Looking for where to buy the best types of shemaghs for survival wear and fashion? The shemagh used to be a piece of clothing worn only in various Middle Eastern countries. Today, however, you can find people wearing a shemagh all over the world, from the streets of New York City to U.S. military operations overseas. This versatile piece of fabric has a long history. Preppers buy then not just because they are fashionable, but because they are practical.
by Derrick James
What to Look for in a Shemagh
Selecting the best shemagh comes down to three things: style, size, and material.
Shemaghs come in countless colors, designs, and sizes. Many of the shemaghs you’ll buy in the U.S. are of earth tones: olive drab, coyote brown, etc. If you are selecting a shemagh based on its colors and patterns, make sure you know if its unique characteristics have some significance. For example, red or green checkered patterns could be interpreted as support for, or affiliation with, the Palestinian Liberation Organization or Hamas.
Large. A “large” shemagh is going to be one that measures at least 40″ x 40″. If you want wear the shemagh in the traditional ways, you want to buy a large one. These will allow the material to cover your head while draping down to also cover your shoulders and arms. Large shemaghs are also important for people who want to buy shemaghs for practical, versatile purposes. If you want the option to turn your head covering into a splint or bandage – or even a makeshift tablecloth – you want a larger size.
Small. A “small” shemagh is apt to measure around 36″ x 36″. Any purchased at this size are used more for fashion purposes, wrapped around a neck as an accessory, for example.
Look for three things when considering the material of your shemagh: cotton versus wool, weight, and the stitching.
Cotton vs Wool. There are largely two types of material that shemaghs are made from: cotton and wool. The vast majority of shemaghs on the market today are made of cotton. Cotton shemaghs are light and soft. Wool shemaghs are heavier, stronger, and get softer with age.
You may come across variations beyond cotton and wool. You could find poly/cotton mixes or even 100% poly. Skip those. Natural materials will dry faster and feel softer.
Weight. A heavier weight does not necessarily mean you are buying a better quality shemagh. Consider your intended purpose. While a heavier weight will be better at keeping you warm during winter months, it will bake your head in summer heat.
Stitching. Measure quality not by the weight but by the stitching. Good stitching makes for a tight shemagh that will not allow runs to happen as easily. The best shemaghs will be made through real embroidery or be hand-woven. These are not the most commons shemaghs available for purchase, and advances in manufacturing means a decent shemagh can actually be made in China for a reasonable prices. Of course, there are plenty of low-quality shemaghs out there for sale as well.
Buying the Best Shemaghs for Sale
You really do not have to overthink where the best place to buy a shemagh is. Many online stores sell them. What follows is a listing of some of those stores that sell premium or just “functional” shemaghs. In the end, you are essentially buying a simple piece of cloth, what matters most is the quality and style of that cloth. Naturally, the higher the quality the higher the price, but no shemagh should ever break the bank. Choose the one that suits your needs.
Highest Quality – Higher Price
Hirbawai USA ($$$) – Hands down the best shemagh you are going to find on the market. If you want to buy as “legit” a shemagh as you can find, you want them from the Hirbawi Factory. Hirbawi is known as being the last Palestinian producer of the keffiyeh. Founded in 1962, it is located in the largest city in the West Bank, Hebron, a place where power outages and lockdowns continuously complicated production. It is hard to get more authentic than the shemaghs made here.
They have different designs and styles than you will find in other places. All of their shemaghs are made from 100% cotton and measure in at a whopping 47″ x 47″ – my kind of shemagh!
Merewill ($$$) – What’s better than a 47″ x 47″ shemagh? A 49″ x 49″ shemagh. That’s a bit over 15 square feet of fabric. This keffiyeh is made of woven material (not printed), and Merewill offers a 100% money back guarantee with no questions asked.
They are a polyester-cotton blend, however. This is intentional to make the colors more vibrant. Polyester brings out the color whereas cotton is not as bright. So, if you are looking for something more traditional, this is probably not the choice for you. Still, it is lightweight, breathable, and made of a strong material.
If you want to be mindful of where the product is sourced, this one is made in China.
Average Quality – Average Price
BlackHawk Tactical ($$) – This is one from Optics Planet is their highest-rated apparel product. They are only produced in two different designs: coyote tan and olive drab. Clearly they are following the most popular colors among American shooting enthusiasts.
They are made from 100% cotton, and this brand is known as being of the more prominent brands used by U.S. and British soldiers operating abroad. Well-constructed and durable.
Low Quality – Lower Price
Tapp Collections ($) – Tapp Collections “Premium Shemagh” comes in at 42″ x 42″ and weigh 4 oz. They are made of a cotton/wool blend and have a variety of different styles available for purchase.
These are not the thickest keffiyehs on the market and they are made in China. For $15 or less, however, you can buy one of their shemaghs and you should be happy with your purchase. Just know you are not buying top of the line.
Mato & Hash ($) – The Mato & Hash “Tactical Military Shemagh” is 100% cotton and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Know what the difference between a tactical shemagh and a non-tactical shemagh? Nothing.
The Mato and Hash versions measure in at 43″ x 43″ and are recommended as hand wash and air dry only. They come with instructions on how to fold it in various ways. They are made in Pakistan and cost a bit less than Tapp Collections.
Military Surplus Shemagh 5 Pack ($) – Why settle for just one when you can buy five? Are these military surplus scarves high end? No. But this 5-pack will cost you the same as one higher-end keffiyeh. Regardless of quality, there is something to be said for that.
They are all 100% cotton, measure 42″ x 42″ and instructions say they are okay to machine wash (most say hand wash).
Shemagh Shopping Wrap Up
Prices, as you can see above, are going to run you from around $12 to upwards of $30. These are not exceptionally expensive products no matter the quality. If you plan to use a shemagh regularly, or – as a prepper – want one that is not just decorative but also functional for other non-scarf purposes (splint, blindfold, etc.), it may be worth your money to splurge on a higher-end model.
If, however, you plan to just use one periodically and care less about quality than just “the look” of having one, skip the $25+ versions and go for the budget models. Alternatively, if you want various colors to match to your wardrobe, the 5-pack may suit you best.
Do you have shemagh experience to share? Let us know in the comments below.