The shemagh scarf is one of the most useful items you could ever have. It’s recommended in many different survival kit lists for that exact reason.
I’m excited about this post, this item is one of the most useful items you can have packed in your bug-out bag. It’s also one of the most common items you’ll see in a survival kit list. There are few items on Earth that have more functionality and usefulness.
For this reason, I thought it deserved its own separate post on everything about the shemagh you need to know. This is a comprehensive guide on all the details of the shemagh.
Let’s start with an overview.
The term, shemagh (pronounced “Schmog” or “Shamay”) is an Aztec word and goes by many different names.
Other names for the Shemagh scarf include:
- Desert Scarf
- Tactical Scarf
- Survival Scarf
The Keffiyeh scarf is a symbol of resistance and solidarity.
The shemagh has a lot of history that dates back all the way to the Middle East where it was originated.
More specifically, the use of this piece of cloth started way back during the Sumerians and Babylonians in Mesopotamia. When people began traveling the desert, they had to come up with a way of making it through the desert climate.
Being in the harsh desert climate, your skin and face in particular, needs a sturdy cover, especially for the head for one to survive.
It was used primarily for protection from direct sun exposure, which there is a lot of in that part of the world.
Did you know that Prophet Muhammad also wore the shemagh? Well, this will tell you why some people wear a scarf in the present day. They wear the shemagh to show respect and appreciation of their religion and cultural heritage, especially the Muslims in Arabia. It’s everyday worn among the Imams and Sheikhs studying Islam in Arabia.
Have you ever seen the Jewish prayer scarf? Well, some people believe Arabs adopted the shemagh from the Jews. According to the Jewish principals, a rabi will wear a scarf or a shawl.
The shemagh is also common among the military forces around the world. When in a desert climate or regions with harsh weather conditions, the shemagh has posted its excellent use as protective wear.
Did you also know that Palestinian revolts used the shemagh? During the British mandate, revolts used to wear shemagh to hide their identity. When the authorities tried banning the shemagh, they only encouraged a more significant number to wear the scarf as a cover-up for the revolts. This has also been the primary reason why the shemagh has gained popularity in the present day.
If you’re wondering what is a shemagh made of, they are primarily made of woven cotton.
Cotton is a great material for making a durable and strong piece of cloth. Think of a bandana, only fortified thicker and stronger.
This material is ideal for being close to your skin as well. It allows the shemagh to breath and not be uncomfortable when wearing.
Styles and Colors
The shemagh comes in different styles depending on what you want. The different colors actually don’t mean anything. They are simply designs. Mostly, it comes down to personal preference.
If you look at pictures of these scarfs, you’ll notice all the different colors and might wonder, what do the colors mean?
So you can get the color you want since they don’t make a difference in the functionality or usefulness. I prefer a standard plain green, black, or blue color.
There are military styles as well. Soldiers use a shemagh to protect themselves against the heat and sand when overseas.
I saw this question being asked when doing the research for this article. What color shemagh goes with multicam?
The ideal colors to go with a multicam would be:
- Ranger green
The traditional white and black are good options. Even more so with a shemagh because the colors will turn to the same color as the surrounding dust it collects from the environment.
How to Tie
Once you get one, you’ll want to learn how to tie it. There is a basic way to tie it that nearly everyone knows. But there are also additional ways to tie it that serve different purposes.
For example, you can use it to wrap around a wound for example to help stop blood flow.
Here’s one of the best videos on different ways to tie and wrap a shemagh, Including how to tie around your neck.
Believe it or not, the shemagh scarf has gained popularity, and it’s not a new case to see someone wearing it for fashion. These scarfs are fantastic to wear when it comes to style if you agree with me. You might be asking yourself how you will go about tying the scarf, here’s a way of how, though there are several other ways of doing this.
- Folding (forming a triangle). Lay the scarf in front of you and fold it in half from corner to corner creating a triangle.
- Put the scarf over your head. With one edge right between your shoulder blades and the other two on your shoulders. One side should be longer than the other.
- Cover your face for protection. Wrap the shorter edge up your chin and under the longer side. Pull the longer edge across your face to cover your nose and mouth, leaving the eyes visible.
- Pull the two edges behind your head, and if you have done it correctly, they meet right behind the ear where they should be fulfilling.
- Tie the two ends with an overhand knot. Cross the points wrapping one point over and around the other. Pull tight till you feel the shemagh fast around your head and secure that it won’t fall off.
You can also tie a shemagh in a military style.
Now you know a few different ways on how to put on a shemagh and how to wear one. Wrap it how you’d like to and also consider the environment you’ll be wearing it as some ways are better than others depending on the situation.
Who Wears It
If you’re asking yourself, why wear shemagh in the first place? Can’t I get the same uses from a bandana? Not quite.
So who uses and who wears these besides preppers and survivalists? A lot of different people for different purposes.
- The Military
Many different people wear it because again, it’s one of the best clothing items you can have.
10 Ways to Use a Shemagh Scarf
This scarf has so many different uses, I can’t include them all in this guide. That’s why we made an entire post dedicated to different shemagh uses that you can go check out.
I’ll summarize a couple uses for it here though. The purpose of a shemagh is primarily for protecting your face. it provides warmth and protection from high winds as well. One of the common questions about it is, does a shemagh keep you cool? Absolutely. Especially in Winter, it helps a lot against the cold winds.
Of course, thicker ones made of thicker material linen or wool will do a better job keeping your face and neck warm.
Besides the fact that the shemagh has gained popularity over the days, it has also gained vast uses. For instance, if you were planning on offering your date something warm, the shemagh has got you covered.
It’s widely used by the military when serving in desert-like terrain to symbolize these qualities — amongst the other benefits like protecting your eyes from sand and sun exposure.
Now, let’s dive in some ten ways you can use a shemagh scarf.
1. Provide warmth
Simply tie the scarf around your neck; it’s a scarf already. In cold weather, you can tie the shemagh scarf around your head and put on a hoodie for extra warmth; it does a beautiful job.
It’s, of course, especially beneficial in the Winter time.
2. Dust prevention
This doesn’t necessarily mean you live in a desert. When on a motorcycle, around places where wood is being sawed or even when clipping grass, the shemagh will keep you from flying particles. This is recommended mostly for people with dust allergies. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
3. As a pillow
Did you arrive at a campsite and realized you left your pillow but brought the scarf, well you have your remedy. You can stack it up into a ball or put leaves in, and you are good to go. You can also use it on buses during long travels.
4. As a bag
Using it as a bag is one of the best ways to use it.
You tie the two ends together and put what needs to be carried right in the middle. It will serve its purpose pretty well though temporarily.
5. As a towel
Away from home and you don’t have a towel, or you want to take a bath or a swim, but you don’t have a sheet, your shemagh is good enough. The shemagh is light sufficient to dry fast but thick adequate to get you dried up.
6. As a ground cloth
Found a beautiful garden or park and you want to sit down, but you are worried your clothes will be soiled, spread your shemagh down, and this will keep your clothes clean.
7. Fashion accessory
The shemagh has got its way in the fashion world and has got people looking amazing. Tie your shemagh around your neck with the dressing of your choice. It comes in a different color, and this has you looking lovely.
8. As a sling
It’s a good emergency first aid, especially with sprained wrists or a broken arm. Mostly, when out for camping and such accidents happen, the shemagh can be used as a temporary emergency aid.
9. Cooling agent
When the temperatures are exceedingly high, you can soak your shemagh in water and wrap it around your face to keep you fresh.
10. Sun protection
Did you get your head shaved, and the sun is right there burning you out? Well, your shemagh is your rescue. Tie it around your head, and your worries are over.
Many of are familiar with one of survival Lilly. She has one of the best survival youtube channels. She has a good video showing you different bushcraft and survival uses for a shemagh.
Consequently, though the shemagh has its original use and cultural heritage behind it, it’s aware that it has found its way in many people’s wardrobes. It has gained vast applications from fashion to being used as a sign of rebellion and even showing respect to religious beliefs and carrying on cultural heritage.
The shemagh scarf has proven itself time and time again as one of the most efficient items you could ever have for survival purposes. Not only for survival and preparedness but for different occasions for different people all around the world.
There are dozens more different ways to use this scarf. Far too many to include all of them in this article. That’s why I made a dedicated post on the different shemagh uses you can go to.
How To Make
If you want to make one yourself instead of buying one, it’s a fun DIY project to do.
I found this useful guide on how to make a custom shemagh that you can read here.
Did you think that something so simple could have so many different uses and functionality?
I hope this article about the shemagh scarf gave you some useful information on it. If anything, I hope this article proved that this tactical scarf is one of the best items you could have in your bug-out bag.