How can the ShamWOW help you Survive?

You’ve all seen the commercials with the annoying little Billy Mays wannabe guy who shows you how to soak up an entire bathtub full of water with that little chamois, but have you ever thought of using those super-absorbent towels in your survival gear? Maybe you should.

I’ve used a synthetic chamois as a camp/backpacking towel for years and honestly I don’t know why you would use anything else.

The Original Shamwow - Super Absorbent Multi-purpose Cleaning Shammy...
  • The world famous ORIGINAL As-Seen-On-TV Shamwow! It's like a Chamois (Shammy), Towel, and a Sponge,...
  • SUPER ABSORBENT: Soaks up to 10x it's weight in any liquid! Easily absorbs cola, wine, and pet...
CleanTools The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois, 27" x 17", Natural
  • Won’t scratch and safe to use on all finishes
  • Handy storage tube is perfect for storage of your Absorber at home or on the go

Last update on 2020-07-06 at 15:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

According to the ad it holds 21 times its weight in liquid and I can say that’s a pretty accurate statement.

It’s lighter than a regular towel by a lot so that saves weight in your Bug Out Bag. Also, you only need about 1/4 the size of a synthetic chamois than you would with a regular towel. You could easily completely dry yourself with a 6×6 or 8×8 inch square.

Not to mention that it drys quickly and you can wring it out. Cotton towels, like all cotton, stay wet forever and mold.

Build Your Own Water Source

create water on demandWater independence is crucial as a survivalist. Learn the skills and processes you need to create water on-demand. The video teaches you how to build a device that generates clean, safe water. Check it out!

Watch Video

You already know it can soak up spilled wine on your nice carpet and is machine washable when you clean up after the dog so let’s look at some practical survival applications.

Survival Applications of ShamWow

1. Collect Dew -You could wipe dew off of the top of your tent, or the grass, and wring out the chamois into a water container. Since it wrings out so well this could actually be an effective water gathering tool if you really needed it. You’d never get that with cotton.

2. Collect Dirty Water – You could dip the chamois into a tiny puddle or some other bit of water that would be otherwise impossible to collect and again wring it into a water container. That would even serve as an initial filter because you would wring out the water without the debris.

What else?

There have got to be some other cool survival uses for a synthetic chamois, or ShamWOWif you prefer. Leave a comment with your idea.

Billy Mays Survival Synthetic ChamoisBilly Mays STILL has the Best Deal

Even more surprising because Billy May’s was well known to hate the ShamWOW because he had the same product under a different name years earlier and the ShamWOW guy crushed it.

The Shamwow brand goes for an affordable price on Amazon. You get 4 large and 4 small.

Last update on 2020-07-06 at 15:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

31 thoughts on “How can the ShamWOW help you Survive?”

  1. The reviews for ShamWow are not very good… any practical, first-hand feedback or other product recommendations? Many of us probably don't care if we get 3 or 15 for our $10-$20, but rather if the ones we get are superior in performance and durable.

  2. Dustin,

    I haven't looked at the reviews of the shamwow and I've never owned any of the actual shamwow brand, but you're right the reviews look terrible.

    All I can tell you is from personal experience. I've used synthetic chamois from walmart for camp towels many times and they have always worked great for me. I honestly didn't know there could be such a big difference in them.

    Another thing you should consider is don't just buy the infomercial. Like anything else know what you are getting. Of course I don't think it does everything on the commercial, but I do know its a lightweight synthetic that dries a lot faster than cotton and will soak up a lot more.

  3. I purchased the Zorbeez as recommended by Survival Cache and have been pretty impressed. I can't comment on the durability of this product as I just got them, but I did do a quick test and when used as recommended the soaked up nearly a full cup of water (and that was just the small one). So far I am impressed with the product and would recommend it to others.

    I read the reviews on Amazon as well and what I saw was that most people were complaining about it not leaving the surface bone dry… which it doesn't because it is a wet chamois and is well WET. For some reason people assume that this product is a paper towel… I found another great product for that purpose and I call it a paper-frickin'-towel.

    • Montezuma,

      Thanks for letting us know how it went.

      When you tested it did you do it survival style from a tent or dew or just inside?

      I agree about the amazon reviews. People think it's a paper towel replacement but its actually a towel replacement.

      • Great Article Josh.

        I have no idea how far behind the curve I was on machetes. I've got a cheap one from the military supply store but I should really invest in a good one.

  4. A small one will pick up water well and it doesn't take a lot of space. and is just a few oz's can't beat them. I'll use what ever I can find. put one in my BOB a long time ago. switched from a sponge.

  5. Those cold stone kukris you loinked to aren't really kukris at all. They're just kukri shaped machetes. Real ones are a lot heavier and kind of bridge the gap between hatchets and traditional machetes, able to do the work of both, but not quite as well as either of them. I'd never remove overgrowth growth with a hatchet, and I definitely wouldn't split wood with a machete, but I've done both with a kukri (though I prefer my woodsman's pal for clearing brush). Be careful what you buy, that product isn't able to do what it's name implies.

    Just my two cents

  6. warthawg,

    thanks for sharing. I think the one currently in my pack is a coleman or other cheaper brand like that too. Like you said I've used it for quite a while and never had any problems. I mean it must be something fairly easy to produce, they should all be about the same.

  7. Thanks for another prospective on what works, doesn’t and something else to use. Like others I always kept a sponge for that purpose or a t shirt and when done put it on my pack to dry. I’m picking some up and testing it up in the mountains. See if it will holds up to the outdoors test.

  8. I have REI's camp towel version, it replaced my cotton towel for backpacking about 15 years ago and is still in great shape. I have used it (backpacking and jeep camping) as a potholder, a rattle-stopper (between pans and stove), a campsite location-signal/sign, a berry-sling, and (after soaking it water) as a cooling neck-wrap on hot hikes. I have also dried myself, my dog, the inside of the tent, the car seats, and the inside of the windshield.
    One little feature of the REI version that I have is a small strap with a button closure on one corner, which makes it a snap ( pun intended ) to hang on a pack, branch, roof-rack for drying out. I have the XXL version, about 1' x 2'. I purchased this size knowing that it was a backpacking towel replacement, and wanting to be able to wrap it around my shoulders or bunch it up as a "laying out in the sun on a rock to dry off" pillow. The only downside to the larger size is that if it is "full" of water than it is heavy and takes some time to dry out… but that is not a downside if you are using it wet to cool yourself off. Beats cotton by a mile.

  9. I cut several into small strips that I used to braid a rope, a rope with which I will hang myself with if I ever see that commercial again.

  10. I had never thought about throwing a chamois in my pack, makes sense, thanks. That being said the Absorber is hardly a knockoff. I first encountered The Absorber about 15 years ago working at an auto detail shop, it is head and shoulders a better product for drying a car, boat, countertop etc.. I bought a sham-wow set on clearance a few months back and was disappointed that it was nothing like The Absorber. Sham-wow may redeem itself with me as a better piece of survival gear however because it is significantly lighter (The Absorber needs to be wet to work) and can surve many more purposes. Thanks again for putting my brain into gear on this one.

    • I also bought the Scam-wow on clearance sale ( that should have been my first clue they dont work like all the hype ) and it was a big disappointment . I have the big one in my truck and another in my backpack because they are light weight for an emergency towel or just as a rag . The hype is just that, hype , your better off with one of those compressed sponge sheets they use to clean up toxic liquid , now those are worth getting .

  11. I have ShamWows and I'm really not too impressed. They absorb ok… BUT… I think if you wash or dry them with fabric softener it affects how well they absorb. Now… I have several "Absorbers".. I had bought my first one almost 30 years ago…. I used the smallest size to dry my whole car. They are fantastic! AND… if you want to release the water, it comes out of the Absorber much easier than the ShamWow… and they don't mold… they are designed to remain moist, but it's also ok if they dry out. A little heavier, but if the small size is still available I think it would be a good choice.

  12. My view on the ShamWow is it is the best item if you can get it in a crevasse it will suck out the water and hold it
    more than microfiber cloths I do like Chamois but I got mine fore a few bucks off a yard sale new.

    I intent is to absorb and transfer water to my treatment water bottle I carry 2– 1.75 lLtr stainless steel bottles one to treat one is treated. when you find water you have to get it filter then treat we all know or understand this
    problem is some places water is not easy to find here I can dig until l the earth is damp stick in the Shamwow and
    it will draw out water from the soil and hold it otherwise I would have to dig much deeper and still may not get a pool

    in some areas the ground is so porous water is gone in hours cap rock and limestone sand hold or stop water or suck it up and you will never find it.

    A shamwow out in a slight rain with the end in your bottle will fill it water travels along the material well
    any vegetation can be moved by wind so if your using a palm frond to direct water if it moves your not filling your
    puddles are hard to get water from you waste more than you get with a shamwow drop it in and it absorbs all
    and you wring it into your bottle if you lay it over and turn it filters larger debris and pre filtering is a good thing.
    a dry chamois sometimes takes a bit of immersion to start absorbing well the Shamwow does not.

    for the price and you could use them anyway I keep both very cheap considering other preps


Leave a Comment