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Notes on Camouflage and Concealment

Updated on August 12, 2012


These are quick notes on camouflage and concealment derived from different sources.

The techniques can be applied to civilian activities such as hunting, survival training or paintball.




Anything that prevents observation. Prevention can be:

  • Natural – brush, grass, shadow
  • Artificial – materials, netting, burlap


Steps to take for concealment from observation. Basic principals of camouflage:

  • Artificial material is used to conceal with color, outline changes or texture blending
  • Man made materials usually always appear unnatural
  • Use a ratio of 60-70% natural to 30-40% man made

Indications of a Target

Whatever you do or FAIL to do that can cause you to be detected.

Understanding these will help you move undetected but also detect an enemy.

Four groupings:

  • Tactile – sense of touch
  • Olfactory – sense of smell
  • Auditory – sense of hearing
  • Visual - sense of sight

Each possible indication should be studied to look for specific causes, which reveal the your position.



Touch – usually something left behind. A clue left from building a cover like cut branches, cleared firing lane, poorly concealed edges, bush piles, etc.



Smell – usually indicates you are in the area but not your exact position. Soaps, lotions, insect repellent, gun cleaning solvent, tobacco smoke



Hear – larger consideration in conditions which make sight more difficult: at night, fog or misty conditions. Low level sound may be ignored but not talking, equipment noise, metal clanking. Animals usually move quietly, stealthfully while travelling. If you make an accidental sound remain silent. The same sound repeated indicates a target.


Visual indicators give away your position. Following describes why ---



Sighting –something that does not belong. Suspicion will arise causing investigation. Oak leaves in a Pine forrest, debris piles from construction of concealment, dark green on a field of light green are examples.



Most objects can be recognized immediately by their shape, especially the human head and shoulders. Nature is random – not too many geometric shapes occur in nature, avoid neat lines, symmetry, right angles, etc.



The human eye cannot easily adjust to the differences between very bright and dark shadow – no reflection of light in a shadow But….be aware of casting you own shadow. Remaining completely still in the shadow of a large object is an effective and immediate technique.



Causes immediate recognition of the human shape. Any object in silhouette against a contrasting background is suspicious. Water, field, sky, light against dark and vice versa.



Shine and texture, smooth surfaces reflect light and appear unnatural. Most vegetation in nature grows vertically – consider that if attaching to a ghillie suit. Flat camo cloth will not appear natural.



Only humans place objects in rows and equally spaces them. Usually has to do with Arial observation.



A large part of camouflage. Consider surrounding colors, avoid too much contrast and points of color. A dot of light green in dark green foliage for example.



Detection of your movement is “proof” you are there. Avoid rapid or jerky movement. Use you eyes to observe without moving your head. Be aware of 6 inches of skull before your eyes are exposed.


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