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Survival Skills PT. 2 - Camouflague, the art of invisibility & how and why it works

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posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 11:39 AM
I thought I would make this thread because it has been overlooked as a
subject of any importance. To those who feel they may be in serious
survival situations where there may be hostile elements at large there might
not be a more important topic than the art of disappearance. Whether you
are alone or in groups there will be times when you will need to not be
noticed by others. I have spent years training Marine Corps scout/sniper
school instructors in camouflage and mantracking. I was also involved in
the research which has led to the current U.S.M.C. scout/sniper manual.

First and most importantly I can state that there is no such thing as an
effective UNIVERSAL CAMO pattern.
No camo is good for all seasons or environments. Patterns should be
chosen based on where you live and what season you will be wearing it.
Unless you are a trained scout/sniper chances are that when you think
of camouflage your mind comes up with images of camo clothing in a
bewildering varierty of patterns sold at sporting goods stores. Some are
good for some surroundings or seasons but not for others. I will not be
addressing winter camo, as I have no pracatical experience in camo for
snow conditions. So then, let's explore the mysteries of what makes a
good camo pattern.


Camouflage comes in 2 basic types; Mimic and Disruptive. We are only
interested in one type for personal camouflage and that is Disruptive.
The reason why is that Mimic camo works on the principal of looking
like something else. A walking stick insect survives by remaining still
and looking like part of plant. A recent type of camo clothing incorporates
cutout leaves that actually stick out from the clothing. The major problem
with this is that the leaves are all the same size, shape and color. They are
also placed in regular intervals. It does however do a good job in breaking
up your outline, which is one of the main ways that objects are spotted.
Ghillie suits also work somewhat on the same basis but we will discuss
them separately later in the thread. Another example of mimic camouflage
is the Copperhead snake which is nearly invisible on a background of leaves.

Disruptive camo works on 2 broad principles: Looking like nothing in particular
or by neutralizing the visual elements. Disruptive camo is the more flexible
of the 2 methods of concealment.


These elements are:
Texture and Reflectivity (light reflection or absorption)

Outline: Your Silhouette must be broken up to avoid detection. Hard edges
will attract the eye's attention. Baby mammals usually have soft, fuzzy fur.
This fuzziness along with muted color is what allows them to remain hidden.
The texture of your clothing also affects your outline. Wool and some types
of fleece are good materials to wear if they have a raised knap or weave.
Ballcaps and hats with brims are easily spotted from a distance regardless
of their color.

Shape: When we look at camo patterns most will have certain shapes within
them such as leaves or branches. This is great if you want to look like a
fake tree but the ultimate goal of any camo is to LOOK LIKE NOTHING. This
may be the singular most important idea that I can impart to you. To
escape notice one must BLEND in with their background and give nothing
that attracts visual attention. Irregular patterns work best at not
LIKE SOMETHING. Shapes within these pattern should also be small rather
than large.

Color: Most camo patterns are a various mix of greens, browns and grays.
For spring and summer green should be the dominant color. For fall and
winter brown and gray work best. The colors within the patterns should
match the environment you will be operating in. These colors should also
be subdued rather than being intense, complementary colors within the
pattern should not be strikingly different than the main color. Any colors
overly bright (red, yellow) are bad as are overly light or dark colors (white
or black). the only exception to this rule is winter camo where snow and
ice may be the background you are trying to blend in with. Pure colors do
exist in nature but they attract the eye very readily. Flowers and fruit use
their colors to draw pollinators and seed dispersers. What we we seek then
is the exact opposite effect.

Value: Value is the overall quality of lightness or darkness ascribed to a
color. Things that are too light or too dark are easily discerned from
their backgrounds. This is why evolution has favored animals that blend
in well with their backgrounds. Since they aren't seen they aren't eaten
and consequently live to reproduce their genetic line.

Texture: Anything flat will reflect more light than something with an
irregular surface. Wool and fleece are excellent materials to absorb light.
Animal fur also absorbs light well. Military BDU's are very poor camo since
the material is flat and generally the colors are too pure, especially the

Reflected light from say, glasses or a riflescope can give you away from
a great distance. Some of you may be familiar with the WW2 story of
Vasily Zaitsev, the great Russian sniper, who in Stalingrad stalked his
German opponent for days in the no-man's land of a ruined city. Even
though the German was very well hidden under a sheet of steel, the setting
sun reached into his hideout and reflected off his riflescope. End of
contest. Needless to say, anything on your person that is shiny can give
you away - glasses, optics, fasteners, zippers even eyelets on shoes
should be painted or covered to prevent shine from giving you away.


[edit on 28-8-2009 by Asktheanimals]

[edit on 28-8-2009 by Asktheanimals]

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 11:48 AM
SUMMATION: Those are the elements of camouflage listed above.
Failure to address any single one element may be responsible for
your being spotted. In brief then we want our camouflague material
to have some texture to break up your outline and dull your image.
The colors should be muted and within the range of the natural
colors where you expect to be, the values (relative lightness/darkness)
of these colors should be neither very light or dark and the shapes
within the camo pattern should be subtle and not "pop out" at you
nor be geometric in any way. It is also better that any linear quality
within the pattern runs horizontal rather than vertical.

GHILLIE SUITS: ghillies were created by english gamekeepers to
catch poachers. Modern snipers have used them with great success.
Many ready made suits can be bought but ultimately the ghillie is a
combination of suit and natural materials that you are hiding in.
They are very bulky and I would not reccommend one for the
average survivalist (unless you plan on sniping). numerous videos
are available on the web,I would suggest watching this if that is your interest -

FACE PAINTING and covering other body parts: The best
camouflage outfit in the world will do you little good if you
fail to cover your faceand hands. Headnets and net gloves
are the quickest and most convenient methods of covering
and may well be superiorto painting or smudging particularly
if you wear eyeglasses.

For those who want to paint your face here are some rules to

1 - areas that protrude from your face - the eyes, eyebrows,
chin and cheekbones should be darkened.

2 - recessed areas like the eye sockets should be lightened.

3 - avoid making large, well-defined areas of color

4- some camo creams and paints can shine very badly, do not
apply thickly!

Video on facepainting by Major John Plaster, expert sniper instructor -

MOVEMENT: Good camouflage is enhanced by using the terrain,
shadows and vegetation to help keep you concealed. If the sun is
behind you, you can be easily seen moving although you will be
more difficult to spot when still than if the sun were in front of you. Don't walk along ridgelines or hilltops where you can be silhouetted and
avoid crossing open areas if possible.

That should cover the basics, got questions feel free to u2u or ask here in the thread.

[edit on 28-8-2009 by Asktheanimals]

[edit on 28-8-2009 by Asktheanimals]

[edit on 28-8-2009 by Asktheanimals]

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:08 PM
Are suggesting that we go out and MAKE a cammo outfit? Wouldn't it be easier to just buy one? Also, why would the military use what they know to be inferior cammo?

You appear to have a wealth of knowledge on all things survival so you are going to hear from me alot.I hope I don't become annoying but I have alot of questions and respect you for the knowledge you posses. I am a sponge.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:08 PM
Thank you asktheanimals. Good information

Your so right when you said your better off looking like nothing then looking like something.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:22 PM
An easier way of remembering oscvt......

Shape, Shine, Shadow, Silhouette and Spacing. (Five S's of Camouflage)

as taught by British Army ,to which I always add Sound/silence

so ^ thats G's 6or 7 s's of camouflage

shop bought ghillies never look like "your back yard" they will require work,also much nof this work will need to be added IN THE FIELD caps for emphasis on this very important ,also look at the wieght and generated heat a ghillie may produce ?
many lightwieght shop bought ghillies are flammable ...not good...

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:28 PM
Another tip is to allways cammo your face assymetrically, try not to darken around both eyes for insantce ,the human brain is hard wired to recognise the features of a face ,so try to dirsrupt this eg do not darken around both eyes ,do not have even numbers of cammo stripes on your cheeks (unless in the RM...ahem)(this is used sometimes to identify your ptn.)

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:33 PM
reply to post by Jesus H Christ

Im not suggesting neccesarily that you make your own camo - in fact what often works best is just regular street clothes in subdued shades of green or brown. There's many available camo patterns but yes, i do make my own by modifying with a little yarn to break up my outline and add texture and add a bit of dye or spray paint.
In a survival situation you should take what you have and add color by smudging with charcoal, earth, rotted logs and green leaves. Big branches or piles of grass sticking from you can give you away so you must be subtle about it.
As far as what ready made patterns are good I haven't kept up, they keep coming up with more and more every year. If you just remember the rules you can choose wisely for yourself of you know WHERE AND WHEN you will out in it. Hope that clarifies things for you.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:43 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals
star and flag! Great post!
I do have a question. What would you suggest for someone who is bowhunting on the ground?
#1. I don't like heights.
#2. I weigh to damn much to sit in a tree.

I'm not a trophy hunter. I'm interested in meat for the table. And if it comes to a case where TSHTF, I'd rather save my ammunition if possible.
In the distant past, we just bought whatever was on the rack, but patterns, knowledge, and times have changed.
Thanks for the thread.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:51 PM
An interesting thing happened to me the other night.

My daughters dog is solid white and about 80 pounds.

He walked over to visit and it seemed like he appeared out of no where.

I then ex permitted with the dog.

I threw a stick just a few feet into the darkness of night and he completely seemed to disappear.

We live in the woods so there is not much artificial light.

It was strange to see a white object disappear only a few feet into the night.

If it ever quits raining down here in the southeast I'm going to experiment with human subjects dressed from head to toe in solid white.

Must have something to do with light refraction

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 12:52 PM
reply to post by kettlebellysmith

Well unless you are hunting turkey remember that nearly all
mammals are colorblind. so the shades of color aren't as important
as the value or lightness/darkness of it. The pattern shouldnt look too wild or busy. Also use that special wash that doesnt bleach your clothes or whiten them. Scentlok materials and shoes really are great for deer hunting I can testify to that. Whatever has quiet material is also helpful, some materials are just noisy when going through brush. If you can wear sneakers rather than boots you can walk much more quietly. Good luck with the hunting!

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 01:02 PM
I try this every time I go to a new area.
I know that I am alone in my new place "usually woods for me"
But works wel in fields, creek banks, mountain deserts etc...
Get naked hang your "suit" whatever it is, in a place you would "think" is good, and back off 25 yds. Turn and look @ yourself..well your suit..
Then 50 yds, then 150 until you actually "see" what you look like, from any distance!
I learned this from an ole friend, he said unless you have access to lots of video cameras, so you can view what your wearing, you never really understand, how good/bad your suit really is.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 01:46 PM
reply to post by Doc Holiday

Good suggestion doc!. If you can't do that - take photos of the area you plan to be in, print them out and take them to the store or compare to what you can find online.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 01:55 PM
Any other tips on movement?

When I'm hunting I find its often movement of whatever I'm hunting that gives it away. Often I may not even see it until it moves. It may be an ear twitch, head turn, leg movement, tail twitch etc. It doesn't have to be a large movement at all.

Just something different than the "normal" movement that occurs due to the breeze and falling leaves. The kind of movement (however small) that says "Hey! Here I am!"

Any good ways to avoid that other than the obvious "don't move?"

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 02:19 PM
reply to post by Frogs

Here's a few tricks that I can recall:

- don't wear deodorant in the bush
- don't shave or bathe for several days beforehand
- don't smoke in the bush
- always use hand signals rather then voice commands (the cardinal rule of the Australian/New Zealand task force in Vietnam - the ANZACs were far more efficient at jungle warfare then our forces)
- always avoid the most obvious trails
- always move in small groups at a time (time and again in the Vietnam War, small groups of Australian or New Zealand troops were able to avoid ambushes as the NVA/VC just assumed they were seeing the recon force and decided to wait for the main force that never came).

Again, most of these are common sense but it's still good to know.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 02:23 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Deja- vue I seem to recall seeing these exact words somewhere before. Are you the author of that book?



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 02:30 PM
reply to post by Frogs

Yes, learn how to stalk. I don't know if there's any good videos on the subject or not but humans can be graceful and quiet with training. It's all about walking on the the front of your feet instead of the usual flatfooting most people do when walking. I like to think of it was woodland ballet. Not being able to really describe it in words I will look for video's.
When stalking you need to move only your prey is not watching you and when other noises help cover the sound of your movement. Also taking great pains to not step on anything that would make noise like sticks. Footwear with thin flexible soles is very helpful. I can't think of any hunting boots that describes, can you? That's about all I can say on it right now. Good topic for another thread though!

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 02:33 PM

Originally posted by reluctantpawn
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Deja- vue I seem to recall seeing these exact words somewhere before. Are you the author of that book?



What words are you talking about? No, I've never authored any books, are there any on camo? (besides military manuals?)

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 02:55 PM
Hey awesome thread, Star, and Flag for some great work.

Okay, now for questions, and opinions.

We are talking I think about a survival situation, over all. Now, to myself I think most of us are trying to stay alive with ever increasing pressure from the NWO.

I personally don't see too much of a bush situation, but think urban camo would be better, just dressed like a common person; as You said, "blend in".

I've employed this multiple times. I'm a long hair. I can either play the part of somebody looking like a bad %ss with my hair back, and dressed to the 9's, or I can cammo up by hair down, and a tyedye. It's really interesting to see the differences in the two effects. This can be expanded upon.

I think You could be a subversive, and hide in a crowd a lot easier, than trying to run in the woods. Thoughts?

Also, We are in the day, and age of FLIR tech. Alcan makes a rifle scope which uses body heat to target. In other words as camoed up as You can be; the newer sniper/scouts employing this tech will be able to shoot You dead on even without being able to see You by other means.

Oh, as far as snow? white usually sticks out. Winter is short days, and that means much of it is over cast. In turn creating a blue, or grey look to the snow many times.

I personally would go with off white, or better yet dark woodland type colors; similar to animals.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 03:05 PM
Possibly slightly related

But you can camouflage your scent too with natures own odours.

Cow pats, mud, tree sap and other such freely available country scents can (with a bit of luck) throw off a dog provided you don't wear aftershave / perfume and or deoderant. Chemical smells are like a red flag to a keen dog.

Confuse them by rolling in cow poo. Sounds disgusting but it'll create false scents.

Also if pursued by dogs. Create flase trails , urinate downhill and then take a different direction. Zig zag across rivers and again create fals trails before taking a different route.

This if nothing else will create valuable time for you.

posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 03:09 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

I think I may have seen one of those vids before. If its what I'm thinking about the closest animal to it that springs to mind would be that of a wading bird stalking fish or bugs in a stream or the shallows.

Very slow, slightly bent forward, legs come up and down slowly - hitting on front of foot first. Not "suffling the feet" . Not covering a lot of ground at a time - but covering what you do very quitely.

Is that what you mean?

I've tried it before a few times and once got within about 10 yards of a doe doing it. Dang is it hard on on the tops of the legs though.

*edit - forgot your question about the shoes. Hmmmm.. rubber boots or moccasins maybe?

[edit on 28-8-2009 by Frogs]

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