Camouflaging Techniques, by Concealed Prepper – Part 2

(Continued from Part 1. This part concludes the article.)

Vehicles

Vehicles are a little more difficult to camouflage. The easiest way to get at least some camouflage on your vehicle is just to repaint it a flat earth tone. If you want to go more serious than that you will need some Hessian poles. These are long poles that stick in the ground and are draped with camouflage netting. They are designed to break up the distinctive outline of a vehicle. If you have any large length of scrap metal or smooth branches around , you can use them  or “spreaders” at the ends of the Hessain poles. If your vehicle is small enough–such as a traditional “ride astride” ATV–then you may use some old clothes hanger T-bars fro spreaders. The netting doesn’t have to be as covered as heavily as your ghillie suit is. Just enough to break up the vehicle’s outline. Caution: Don’t merely drape the netting over the vehicle. Otherwise the shape of the vehicle will still remain.

Sniper Hides and Foxholes

Sniper hides are similar to a foxhole, but generally they aren’t deep in the ground, so they don’t provide much ballistic or indirect fire protection. You can use many of the same rules for these as you do a foxhole. To construct a sniper hide, you will need some sturdy, natural vegetation. You will be building this sniper hide in a dense wooded or brushy spot. (But not too dense!)

Put four or more firm (at least 1 inch in diameter) sticks into the ground. The sticks should be at least 1⁄4 -1/3 buried in the ground, or more if possible; they also should be protruding a foot or less from the ground. Then nail or screw more sticks together on the top of the original sticks until you have made a rim around the four original sticks. Then you can add netting, foliage, and more sticks. Rub some mud or apply flat earth-tone spray paint to any nails or screws to take away the shine. This is just one way of making a hide, so if it sounds different than what you have seen before, this is a different variant. Depending on how deep you have made your hole, you may want to heighten the roof for adequate seating.

Foxholes are similar to sniper hides, but they are dug in the ground. By traditional military doctrine, they are generally dug armpit deep. Then layer the inside with wood and supplies (if you want to make it more comfortable). Cover the top with a in irregularly-shaped oblong sheet of plywood and foliage.

Winter Camouflage

If you live in a northern climate, you will want to be prepared for snow camouflage. Depending on where you live you may want to use white, a bit of black, brown, or a combination. There are advantages and disadvantages to having matching color schemes. An advantage is that you will be able to recognize your fellow teammates easier. A disadvantage is when enemies are looking for you and your squad mates. When they see a funny-shaped blotchy pattern they will just think it is an odd shrub. But when they see two or more people in the same pattern, they will notice more easily. Snow camouflage gear should be warm; you may have to sit still for hours. So make it oversize to go over heavy cold weather clothes. It should also be customized to its environment. It should have brown spots or branches in it if you are in the woods or shrubbery. But if you are out in open snow, it should be smooth and plain white.

It is handy to have mirrors and other reflective objects for communication with aircraft. But reflections are dangerous in combat. You will want to keep reflections to a minimum. One way to do this is to cover scopes/other reflective objects with thin netting. This breaks up the flash. Another way to do it is to put a very long cylinder of plastic or sturdy cardboard of some sort over the end of a scope. This stops the sun from hitting it 99% of the time. But this method can reduce your area of view from the scope. The best way to find out how to stop reflections and glares from your scopes is by trial and error, get someone to look at you while you hold it up with various disruptors.

Spotting Camouflage

Spotting Ccamouflage is an important skill to learn. If you need to wear camouflage, chances are that there will be someone else with camouflage, and a loaded gun. If you have a spotting scope or binoculars, you can use those, if you have a way to stop reflections. Lay very, very still and don’t talk. Scan the places that are most likely to have enemies in them (good sniper hide locations, cover, etc.) Look for the shape of a person not the color. You will be very lucky indeed if you have an intruder who is wearing tie-dye. If you see a reflection anywhere then look there, that may be a scope turning towards you.

Hearing someone in camouflage: If you are in close proximity to an enemy, you may be able to hear things, like radio headsets, the cycling or reloading of a gun, and when it very quiet, even breathing. In my opinion, the best way to get used to this is to constantly listen. As I write this now, I can hear scraping/stirring sounds from the kitchen, most people would notice those. But also (ironically) I can hear faint gunshots (we have a few properties with shooting enthusiasts around here.) Those gunshots are the sort of sound we naturally just block out.

We often don’t even hear when our names are called or someone calls for help. The next time you are in a mall or other public place, be quiet for a couple minutes. Don’t talk to anyone, just listen to everything around you. Soon you will be able to hear almost every word of other people’s conversations, you will hear cars on the road. You will hear all the sounds around you and be able to tell whether or not they are threats.

Planning Routes

Route planning is not actually camouflage, but it is helpful when you need camouflage. I like to do the same training for this one as I do for listening. Next time you are in a public place, look at everyone around you. Pay attention whenever you see a weapon. Mentally plan escape routes if there happened to be an attack. This isn’t paranoia, this is common sense. When you have more time to think, revise your plans. Did your escape route keep you under cover? Would it have led you away from the mobs of people? Would you have been safe from gunfire in your final position? Would you have gotten out of the building or at least into suitable cover? Where you prepared to medically aid and defend yourself/others? I always like to bring a first aid kit with me when I go to public places. Not all public places allow you to carry an AR-15. But an Indidvdual First Aid Kit (IFAK)? Yeah, you can get away with that.

So, next time you are out and about, look at potential cover and concealment, use it, get yourself in prone positions, figure out how to draw your pistol while prone, listen, and watch for signs. One good way to get yourself in the right mindset is to have a little basket near your door. Put a medical kit, a knife, and an every day carry (EDC) kit in it. Take those wherever you go.

If you are allowed by law to bring a pistol (and you believe in that sort of thing), then you can take that, too. All these things are very handy to anyone who might be caught in the sort of sticky situation that only seems to happen in movies, until it happens in real life.

“It’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” – Clarence Worley, True Romance, 1993




13 Comments

  1. Please bear in mind plastic-based camouflage materials can be seen easily seen with multispectral cameras.

    Every state has at least one government aircraft that has these kind of sensors. They are used to find crashed aircraft or drug growing plots. Which is why the sophisticated use natural fibers, like grass mats, for camouflage.

      1. Multispectral and hyperspectral sensors operate on the principle of seeing in dozens, or hundreds of colors – almost all of them in the IR region.

        These colors, taken together, make a signature. This signature can be correlated by computer to determine automatically what the target’s surface is made of – be it paint, plastic, metal (and what kind of metal) or organic substances.

        These systems do not penetrate below the surface. For that synthetic aperture radar needs to be overlayed with the multispectral data.

        Generally speaking, if a target is 90% covered with organic material it will obscure any artificial material below.

        Bear in mind multispectral colors also include thermal IR, which is a separate problem to mitigate.

        https://www.textronsystems.com/intel-hub/hyperspectral-detection

        Even disturbed earth, tire tracks, and digging can be detected. Always cache under foliage, with evergreen trees being the best.

        https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-hyperspectral-sensors.htm#didyouknowout

        1. Thank you very much. That was very helpful.

          I did not understand one sentence: For that synthetic aperture radar needs to be overlayed with the multispectral data.

          Does that mean that it is possible, using that kind of radar and data, to see through natural fibers to any plastics below them? If not, what did you mean? I am confused.

          Thank you again.

          1. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) allows for detection of metallic materials that are obscured by camouflage. Imagine a tank hidden in a forest. Visual and IR sensors may miss this target; SAR will identify a radar reflective body.

            To answer your question from a personnel viewpoint, SAR doesn’t pose much of a threat. A hidden BOV, however, might be seen.

            A mitigation would be to scout out remote parking areas for your BOV that already have metallic debris, like an illegal dump.

            Change detection is a method of taking an existing scan of a territory and overlaying new imagery – then finding what has changed in the image. SAR is generally lower resolution data (due to the wavelength of the radar) and images made with microwaves takes some interpretation to make sense. Things look different in microwave “light” than normal illumination.

            That being said, a pile of existing metal junk may look similar to your BOV when your vehicle is parked nearby when change detection is used. Reflectivity to radar can change drastically according to the angle of the sensor; two images of the same area from different angles will both show reflections, but of different magnitudes. Your BOV may be ignored as just an artifact of this.

            Another possibility would be to plant a camouflaged corner reflector at your stop-off points a few years before you may need them.

            https://www.barnardmicrosystems.com/UAV/features/synthetic_aperture_radar.html

            If Google has 6″ photo resolution of the most remote parts of the continental US, two dollars get you three there exists SAR sweeps of the entire US as well.

  2. A couple of cheap and quick winter camo techniques we learned while stationed in Alaska in the 70’s was: A) old bed sheets (white, of course). Didn’t matter if they were torn or had holes, they were draped / thrown over any permanent object like tents, vehicle parks, bunkers, etc. They could be ripped in lengths and tied to trees/branches, rucksacks, weapons and other pieces equipment also, you can make a poncho / cape out of them too. And:
    B) Vehicle camo for our OD painted vehicles was just a sloppy solution of powdered laundry detergent mixed w/water in 5 gal. buckets and just roughly painted or thrown on the vehicles to be easily washed off after winter was over. (I’m sure it took several pounds of powdered detergent to do a complete fleet of trucks and 1/4 tons, I never paid attention to that part of the logistics, I was just a dumb E-3 doing what I was told…lol)

  3. For those with AR’s that have removable handguards, keep a set in various colors. For my SP1, I have the original black, white, and tan in both forearm, buttstock, and pistol grip. Just changing those parts can go a long way to breaking up the pattern.

  4. Another way to hide your ATV, if a 4X4 or a smaller side by side is to hide it under a red cedar tree. I’m not sure what parts of the country have red cedar but in the south they’re everywhere and they’re a nuisance. Just back your ATV up to the tree and then break off a few limbs and back on under the tree. I was told once that heat seeking type optics (FLIR) on board an aircraft is unable to see through the red cedar because the tree actually puts out heat. I don’t know if that’s true but at least the red cedar is a very thick and bushy tree that would make it hard to see under.

  5. If you need to go this far you must consider a thermal evasion suit.
    The military and police forces use drones and helicopters with infrared
    technology. FLIR scopes are in use today by poachers and other hunters.

  6. Regarding vehicle camouflage, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to totally cover all reflective surfaces BEFORE adding camo netting. I’ve seen anti-smuggling ops fail because a vehicle was not properly concealed against moonlight. Everything that can reflect light, and I mean EVERYTHING, needs to be covered. That means putting a base layer of dark (gray, navy or black) blanket cover over a vehicle – from top to bottom, windows, grills, bumpers and down to your shiny wheels. Then cover with camo netting. The last thing you want is an armed drug scout checking out your vehicle because he saw the glint of a moonbeam. Of course, use natural cover such as gullies, man made structures, etc.; but still take the effort to completely conceal vehicles.

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