Camouflaging Techniques, by Concealed Prepper – Part 1

When times get bad, and you feel unprotected and exposed, you will want to have camouflage to keep you and your family safe. For some people that may mean just a simple set of BDUs or even just the first camo clothing you see at Walmart. However, that may not be enough. There is a lot more to camouflage and concealment than just these.

Get proper camouflage: you will want some proper mil spec BDUs. These are sturdy and will come in handy for making ghillie suits, holding extra supplies, and recognizing your fellow group members. It is not necessary to get matching camo patterns for your family, but it helps. Be careful of going “Camo Crazy” where you only get camo clothes–even underwear.

Make Your Ghillie Suits

If you get good at concealment, a ghillie suit helps a lot. They take a notoriously long time to make. You may buy ghillie suits, but they will either be very expensive (several hundred USDs) or of low quality. I recommend making your own. You will need a sewing machine or some very strong glue and BDUs (or flat earth tone garments) in a size slightly bigger than you. Including a boonie hat. Even better is to start with a set of oversize military surplus olive drab overalls. They hold on to you very well and in my opinion, are more comfortable. You will also need some tough fish netting or similar material. Try to get the netting holes more than 1 cm in diameter. Find a source for a lot of jute thread or burlap that is in the same tone of your local environment. You may end up using many rolls or just a few depending on how thick you want your jute. Sew or glue on the netting to the BDUs; this will take a long time, but don’t worry if the netting is messy or not straight. Then tie on the jute thread, you should have a large brownish, greenish lump now. Then for a final touch, if you want, drag it around in the dirt a bit. (Be careful not to damage it too much). It will be hot, heavy, and smelly. But it may save your life.

Thusfar, you haven’t really done anything with your boonie hat. Turning a boonie hat into a a ghillie hood  takes a different approach. There are several ways to make the jute hang down to your neck. You can just use long threads, or you can sew/glue on netting leaving a lot hanging down to your neck. The second approach is better because you will have more even strands of jute and it won’t stand out near your neck. The difference is very small, however. You will want a gap in the ghillie material at your face, so that you can see.

You may think: “now I can just lay down and no one will see me!” Wrong! You will still be seen, but you are making progress. The best way to find out how to use your ghillie suit is to look at your property for around 15-30 minutes, just walking in it and looking. Eventually, you will see how the bushes are formed, how the trees are shaped. You want to be able to know how nature makes itself look, and then replicate it. A great example is to be in a field of goldenrod. Pick a few stems and stick them in your ghillie suit. Lay down and have someone look at you. Most likely they will be at odd angles or broken and bent. Try to stick more in, straighten the crooked ones. This is called natural foliage. You want about a 60/40 natural/man-made ratio on your ghillie suit. Remember, natural objects always look natural and man-made objects always look man-made. You will need to practice with one or more family members taking turns hiding and seeking. This is great fun and educational for your kids.

Movement Negates Camouflage

The human eye is naturally drawn to movement. How many times have you seen a deer only after it moves? Staying still is hard to achieve. When you are sitting still in a bog, waiting for the bad guys to pass buy, having thirty mosquitoes attack you and getting soaked to the skin while sweating is not fun. It can be hard to get yourself to sit still. Thoughts will pop into your head like: Did I remember to feed the dog? Or Did I send that E-Mail to my boss? These must be ignored, otherwise you will fidget and you will be seen.

Keeping some tips in your head: It is necessary to keep vital information in your head when you are under pressure. You will need to be able to remember things. Try to keep some of these important facts. People show up as dark spots in night, movement is easier to spot than color, straight objects appear closer than curved ones. These facts can be useful.

Washing a Ghillie

Ghillie suits should NOT be washed with standard detergent. I recommend that you hose it down if you have to, or use a very special hunting detergent. Otherwise the ghillie suit will give you away to animals, and will show up very bright with a night vision scope.

Use discretion. The sight of a ghillie suit screams, “Prepper!” when they are worn. If the situation isn’t dire, you won’t need the suit, and most likely you will just be set out as a target, instead of hiding yourself. If you are going to be seen at all, then make sure you don’t look like a survivalist, but also not an easy victim.

Don’t use the ghillie suit very often — except when and where it is apropos. This may seem weird because you have just spent months making this and practicing with it. But as I’ve stated, your ghillie suit is hot, heavy, and uncomfortable. Only use it when practical. I also want to point out that it they are very hard to run in.

You will want to carry a repair and add-on kit with your suit. Use something small like an Altiods tin or a soap box. You should have a couple rolls of non-reflective fishing line or strong thread to tie on natural camouflage. If you want to sew on your natural material, you should bring a needle too (It will be very hard to thread a needle when you need concealment and are near the bad guys). If you are carrying a backpack and/or web gear, you should have this tin in there. If you have a pouch for face paint/identifying sashes/drab duct tape, put this tin in there. If you want, you can also carry some pre-cut jute thread for repairs. (They generally aren’t major enough to need to do in the field, however.)

My Mistakes

‘It can help to learn from mistakes, even other people’s. One thing I noticed about my suit is that I tied on the jute a little too thick; if your netting holes are less than 3/4s inch I would recommend only doing every other row to save time and reduce weight, unless your jute is too thin for that. Try to put a little more jute on the back of the suit because you will most likely be laying down, and that’s where you will need the most of it. If you don’t buy all your jute at once, then make sure you blend the jute together. I purchased several different jutes, several different times. I had the arms in a dull brown and the back in a forest mix. Then at the shoulder, I mixed both to stop the contrast. It doesn’t need to look good, it needs to look real.

Other Items to Camouflage

Guns are somewhat easier to camouflage. All you need is some jute and netting. Attach the netting to the gun; you can tie it on via sling mounts, dangle it on (if you aren’t going to move with it much) or get a shotgun shell holster (or similar) and sew on the netting to that. Then either tape or attach in your preferred way another piece of cloth on the barrel and sew the netting to that. I strongly recommend just dangling it, because the other two are clunky and hard to get along with when you don’t need camo on your gun. The only reason you will want to break up your outline is if you are going to be very still. So that makes dangling it much more preferred.

JWR Adds: It is crucial to make sure that your camouflaging material does not bind your gun’s action, interfere with loading, or block your sighting plane. It is also important to tone down blued or stainless steel rifles and shotguns before applying any bulky ghillie material. Otherwise, the surfaces beneath the ghillie will reflect, when struck by sunlight. To accomplish this, just buy several inexpensive rolls of removable rifle camouflaging tape. Two rolls per gun is usually sufficient, unless you also want to camo wrap your magazines–then plan on three rolls per gun.

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)

 




13 Comments

  1. As a prepper my thought is that if it ever gets so bad that I need a ghillie suit that it is already over. What does it weigh? Do I carry it with me? What do I leave behind so I can carry it?

  2. OneGuy, I hope it never gets to the point of needing a Ghillie to survive, BUT if you are asking “what I leave behind so I can carry it?”…you are already in a survival state of mind, and yes it will be “already over” in fact it already IS over if we are speaking politically rather than physically.

  3. OneGuy, you wrote, “As a prepper my thought is that if it ever gets so bad that I need a ghillie suit that it is already over.” I recognize that the great majority of those reading this blog probably share your views.

    The word prepper applies to many readers, as does the word survivalist. Preppers are more common today than survivalists, and the word prepper dominates the terminology in the literature and on the internet.

    I detest the word prepper. It reminds me so much of the term that was popular in the 80s, “preppy,” a phrase intended to describe a certain choice of clothing, among other things. Prepper has a soft connotation, one that raises images of pantries filled with Mason jars and Mountain House No. 10 cans, while in a garage or bedroom are solar panels, first aid supplies, and, perhaps, but not always, five extra boxes of shells for the 12-gauge kept at bedside.

    To me, the word survivalist, a term used in the 80s before the word prepper was invented, connotes more of an edge, more of a hard core, more of a “don’t tread on me” attitude, with plenty of firearms and ammunition to boot, stockpiles of food, the means and knowledge to replace it, and more.

    Many in the prepper category are concerned only about relatively short-term emergencies like hurricanes, or possibly even an earthquake. They are prepared to ride out a month of inconvenience following a natural calamity. Yet, many are not prepared for the long haul, and the human behavior that is likely to accompany it. They expect to join together with neighbors in rectifying and repairing their world during that month. They see others as coming together and working as a community to get things back to normal.

    Those who see themselves fitting into the survivalist category are more likely to be prepared for a “long haul” emergency or, at least, they are working on being prepared for one. They see the world as having the potential for becoming a very dangerous place. Beyond hurricanes and earthquakes, they are also prepared for a world turned feral. They recognize that the chances of this happening are small, but they recognize the risk that dwindling resources after a major societal calamity will cause a major increase in extraordinarily bad behavior by their fellow man.

    Using LTC David Grossman’s essay as a point of reference (http://rhinoden.rangerup.com/on-sheep-wolves-and-sheepdogs-by-ltc-dave-grossman-usa-ret/) survivalists view society as being divided into “Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.” After a major societal breakdown, survivalists expect that the number of wolves will increase exponentially.

    Even some of the sheep will, by necessity, become sheepdogs. Those who are sheepdogs (or who are protected by Sheepdogs) will have a considerably better chance of survival, both for themselves and their families.

    While it may be “already over” for the less prepared if the need for a ghillie suit arises, in my humble opinion, that is exactly the point where having a ghillie suit will become useful for the Sheepdog portion of the population.

    1. Good point.

      The “prepper” concept is a bridge for the very many people for whom “survivalist” is a bridge too far. Although many people get that far and stop, others continue on the path.

  4. Ghillie suits and camo nets are the same art. I combine the two and run a poncho.

    One thing that’s really important is to be random and not uniform. As an aerial observer, it was always easy to pick out camo nets by their wavy cut of the material, and their colors. I only missed one net, when some bright Marine took parts of a snow camo net and added it to his net. It completely matched the patchy snow cover, and gave a natural look. The way the net looked, he must have built that net from multiple nets to match the terrain that well. I didn’t spot it until I was almost overhead, and well within their weapons range. I only noticed it when I spotted the wavy cuts. So don’t make identical suits for the family. What makes you key on one will work for all the rest.

    Watch your outlines too. I have seen a unit make a circus tent of camo net on the horizon. Guess who’s gonna catch artillery?

  5. While the article is accurate true camouflage is the art of blending in wherever you are operating. Wars in the late 20th century showed that a large amount of conflict was fought in urban areas. I find many that can’t even carry a concealed weapon successfully. It would seem that many should also practice gray man philosophy and urban tactics along w learning about ghillie suits

  6. It’s not over! God is still on the throne. America will prevail. It will come to war! Civil armed conflict because there are two forms of law enforcement. One for the LEFT and one for the RIGHT. The LEFT do not go to prison nor get harassed by the law [Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner of the IRS, Lisa Page of the FBI, Debbie Wasserman Shultz for unlawfully throwing the election to Hillary, and the list goes on and on]. The RIGHT do go to prison [Michael Cohen, General Flynn, Roger Stone, the Bundys, et al.] or they are executed by the FBI [Weaver son and wife, Branch Dividians 79 of them, Lavoy Finnicum, and the list will grow].

    So to answer the question of when to enter an armed conflict with the government in my opinion is between when you are charged with a crime [for being conservative and a Liberal wouldn’t be charged for the same act], and when your first court appearance begins for trial. In my humble opinion is when you take out targets on the LEFT. That’s the point right there.

    To answer the question on ghillie suits, it is best to fit into public as a grey man with all your weapons system. I wear a bullet proof vest under my polo shirts–yes it’s concealed well. Have a handgun in a cowboy boot and one concealed in my hip holster. Have an AR in my vehicle locked in a hidden gun vault through the floorboard and practice shooting out of the tinted windowed SUV.

    It’s only to get worse folks and I don’t believe in a Mad Max society due to Hurricane Katrina and every law enforcement officer and military personnel were throw at it and they will be thrown at the next hurricane or earth quake or meteor shower or tsunami or nuclear reactor meltdown or Ol’ Faithful blowing or Liberals destroying public property on campuses of statues at historical sites or you name it… there will be worldwide resources here in America if the eastern seaboard was nuked. I’m not waiting for that to use lethal force!

    The only enemy we have are the LEFTist who believe we are Nazis and now deplaforming us on social media, shutting down our Facebook accounts for posts, removing our books from Amazon, firing us from corporations for holding conservative views, and their next move is to remove our 401Ks and Roth IRAs for being flagged conservative–as our banks now shut us off for doing business with gun manufacturers when they see a transaction on our monthly statement. Get ready folks, your retirement accounts are held to age 60 – 70 and you can’t touch them with a 30% slap on the hand, they will seize our accounts…

    The LEFT is the true enemy [to answer you question if it gets that bad]… yes we are in a fight for our survival and we need to come to grips with it–the LEFT wants us out of universities, off social media and the Internet, our bank accounts and retirement accounts closed, and us dead!

    The way to stop them is what Thomas Jefferson stated, “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and the blood of tyrants.”

    Well, when you’re charged with a crime next time and a liberal wouldn’t be charged for the same conduct, that is your chance to make a Liberal think twice about doing it to your family member. It’s the time to fight and use guns folks!

    Strong statement but it’s time!

  7. One thing I did prior to building a ghillie wrap for my rifle was to paint the rifle in camouflage paint, 3M makes a good one in a variety of flat natural colors. I just masked off what I needed to for the optic and hung the rifle by the muzzle brake and went to town with 4 different colors to break up the outline.

    As for the ghillie netting, I couldn’t find any fishnet so I ended up buying a cheap volleyball net and cutting it up.

  8. As far as “necessity and usefulness” are concerned, consider who in our military uses such gear: scout snipers. What do they do? Mostly they scout. Observe and report, for intelligence. Occasionally they may need to shoot something. For preppers, its just another tool in the toolkit, for when we may need to do the same.
    Ghillies are not much use when you are moving faster than a snail, as the human eye sees movement very well through the entire area of vision, while it only sees fine detail in a very small area of focus. Because of this I made my ghillie with an oversized overgarment constructed primarily out of mesh material, with camo cloth at stress points. The resulting suit is much lighter and somewhat cooler than traditional methods, and is easily rolled up into a packable bundle while moving cross country.
    Ghillies are highly effective against city folk who have no developed “woods eyes” but are much less effective against hunters and those with military training. Some training and practice as mentioned in the article is highly recommended.
    Ghillies made of jute are highly flammable unless you buy materials that have been treated with flame retardant.

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