How To Tie A Shemagh

The Shemagh (pronounced “Schmog”)(also called a Keffiyeh and Ghutrah) originated in the Middle East. They are a scarf-style wrap commonly found in arid regions to provide protection from direct sun exposure, as well to protect the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand. It’s similar to a bandanna except much larger – approximately 42″ x 42″. 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 have an great post in the pipeline about the all of the possible uses. However, this post is simply a quick tutorial in how to tie a Shemagh as a face mask / head wrap. This is a very functional use in all kinds of environments. As you can see, with the right pattern, the Shemagh can work as some effective camo as well. Using it as shown below is great for dusty/sandy environments. I went on a trip to the Sand Dunes in Michigan not too long ago and my Shemagh was invaluable! I’ve also used it countless times this winter for face and head protection. You’ve probably seen it in some of my videos.

I’m sure there are other ways to tie this as a face mask, but below is the way I do it. There is also a video at the bottom.

This green/black pattern makes for awesome CAMO. I also own a tan/white color scheme that makes for perfect winter CAMO as well.

If you don’t have a Shemagh and want one – order one from us here – they are $11.95.

If you like the Shemagh, definitely subscribe to the blog below because you don’t want to miss my upcoming post about the MANY SURVIVAL USES FOR THE SHEMAGH.

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Here is an interesting Military History about the Shemagh I found on Wikipedia:

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. Because of its utility it was adopted by the Palestine Police Force, the Transjordan Frontier Force, the Sudan Defence Force, the Arab Legion, the Libyan Arab Force, the Long Range Desert Group, the Special Air Service and Popski’s Private Army, amongst others, who wore them while operating in North Africa. After the war, their use by the Army continued with the shemagh being worn in both desert and temperate environments in theatres such as Dhofar. Australian Army forces have also used the shemagh since the Vietnam War, and extensively during Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly by Australian Special Forces units. Since the beginning of the War on Terror, these keffiyeh, usually cotton and in military olive drab or khaki with black stitching, have been adopted by US troops as well. Their practicality in an arid environment, as in Iraq, explains their enduring popularity with soldiers. Soldiers often wear the keffiyeh folded in half into a triangle and wrapped around the face, with the halfway point being placed over the mouth and nose, sometimes coupled with goggles, to keep sand out of the face. This is also commonly done by armoured, mechanised and other vehicle-borne troops who use it as a scarf in temperate climates to ward off wind chill caused by being in moving vehicles. British soldiers deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan are now issued with a tan-colored shemagh. Irish Army Rangers use a green shemagh to conceal their identity whilst in the “green” role.


  1. Mike Cook says:

    Have you ever considered providing an urban survival experience? I have seen the TV shows simulating an end of the world type thing but I am more interested in hunting and gathering in an non end of the world (everyday) type of training. There must be lots of things and ways to survive in an urban enviornment unseen.

  2. thank you very clear instructions.

  3. Best tutorial on how to tie a shemagh.

  4. Yours is bigger than mine, I have "Shemagh envy!"

  5. Thanks for the info. This can really come in handy where I live in southern Colorado when the wind picks up. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is right around the Blanca massif from me. You can imagine!

  6. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m
    thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Many thanks

  7. thank you for intructions.i've always asking myself how to properly wrap shemagh around my head ;).

  8. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on hoq to tie a shemagh.

  9. Fraser 'Hanz' Maxwell says:

    Now I have another way to wear this! Woo!

  10. Brian Donahower says:

    Thank You

  11. Wont own one , be like wearing a Nazi SS cap . Just sayin .

    • You’re an ignorant piece of garbage. You do realize that all US and British troops are issued one, right? Not just Arab men.

    • I own three, but it is important to know that certain color combinations have cultural or social meaning. Even the green or tan ones would associate you with Western Coalition forces if you were traveling in the Middle East. My third shemagh is a blue-on-white one from Israel.

  12. Great article with easy to follow pictures. My husband has one. I should practice on his.

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  15. Read lots of interesting things. The only thing to say about me is I in my childhood on April 3 1974 stared at an f3 tornado less than 500 yards from me while my uncle drove a car. He floored it we were out of there.

  16. i have a green and black shemagh, and was wondering what the colors of the headgear mean in the Arab and middle eastern countries. I know that religious leaders wear a certain color. Thanks

  17. Chris Lilja says:

    Well he got the right way down but its pretty sloppy. You can do it way better than that and its very affective in all climate types

  18. John Taylor says:

    Yes, Lucas, you certainly are

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