Pack Essential: Shemagh

Marc Cherry or ‘Scopey’ of MDA shares the latest Configeer’s item of the month – the humble shemagh.

Configeer Marc: So when asked to write up a short piece on one of my essential pieces of kit I gave this a lot of thought – I’m 41 and have been messing about, living or working outside since I was 15… Army cadets followed by the Army as an infantryman where I further developed a passion for the mountains and the outdoors which has led to starting a small adventure guiding and instruction business Maddogadventures. So this means I have a fairly wide range of kit to choose from!

I wanted this article to feature something that no matter what I carry every single time I step out for an adventure, I nearly chose my Strider SMF knife which carries great sentimental value but these are fairly hard to get hold of and expensive so looked at what kit do I deem essential but that anyone reading this could afford?

The answer is the humble Shemagh! I have a few Shemaghs, from different brands, times in my life and different weights, I’ll admit I love a good shemagh and much the same as hats – don’t need an excuse to pick up another!

When I was a young 15 year old army cadet I like many other at the time read Andy Mcnabb’s “Bravo Two Zero” and the shemagh was mentioned several times throughout the book, like many of my fellow cadets I duly went out with my paper round money bought a cheap and cheerful Olive green shemagh and proceeded to try and wrap myself up to look like a ninja or desert warrior…

Since then the humble shemagh has always found its way into my kit. A Shemagh can be a warm scarf, a headdress to keep you warm, a sweat rag, a bandana or headdress to keep the sun off of your head or aid in sheltering you from dust, they can be soaked then worn round the neck to aid in cooling and as they are 100% cotton this works quite well, they can form improvised shade from the sun when stretched out, a triangular bandage, part of a water filtration system, a towel or even used to create char cloth and so aid in starting that lifesaving fire!

These are just the outdoor uses, my wife, like me, has a bit of a thing for gear and clothing from Triple Aught Design so I once bought her one of their shemaghs. It went pretty much unused until our daughter was born and then was pressed into service as a shroud for feeding in public, a buggy/pram sun shade and a changing blanket!

Now of course with Covid-19 changing our lifestyle the shemagh can also be pressed into service as a makeshift mask!

Pictured are Shemaghs from Triple Aught Design, Combat Flip Flops, and my issue Shemagh from my last Op Herrick tour… Add a shemagh to your kit you will not regret it.
By Marc Cherry

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