If you’re in the military, your choice of camouflage is a simple one: You wear what you’re issued, or at least something printed with the same pattern. If you don’t, then people will shout at you; in combat, someone might even shoot you. When you’re hunting, it’s a bit different. You can choose any pattern you like, so it comes down to what works best in your local environment combined with your own preferences.
The US hunting gear market offers as many camouflage options as anyone could possibly want, including some that are pretty specialized to one particular type of forest. In general, these are a bit too gimmicky for actual use. If they do work, it’s because, like any other camouflage pattern, they break up your outline through contrasting shapes. Are their elaborate leaf and bark patterns actually going to convince an animal that you’re just a harmless oak tree, though? Probably not. For hunting, just like combat, you’re probably best sticking with a tried and tested military pattern. These have been tested a lot more thoroughly than most commercial patterns and, although the occasional lemon gets through – ACU, for example – they’re generally pretty good.
The old woodland pattern works very well in most temperate forests, for example, and Multicam is an excellent choice. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in concealment, forget camouflage patterns. If you really want to hide, get yourself a ghillie suit. As the name suggests, these were invented by ghillies – the professional deer stalkers who guide hunters in the Scottish Highlands and, since the Boer War, they’ve also been popular with snipers.
The classic ghillie suit is made out of a standard set of green military coveralls with a hood added, and usually with a few layers of extra fabric sewn on to protect the knees and elbows. It’s then covered with hundreds of strips of torn-up hessian, scraps of old field jackets and sometimes bits of camouflage net, creating a shaggy mess that from any sort of distance looks like a pile of dead leaves or a tangle of underbrush. It’s also easy to weave in local vegetation to make yourself even more invisible.
The main problem with traditional ghillie suits is that they can’t be bought anywhere and take days to make. They’re also incredibly absorbent, and can soak up huge amounts of water. The payoff is absolutely unbeatable camouflage. If you aren’t actually planning on taking part in any sniper duels, however, you can now buy a ready-made ghillie suit that performs almost as well as a hand-made one and won’t cost a fortune either. These are usually made from a loose mesh fabric with bundles of green and brown synthetic fibers tied on (white winter versions are available too) so they’re better ventilated and less absorbent. You can also enhance them with vegetation. Best of all, these suits are light and can be rolled up small to pack away in your gear.
Ghillie suits aren’t ideal in every situation; they tend to snag a lot in thick undergrowth, unless you’re moving at sniper speeds. But if you need to stay undetected, whether you’re staking out a suspect or trying to ambush your dinner, the camouflage they give you is really hard to beat.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.