Curating a solid EDC, or Everyday Carry, is a delicate balance. There are your must-have items (wallet, keys, phone), and then there are your nice-to-have items. One under-appreciated thing I believe belongs in every guy’s must-have category for his EDC? Handkerchiefs.
Or “hankies”, or bandanas… whatever you want to call them. A simple cotton square that, years ago, was more commonly found in men’s pockets. Today? Not so much. But I think that should change!
Why bother carrying a handkerchief with you every day?
If you don’t already stick a handkerchief / bandana in your back pocket every day before heading out the door, here are a few reasons why you should:
Side note: Bandana and handkerchief are used interchangeably throughout the article.
You wipe stuff down. Think about it: You need to wipe your hands… a lot. Paper towels aren’t always easily accessible (ever wash your hands in a public restroom, only to realize there are no dryers, and the paper towel dispenser is empty?)
If you spend any amount of time outdoors on a hot summer day, you’re going to sweat. Do you just wipe your forehead with your hand or sleeve? Nuh uh. That’s what a good bandana is for.
Maybe you’re out in nature, on a hike, camping, etc., and you need to tie a bandana around your head to keep sweat off your brow and out of your eyes.
Especially today, in 2020, when we’re all paranoid about COVID-19, a bandana can be used as a face mask, or to handle high-traffic touch points, like door handles.
(Just be sure to change out your handkerchief daily, if you’re using it that way).
Aren’t handkerchiefs germy?
Ever witness your grandpa whip out a ratty hanky from his back pocket, blow his nose all aggressively, and stick it back in his pocket?
Blowing your nose into a cotton square seems so old school. Like, I’d rather wait until I found a tissue. So yeah, I’m gonna assume gramps’ hankies are pretty germ-filled. (But their his germs, so as long as he keeps his hanky to himself, it’s all good, right?)
Point is: as long as you regularly wash your hanky or bandana after a full day or use, it’s no more germy than the
What are the best hankies / bandanas for your EDC?
Choosing the right hanky might be a little overwhelming, but we got you covered. Let’s have a look at 12 of the best handkerchiefs to add to your everyday carry.
Bandits partners up with artists to create one-of-a-kind, limited-run bandanas. Each design is commissioned specifically and exclusively for Bandits. Pretty cool!
Not only that, the company donates 10% of proceeds to various charities of the artist’s choosing.
These bandanas don’t skimp on size, either. They measure 22″ on each side. You can wear them a ton of different ways, or just carry them in your back pocket like a regular bandana.
Editor’s note: This one’s my personal favorite. I bought a 3-pack a few months ago and they’re great in person. They sell out quickly, though, so if you see a design you like, buy it right away! –BC
Levi’s Multi-Purpose Bandana
This bandana is a classic. You can stick it in your back pocket, wear it around your neck in true cowboy style, or tie it around your head.
The Levi’s Multi-Purpose Bandana is a tried-and-true standby that comes in red, black, and navy, and is one of the best cotton bandanas for the money. The throwback paisley print fits right in with a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt too.
Rothco Trainmen Paisley Bandana
If you like traditional bandanas but want to branch out from the standard red, blue, and black options with white paisley print, the Rothco Trainmen provides a unique twist.
Just check out the link to see the unique color options. They’re very inexpensive and huge, at 27″ square. I’d suggest these over the Levi’s ones, if you want something that looks a bit different.
Perry Ellis Portfolio Handkerchiefs
If you are looking for a more “gentlemanly” handkerchief you can keep in your suit trouser pocket, this is a good option.
Yes, you can use these white handkerchiefs for all the things I mentioned above, but they’ll also look great as a pocket square in a pinch. The nice thing about these? You have 12 of them, so you’ll always have a clean one ready to go.
Pendleton Sierra Ridge Jumbo Bandana
If you’re looking for a handkerchief with some southwestern vibes, look no further. Pendleton never disappoints with their quality fabrics and motifs that evoke feelings of being “out west”.
I love the size of this thing (27″) and its vivid color scheme. This could easily be worn as an impromptu face mask if needed, or around your neck for some color (and sun protection).
Kiriko has an awesome collection of hankies made from exceptional fabrics in a variety of designs. They offer a range of sizes, from 13″ to 20″ square, so make sure to read the descriptions before ordering.
Because of their size and design, these hankies can be used in a variety of ways: worn around the neck, stuck in your back pocket, even worn as a pocket square in a suit jacket… perfect for adding a subtle splash of color to whatever outfit you have on.
Stag Provisions Vintage European Bandana
Stag Provisions’ vintage European bandana has a lovely dot and multi-border design. It merges two classic graphical styles in a classic and interesting way, without being loud and in your face.
Stag Provisions’ vintage European bandana has a lovely dot and multi-border design. It merges two classic graphical styles in a classic and interesting way.
These bandanas are 20″ square, made from a soft 100% cotton, and come in navy and green as well. I’d grab one of each 😉
Grayers Tattoo Parlor Bandana
The Tattoo Parlor bandana takes your favorite rugged, vintage sailor motif and prints them on 100% cotton poplin fabric measuring 19″ square.
These are definitely big enough to wear a variety of ways, in case you’d rather show it off than stick it in your back pocket.
WP Standard Bandana
WP Standard is known for their high-quality leather goods, but their accessories are not to be overlooked. And like their leather, this bandana is tough and needs to be broken in a bit (e.g. worn and washed so the cotton softens up).
Don’t be afraid to beat this one up and put it to good use. It’s a great handkerchief for sweat and physical work. Stylistically, it looks great peeking out of your back pocket, tied on your bag, or hanging loosely around your neck.
DRYKI Sweat Absorbing Handkerchiefs
For a purely utilitarian option, check out these hankies from DRYKI. They’re made from a microfiber material designed to soak up lots of moisture and dry 10x faster than regular cotton. If you’re a heavy sweater, these hankies were made for you.
These are also small and concealable, odor-resistant, and anti-microbial. Plus you get a 5-pack when you order them, so you’ll have plenty to spare. Throw one in the wash after a long day and you’ll have plenty more to spare.
Bridge and Burn Navy Dobby Bandana
This bandana is part of Bridge and Burn’s Sustainable Series, meaning they’re made with leftover fabrics from their ready to wear clothing collection. Great way to be stylish, eco-conscious, and mindful of waste, if you ask me.
This bandana is part of Bridge and Burn’s Sustainable Series, meaning they’re made with leftover fabrics from their ready to wear clothing collection.
Measures 18″ square, this is the perfect size for keeping in your back pocket or around your neck. The navy fabric is a soft 100% organic cotton, and the diamond motif dobby stitching provides a bit of visual and textural interest, especially up close.
Buck Mason Built Tough Bandana
All things considered, the ‘Built Tough’ bandana is probably one of the most versatile bandanas on this list, albeit a little plain. The simple earth tone / neutral colors, rugged construction, and perfect size make it great for a variety of styles and uses.
Simple earth tones / neutral colors, rugged construction, and perfect size make the Built Tough bandanas great for a variety of styles and uses.
Like the WP Standard bandana, you’ll have to break this one in a bit, but they are made to last and wear-in nicely. If you want a multi-faceted hanky, this is the one for you.
So, to “Wrap” It All Up (Ha! Get it?)
Hopefully this list of our favorite handkerchiefs and bandanas has been helpful!
Whether you’re more inclined to stick one in your back pocket, or wear it around your neck, there surely is a handkerchief for you in this round-up.