The Art of the Handkerchief

I never hit the trail without my favorite accessory: The Handkerchief. While it may look like a simple square of fabric, don’t be fooled. The handkerchief is an advanced tool for the Macguyvers of the wilderness.

From keeping warm to protecting the face from dust and wind, here are just a few ways you can make use of a handkerchief on your next hike, featuring a cool design by Forest and Waves.

Model: Kris Holbrook

The Bandit

Cover your face to protect from dust or cold air.

The Neckerchief

Tie a knot under your chin to keep the sun off your neck.

The Gaiter

Wrap the handkerchief around your neck to stay warm.

The Headband

Fold the handkerchief tightly, wrap behind your ears and knot on top of head to keep hair away from your face.

The Cool Down

Dip your handkerchief in a stream and wrap around your neck. A lot of blood passes through your neck, so this will help cool down your body temperature.

The Hobo Lunchbox

Wrap items in your handkerchief and tie four ends together. Slide onto a sturdy stick.

The Sitting Cloth

Prevent tears in your fancy pants or just keep dirt off your bum.

The Hand Wipe

Dry sweaty palms for a better grip when you're climbing.

Other Uses

  • Signal (Works best with bright colors)  
  • Trail marker
  • Tourniquet
  • Pot holder
  • Collect Wild Berries
  • Sling (2 tied together)
  • Cordage
  • Washcloth/Towel
  • Sweatband
  • Pad a hotspot
  • Toilet paper
  • Eye patch
  • Pre-water filter
  • Clean glasses
  • Binoculars or other lenses
  • Ear muffs
  • Bind a stone and toss a line over a tree limb
  • Wipe your nose


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