One of the most essential yet simple pieces of equipment you may include in your kit is a shemagh. There are many ways to use a shemagh, making them particularly handy. Most people know them as a means to safeguard yourself from inclement weather, but you can also utilize them in many other ways.
A loop of string called an “agal” is frequently used to hold the shemagh. It is frequently made into a turban or worn carelessly wrapped about the back and shoulders. This is more commonly seen in Middle Eastern countries than the rest of the world, however.
Why You Need a Shemagh
Shemagh, pronounced “Schuh-Maag,” has a variety of meanings, particularly among Arabs and, more specifically, among those from the Arabian Peninsula who wore them for a long time before they became widely recognized as national symbols in many nations. Shemaghs are convenient pieces of clothing. The U.S. military uses shemaghs for many reasons, proving their usefulness in survival situations.
Shemagh can be worn in a variety of ways. To begin with, you can tie it around your neck, entwine it in your hair, fasten it with a belt, tuck it away in a shirt pocket or a pocket of your jeans, or use it as a trouser belt.
They are considered for typical use for survival in many prepping circles. Due to their adaptability and lightweight, these soft, woven cotton clothes are well known as a popular choice worldwide. The good news is that anyone can look good in a shemagh if they pick the appropriate style and fit. We’ve published an entire article on this subject, Shemagh Fashion, Styles, and Wearing One.
Imagine being in a hot, dry, dusty place. This is where people often imagine wearing a shemagh, covering the head and mouth. Shemaghs can help you stay cool. Wetting a shemagh enhances evaporation, increasing the heat to escape from your head and improving the shemagh’s ability to keep you cool.
The shemagh is quite versatile, easy to use, and serves a variety of additional purposes as well. But as soon as you use one, you’ll see that those Arabs did know what they were doing when they made these!
Additionally, it can shield you from the wind-chill impact of traveling in an open-topped vehicle or the wind and cold from snow fields. The shemagh is quite adaptable, and you might prefer to wear it over your neck as a scarf in all weather conditions.
Buying a Shemagh
We’ve written an entire article on where to buy shemaghs, so serious shoppers should see that article. You can buy them through many online retailers, prepping stores included, but if you are looking for a higher-end shemagh, Hirbawi Premium shemaghs are widely considered to be some of the best.
These shemaghs come in many different colors and styles, and measure a generous (and versatile) 47″x47″.
Ways to Use a Shemagh
Shemaghs can serve as a comfortable scarf, a pillow, a towel, and a variety of other purposes when you’re traveling. We’re going to concentrate on the different uses for your shemagh as it can come in handy in different situations.
1 – Scarf
This use is perfect if you want to maintain a stylish appearance while safeguarding your neck and shoulders. This is done by folding the edge of your shemagh into a triangle and wrapping it around your lips and nose. They can aid in perspiration absorption and are frequently worn around the neck to shield the shoulders and chest from the sun. They can easily cover your nose and mouth to protect you from dust, and they are accessible as needed when worn around the neck.
2 – Belt
Shemagh is very long; therefore, when you coil it together, it can be used as an improvised rope or belt. Nobody enjoys having their pants unexpectedly fall. Use the shemagh as an improvised belt to keep them going. If you can make it into a rope, you can undoubtedly make it into a belt.
3 – Pouch or Bag
It can turn into a tiny functional bag when you run out of options or don’t have any more room in your backpack. You can manufacture bindle bags out of shemagh by folding and tying a piece of cloth (like a shemagh) to wrap around the end of a long stick that rests on the shoulder. Imagine the iconic picture of the hobo who carries his belongings wrapped in a bag at the end of a stick. That “bag” could be a sehmagh. This method of carrying a bag relieves pressure from the body by transferring the weight to the shoulder and allowing for a more comfortable grasp, especially while carrying bigger items.
4 – Towel or Washcloth
We’ve already discussed how staying cool while wearing this cloth on your head is possible. The cloth can be made more breathable by soaking it in water before reapplying it to your body. The shemagh can serve as a towel because it is a decent absorbent. Use it as a washcloth or to remove extra sweat. Additionally, it is thick enough and dries very rapidly.
5 – Medical Sling
Assists in wound protection and hemorrhage control. It is pretty practical, and wrapping your wrist is even simpler. A shemagh might be helpful in an emergency if you don’t have a first aid kit as a bandage to stop the bleeding and preserve the wound or as a tourniquet for constriction and compression to control venous stasis.
6 – Make a Sling
A broken arm or sprained wrist? Keep your arm immobilized and supported if it is injured. You can transform a shemagh into a functional arm sling with just one knot. In reality, the US Special Forces, Australian, British, Irish, and Thai militaries all provide their men with shemaghs for use in emergencies while on duty.
7 – Rope
Getting a rope or piece of cordage over a tree branch can be challenging. If the rope has some weight at the end, it will be much simpler. Before tying the shemagh to the end of the cordage, place some rocks or another weight within the shemagh.
8 – Pot Holder
By repeatedly folding the shemagh upon itself to form a potholder, you can prevent spillage of water or food. This stunning and functional scarf will let you remove your water from the heat after it has boiled. The same rules apply when boiling soup, tea, or coffee. A hot cast iron pan can be grabbed, or an oven rack can be removed using it at home.
9 – Face Mask
You can use the shemagh to defend yourself by covering your lips, nose and even eyes. The shemagh can function as a mask if you are in an environment or circumstance where doing so is essential. When adequately fashioned, it serves as a decent eye shield.
10 – Dust Protection
You can quickly sabotage your day by breathing and seeing in the sand or dust. If you have any extra water available, soaking the fabric will aid in preventing risks like blown dust. A moist shemagh will also lessen smoke inhalation and improve your breathing for a period if there is smoke in the air.
11 – Water Filter/Strainer
Fold a shemagh repeatedly to generate numerous layers before using it as a water filter. The water will then seep through as you lay it over the top of your water bottle and submerge it in the water source. One of the layers in a homemade water filter that removes debris from the water can be made from fabric from a bandana or shemagh. This will only filter out big visible particles. After filtration, the water still needs to be purified.
12 – Sun Protection
A shemagh can be stretched overhead and secured to offer some much-needed shade. Direct sunlight may significantly raise the temperature in a space, making it difficult for your body to chill down. A neck scarf will shield your chest and shoulders from the sun. Shields your head and face from the sun and heat, which is especially useful for those with poor vision. For further protection, each style may be adjusted to cover your face.
13 – Bug Protection
Bug bites should be avoided by everyone because they can be, at best, inconvenient and, at worst dangerous (or even fatal). Protection from insects is critical for outdoor enthusiasts like campers, hikers, fishermen, and hunters. The shemagh can be used as additional pest protection by wrapping it around your head, neck, or torso. Additionally, it offers warmth and protection from the cold.
14 – Tourniquet
As a makeshift tourniquet, a shemagh can be used to stop uncontrolled bleeding. This part is simple. However, it can be dangerous to treat severe wounds. To use a tourniquet correctly, you must have some medical training. If not, you risk making matters worse. A proper tourniquet should always be carried, so this should not be used as a substitute. However, the shemagh can be used as a last resort.
15 – Signaling Device
A shemagh works well as a signaling tool to attract your group’s attention or a rescue crew. The more vibrant ones can be used to notify other hikers in case you get lost or to draw a helicopter’s notice. It can draw the attention of rescue workers from a considerable distance because of its size. You can wave it back and forth by tying it to a long pole. When your shemagh is a vivid color, this works much better.
16 – Camouflage
In the military, it is occasionally vital to remain undetected; hence special forces frequently employ camouflage colour schemes. Green, brown, and grey hues will help you blend into the background outside. Wrap the shemagh around your head and face. No need to emphasize that the remainder of your clothing should also be discrete. It is a quicker and cleaner method than face paint or mud.
17 – Simple Pillow
Other times, your shemagh can make up for a shortage of materials and resources. The shemagh can be used in various ways, making it an excellent impromptu pillow, blanket, and even knapsack due to its multipurpose nature. Roll it up or even stuff it with grass or leaves. Whether in a survival situation or taking a lengthy car or bus trip, it works well as a substitute pillow. Consider a long bus ride. Alternatively, staying the night in a shelter or a tent. If you don’t have a cushion, your shemagh will make you extremely content.
Wrapping it Up (Pun Intended)
A shemagh, in my opinion, is an essential piece of prepper gear. It has been thoroughly tested in harsh environments and has proven to be effective, efficient, and very adaptable in a variety of applications. These are only a few of the many real-world applications for shemaghs. Spend some time considering these and other applications for them, and the odds are that you’ll want to store one as a result.
As you can see, there are many various outfits you may wear with your shemagh, but sometimes deciding whether you want your shemagh to complement or contrast the rest of your outfit is the most crucial factor to consider when picking the proper color.