I remember buying my first camo jacket when I was 13 in the Army Cadets. It was the French Lizard pattern; the forerunner of the US Tiger Stripe. Another milestone was when the British Army changed from their green combats in the 1970s to DPM (disruptive pattern material).
Now we looked like soldiers. I suppose these two events made me a camo fan.
Camouflage with a photo-realistic rendering
When I left the army and started hunting it was an obvious choice to get camo clothing. Initially, it was ex-military as there was then very little purpose made kit around. The good thing was; it had lots of pockets and was made to last.
However, a revolution was heading towards the UK and Europe in the form of photo-realism, from the likes of Realtree and Mossy Oak, etc.
The patterns used realistic images of trees and foliage and initially looked ridiculous, however, to human eyes they worked incredibly well, and this new concept was eagerly accepted. The big players soon fed us new, terrain or purpose-specific patterns on a regular basis, each purporting to be the best yet and claiming that what came before was now redundant.
A wide choice of camouflage
The best thing about this new camo wave was the choice of equipment, accessories and clothing increased and also improved exponentially in quality and design.
My research showed that the majority of choice is dictated, not by how well it performs, but how good it looks.
Principles of camouflage
Truth is many animal species see primarily in monochrome (blacks and whites), so do fancy patterns actually fool them, equally, do they perceive the photo-realistic shapes as we do?
The principles of camouflage are about shape, shine, silhouette, movement, and smell, and for hunting, colour/pattern seems to have little to do with it.
A good example would be the Blaze used for driven hunts. Bright orange with black shapes to break it up, we hunters can see it a long way off and it’s more a safety measure, however, I’ve never seen it spook an animal.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that the more brown-based patterns like Mossy Oak Duck Blind or RealTree MAX 5 tend to blend in better with most terrains than the greener-themed options.
Is camouflage advantageous for hunting?
So does camo give you an edge for hunting, well probably not as much as we might think through our human eyes?
Many feel solid colours like brown or green are just as good and I’d tend to agree. However, as a confirmed camo freak for many years, I will continue to enjoy wearing and using it.
Camouflage or plain?
I like camo patterns over plain colours and more importantly, feel the quality and ability of the clothing is amazing.
For example, my choice for the autumn/winter is the Browning XPO suit in RealTree MAX 5. It consists of a big parka with a practical hood and ventilation. Add in lots of well-placed pockets and the bib with reinforced sections. It’s also waterproof, warm and breathable; what’s not to like?
For the better weather, my Hell’s Canyon 2 suit in A-TACS AU offers a lighter and equally practical alternative.