Home Forums Campfire Forum Thoughts on camo, fabrics, etc.

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    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      – I used to work in a fly shop, which convinced me that 90% of our extensive fly selection was designed to hook fishermen, not fish. I’ve come to the same conclusion about camo patterns.

      – It’s been pretty conclusively determined that ungulates do not see color the same way that we do, that they are red/green color blind, and perceive greens as shades of gray. So why do so many camo patterns continue to incorporate so much green? See above.

      – Something I read a while back continues to ring true for me – think about all the times you’ve suddenly discovered yourself really close to a grouse, or a deer, or even a moose, and not realized it was there. Do any of those animals have any green in their coloration? Do virtually any of the animals we hunt? Yet they blend in to their environment perfectly, almost always with a simple, subtle combination of the spectrum of tans and browns. Again – why do so many camo patterns have so much green in them?

      – At the same time, someone in every hunting crowd is sure to pipe in that, “camo isn’t unnecessary, you can stalk a deer wearing just about any clothing.” There is definitely some truth to this, and I think a lot of people go way too overboard with having the latest, ‘revolutionary’ camo patterns. Clearly, camo alone doesn’t get you close to animals – stealth and skill is a large part of it, whether you’re wearing “Max Oak 27 Alpha Delta Superflage Advantage” or a a loud ugly sweater you got for X-mas. BUT I believe that camo – the right camo that breaks up your profile, when used in combination with the aforementioned skills, does provide a notable advantage for getting bowhunting close.

      – I know some trad types turn their noses up at anything that doesn’t seem like it could have been made 100 years ago, but personally, that’s not why I’ve gravitated to it. I’ve chosen to hunt this way not just because it’s ‘traditional,’ but because I’ve spent enough time in the outdoors to know that keeping it simple is reliable and smart, and it is also the most fun way to hunt I’ve ever found. I don’t have a bias against new innovations, if they make sense. Some of the new technical fabrics make a lot of sense for the type of hunting I like to do – deep into the backcountry, wanting to go light, and needing to be prepared for dramatic changes in weather. There is some great soft shell gear being made these days. And the new Merino-type wools have come a long way from the old, scratchy, heavy wools.

      With all that in mind, I’m turning away from a lot of the mainstream camo patterns out there, and from the notion that you need a different pattern for every different environment you hunt in, and looking more seriously at stuff like ASAT, Natural Gear, etc. These patterns have been in use for a while, and the companies don’t feel the need to come out with something ‘new’ every couple of years, because they don’t have to – their patterns work, and have stood the test of time. Similarly Kuiu’s new “Vias” camo patterns works on the same idea of simple, non-specific tans, browns and grays, and works really well in a wide variety of environments.

      Anyway, I know I’m not saying anything particularly new here, just thinking out loud and curious what other people’s thoughts are.

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      I’d say you have a very reasonable approach to camo, Smithy. Years ago I quite buying camo-everything and started wearing dark pants–brown, green, black, anything dark–and as much as possible, dark plaid tops. That way if I need to run into the store on the way through town, or cafe or whatever, I don’t need to change clothes in order not to feel conspicuous. And I can weaar those hunting clothes for other uses as well so get double-duty from them. To my eyes from a distance, a dark plaid shirt is more invisible up against a big pine or hardwood tree than camo–just melts right into the bard. So for the kind of hunting I do most, sitting in the shade with a tree to my back, it’s actually superior to leafy patterns. But while dark plaid shirts of various weights, from light to button-up jackets, are easy to come by, not so t-shirt, hats, and hooded zip-up jackets, so I remain stuck with buying those in camo, for now. I’m of the “while camo can help, it’s not essential so long as you blend in” school. I’ll buy whatever is the cheapest, best made, has all the right pockets, is dark and blends in. The only color I’m aware of that research has shown all deer to be able to see is bright blue, like royal blue, esp. in dim light. Black bears apparently can see some colors too, like blue and red. If I could get away with doing all my shopping for hunting garb at thrift shops, I would. imho

    • hawg
      Post count: 18

      I think camo is definately a guilty pleasure we all enjoy.

      I also think many forget the actual concept of camo which in my opinion is breaking up a large solid object. which is why I prefer the ASAT and predator designs. but do I ever get the third degree from my buddies who prefer to look like a “photograph” of well,….the plant, tree, hillside du jour.

    • SteveMcD
      Post count: 870

      I have to agree. Dark “Natural” Earth Tone colors seem to work best. I was never big on the camo fad. But with “hunting clothes” many times it’s hard to avoid. I look for functionality in my outdoor clothes, just like my gear. It usually tends to be NOT Camo, because paying 3X the price for the same cargo fatigue pants just because it’s camo is an insult to my intelligence. But like anything else as a consumer I look for function, fit and price.

      Mankind has survived and thrived without hunter camo since the beginning of time. It’s only been the past 30 years that we cannot survive without it! πŸ˜† :roll::P

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Regarding blues (colour blue not ‘the blues’:wink:)I think it’s something to do with deers ability to see into the infrared spectrum and light reflection it may show up something like a whitener.

      If your not happy with the appearance of whatever you are wearing the pattern can always be ‘helped’ with spray paint, just hang it outdoors (no need to go courting trouble)add some pattern or adjust the colour lighter or darker. Then hang it somewhere for the smell to leave, I’ve used paints from model shops as they carry all the earth colours and timber dye.

    • FUBAR
      Post count: 252

      I use camo more to hide from humans. I mainly hunt public land and spend more time staying invisible from people who like to steal equipment or areas

    • Sam86
      Post count: 51

      you dont need camo, i agree i just wear dark colors (green, brown, black) it’s almost kind of funny how wrapped up some guys get with camo, my brother has i bet about $1,000 worth of the “best” new camo out there and spends few days perfecting his blind and spents a butt ton of money on cover sents. My dad wears blue jeans and his everyday street coat, set a steel folding chair on the edge of the woods after he gets done changing the oil in his truck and shoots deer under 20 yards every year… so the way i see it is as long as you hunt down wind and dont stick out like a sore thumb your good!

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      A few more thoughts –

      – Even in most environments that we as humans tend to perceive as being fairly “green,” the actual color green often adds up to no more than about 30% of the total environment, and usually less. Much of the rest of it is shades of tans, browns, grey, black. So if you are going to wear camo, why not wear camo that blends with 70% of the environment, rather than 30%?

      – The question still remains, particularly in regard to hunting ungulates – if they can’t see green anyway, why wear it at all? FUBAR came up with the best answer yet – to hide from other humans, who actually can see green. But I remain unconvinced that green camo looks like anything other than grey to ungulates. (though I’m focusing these comments on the question color, I still think that patterns that break up the human profile are more useful than mimicry patterns, regardless of the color used).

      – If I was told I had to pick a solid color to wear while hunting, I think my choice would be tan/medium brown, even for hunting in what we tend to perceive as dominantly “green” environments…

    • purehunter
      Post count: 63

      Great timing on the topic of camo as I was looking to replace my old stuff. I might now rethink what I really need to be using……..

      Thanks guys,


    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      purehunter wrote: Great timing on the topic of camo as I was looking to replace my old stuff. I might now rethink what I really need to be using……..

      I would urge taking a look at the new Kuiu stuff (company started by the old co-founder of Sitka).

      The camo pattern they use points to exactly what I’ve been talking about in this thread, and is very versatile to a lot of different environments. The quality is really, really excellent. It may seem a bit on the spendy side, but this is truly a case of getting what you pay for, and spending a little more up front for durability and performance over cheaper stuff that tends to lack both.

      I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever, I’m just really impressed by it, and I think it’s all I’m going to use from now on.

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      Purehunter — Forget what The Hammer says πŸ˜› and head for your local thrift shop for “square camo” (dark plaids) at real bargain prices. Happily my local town has at least 4 such outlets.

      Seriously, I googled Kuiu the other day, based on this thread, and found almost no products — like one pair of pants, one zipper shirt, and one pack, none of it camo. Do they have more than one website?

    • Shane Balow
      Post count: 24

      I find a lot of my friends feel like they have to go get the newest items to take game. Myself on the other hand, i dont feel like spending that much money on a shirt when im perfectly comfortable using what the military has given me such as BDU’s/DCU’s. They are perfectly good working clothes that just arent being worn by the military (well atleast the Air Force). With how hard the economy is i cant afford to just go blow money on a pair of pants and shirt when i could be spending it on hunting or camping equipment that is truly needed. If im not content with the pattern that i have, i can change the pattern without having to worry about ruining a good pair of clothes. This is a really good thread. im learning a lot!!!

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Post count: 2261

      I do like the idea of the plaids, but last year I bought some Columbia Gallatin Range wool. It was fairly reasonable and pretty well made. The pattern is pretty camo looking, but not anywhere near the new school, photo look. I wore that with some merino wool base layer and was pretty toasty through the late season here in PA. I’m going to look around for some old wool plaid for cool weather.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      David Petersen wrote: Purehunter — Forget what The Hammer says πŸ˜› and head for your local thrift shop for “square camo” (dark plaids) at real bargain prices. Happily my local town has at least 4 such outlets.

      “Square camo.” Ha. Love it.

      David Petersen wrote: Seriously, I googled Kuiu the other day, based on this thread, and found almost no products — like one pair of pants, one zipper shirt, and one pack, none of it camo. Do they have more than one website?

      Umm….as far as I know they only have one site. And they have more product than what you saw, Dave, although they don’t have a ton of items, their line is pretty simple. They do offer a lot of their stuff in both single colors and camo. I think you have to go to the particular item and select “camo” from the drop-down menu in order to see it.

      Ultimately, I think that if you have something that you know works, that’s what’s important. I really didn’t begin this thread to steer anyone toward specific products, just to think out loud about camo, and to prod some thinking about how much of what we choose is based on how we see things, rather than what might work best objectively.

    • runamuck
      Post count: 34

      Camo is an avantage but I have to agree that its more about hiding from the two legged kind than animals. I hunt on a lot of public land and unfortunately there is a lot of drug dealers growing drugs on them and I like to make sure that i’m not seen by them. The better the break up of a siloute the better the camo, digital or gihili style suites are the best in this respect. When I hunt on private land I where Dickie’s and a t-shirt works great never have an issue with getting into range. I agree though commercialization has been pushing the lastest camo and its goal is profit not quality of product.

    • David Petersen
      Post count: 2749

      Erik — I’m glad I don’t hunt in your neighborhood if it’s that big a problem. If I felt I had to hide from “drug dealers” every time I went out I don’t think I’d hunt. Here in CO where I’ve hunted extensively for 30 years, I’ve come upon a total of two small pot patches on public land and never seen a human tending them. I’d think these guys would be the ones trying to blend in and not be seen by us, rather than vice versa. Frankly my primary concern with these operations is that they tend to lug in lots of plastic, buckets, potting soil bags (no pun) and sometimes fence wire, then when they’re done they leave all that junk up there. Almost as bad as ATV riders. If I knew who they were I’d turn them in for littering. Even hunting along the AZ/Mexican border for the past 5 years, camping weeks at a time alone way back in, where drug runners are supposed to abound,I’m yet to see a single one. Just my opinion based on personal experience–that “drug dealers” are the least of our concerns out there. Now, wearing camo to hide from other hunters seems a valid endeavor, but there again if it was that crowded out there I’d find someplace else to hunt, or take up golf instead. Well, NO, I’ll never take up golf! πŸ˜† dp

    • runamuck
      Post count: 34


      You are right but a new thing has moved into our area its meth; and these sites are highly toxic and the people that run them are not nice and in many cases out of their minds from the drugs. I’ve bumped into two of them in the last three years, one populated one not. I left quietly and called the police. I refuse to let these people keep me from the beauty of these lands. I’m glad that you don’t have this issue and I hope you never do.

      P.s. golf is a great way to stay inshape for hunting. after 18 holes and lugging my bag around my legs are nice and sore. Especially the way I play, always in the rough and water lol.

    • lee
      Post count: 50

      Howdy pa’tnuhs, new to site, thought id comment on the camo topic. I wear BDU pants and plaid shirts, works great. Also I once snuck up on a group of Rio Grande turkeys wearing a white t-shirt, tan shorts and white running shoes, all it takes is patience and knowing when to move, when to stay still, and proper use of cover. I actually killed my first turkey while deer hunting, I was walking through some oaks and saw a tom about 20 yds ahead, i froze thinking he had made me, and stood still with a savage .270 shouldered for 10 minutes as a group of 20+ turkeys surrounded me, some hens getting so close i could have kicked them. Finally a jake walked in my line of sight and shot him through the base of the neck, thats when the rest of the flock noticed me!
      So mostly movement is the enemy, mask your movement and you can wear a clown suit or a white tuxedo and kill most any animal. Camo is designed to open the hunters wallet.

    • skifrk
      Post count: 387

      I have used ASAT from when it first came out and like it a lot. I have also used the green predator and don’t like it as much except for turkeys when I want to setup outside of a blind. I have not tried the plaid but will think about that since some of the camo has shrunk in the wash.

    • RalphRalph
      Post count: 2544

      Green ain’t gonna work in Texas right now for sure. Natural earth colors work for me and don’t move!!!!!!!

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Post count: 1384

      I’ve been using plaids and camo alternatley for years. Cleaned out my hunting wardrobe last winter. I still have a few pieces that I like. But I also have gone with the solid olive or brown pants, some duck, some BDU style. My favorite plaids for normal cool weather are Cabelas Worsterlon, wears like wool, wicks like polypropelene and it comes in a small houndstooth tweed (see my avitar pic).
      The only camo I have bought recently was a cheap Wally World bug suit. Have not seen those in plaid yet πŸ˜€
      Best all ’round camo ever in the east is Mil Spec Woodland, used BDU’s are very comfy too, but with wars going on for the last 10 years have me thinking twice about wearing in public. I mean no disrespect for our armed forces but I don’t want them to think that about me so I just don’t.


    • Steve Sr.
      Post count: 344

      Ive a few camo items left. Mostly hats and haven’t replaced my old, old, old camo bibs for old weather. It and the broken zippered coat get worn more in “tradition” than anything since Ive wore them pushing three decades now in the winter. Wearing memories suits me well, I find.

      For longer than that I’ve worn what my kid’s have called “Dad’s War Paint” and is also a tradition in my fall outings but my stock of Tink’s Camo Dust is all but depleted and it’s tough to find anymore. All colors mixed together creates a dark charcoal (yeah, tried charcoal…..ick, lol), isnt hot, isnt smelly, washes off easily…often I forget I have it on till I look in the mirror (or get “funny” looks at the restraunt πŸ˜• )

      I feel “naked” in the woods without it πŸ˜‰ Old habits die hard.

      I read a post on a site of Indiana hunters and the moderator mentioned something that is worthy of sharing, IMO.

      “There isnt much better camo…….than the camo of “holding still”

      So…….yep, Im with most here. Dull, drab (cheap, lol) stuff mostly for anything I pick up now.

      Ill be wearing them soon, parked on my bucket on the shady side of a tree or bush, taking in the always amazing sights, sounds and smells of the woods and creek bottom I hunt………. in about two weeks!

      God Bless!
      Steve Sr.

    • Nate Bailey
      Post count: 101

      I buy clothes for the fabric or price. a cammo t-shirt off season is cheap…5 bucks! where I spend my money is in boots and wool. I love the old gi BDU pants! the best camo is to move when you know you can, and stay still when you have to — reguardless of what we wear!

    • Sam86
      Post count: 51

      Well like Dave said they best (cheapest) place to get your hunting attire is places like good will or any resale shop.. at good will pants are $3.50 and most shirts are from $3 to $5 and every time i have been in there that have a bunch of greens, browns and BDU’s. i got a night almost new pair of thinsulate 1,600 gram hunting boots for $8… just saying its worth a look…

    • Bully26
      Post count: 35

      I hunt deep south Texas and right now with this drought its from dead leaf brown to dead grass brown to shades of dying tree greys. Up in mid Texas I hear its charcoal black and wildfire orange. Sorry.. probably a bad joke.
      Anyway… I’ve heard that deer see UV colors? I saw a commercial a while back claiming that a deer can see you glow? If your detergent doesn’t completely wash out or if there is lint. It will flouresce as if it was under a black light. Do I need a high-tech UV killer detergent? Maybe I just need a lint brush.
      Thanx in advance

    • lee
      Post count: 50

      I just wash all my clothes in plain water w/o any detergent, then spray “Scent-Killer” all over my clothes and boots, I could be wrong but I don’t think the deer see us glowing.

      On the Scent-Killer note, I had a close run in with 2 coyotes once that makes me believe it works.

    • JodyS
      Post count: 114

      I too prefer hunting clothes with natural tones whether it is “blob” style camo or Dave’s “square” camo. A product that was mentioned earlier in the thread was Natural Gear, or Nat Gear as it is called here in Arkansas. I have used it for a decade for bowhunting as well as hunting for ducks, predators, and turkeys. It is the only camo pattern that I have bought in the past. It is made in good ole’ Arkansas and designed to be durable and useful. So if you are going to buy a camo pattern give it a look.

      Over the past two years I have moved more to natural tone wool/cotton clothes.

      My grandfather was a very good hunter. He “harvested” a lot of deer in his day (circa 1940-1980’s). For the record, he would wear his flannel plaid shirt (green), tan farmer work pants, farm boots, and wear a feed store cap (blue). He also masked his scent by smoking Camel cigarettes while he hunted. So much for camo and scent control!! He knew where to hunt, when to hunt, and how to hunt. You can’t buy those things in a store or find them in a camo pattern. πŸ˜€

    • wahoo
      Post count: 413

      I may be crazy but years ago in early Sept heat I even would wear my old Dead t shirts and have no probs at all. I am lucky that I am smaller than most and a lot of gear is given to me. Every thing from high end camo to Pendelton wool shirts. I wear what ever the elements say or what ever is comfy.

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