quality upgrade option. If you need a bandana for your survival kit, then one of our options is perfect for you.

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Best Survival Bandana

Colter Co. Reflective Bandana

Hi-Vis or Graumann, durable and versatile

This informative bandana is available in digital camouflage or high visibility orange with reflective print, both options are the best choice for your survival kit.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

You can get the bandana from Stay Colter Co. In reflective high-visibility orange or grey urban camouflage for men, depending on whether or not you need a bandana for your signaling. Bandana 22″ x 22″, 100% cotton, made in the USA. The reflective ink stays in place and does not wash out or degrade, even after multiple washes and our field tests.

Colter Co. manufactures many bandanas, and their best seller are the two survival options they offer. You can also find these high quality informative bandanas, but they don’t have survival tips or reflective prints:

  • Star Bandana: Shines in the black star chart – ideal for night sailing.
  • Know your bandana knots: If knots are giving you a hard time, this practical guide to knots with 16 survival knots is a wise choice.
  • Ten C’s Bandana Survival: Another variation on the Bandana Survival, but less informative and without reflective ink.
  • Ouija Bandana Board: ideal for novelty and fun, but don’t expect a ghost to cross you.
  • Bandana fly fishing buttons: 9 buttons, very appreciated for fly fishing, can help you in case of problem
  • 1911 Bandana: The puffy look of the popular gun is perfect if it’s your gun.

While we prefer the vibrant print, with reflective colors and survival information, each of these bandanas can be a solid quality choice depending on your situation and experience.

Budget for Bandana

UST survival cloth

Cheap, informative, good visibility.

A quality, functional and half price survival canvas still serves its purpose, making it an excellent option for flight bags and survival kits.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) is known for making affordable survival gear for the general public. This bandana fits this description well and does the job solidly at no extra cost. The 100% cotton bandana is lightweight and made in China. The print was a little worn after a few uses in our field tests and a few machine washes. However, the printed information is complete and makes this bandana a solid choice if you want to keep it in a survival bag or kit. It can’t be used on a daily basis, but the UST Survival Bandana will help you in an emergency.

Update on bandana

Survivor’s Head Bandana

Large, versatile and informative

The large triangular shape makes this scarf stand out from the rest: It can be used as a scarf, splint and survival sling.

*Price at time of publication; check for price changes or clearance sales.

That scarf was fun to test. For starters, it’s much larger than your typical 22″ x 22″ square bandana – and it has a modified triangular shape: 39″ x 39″ x 52″. The idea is that it easily covers your head when you’re tied up, regardless of your head size, and you can also use the length to make a harness, a pull-up bar, or any other application you can imagine. Because the bandana is so big, you can put a lot more information about survival in it. It also includes several safety pins and is available in orange or green OD with high viscosity.

Survival Metrics does the bandana head for Survival and has thought it through. It’s an impressive upgrade for survival kits, and handy enough for use in the EDC. Of all the bandanas we tested, this one was of the highest quality and is the most versatile thanks to its unique shape. If you are looking for a cheap upgrade: The Survival Bandana is a wise choice.

All we recommend

Colter Co. Reflective bandana

This informative bandana is available in digital camouflage or high visibility orange with reflective print, both options are the best choice for your survival kit.

Where to buy

13$* in Amazonia

* during the investigation

UST Survival Bandana

A quality, functional and half price survival canvas still serves its purpose, making it an excellent option for flight bags and survival kits.

Where to buy

7* in the Amazon

* during the investigation

Bandanas we compared

Our study limited the field to the few candidates we tested: UST, Colter Co, Battlbox, Head for Survival, Rothco, Levi’s, and many others. This allowed us to remove the bandanas that were not beneficial. Finding the best value and a reliable budget choice is ultimately much easier than our decision to upgrade. There are many cheaper options, but most combine low price with poor quality. A few exceptions quickly became apparent.

There were not many high quality survival bandanas in the comparison, which made it easier for us. Head for Survival immediately stood out for its unique shape and was a true test of versatility. Colter Co’s reflective bandana is a highly effective signage device with reflective ink that has passed abrasion and wash-out tests. Both versions were of the highest quality.

What to look for

The best survival bandanas have a few important features that you should look out for:

  1. Value
  2. Quality of material
  3. Size and shape
  4. Versatility

We explain below what each of them means for a great scarf. If you find the right mix, you will be able to find a solid bandana without breaking the bank.

The survival bandana is more than a fashion statement or a makeshift blanket.

Meaning: Costs versus benefits

In a world of cheap fabrics, you usually get value for money. The thin paisley bandanas we all know from cowboys – both rural and urban – cost no more than a few dollars.

A heavier fabric, a more useful print than cashmere (it doesn’t have to be stiff), and unique shapes can justify the higher cost of a bandana, especially if you need it for an emergency.


Most bandanas are made of a thin, lightweight cotton or polyester fabric. Each type of material has its advantages and disadvantages, but the main difference in quality is the weight of the fabric. Better quality bandanas become thicker and softer after a few uses, rather than stiff and fluttery.

All of the bandanas we offer are heavier than the dollar bandanas, although some are cotton and one is polyester. This makes them more tactile, more absorbent and more durable.

Size and shape

Most bandanas have a square shape 2′. It’s been the standard bandana size for a while now. It has the ideal size to be tied around the head as a blanket, used as a face mask, tied into the shape of a pocket, used to fasten small objects, used as a towel, and many other traditional uses of the bandana.

Our choice is an exception to this rule with a modified triangular shape that measures 39″ x 39″ x 52″. It is a larger surface area, but more importantly, the longer length allows the bandana to be looped and used for a wider range of applications, for example as a bandage.


The versatility of bandanas depends on the type of material, the weight of the material, the size and shape of the bandana, the printing of information and visibility. Survival bandanas are designed to be versatile, so they usually contain survival information and differ from traditional bandanas by their high resolution. This broadens the possibilities for its use, as we shall see below.

Using the multiplayer survival bandana

There are hundreds of ways to use bandanas, but we will list a few that are important for survival. Survival applications include bandanas :

  • Mask – After the coronavirus, most people know that bandanas can be applied as a mask. It is less effective against viruses and better against particles like dust and pollen. You can moisten the bandana so that it filters the smoke better.
  • Signal – A brightly colored bandana (or one with a reflective print) can be used to signal the arrival of rescue help.
  • Bag – Tie the four corners of a square bandana together to make a makeshift bag.
  • First Aid – The bandana can be used as a tourniquet, first aid bandage, cold compress, eye patch and scarf.
  • Hat – Use a bandana as protection from the sun around your neck, as a head covering or simply as a headband.
  • Weapon Maintenance – For patching bullets and cleaning barrels, a bandana must be cut, but it can be effective.
  • Insulation – It won’t last long, but you can add some warmth by stuffing your clothes with rags.
  • Fabric is one of the most common applications.
  • Water filter – The bandana can be a water pre-filter, filtering particles quickly and easily.
  • Marking paths – You can mark paths with rags, either whole or cut into strips.
  • Fire – Cotton bandana can be used as a binder, or it can be soaked in oil to make a burner.
  • Toilet paper – since this is the last service for you, you can wipe the back with a bandana.

The list is long, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a survival scarf and you need it in an emergency, you will find a new use for it.

Who needs a survival scarf?

Bandanas are so light and inexpensive that it makes sense for any trained person to wear them in a kit or even on the body. Everyone can benefit from such a versatile fabric.

The survival bandana is an integral and permanent part of these kits:

A survival scarf is a recommended addition to these kits:

Whatever threats you face, a scarf is a good thing.

How we inspect the goods: We do extensive research before selecting the best products to review. We consult with experts in the field to better understand what constitutes good transmission. The devices are tested for hours in the field under stressful conditions. We set performance criteria and evaluate each tested product impartially. You can support us through our self-selected links, allowing us to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. After our investigation, some of the points we investigated can be found in our documents.

Sources and references

An objective look at the best survival bandana is useless without sources and references. For the books, we draw on this knowledge, combining it with our practical military experience and our training in discernment.

Bishop, P. and Crew, C. and Wingo, J. and Navaisa, A. (2014). Simulation of heat stress and heat exposure in protective clothing. Woodhead textile publication series. (Source).

Rykaczewski, K. (2019) Cool future fashion: Individual cooling as part of social adaptation to warmer climates. Temperature 6:2, 97-100 (source).

Poulos, M. (2018). El mundo es un pañuelo: The bandana as a worldwide symbol of resistance. 11 : Journal of Sociology Students, Berkeley. Part 8. (Source).


Bandanas may seem like a simple accessory, but they are surprisingly versatile. They’re simple – just a square (or triangular) piece of fabric that can cover, tie, catch whatever you throw at it. We’ve all used them at some point in our lives, but in an emergency or survival situation, they can become intertwined.

Besides the scarf, there are many other types of clothing that you should consider for survival:

We’ve given some information, but as always: If you have any questions, please let us know and we will be happy to help. Our research and testing showed that the Colter Co. Reflective Survival Bandana was the best option given its value, traditional square shape, fabric quality and versatility. Make sure you know how to use your bandana – there are so many ways to use it that it would be a shame to leave it in your survival kit or backpack forever.

Keep exploring, prepare and be safe.

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