December 15, 2021

Take the Camo Lifestyle to the Next Step

In a recent post about what feels like an overall decline at Cabela's outdoor stores, I mentioned that they were showing more varieties of camouflage clothing than I had ever seen – although deficient in warm winter hats.

But you need those varieties if you are going to match your camouflage clothing to your part of the country! (Source)

Click to embiggen.

Click this one too, I dare you

What this tells me as a Southwesterner is that  the "Six-Color Desert" pattern, also known as "chocolate chip," is a good bet almost year around. I started using it for waterfowling when I realized in the 1980s that the Woodland pattern or its civilian variants were mostly too dark for southern Colorado marshes. (Simple khaki would better than those.)

Six-Color lost favor with the Army when they realized that while it worked in the American Southwest, it was less than perfect in places like Kuwait, Iraq, and Syria. So we gave away boatloads of it to our valuable allies and switched to the  Three-Color "coffee stain" pattern. (Here is a YouTube on the history of the Six-Color Desert pattern.)

As they say, it was developed for the American Southwest. I like it for brushy or scrubby enviroments too. And remember that 80 percent of camouflage is holding still and sticking to shadows as much as possible.

I wonder what patterns people wore to the Camouflage Cotillion last month in Eden, Texas. Unfortunately, I was passing through Eden the day before, or I would have checked it. For research purposes.

From what I hear, if you go to one of those Texas private-hunting ranches and don't wear camo, you will have committed a social blunder. But camouflage only really matters if your quarry can see color — in other words, birds and humans. 

Otherwise, it is a cultural statement.


Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

I've been thinking about blogging on the topic of camouflage myself.

The map you linked in, I'd note, is one of military camouflage patterns. I still favor military patterns myself, when I wear camouflage hunting as; 1) its an affectation I picked up when I was a National Guardsmen and I can't overcome it; and 2) its what I'm accordingly use to and 3) I'm cheap.

On the latter, some time ago I was in a local store and there was a box of GI camo in nearly new condition for sale. BDU trousers were about $5.00, for instance, and field jackets not much more. As some of my old camo had worn out, and as a strange condition in the atmosphere has made much of my older clothing now too small (odd, eh?) I bought some.

I note all of this as I'm continually amazed by how camouflage in my lifetime has gone from GI surplus to a major industry. People invest in some hugely expensive purchases for hunting camo.

Anyhow, I'm also reminded that when I was young the only hunters who wore camo were duck hunters. That was it. When the Army adopted the Woodland BDU pattern you'd see that too being worn by guys who had been in the service, as they had them and the huge pockets are useful (I tend to still wear service trousers as "field trousers), i.e., worn over another pair of pants. Big game hunters didn't wear camo and, frankly, I don't think they need to. Animal vision for ungulates doesn't work that way.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

As a slight addition, I'd note that I think the best of the GI camos for my region to the north of yours is the Army's multicam. It works really well.

Having said that, a friend of mine gave me a "smock" that was in Australian camo, prior to their going to multicam. He also gave me a boonie hat in the same pattern which I gave to my then young son. I was amazed, in sagebrush country the part of your body covered by it just disappeared. Australia should have kept that pattern. It's really effective, even though it looks like the old "duck hunter" pattern which you wouldn't expect it to be.

From personal experience, the old Woodland pattern is a lot more effective than people might now wish to believe. I've seen entire artillery batteries just disappear in wood at Ft. Sill, where you wouldn't expect it to be super effective.

Midwest Chick said...

Would you have been able to see them at the Cotillion if their camouflage was working properly? ;-)

Seriously, it is interesting to see the variety and what works best in which environments.

Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

In my professional life, my primary role (amongst many, and "mission creep" has me enjoying work less and less these days) is as a product advisor. I've long been surprised at how many (presumptive) hunters insist on being all matchy-match with their outfits when the role of camouflage is to break up the outline of the human body and many of them will be in habitats where mixed camo might actually do that better.

I'm also surprised how few of them realise the similarities between the camo industry and the fashion industry. What drives the development of new patterns is declining sales of older patterns at least as much as (I suspect vastly more than) research into vision and perception in game animals. Vast numbers of (presumptive) hunters then dutifully buy into the marketing hype about how critical it is that they be wearing the latest and greatest pattern, forsake their "obsolete" camo from two or three years ago, and buy new matchy-match outfits. Clearly these consumers, God bless 'em, have never paused to consider how many deer have been bagged (and still are) by real hunters wearing red plaid wool jackets.

I could rant some more about scent control, but I think I'll step down off my soapbox and let someone else have a turn...

Chas S. Clifton said...

Mark: Camo industry like the fashion industry? No, that's not possible. How could it be possible? Did I miss the introduction of the Krptek Spring Collection at SHOT Show?

Like our Wyoming friends in the first comment, I started with duck hunting — and I was low-budget at the time. "Chocolate chip" worked for praire Colorado ponds and rivers. The "Woodland" BDUs worked for turkey hunting in the conifers, well enough. Holding still remains the best camouflage technique though.

Taku said...

There was either a good video or it was in Fred Asbell's Instinctive Shooting book about him wearing dark brown pants, a red/black checked jacket and a brown hat. Then stalking to within something like 30 yards of a mule deer buck for a shot. He emphasized moving slow and patiently. which most of us have a hard time really doing when we are stalking. I am sure that the modern day folks would say that would never work on today's heavily pressured deer. Yea, sure.

Don M said...

I looked for a good camouflage pattern, but didn't find it.