The (also known as a keffiyeh) is a scarf that originated in the Middle East. It’s been used by Western armies as far back as World War II. As these forces returned home, they took their shemaghs with them.
Shemaghs are typically made of lightweight cotton cloth and are around 42″ x 42″ square. The weave is normally not all that tight which allows the material to breathe well and dry rapidly if the shemagh gets wet or is soaked in sweat. It can be used in any way that other scarves and bandanas are used but it’s size and material make shemaghs much more versatile.
Today, the shemagh is used by militaries around the world as well as survivalists and other people that spend a lot of time outdoors. Its simplicity and versatility make it a great addition to most survival kits like a bug out bag.
Its wide range of uses is what makes the shemagh so popular in Arab cultures and for tactical purposes.
- Sun Protection.
- Dust Protection.
- Scarf in Cold Weather.
- Sweat Rag.
- Cooling Towel.
- Improvised Sling.
- Improvised Splint.
- Length of Cordage.
- Water Filter.
- Bag or Backpack.
- Small Pillow.
- Pot Holder.
- Wrapped Around a Heavy Item and Used as a Weapon.
- Signaling Device.
- Ground Cover.
- Silencer for Metal Equipment.
Tieing a shemagh can be difficult the first few times that you try it. This video by Willow Haven Outdoor does a great job of showing one of the easiest ways to tie a shemagh.
A shemagh tied in this way is great to keep sand and dust out of your mouth and nose. It also keeps the sun and wind off of your head and is equally effective in hot or cold weather.
This is also a great way to quickly camouflage your face depending on the color of the shemagh.
In the end, anyway that you can wrap a shemagh around your head will work. It’s really up to you as the wearer.
The shemagh is a great piece of equipment to add to your survival gear. You can pick up a wide range of colors and styles on Amazon right here if you’re interested.
When you’re choosing a shemagh over on Amazon, make sure you pay attention to what the reviewer has to say about them. They aren’t all made equal. I’ve found the Rothco shemaghs to be of decent quality and price. The colors are also very close to what you see in the pictures.
Choose a color that would work well in your environment. White and sand colors work well for winter camouflage and black with olive or other dark colors are great for nighttime and woodland areas.
Do you have any other you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section!
Make sure you read more of our articles about survival equipment before you leave.