The author, standing in the center of the picture, is wearing standard camouflage and a ghillie headnet to demonstrate the effectiveness of ghillie-type camouflage.

Six Materials for Field Expedient Natural Camouflage

**NOTE**  This is GUEST Post by Matthew Dermody. He is the owner of Hidden Success Tactical Concealment and author of Hidden Success:  A Comprehensive Guide To Ghillie Suit Construction.  He offers concealment courses and specializes in ghillie suit construction and tactics.  He lives in Northern Illinois.  For more information, visit www.hiddensuccesstactical.com

Camouflage is everywhere in nature.  If you have never noticed, then the principle obviously works.  Colorations and textures weave an elaborate natural tapestry in much the same way a great artist paints to make the viewer gaze upon the work longer in order to find the deeper, sometimes hidden meaning.  Most of my camouflage and concealment work is based on the assumption that most people interested in concealment have time and access to a variety of textile supplies.  However, what happens when the circumstances dictate a rapid bug-out and you can only take a few essentials?  With limited supplies, personal concealment seems like a daunting task, but I have put together six things that take up very little space in your bug-out bag and you probably already plan to carry.

 

These six items provide or aid in the collection of the necessary elements to construct a field-expedient camouflage system

These six items provide or aid in the collection of the necessary elements to construct a field-expedient camouflage system

 

1.  MACHETE – The first thing to carry with you is a good quality machete with a serrated edge.  I also carry a fixed blade survival knife, but the machete is considerably faster and designed more for fast cutting vegetation for the express purpose of path clearing and concealment vegetation.

2. MULTI-TOOL OR BYPASS PRUNER – My multi-tool manufactured by YardWorks, has a particularly unique and useful set of bypass pruners.  Bypass pruners can easily cut through saplings and small tree branches up to 5/8ths of an inch.  The pruners will not damage the tree and much quieter than trying to cut with a fixed blade or snapping the branch off by hand.

These first two items will aid in the gathering of natural vegetation necessary to effective blend in to the environment.  Keep in mind, that cut vegetation begins to wilt and brown after a couple of hours, depending on moisture content, temperature, exposure to direct sunlight.

3.  JUTE TWINE – Bring two rolls of jute twine that are at least 3-ply and at least 400 feet in length each.  In order to maximize the jute twine, separate the individual strands to produce the most material.  If you cut the twine in one-foot increments, depending on the length of the roll, you could potentially have 1200 feet of jute twine to use.  Large rolls of green jute twine used for tying garden tomatoes can produce 2400 feet of material for camouflage.  If the twine is cut in shorter lengths between 6 – 10 inches, even more material is available!  Having both green and natural colored jute twine in your kit gives you the option to blend into most environments.  If you want to add some other colors, “dye” some of the jute in a little mud.  If you have to time, you can also dye the jute with certain plant extracts.  A good resource for natural dyeing is The Colour Caldron:  The History and Use of Natural Dyes in Scotland by Su Grierson.

4.  PARACORD – Carry an extra length of 550 paracord.  This is very easy nowadays with the popularity of survival bracelets, which are almost exclusively made with 550 paracord and guarantee at least eight feet of useable cordage depending on the style of the bracelet.  The larger the bracelet, the more available length there is.  I tend to like wearing two bracelets; one with a subdued or camouflage color and a brighter colored cord for signaling and marking.

5. RUBBER BANDS – One package of natural tan-colored rubber bands can be a lifesaver in addition to making field-expedient camouflage.  Take the cut jute twine and tie it to the rubber bands using half-hitch knots.  Then slide the rubber bands to different positions on the arms and legs.  Belt loops, buttonholes and large paracord loops are also other effective lashing points for the rubber bands to hold vegetation bundles and small branches.  Looping the rubber bands through itself and the mesh bag provides lashing points for use as a headnet.

 

Two mesh bags.  On the right is the author's personal ghillie headnet/gear bag.

Two mesh bags. On the right is the author's personal ghillie headnet/gear bag.

 

6.  NYLON MESH BAG – Choose a green or tan mesh bag, as this will help blend into the environment.  It is even possible to find camouflage mesh bags.  The shape of the human head is so distinctive that it must be camouflaged in order to be effectively concealed.  The mesh allows you to tie the jute twine through the holes to make a camouflage headnet similar to a military-style ghillie suit.  The bag itself can store most your concealment supplies and other essentials.  A mosquito headnet will also accomplish the same thing and is a welcome accessory in environments with a large mosquito population.

 

The author, standing in the center of the picture, is wearing standard camouflage and a ghillie headnet to demonstrate the effectiveness of ghillie-type camouflage.

The author, standing in the center of the picture, is wearing standard camouflage and a ghillie headnet to demonstrate the effectiveness of ghillie-type camouflage.

 

Simple Instructions:

Cut jute twine in various lengths and tie them along the diameter of each individual rubber band.  Be sure to inter-mingle the color, length and texture of the jute.  Save some rubber bands to use on the mesh bag headnet.  Lace the rubber band through the mesh and secure it with a half hitch or square knot.  Then tie the jute twine to the rubber bands.  Slide the completed rubber bands on the arms and legs.  This will help break up the outline of your body.

Camouflaging the hands and face is often done with dirt or mud.  This is only advisable as a last resort and should be kept away from open cuts/sores and the mucous membranes to avoid the risk of bacterial infections.  The best product I can recommend is CarboMask.  This is a cream-style face paint containing activated charcoal that is safer for your skin than mud and has odor absorbing qualities that are a must and therefore helps reduce detection by scent.

Jute twine is flammable and can ignite very easily.  Be sure to keep away from open flames and practice Stop, Drop and Roll in the event your camouflage suit ignites.

Be prepared, be safe and be concealed.

Matthew Dermody is the owner of Hidden Success Tactical Concealment and author of Hidden Success:  A Comprehensive Guide To Ghillie Suit Construction.  He offers concealment courses and specializes in ghillie suit construction and tactics.  He lives in Northern Illinois.   

Please visit:  www.hiddensuccesstactical.com

2012 © Matthew Dermody & Hidden Success Tactical Concealment.  Used with permission.

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