Video: 7 Uses for Triangular Bandages

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Those of us who were members of the Boy Scouts (now Scouts BSA) might remember the neckwear that formed part of the uniform. It was known as a neckerchief or kerchief and, when folded, became a triangular piece of cloth that had many uses.

Now, many former scouts are still following the old motto: Be prepared. While the preparedness movement doesn’t have a uniform, triangular cloth can be found as a bandage in many medical kits meant for times of trouble.

And well it should. The triangular bandage is lightweight, compact, and versatile as all get-out. It’s also very affordable, and everyone should have a few in their medical storage.

Here are some of the ways that you can use a triangular bandage to deal with injuries off the grid. I’m not saying that these are always the best way to deal with the trauma in question, just what you can do if all you have is a triangular bandage or two in your pocket and, maybe, some found objects.

Here’s Nurse Amy with 7 different ways to bandage wounds if all you have is a triangular bandage or two…

But there’s more than what’s in the above video. The triangular bandage can do so much more!

What about bleeding wounds? Well, the bandage taken right out of the package would be a reasonable barrier for you to use to apply direct pressure on an injury. You can use one or several to pack into the wound as well. Also, it can be used as part of an improvised tourniquet similar to how it was used centuries ago.

Your triangular bandages are also useful as splint Stabilizers. Let’s say you have a Sam Splint in place, but it’s not gonna stay there without some help. You can use the triangular bandage, probably 2 or 3 of them, to hold the splint in place, which holds and supports the injured limb.

No SAM splint? You can use branches, blankets, pillows, paint stirring sticks, rulers, and any number of other creative ways to provide support and stabilization for the injury. That depends, of course, on the location and severity of the trauma.

If you’re in a survival setting, and the triangular bandages have run out, You can make your own out of any found cloth. if you do, try to make it in the form of a right triangle with dimensions of a good 40x40x56 inches. Choose a sturdy fabric like an old bedsheet.

Cut the fabric into a square of 40×40 inches and then in half diagonally. You might consider boiling your improvised bandage supply or otherwise disinfect them in case they have to used on an open wound.
Besides dressing injuries, a triangular bandage can be used as a separator between layers of gravel and sand in an improvised water filter. It can be used as a face mask, and I’ll bet you know a number of other uses.

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

Amy and Joe Alton

Hey, don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical storage by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits, books, and more at You’ll also find our books on various bestseller lists at

Find our book on Amazon or at our store!

Hey, don’t forget to check out our entire line of quality medical kits and individual supplies at Also, our Book Excellence Award-winning 700-page SURVIVAL MEDICINE HANDBOOK: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR WHEN HELP IS NOT ON THE WAY is now available in black and white on Amazon and in color and color spiral-bound versions at

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