Survival Bandana

You probably wouldn’t think of a common, ordinary bandana as a valuable survival tool, now would you?  Well, you might be surprised at the many uses to which a bandana can be used to help you survive.  Now I’m talking about a 100% cotton, large sized, most brightly colored you can get, bandana.  These qualities are important in a survival bandana.

A bandana is lightweight and easily folded into a small package.  Storing it in a sturdy zip lock, quart size, bag is an excellent way to keep it clean and dry in your pack.  A bandana is an easy sewing project, so if you can’t find one you like…make it.  This way you could have an oversized, blaze orange bandana, which would be the best survival bandana to have.

Let’s take a look at how a bandana can be made to function as a survival tool.  The following list is a work in progress, there are many more uses that can dreamed up to make this mundane implement a real life saver.  To give this a little more sense let’s break it up into the basic elements of survival: shelter, fire, water, food, tools and protection.

In the element of SHELTER your faithful bandana could be…

  1. A covering for your head, a hat or cap.
  2. A sun visor.
  3. A shade screen.
  4. Made into mittens (2 bandanas).
  5. Fashioned into stockings (2 bandanas).
  6. A diaper.
  7. Makeshift underwear.
  8. A  sweatband.
  9. A dust mask
  10. A cooling neck wrap.
  11. Ear muffs.
  12. An evaporative cooler.

In the element of FIRE your faithful bandana could be…

  1. Made into “char cloth” for tinder.
  2. Used to gather and carry leaves, grasses and lichens for tinder.
  3. Used to tie up a bundle of kindling.
  4. A fan to fan the fire.
  5. Shredded and used as tinder.

In the element of WATER your faithful bandana could be…

  1. A pre-filter to remove particles and sediment prior to purifying.
  2. A “mop” for collecting dew.
  3. A sponge for soaking up water  from small puddles.

In the element of FOOD and cooking your faithful bandana could be…

  1. A gathering basket for collecting seeds, nuts and berries.
  2. A storage pouch.
  3. A pot holder.
  4. A dishtowel.
  5. A dishcloth.
  6. A strainer.
  7. A steamer basket.
  8. A fish trap.
  9. A fish net.
  10. An insect net.
  11. A bird trap.
  12. Used for making fish lures.
  13. A table cloth.
  14. A napkin.

In the element of TOOLS your faithful bandana could be…

  1. A signal flag.
  2. A cleaning rag.
  3. Bullet patches for a muzzle loader.
  4. A carrying pouch or bag.
  5. Cleaning patches for a firearm.
  6. A windsock.
  7. Torn into strips for trail markers.
  8. A line toss bag.
  9. A rescue flag.
  10. A sanitary pad.
  11. Torn in long strips for tying.

In the element of  PROTECTION your faithful bandana could be…

  1. A bandage.
  2. An arm sling.
  3. An eye patch.
  4. A tourniquet.
  5. Used for tying a splint.
  6. Handcuffs.
  7. A whip.
  8. A compress.
  9. Ear plugs.
  10. Padding for sore spots.

There you have it, fifty five ways to use a bandana …oh yeah, fifty six, you can blow your nose in it!

Some of these uses may seem a little strange to you.  If you would like to see a survival bandana in action, or learn more about some of these techniques please visit my website or Follow me on Facebook.  ….Rudy

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The Principals of Survival

In a disaster scenario your survival depends on fulfilling certain human needs, and having certain knowledge and skill sets. The needs and the necessary responses are basically the same in any environment; wilderness, city or suburb. You have to ask yourself these questions:

What is it that will take my life if I don’t have it, and how soon?

What are my most urgent needs? 

You should come up with these answers:

I will need uncontaminated air to breathe, and I’ll need it within 3 MINUTES.

I will need to sustain a 98.6 body temperature within 3 HOURS.

I will need uncontaminated water to drink within 3 DAYS.

I will need nourishing food to eat within 3 WEEKS.

I will need to protect myself from harm immediately.

These are the survival needs and the time factors within which their lack will cause danger, or death, to the human body. In a disaster situation you may be deprived of one or more of these basic needs. To survive the lack of these priorities you must develop a set of skills that will allow you to locate, provide or improvise that which is needed. In addition to the skills you must learn, having the right tools can make these tasks much easier. Above all, a “survivors” attitude is the greatest asset you can have.

All of this can be factored into a basic set of priorities that I call the Principles of Survival:







These principles are derived from the above needs and time requirements, and they need to become the foundation of your survival intellect and philosophy.  These five principles should be your very first thoughts in a survival situation.  They should become automatic and your concentration given to their implementation before anything else, except for immediate rescue or first aid needs of yourself and others.

Let me explain the Principles of Survival:


The equipment or gear that you may have with you, or around you, that can help you with providing the other elements. This element encompasses “protection” and can run the range from band-aids to bullets.  The most important tools to have in this category are: knives, hand axes, multi-tools, saws, shovels, fire-starters, first aid kits, signaling devices, self defense items (lethal and non-lethal), air filters and masks, food procurement devices (hunting, fishing, trapping), etc.  A wise person realizes that unstable world conditions, both natural and man-caused, could precipitate a survival situation anyplace or anytime.  He/she therefore makes sure that, as far as possible, such tools are readily available at all times.


The purpose of shelter is to protect your need for a constant body temperature of 98.6 degrees. Shelter can be considered in three parts.  First an external barrier to the elements of wind, wet, cold or heat, that can affect your body core temperature and cause hypothermia/hyperthermia.  These conditions can be serious threats to your life and well being. Such barriers can be buildings, vehicles, overhangs, waterproof sheet materials (tarps, tents, etc.), debris and wreckage (plywood sheets, wood or metal panels, etc.), anything that can effectively protect you from the weather.

Secondly, the clothing that you wear on your body is shelter.  Your clothes can insulate you from the cold, or protect you from the heat (providing you are wearing appropriate materials for the season).  Additional outerwear items such as rain gear or ponchos provide further protection.

The third consideration is an external source of warmth…fire.  The ability to make a fire has been to the benefit of mankind since the very beginning.  We will discuss more about fire shortly, but a wise person (for the same reason given above in tools) will have the implements of fire-making on hand at all times.


Fire is perhaps the most useful of the five principles.  With fire you can provide warmth, as we just discussed, and use it to purify water, cook food, signal for help and keep the lions, tigers and bears away (oh my).  In addition a crackling fire can be of comfort and cheer in a stressful situation, and have an uplifting effect on one’s attitude (which is vitally important). As mentioned above, a wise person will always have a fire-starting tool handy.


After three days without water your body will develop detrimental effects that can lead to death. Your body will need from a minimum of one quart to a maximum of one gallon, depending on the climate and exertion levels.  Having a substantial source, or supply, of water is therefore essential to survival.  Water needs to be pure or uncontaminated when you drink it, but not necessarily so when you find it.  You can purify some pretty nasty water by boiling.  It might not look good, or taste good, but it will not make you sick or kill you to drink it.  There are several water purification devices that can be carried as well.  Carrying sufficient water in a survival kit is difficult as it requires a lot of space, and is very heavy.  A boiling pot and/or a purification filter are much better options.


You can survive for three weeks or more without food.  However, (after only a couple of days) your body will be seriously depleted of energy and your attitude in bad shape.  These conditions can lead to terrible consequences in lack of judgment, fear and panic.  It is essential that you have a food source or supply.  Of course lightweight, dehydrated food supplies can be carried in an emergency survival kit, but consideration should be given to hunting, fishing and gathering as an alternate necessity.  A healthy survivor’s attitude is valuable here.  It must be accepted that food is food…bugs to bagels, it’s all good (if not tasty).

So, there you have it…the Principles of Survival.  If, or when, you find yourself in a survival situation I hope that these principles immediately pop into your head and you start looking all around you for the things you will need to provide for them.  Better yet, I would want to see you confidently give that little belly pack, backpack, or messenger bag, an affectionate pat, knowing that you are prepared.  To stay prepared follow me on Facebook for more survival suggestions.  …..Rudy


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Levels of Preparation: Prepared for What?

So, you’ve seen the writing on the wall and you are ready to get prepared?  World conditions are getting kind of scary and maybe a little peace of mind is in order… but, you have questions. What am I preparing for?  What are the situations that I could encounter?  What are the dangers? How much, or how little, preparation do I need?  These are all vital questions to ask when building a preparedness program for yourself or for your family.

Well, we will answer those questions but first let’s talk a little survival philosophy.  We are using the term preparedness and what we are really talking about is survival preparedness.  Preparing to survive…to live on.  Survival means two things:

1. That you are still alive after the catastrophic event.

2. That you intend to stay alive against all odds.

So, what are the threats to your survival?

Basically the human body needs five things to keep on living:

1. Air, a fresh supply of oxygen

2. A 98.6 degree body temperature

3. Water

4. Food

5. Protection from harm (i.e. self defense, first aid, preventative medication, etc.) 

Depending on the situation, and time elapsed, you will die if you are deprived of any of these basic needs.  For example:

You can live without serious difficulties for about…

Three minutes without clean air

Three hours without a normal body temperature

Three days without water

Three weeks without food

Three seconds with an armed marauder or a charging grizzly bear, ten seconds with a severed major artery, or months or years with an infection or disease.

You can see a priority list is developing with air, warmth (or cooling), water and food generally being 1,2,3,4 and protection a variable 5 (which may become first, last or in the middle depending on the scenario).  However, even though there is a priority ranking, in a proper survival plan all five need to be addressed with equal importance.  These priorities translate to the basic survival elements of shelter, fire, water, food and gear (which is the tools and equipment that you will need to help you obtain the first four elements and deal with the fifth).  Your preparations must take into account these priorities and survival elements.

Now that you understand the basics of survival, you will need to design a program of tools, gear and supplies that will stand ready to serve your needs in the advance or aftermath of a serious event, a catastrophic disaster, that could disrupt your normal way of life and threaten your existence.  May we give you some advice?  Catastrophic disasters are not simply “inconveniences,” they are tough survival situations.  Tough situations require tough preparations… we call it hardcore.  Make your preparations hardcore. 

Once you have worked out your plan it must be kept readily at hand to use in your time of need.  For most people that is interpreted to be a 3 Day Emergency Kit, or a “Bug Out Bag.”  This is what is offered by most dealers in preparedness supplies, and many people sleep more peacefully at night knowing that their “little pack” is resting under their bed.  And, that is good if you have to bug out (which means that you will have to grab your pack, leave your home and take care of yourself for three days).  But is that all there is to preparedness?  Is that the only action that you will have to take? What if you don’t have to leave your house but the power is knocked out and food supplies are short?  What if you must be away from your house for a week or more?  What if your pack is under the bed and you are at the office, or out running errands (the usual case)?  You can see that there needs to be more than one level of survival preparedness.

Let’s consider the following disaster scenarios and, as you consider preparedness options, consider that your plans need to cover not only yourself but your family members as well.  It is wise to realize that, In some scenarios, your family may become separated so each member should have his/her own pack or kit.  In each scenario a “catastrophic disaster” could be a natural or man-made occurrence, a terrorist attack, a war or an economic collapse.   Following each scenario will be a suggested preparedness option:

Scenario One:  You are away from home travelling with a friend to a nearby town, in your friend’s vehicle.  A catastrophic disaster has occurred and your hometown has been heavily damaged.  The roadway has become impassable.

Preparedness Option Level One:  This is the place for a small, lightweight personal survival kit.  The kit should contain downsized versions of the basic survival tools and can be carried in a belly pack, purse or briefcase.  This small kit should be carried at all times. 

Scenario Two:  You are at home. A catastrophic disaster has occurred with no warning. Your home is destroyed, or threatened with destruction, and it is not safe for you to remain.  You must evacuate rapidly and move some distance to a safe area.  Your car is not an option as it is damaged or its’ use is not feasible (traffic congestion, road destruction or obstructions, etc.).  You must therefore go on foot or bicycle.  It takes a minimum of three days for FEMA or The Red Cross to set up relief operations.

Preparedness Option Level two:  This is the place for a “Bug Out” Pack.  A lightweight, individual, self contained backpack stocked with the basic survival tools and gear, a water supply, protection items and 3 days worth of food goods.  This kit is kept in the home at the ready.  The Level One kit should also become a part of this kit when bugging out.


Scenario Three:  You are at home. You have been warned that a catastrophic disaster is imminent, or has occurred. Your home is threatened with possible destruction, and it is not safe for you to remain.  You must evacuate rapidly and travel some distance to a safe area.  Your car can be used for this evacuation.

Preparedness Option ThreeThis is the place for a survival kit of more substantial weight.  It can be kept in the trunk of the car.  A larger food supply is an option here, as is more family oriented gear.  Heavier survival tools can be used in this kit.  The Level One and Level Two kits should be become part of this kit when evacuating.

Scenario Four:  You are away from home. A catastrophic disaster has occurred without warning, and there is destruction all around you.  You have access to your car, but travel may not be possible.  Law enforcement is overtaxed and looting and other criminal activity is evident.

Preparedness Option:  You should have your Level One and your Level Three kits available. 

Scenario Five:  You are at work in your office in the city.  A catastrophic disaster has occurred, without warning, and there is destruction all around you.  You are trapped in your office and must escape.  It is your desire to get back to your home.  There is widespread damage to the city and law enforcement is overtaxed.  Looting and criminal activity is evident.

Preparedness Option Level Five:  You should have your Level One kit.  In addition a survival tools kit can be built for keeping at your place of work if possible.  This kit should contain heavier duty basic survival tools.  These kits can be combined for daily carry in a computer pack or day pack.

Scenario Six:  You are at home.  A catastrophic disaster has occurred in your town and utilities have been disrupted.  Your home is intact and relatively secure. You have no power for light and heat, water and gas service is not available.  Store shelves have been emptied and food supplies are not available.  Auto fuel is not available.  Law enforcement is overtaxed and looting is evident.

 Preparedness Option Level Six:  This is the place for long-term preparedness plans.  Your home continues to be your sheltering place and should be stocked with all the tools, supplies, goods and food storage necessary for a one year or more survival stay.  Non-electric and fuel powered appliances and tools should be emphasized.  Heating and cooking fuel, i.e. wood and charcoal, should be stored.  Of course the kits from levels one through five are a part of this plan.


A proper hardcore survival preparedness program should provide the necessities for keeping you and yours safe, protected, warm, fed and happily living on whether it be of a 3 day duration, a week, or a year.  The object is to be prepared, and if you are prepared…you shall not fear.  Follow me on Facebook for more updates. -Rudy

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