Shemaghs are some of the most-popular, and practical, head scarves in the world. While they’re commonly-worn in the Middle East, and they’re often perceived as being terrorist-garb, that mis-perception shouldn’t keep people from enjoying their benefits. Let’s take a look at how this over-sized bandanna or under-sized shawl can help to make less-than-ideal conditions easier to contend with.
They’re commonly-worn around the neck as a way to protect the chest and shoulders from the sun, but they can also help to absorb sweat. Keeping them around the neck also makes them easy to access when needed, and they can easily be slid over the nose and mouth for dust or debris protection.
You can easily wrap it around your nose and mouth to improvise an air filter. While it may not remove super-fine particles, it’s ideal when high winds kick up a lot dust and debris, and they can also be doused with water to filter out a good amount of smoke as well. You can also use it for some basic nose and mouth protection while riding a motorcycle to avoid ingesting bugs and other small objects that may be in the air.
You can wear a shemagh over your head and face to help you to blend into surroundings in a pinch. This may prove to be a fast and easy alternative to improvising something in the field, and it’s not messy like face paint, dirt or clay. You can also use it in conjunction with other camouflage techniques in order to increase their effectiveness as well.
You can fold the shemagh for some minimal padding on cold, uneven or hard ground. It can also help to keep your bottom dry as you sit, and you can also use it to protect your gear and backpack as well. Think of it as an improvised picnic blanket.
Good shemaghs are absorbent and can put up with a lot of abuse, and this makes them ideal for towels in a pinch. Not only can use them to dry yourself, but they can also be used things like cleaning or picking up spills as well.
Warmth and Insulation
You can wrap exposed parts of the body in a shemagh to help keep them warm, and they can also be folded or stuffed in places to provide insulation. While they’re not as big as a blanket, they can be just as useful in a pinch.
Imagine being in a situation where your clothing is wet or perhaps you’ve lost your pants or shorts. You can wear a shemagh like a sarong until your clothes dry or you find replacements. While not ideal, it will help you to avoid the travails of being forced to decide how to get around while wearing nothing more than your underwear.
You can stuff a shemagh like a hobo uses a bandanna to carry small items, but you can pack away more with the former. This is a great way to transport all kinds of things when you don’t have space in your bug out bag or backpack and other options aren’t available.
You can wrap the shemagh around handles of pots, pans or utensils that you’re cooking with in the field. This can help to protect you from burns, and they can also make it easier to grab and move things. You can also use it as a hot pad to place pots and pans when you’re finished cooking as well.
Unwrap the shemagh, twist it up lengthwise, tie-off the ends, and you now have a durable piece of improvised rope that can be used for a variety of tasks in the field. It can be used in a rescue, to pull a small vehicle out of a jam, or simply to tie things together when other options aren’t available.
You can use a shemagh as a sling, bandage, wound-compressor or as the bed for a splint or improvised shelter. You can also fold and twist the material in order to create a tourniquet if you don’t have a belt available.
These are just a few examples of a laundry-list of practical uses of shemaghs in the field. Take some time to think about these and other ways that you can put them to work for you, and chances are that you’ll want to pack one away as a result.