Simple Survival Skills: The Multipurpose Pashmina Shawl #survivalhack #homesteading

A scarf by itself might not be enough to keep you from freezing to death in extreme temperatures. But a large scarf, known as a shawl, can serve multiple functions aside from keeping your neck warm like a scarf. It takes up little space in a glove compartment in your car. Keep one in your bugout bag, too.

Simple Survival Skills

I most often use my pashmina shawl in the way I’m wearing it at the top of this blog post. It’s not stylish, but it’s warmer than any baklava I’ve ever tried. The advantage to using a shawl over a baklava is the many other ways a shawl can be used. It’s not just a neck warmer.

Be Prepared

Keep this item handy. I’ve used it in several different ways over the course of a few years. I’ve listed some surprising alternative ways to use it below. It’s definitely a good item to keep in a bugout bag and stored in the glove compartment of your vehicles.

I could probably fold this shawl again and stuff it into a plastic zippered bag, but at 23 x 20 cm, it's small enough.
I could probably fold this shawl again and stuff it into a plastic zippered bag, but at 23 x 20 cm, it’s small enough.

Mine is large, about 80″ x 40″. It came from Afghanistan, but I’ve offered some alternatives below if you can’t find one this same size. Ones made of true pashmina this size are not easy to find. If you do come across one this size, please leave a comment below to let others know.

Mine is large - about 80" x 40". Plenty big enough to wrap up in.
Mine is large – about 80″ x 40″. Plenty big enough to wrap up in.

 

How to Use a Shawl to Stay Warm

This is kind of self-explanatory, because just keeping it around your neck will help tremendously. But for practical warmth while working on the homestead, I wear it a bit differently.

Perhaps not so stylish a way to wear my shawl, but it is very warm!

I’ll open it up and put it on top of my head, then fold it over toward the back to get it out of my eyes. Now it’s folded and draped over the top of my head. Throw one side over the opposite shoulder to the back, do the same with the other side. Now it’s over my head and wrapped around my neck.

Then I’ll put a hat on over it to hold it down. This really keeps my ears warm. If it’s windy, I’ll pull it some to shield my face or cover my mouth and nose. My coat goes on after this and it holds the shawl in place around my neck and adds extra warmth across my back if I’m good at keeping it spread out when I tossed each side over my shoulder.

 

Other Uses for a Shawl

For some of these other uses, you’ll have to not mind so much if it gets dirty. I have some shawls I keep for wearing when I go to town, and some I use for homestead work.

  • carry infant – tie it securely around your shoulders and use it to carry a baby or toddler

When all the grandkids were over this past spring, we decided to go hunt for morel mushrooms. The youngest walked just fine on the ground but getting up the hills among the rocks was hard for her. Since of course I had on one of my shawls, I quickly converted it into a sling-style tote and carried her on my hip.

  • sling – if you hurt your arm, use it like a sling

If you have one of the longer ones, like I do, you’ll have to tie the ends together and then loop it twice over your shoulder to make it short enough.

  • carry food- use it the same way as for carrying a child, but carry your wildcrafted or gathered food/herbs/mushrooms
  • carry firewood – this might tear it up if you’re not careful, but use the same technique for carrying the other items
  • wrap in to sleep – use it like a blanket

The pashmina is surprisingly warm for such thin fabric. Every time I wear one, I am amazed. I can’t vouch for what the synthetics are like. All of mine came from my husband. He bought them in Afghanistan while he was working there.

  • shock prevention – staying warm is important when injured. Keep in your car in case of accidents, too.

When someone is injured badly, if you keep them warm and calm, and focused on something besides their injury, it helps to prevent shock (if they’re not bleeding too badly). Not only is the pashmina warm, the story of where you found it, and how many ways it can be used is something you can use to help distract the patient.

Where to Buy

I got mine from my husband. He bought it for me while he was working in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Mine measures about 80″ x 46″ and is large enough to be a topper for a twin sized bed. I couldn’t find any exactly like mine at Walmart or Amazon, but the nearest like it I’ve found are linked below.

Let me know if you find one somewhere else by leaving a comment.

If possible, it’s important to get true pashmina and not the synthetic.

The one listed from Walmart is pure wool, not the blend of wool/silk (if the listing shows up – it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment).

Pashmina is a goat wool and silk blend, traditional to the Afghan region. Synthetics may not provide the same warmth, and cashmere alone is too weak of a fiber. The silk gives it strength and insulative properties. I can’t say how well the pure wool will do for the alternative uses for a shawl, but for warmth it will work just fine.

Many of the Amazon listings say “pashmina” but when you read the details, it’s not actually pashmina but a synthetic blend.

 

Simple Survival Skills Series

Throughout this blogging year I’m going to try and remember some of the other things I learned during our first years here at Wild Ozark.

In 2005, I moved from a comfortable 2400 sq ft house in a suburban area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot of things that people leading urban lives rarely need to know. As a matter of daily life we probably employ more simple survival skills here at Wild Ozark than most people do in their lifetimes because of the rural location and our dependence on spring water rather than municipal or well.

For many years, living here was more like camping. Rob works to make improvements, but it’s still not an *ordinary* lifestyle.

A Way of Life

After 13 years out here in the hills, it’s become a way of life and I rarely take special notice of how we do the things we do until something in particular makes me pay attention.

Here at Wild Ozark, I use my shawls often. It is much easier to stay warm with one on my head. I’ve used it as a sling to carry things ranging from grandchildren to berries or mushrooms and kindling. I hope to hear your tales of use when you get one!

Read my other Product Reviews for Homesteaders

Read my other Simple Survival Tips

 

 

 

 

 


About Wild Ozark
Wild Ozark is a nature farm. Mostly we grow rocks. I use those rocks and some of the herbs to make earth pigments and watercolor paints. We also grow native clay that I use for making my Fairy Swing Mushrooms. And then there are the trees. We grow lots of trees. My husband uses some for his woodworking and some for our Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup, but for the most part they stand around creating good air, shade, & habitat for the ginseng nursery.
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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. You can find my art on display and for sale at the Kingston Square Arts shop in Kingston, Arkansas. It's a tiny little town and a bit off the path to anywhere at all, but a wonderful ride out to a most beautiful part of our state. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making arts & crafty things, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.