The Versatile Bandana Part Three

Well, we've covered a lot of ground. We've touched on Self-defense with the bandana, including ruses and the bandana as a concealment for other Self-defense tools. Modifications for the bandana that I have come up with or learned along the way from my youth. The excellent bandana modifications from the Alpha-Rubicon Website have been explored.

One of my favorite little portions of this series of articles was the part about The Cowboys. The bandana as an every day tool in life. Another part is the discussion on Medical Management with the bandana, how it can be a lifesaving tool to do many things from controlling bleeding to limiting inhaled contaminants and then on to slowing down the lymph system and circulation to slow the spread of snake venom. All are more than "interesting," it's really quite important...now more than ever...that we learn to take care of ourselves as much as we can.

I wanted to cover a few more things before we move on to The Versatile Bandana Part Four - Fighting Cloth - which is more of an overview of larger pieces of cloth that are essentially very large, overglorified bandanas. Items like the French Chieche, Middle Eastern Shemaghs and Asian Sarongs... Sure, they're not bandanas, but these items are in the same realm as far as I'm concerned.

This next portion is a lot like the "Cowboy" information in Part One and I believe it's more than "interesting," just more ideas that you might one day utilize.

Even if you don't think the bandana is viable as an improvised/expedient weapon that can be a gateway to draw a better weapon, the Medical Management material and other ideas should convince you that a bandana is just a good thing to carry with you.

Classic Americana

The Bandana and The Bindle-Stick

"What's a 'Bindle-Stick?'" you ask? It just so happens that the Bindle-Stick is something that you might be quite familiar with through old pictures, old movies or old cartoons (both animated and cartoon strips), it's been around for a long, long time.

A "Bindlestiff" was a Hobo and he carried his Bindle-Stick, moreover, he actually carried his "bindle" on a "stick" then the whole thing became the "Bindlestick."

Don't you remember in old series like "The Little Rascals" or "Our Gang" and other old series and movies where children would "run away" from home and they had this stick over their shoulder with a folded cloth bag tied on to the end of the stick? That bag is a "bindle." As far as I can tell from my little bit of research, this appears to be German for "bundle."

When I was a kid, you would see the Bindlestick a lot, sometimes it was carried by a Hobo, sometimes a little kid that was running away from home.

With the Bindlestick, you have your various items you are carrying in the bag, in the case of a Hobo, things that you absolutely need to live. Perhaps all of the possessions you own. Is this some sort of optimum rig for someone lost in the woods to carry their stuff? Probably not. In some cases, just knowing what it is might come in quite handy, however.

The stick itself, if you are hiking around in the woods...or lost and trying to survive, a stout hiking stick is almost a necessity. Beyond the obvious use(s) of a hiking stick, it can be used as a crutch if you are injured, you can probe creek and stream bottoms with it to check footing and depth. You can make a fish spear with the stick/staff.

Obviously, a sturdy stick can be an excellent weapon. A stick of hiking staff length gives you a lot of distance from an attacker as well. While I wouldn't want to face some wild animal with a stick, there are predatory humans on the trails as well and a determined individual with basic training and a lot of practice would be able to defend his/herself against most attackers unless a firearm was involved.

All of this is interesting information, I think we should look to the survivors from years past to find information for today and tomorrow. Even though some people might look down on Hoboes, freight-hopping tramps, the simple fact of the matter is - they could survive under some relatively extreme circumstances. The fact that their fate may be seen today as a self-imposed prison sentence doesn't matter much, a lot of them just "opted out" of everyday society and never wanted two kids, a house and a car anyway.

The Flour Sack Bandana

This is a good bandana to use when experimenting with the whole "Bindlestick" concept. Just learn how to do it and file it away.

These bandanas closely resemble the cotton baby diapers of old. They are quite tough and almost three times thicker than your common blue, black and red print bandanas of today that you can purchase in gas stations...as a sweat mop, these have no equal. They are also good because they are a neutral white color and these days, it might be a good idea to have a couple of them on your person. Surgical masks are probably no better than these bandanas. White tends to signify cleanliness and having one up around your mouth and nose during flu season should not really warrant any type of negative reaction. If anyone says anything, you can say that you have a cold and you don't want to spread the cold to other people. Use your imagination. Refer back to "Medical Management" in Part One.

Another trick in the heat of summer, let's say you have to do some yardwork and it's blistering hot. Take one of these bandanas and tie it around your head pirate-style and then carefully remove it and dampen it. You can then stick it in the freezer for an hour and a half. Let it freeze solid and then force it down onto your scalded pate and go about your business.

Other Handy Bandanas

If you're going to carry a bandana in some type of survival kit on your person or in the vehicle, I guess it won't hurt to have some sort of "guide" printed on it. Experienced people probably won't need the simple reminders that these two types of bandanas offer, but for people who don't get to dedicate a lot of time to the subject or practice some of the simple methods from time to time, these two types of bandanas can be simple reminders.

The two types of bandanas I am speaking of are bandanas that have either basic survival information or basic first-aid instructions printed on them. They are especially good for children who venture into the outdoors.

Every year we hear about children being lost in the woods on simple family outings to state parks or even wilderness areas where a child can become hopelessly disoriented and lost in a few short minutes after leaving a marked trail.

Children should be taught how to survive. I know many people would object, but the simple fact of the matter is, if you're not going to teach your child, or have someone else teach your child basic survival skills, they don't have any business being out in the woods. I know some nitwits in this society will scream at the computer scream at this moment: "I'll take my kids where I damned well please and I'm not teaching them this! It's bullshit!"

Those are usually the same types of parents that are seen crying on television.

A parent that will take a child into this environment and not teach them basic survival skills is not criticized when the tragedy occurs. Yet, a parent that doesn't teach a child a basic survival skill of dealing with streets and vehicles and teach them how to cross the street properly would be considered an idiot - and rightfully so. Whatever environment you may find yourself in, you have to adapt to that environment or suffer the consequences. There are things in nature that will kill you as fast as a speeding vehicle on a busy city street.

These two types of bandanas are great for kids, simple things like this along with a very loud whistle like a FOX-40 or Storm Whistle and a Space Blanket stuffed into a small fanny pack can be a real lifesaver. For more mature children, teaching them how to safely use a pocketknife and matches and how to start and maintain a fire safely should also be considered.

© Don Rearic 1999-2007

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