“Camp in high places (not on hill tops but up there sides) facing the sun”. Sun Tsu
Head scarves, shemaghs, keffiyeh, chafiye or cemedani are the headwear most often associated with the desert people of Northern Africa, Middle East and the High Desert surrounding these areas. In these areas and in the American Southwest and mountainous regions of South America and dryer areas of North Western Americas (including Canada) those places known as high desert by some, proper clothing is essential.
While the head is important, it may surprise you that it is not the most important aspect of the body that should be clothed properly for long term survival and living with the elements and terrain where you are. However, the head is what we are addressing today, and of course why I personally recommend and in fact insist on my close family having and using shemaghs when out in the wilderness or even on day trips into the mountains. They are one of the items that is simply indispensable.
Rothco makes in my strict opinion a technically sound, physically strong, long lasting version that is made of cotton (traditional), measures 42”x42” and weighs right at 7 ounces. The uses are many, I have personally used them for the following needs.
- Headscarf as protection against the direct sun, wrapped properly it shields the neck, head and face and can be wrapped to provide a narrow slit which may act as “sunglasses” similar to the Eskimo/Inuits use of bone snow goggles with slits in them.
- Winter scarf as protection and as part of multiple layers when the weather is cold.
- May be used as a carrying pouch wrapped properly, large enough to equal a 3 day bag and strong enough to carry well over 25lbs of gear when needed. (The most I carried for an extended time in a Rothco Keffiyah/Shemagh was 32 lbs).
- Have used them to strain dirty water prior to boiling it.
- Used mine as a basket to carry various foodstuffs as I did my walk around camp to gather dinner while in the mountains I love.
- Have seen them used to carry smaller children in a sling configuration.
- I have used them as bandages and they can be used as a temporary sling or tourniquet.
- I regularly use them as towels when camping, or wash rags. As I carry 3 or 4 folded clean ones with my spare underwear and socks (merino wool) it is simply the intelligent thing to do.
- When shooting I use them for shoulder pad and can use them as a cheek riser if necessary for distance shooting.
- I love using them as a quick shade to rest under on hot days for the middle part of the day. (In the high desert and in the low desert shade may reduce the temperature by upwards of 20 degrees and is a necessity.
What do you use your head scarf for?
If you keep your eyes pealed very often you can find various sellers having sales on them for around $8 apiece, regularly they run around $11 and up through $45 if you are a brand snob. As always make sure to click on the links embedded as they will give you the best pricing and companies I deal with. Using these links helps ensure continued reviews and writing.
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