5 New Hunting Camo Patterns, Plus Our Camo Survey Results
by Josh Dahlke
After more than a year of field-testing, the resulting pattern was RANA. Available for pre-order in summer 2016 on soft-shell and insulated jackets and pants, RANA is based on—fittingly—frog skin. It’s made to help you disappear into anything from a Western mountain to an Eastern treestand. “Every single garment is built in American factories on American soil,” says Holley. “Why? Because I fought for this country, and I believe that supporting American workers is the right thing to do.”
Pattern: EVADE OmniVeil
Instead, the EVADE OmniVeil pattern incorporates “random tonal microstructures” made up of a stew of shapeless blobs and flecks. Its purpose is to help you melt into diverse surroundings of varying colors and densities at any distance from your quarry. It’s found on a full line of high-tech hunting apparel that’s shipped straight from the Outback, mate.
The idea got wings, so he sold his existing WTP business and entered the camo industry with several proprietary patterns under the new Element Outdoors brand. The Stalker pattern, optimized for open-country hunting, is Element’s first crack at digital camo. Stalker uses an arrangement of browns, grays, and yellows that are intended to look 3-D on flat surfaces. The pattern is currently available only on hard goods, but apparel is coming soon. Pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is helping pitch Element’s camo gear.
Pattern: A-TACS iX
“A-TACS camo patterns are designed to work in geographically specific environments with several color variations and pattern orientations,” Duke explains.
The new Intermediate Xtreme (iX) pattern is a combination of two proven A-TACS patterns: Foliage Green (FG) and Arid/Urban (AU). It’s still not an all-purpose pattern, but it’s supposed to be more versatile than its two habitat-specific constituent parts.
Pattern: O2 Octane
With so many patterns on the market, how difficult is it to stand out from the pack? Take it from Dale Douglas, Cabela’s merchandising director for hunting clothing: “It’s not easy to design a pattern that’s effective in the field. Likewise, it’s challenging to make a pattern that is appealing to consumers on the rack or in a catalog. It’s extremely difficult to design a pattern that is both.”
We polled readers via Facebook and here on outdoorlife.com about their camo preferences, and collected responses from 2,135 of you. Here’s your take on in-the-field concealment.
1. Do you wear camouflage when you hunt?
Not at all—3%
A little bit—11%
Well, it can’t hurt—12%
No, just one brand—12%
I don’t own any camo—2%
No, I wear different brands and/or patterns of camo at the same time—50%
Yes, I usually wear matching camo—38%
Yes, I always wear matching camo—8%
Yes I wear matching camo, but that’s because it’s the only kind I own—4%
When we asked readers specifically what camo brands they wore, they replied with a range of answers, including everything from Sitka patterns to military surplus gear. Many listed both RealTree and Mossy Oak as their main camo wear. Some reader comments:
“I buy whatever’s on sale—the deer don’t care.”
I almost always use camo when hunting, but I also consider it only part of my concealment strategy. As important as it is to blend in, I believe movement to be just as important. I also believe camo to be more important when hunting at close range (like with a bow) than when at longer ranges (like open country mule deer).
Big difference between turkey/waterfowl hunting and deer hunting concerning camo. I went with the turkey hunting answers.
Scent seems to be the biggest factor for me, playing the wind is #1. I think the camo just seals the deal
I am primarily a waterfowl and deer hunter, water fowling especially requires concealment, and grassland patterns work really well. It is profound how much camo has improved since I started hunting about 50 years ago…
You probably should have asked what we hunt, as my use of camo depends on the game hunted. I wear a gray hoodie hunting deer from a treestand, but wear full body camo hunting turkey on the ground. Depends on circumstance.
To me I don’t think one camo works better than others. It depends what you are doing and what your area and environment is like for you. It can change from hunting zone to hunting zone, in my opinion.
I hunted in Europe and had some camo—they looked at me like I was an alien. They wore solid green.
The best thing about camo is that it breaks up a hunter’s outline. The best camo in the world is rendered useless if turkey and deer see movement.
Does one camo pattern really work for all environments? I have been lucky enough to hunt with family located around the country and find it helps to match the local environs as best as possible. Of course, my grandfather always hunted in his red and black checkered wool hat and jacket and healways did okay, so what do I know.
To me its less about pattern and more about accessibility. I have a lot of clothing in Realtree Xtra pattern because I have picked up pieces from different retailers and online establishments. Simply put, RealTree is available everywhere, but I do think Kryptek, Kuiu, and First Lite make some great technical gear. The aforementioned brands are just a bit rich for my blood.
I’ll admit I only wear/like camo for turkey season. Beyond that I don’t have much use for it other than a more traditional camo like my Kromer Ottawa Camo cap. For deer/elk hunting I prefer a more traditional look of plaid wool clothing. I liked the old traditional Treebark camo, and wish they still made it, but I don’t like the fashion statement that camo has become over the last few years. I’ve killed a lot of critters in my life, and other than turkeys, I wasn’t wearing any camo at all and still managed to kill them just like has been done since the beginning of time.
As a female hunter, my pet peeve is pink splashed on camo. Not cool for sporty girls.
I am more interested in fit and functionality than the camo pattern. Sitka is the best gear because of fit.
I look what is quietest first. They’ve got to be able to print on a quiet material or I won’t buy
New camouflage patterns every year is mostly a marketing scam payed on hunters with too much money to spend.