Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dress for survival success: The Pashmina.

Chances are you'll have heard of the Pashmina. More a style of cloth than a garment, the material is available in a variety of sizes from various vendors both on the high street and online.
I bought mine from amazon, but I cannot find the exact item I purchased, and so cannot provide a link.

At approximately 70"x20", there are a number of ways to use the Pashmina, as both clothing, shelter, and improvised cordage.

I this article I will be going into the uses as a clothing item only, as the other uses are fairly obvious.

1) Belt/Sash.

This is fairly simple, but in the event that an item of clothing loses it's fasteners, or additional clothing has to be improvised from other materials, then the Pashmina can be improvised as a belt. The cloth is strong enough to be tied tightly, whilst being soft and smooth enough not to rub against the body and cause irritation.

To tie the sash, fold the Pashmina so it is roughly a hand's width. Hold the Pashmina a third of the way along it's length just below your belly button, so that the longer piece is to your left. Wrap the rest around your waist, and fold over and around, pulling tightly. Unless you have a very large waist, there will be a significant length left hanging. This can either be left, or tucked and tied along the length of the belt sash for added security.

2) Turban.

Quick disclaimer; I'm not a Sikh, and this is not a religiously accurate turban. It is only called such because of the physical resemblance. This method works best with cropped or shaved hair.

This is a really warm alternative to a hat, which I've worn both in summer and winter, and found quite pleasant in most weathers. It also protrudes a little forward of the face, which, combined with the remaining cloth tied over the face kept most of the snow out of my eyes.

First, place one of the short edges roughly halfway down the back of your head, with the rest of the material hanging over the face. Loop the corners of the short edge around the head and tie across the forehead. Flip the length back over your head towards the rear. Twist the rest of the material into a "rope". Wrap around the head, and tuck through the start of the "rope". This will leave sufficient material hanging down the neck to wrap across the face shemagh style.

3) Under shirt.

This will cover a similar area of you torso as a vest. It is often seen being sported by women at pools and beaches in the summer to cover their upper body whilst not in the water.

Hold the Pashmina at two corners, so that the long edge follows the line of your arms. Bring the cloth under your arms, so it is tucked under the armpits. Wrap the corners you are holding across your chest, and tie them behind your neck.

4) Underwear.

Looks kind of like Gandhi's lioncloth.

Hold one end of the Pashmina just above the genitals. Loop the remaining length through the legs. Wrap the garment around the waist, ensuring it covers the cloth in front. Tuck and tie the garment at the rear.

5) Skirt.

Nice and simple. Place one corner on your hip, so the short edge hangs down the leg. Wrap the Pashmina around the waist, ensuring it is tight. Tuck the top corner into the waist. For additional security, use a second Pashmian as a belt (see above) or belt with anything you have which will work.

Other uses for the Pashmina are, a standard scarf, a blanket, a flag for signalling, camouflage (if suitable colours are purchased), a sling; either for wounds or carrying young children, a stretcher; if secured to sturdy enough posts, or really anything you can think of.

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