How to Tie a Shemagh





Introduction: How to Tie a Shemagh

The Shemagh is a length of material that is wrapped around the head, commonly worn by Arabic or middle eastern desert dwellers to protect from the sun and sand.  Pronounced “Schmog”.  Also known as a Keffiyeh or Ghutrah - wikipedia.  It has been adopted by military forces all over the world as a standard issue garment because of its sheer functionality.  For an outdoors-man, survivalist or bushcrafter, the Shemagh can be a multi-use tool with literally 100′s of uses.  

I live in a desert that can dip below freezing at night and peak over 100 degrees the very next day.  I have found the Shemagh to be invaluable in both climates to regulate temperature and protect from both extreme exposures. Some of the pictures are from Willow Creek Outdoors, great survival site!  I've included a short list of other examples and uses on the last step.

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Step 1: Fold

Lay the shemagh out flat in front of you. Fold the shemagh in half corner to corner so that a large triangle is formed.

Step 2: Place on Head

Place the shemagh on top of your head with two of the points hanging over your shoulders, and the third between your shoulder blades. One side should be slightly longer than the other.

Step 3: Cover Face

Wrap the shorter point under your chin and up in front of the other point. Pull the long end across the face, over the nose and mouth, in front of the shorter end. Only the eyes should remain visible.

Step 4: Pull Corners Behind Head

Pull both points of the shemagh together behind the head. They should meet right behind the ear.

Step 5: Tie

Tie the two points together with an overhand knot. To do this, cross the points, wrap one over and around the other, and pull tight. The shemagh will now be secured tightly around your head.

Step 6: Other Ways

There are many other ways to tie and uses for a Shemagh.

A few examples:

  • Dust Protection. Cover your face on motorcycles, truck beds, and tops of chicken buses.
  • Sun Protection. Great for when you’re stranded in mid-day heat without shade nearby.
  • Towel. Small, lightweight, fast drying, but thick enough get the job done. Perfect for the beach.
  • Warmth. Wrap it around your neck as a scarf on the top of a mountain.
  • Bag. Lay it out, put stuff in middle, tie four corners together. Instant hobo sack.
  • Sarong. While shorter than a normal one, it can still be wrapped around your waist.
  • Sweat Rag. Great for hiking, running, or other sweat-inducing activities.
  • Arm Sling. Sprain a wrist or break an arm? Perfect for temporary immobilization.
  • Emergency Bandage. Help stop bleeding and protect the wound until you get to a hospital.
  • Pillow. Thick & soft enough to ball up and sleep with on bus rides or camping trips.
  • Weapon. Twist a big rock up in the middle, and you have an instant self-defense tool!
  • Concealment. Often used to hide my Canon 7D camera when in questionable neighborhoods.
  • Rope. Long enough to be rolled up to tie things together.
  • Water Filter. Fold up multiple times and filter debris out of water before boiling.
  • Keeping Cool. Soak in cold water and wrap around your neck.
  • Signal Flag. Large enough to wave and get someone’s attention.
  • Blanket. Good for covering your upper or lower body..
  • Pot Holder. Take that boiling water you just filtered off the fire.
  • Eye Mask. Sleep during the day or in a hostel when lights are on.



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Hell yeah! No face sunburns now!

very nice, i would also say to put on the added uses that it can be used for paintball, that's what i use it for. Thanks :)

Thanks for this post.

i like to play airsoft with my shemagh and i am pretty camoed

Unless you are Creek from Willow Haven Outdoors, you should give credit where credit is due.

Good point, thanks. Updated

Thanks. i did: Introduction, second paragraph.

What are the best dimensions?

The smaller ones are harder to tie, especially if you have a big head like me :)