Tuesday Tips: In Praise Of The Common Bandana

A simple piece of fabric could save your butt on the course

As a kid, my adoration for clever survival gadgets greatly outweighed any actual need for them. Was there any reason a suburban kid needed a Mini-Maglite, a Leatherman, a survival bracelet, a Swiss Army Knife, and a compass? For a sleepover at a friend’s house? In the same neighborhood? Short answer: nooope.

I still had ‘em though.

I’ve cut back on the gadgets,1 but I still have an affinity for simple, handy accessories which is why the common bandana became a staple in my bag and back pocket as soon as I started playing disc golf. Today’s tip: Get a few bandanas.

The disc golf related reasons are pretty obvious. I mean, this is a square piece of fabric that can fit in your pocket; use it to dry or clean off your disc after it skips into the pond or lands in wet morning grass. The absorbency of a microfiber towel makes for a better option on a rainy day, but the thin, quick-drying bandana fabric is perfect for using a few times a round. Shake it out and leave it hanging off your bag in warm weather and you’ll be surprised how quickly it’s dry and ready to use again. Get a little bit of dirt dust on it and, ta-da, you’ve got an extremely bootleg Whale-Sac in hand.

As a bonus, my bandana functions as a kind of focus totem out on the course. When I used to play Ultimate, if I had to clear my mind after a bad play I would find a space away from teammates, kneel down, and very deliberately re-tie my cleats. These days I wear those quick-tie shoes from Adidas so the effect isn’t quite the same. Instead, I shake out and re-fold my bandana. The process is exceedingly controllable, precise, and tactile. It is exactly what I need to mentally recenter when an easy approach shot hits that one tree I had to miss.

Bandanas are also really cheap, and durable. Get a few of them and keep them in different pockets for different uses. I keep a second, clean bandana in a hip pocket in the summer to mop my brow and dry my hands.

If you’re not already sold, check out this list of additional bandana uses, which I would advise you to read aloud like a Sham-Wow commercial:

  • Dip it in cool water and wrap it around your neck for relief from the heat!
  • Put a bandana under your hat and let the flap out over your neck to protect you from the sun!
  • Blow your nose into this thing!

WOW! You can also use your bandana…

  • As a hand wrap when retrieving discs lost in prickers, and then again to clean all the blood off your arms!
  • Folded up as a makeshift knee pad!
  • To wipe leftovers off your face and hands!

Innncredible! But wait, there’s more!

  • Use your bandana as a bib to keep sardine oil off your chest at lunch!
  • Tie this thing into an ascot to dress up for the tournament party! Classy!
  • Wave it like a spotter’s flag to let your opponents know that they are definitely OB!
  • Tie it into a bag for collecting fiddleheads, morels, chanterelles, porcinis, and cool rocks!
  • Wrap up some ice cubes and apply it to the ankle you rolled on that crappy tee box!

And lastly, when you need it most, your bandana will be your most altruistic mate, the fearless “go on without me” member of your crew. I hope that you never need to resort to this, but in an end-of-days situation out on the course your bandana could…save your butt. You get me?

You get me.

Next time you’re out, pick up a bandana or five.

  1. brazen lie 

  1. James Bress
    James Bress

    James is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He played Ultimate from 2000-2015 for the Amherst HS Hurricanes, UMass ZooDisc, New Noise, Capitol Punishment, and Dark or Light. Now he plays disc golf for Team Wick (4x NETC champs) out of Wickham Park in Manchester, CT. One time he hit a tournament ace on camera. Despite that, he has not quit his day job as a high school teacher. Send questions and comments to [email protected]. See what tournaments he's playing at his PDGA player page #84048.

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