Home Gear Why You Need a Shemagh in your Preparedness Gear

Why You Need a Shemagh in your Preparedness Gear

Think of the Shemagh as the bandana’s big brother. They have almost unlimited uses. This is why You Need a Shemagh in your Preparedness Gear

Why You Need a Shemagh in your Preparedness Gear

What is a “Shemagh“?

Wikipedia tells us:

A Shemagh, also known as a Keffiyeh, ghutrah, ḥaṭṭah, mashadah, chafiye, Sudra and cemedanî, is a traditional Middle Eastern headdress fashioned from a square, usually cotton, scarf. It is typically worn by Arab men, as well as some Kurds and Jews.

For decades, keffiyeh have been issued to British soldiers who now, almost exclusively, refer to them as shemaghs. Their use by some units and formations of the military and police forces of the former British Empire and subsequent Commonwealth dates back to before the Second World War. Shemaghs are currently worn by special forces worldwide.

The Shemagh is essentially a big bandana, usually a square measuring 42 or 44 inches on each side. They come in many colors. I personally have them in green, khaki and white, which should cover all seasons (for some quick head camouflage).

What can you use a Shemagh, or a regular bandana for? Almost anything.

I keep one in each of my family vehicles, camping kits and even carry one daily in my backpack for work.

I’m bald, so this comes in very handy. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been caught, unexpectedly, outside in the sun, for long periods of time. This can be a life saver, even more so, for us fair skinned folk.

Some Shemagh uses:

  1. Sun Protection for bald heads… or necks, for those of you with hair!
  2. Cooling (soak with water and drape or tie it to your person)
  3. Sweat Band
  4. Dust Mask
  5. Face covering (conceal your identity, like a ninja)
  6. Diffuse Light (put over flashlight or battery lantern)
  7. Water pre-filter (remove sediment that could clog your water filter)
  8. Water acquisition – Tie around ankles and walk through plants covered with dew. Wring into water container (or mouth)
  9. Signaling flag
  10. Trail marker
  11. Tie to luggage or bag to make it identifiable
  12. Hot pad or pot holder (metal or other cookware gets hot when you use it with fire)
  13. Food cover (keep bugs off your food)
  14. Tourniquet
  15. Arm Sling
  16. Use to secure a splint in place
  17. Eye covering or eye patch
  18. Scarf or Neck Warmer
  19. Napkin
  20. Washcloth
  21. Towel
  22. Dishtowel
  23. Handkerchief (you may have a runny nose or sneezing)
  24. bag for food collection or to help carry items
  25. Tie around sticks or branches to make a bundle (easier to carry)
  26. Knife Wipe Cloth
  27. Gun Wipe cloth or tear it up to make gun cleaning patches
  28. windsock (check wind direction)
  29. Tie down loose gear (on vehicles, belt or backpack)
  30. use it to replace a busted backpack shoulder strap
  31. belt
  32. Hobo pack (pouch on end of a stick)
  33. improvised diaper
  34. improvised toilet paper (yuck)
  35. Blindfold (I’m not even going to ask….)
  36. Bullfighting cape (joking…or am I?) “Olé!”

The list of uses, for a shemagh, or a good bandana,  could go on and on, and would only be limited by your imagination. This list is just a sampling of, why you need a shemagh in your preparedness gear!


  1. If you get one, make sure it’s made of a synthetic material. Cotton sucks.
    Do a search, there are several available. Check eBay as well.

    • correction, you only want cotton because it will breath better and be more water absorbing. also you can easily turn it into charcloth.

  2. It sounds like a handy item to have with you, But be careful where you wear it if and when a war between the muslums and American citizens breaks out. (If God forbid there is another major terror attack on U.S. soil.) You don’t want to be mistaken for the enemy.

    • The Kufiya is worn by SAS, Special forces etc. No one will think you are a enemy just because you wear one. Besides, you can buy a solid color if you are really concerned.

    • I agree with you Sam. That gear here would mark you as muslum or arab. The majority of citizens here would not know they are worn by British special forces.

  3. Almost useless information of the day: that bag on a stick stereotypically carried by hobos is called a bindle. I have nothing to contribute.


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