Gear | July 14, 2020 10:24 am

Wear One of These 10 Versatile Bandanas Instead of a Normal Face Mask

Tom Hanks’s bandana of choice, included

The best bandanas to use as face masks, from Filson, Amazon, REI and others
These aren't your normal paisley bandanas (well, except for the Tom Hanks one).
All images via retailer

What’s the number one rule for buying appliances? Never buy a machine that only does one thing. Those ice-cream churners, hot-dog-bun toasters and popcorn makers will end up in a yard sale eventually. So why is no one taking that same advice when it comes to face masks? 

One day — we can only hope — we will all put away the millions of reusable face masks that have been made to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. But those who wear bandanas instead of ear-loop adorned face masks specifically tailored for your mug? They’ll still be using those bandanas for any number of tasks, because bandanas are the multitool of the fabric world.

Don’t take it from me, Tom Hanks wears a bandana as a face mask. Actually, do take it from me, because I went into the liquor store wearing one the other day and the lady at the counter put her hands up like I was Jesse James. It’s all good fun, which is something sorely lacking in the era of coronavirus, so go ahead and get yourself a bandana (we’ve even got the one Hanks wore) and quit your bellyaching about wearing a mask in public.

Carolina Mfg. bandana
Carolina Mfg.

Carolina Mfg. Paisley Bandana (aka the Tom Hanks)

If you get the hunter green version of this 100-percent cotton bandana, then you and Tom Hanks will finally have something in common. Plus, it’s a classic paisley design and only $4, so you might as well get a couple colors.

Colin Hanks Kerchiefs
Hanks Kerchiefs

Hanks Kerchiefs (aka the Colin Hanks)

There’s another Hanks in the bandana arena – Tom’s son Colin (also an actor, also the good one) — and with a name like that it seems like destiny. Yes, they are more expensive than your typical grease rag, but they’re also made in California, feature better designs than most and help raise money for different charities (right now it’s the nonprofit Homes For Our Troops). Colin also put together a tutorial for turning a bandana into a traditional snug-fitting mask.

Cantonment Kerchief Sets
Huckberry

Cantonment Kerchief Sets

Instead of providing the standard bandana, Cantonment took it one step further, adding a slit in each corner and including a nylon strap with a metal button. So yes, you can tie this around your face like normal, or you can keep the sun off your neck, use it as a knapsack, hook it to just about anything, or think up some brand-new use. Comes with two kerchiefs and available in an automotive, camera or watch design.

Bandits Good Luck Bandana
Bandits

Bandits Good Luck Bandana 

Most bandanas don’t prioritize what the design will look like once it’s on your face. This option from Bandits, on the other hand, lets you strategically place the words “Good Luck” right under your eyes. Plus, unlike many other options, it’s pre-washed so it’s not scratchy for the first few wears, and it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified factory. You can shop their full lineup on their website.

United by Blue Star Guide Bandana
United by Blue

United by Blue Star Guide Bandana

An organic cotton number that’ll help you remember what, exactly, those constellations look like, and just one of the many stylish designs you’ll find from United by Blue’s bandana collection.

Filson Smokey Bear Bandana
Filson

Filson Smokey Bear Bandana

You can always bookmark Filson for all your bandana needs, as the storied outdoor outfitter regularly stocks killer new options, but this wouldn’t be a proper roundup if we didn’t include Smokey Bear’s solemn visage. This particular one is limited edition and made in the U.S.

Jenni Earle Explore More Bandana
Jenni Earle

Jenni Earle Explore More Bandana

If you care about how your bandana is made as much as how it looks when it arrives on your doorstep, grab a couple from Jenni Earle’s collection. They’re cut and sewn in South Carolina, hand dyed in North Carolina, and feature hand-drawn designs you won’t see anywhere else.

First Aid Response Bandana
Amazon

First Aid Response Bandana

You have to be careful ordering bandanas on Amazon because you can’t always be sure what the final product will look like, but this series is affordable, dependable and features actually useful info like first-aid tips, animal tracks and knot tutorials.

Foraging Plant Bandana
Wazoo

Wazoo Foraging Bandana

While we wouldn’t recommend using this foraging guide — which includes 12 plants and fungi found in North America, their uses, as well as some info on identifying edible foliage — as your only source of info when you head out into the wild, it is one of the best looking bandanas on this list.

Filson Pioneer Bandana
Filson

Filson Pioneer Bandana

OK, so turns out Filson has too many good options that we couldn’t limit it to Smokey. This callback to the company’s past, with the heritage design anchored by a bison (what else?), is one of those bandanas you’ll pass on to your progeny. 

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