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Trying to decide on the best camo for hunting is a very difficult task as there are so many great options out there. Today's companies are putting more research into the most optimal style of camo, and it's producing great results.
Now, comes the hard part! Which camouflage pattern is best for you, your style of hunting, and the terrain you hunt around?
The summary below showcases the different types of camo patterns, as well the best camo brands associated with each one. I also compare some of my own personal experiences with outside research to tell you what each pattern is best for.
Finally, we've listed some additional tools from each of the brands to help you make that final decision.
It's no secret that camouflage is used as tool for concealment to help you blend in with your surroundings.
Of course, hunters realize that even the most perfect camouflage pattern doesn't necessarily prevent you from being spotted - but we'll save that for another blog. However, it is important to realize that camouflage does play a large role in the success of a hunt, and something that many hunters can quickly look past.
Older style hunting camouflage patterns are now being challenged, and a new wave of options is catching people's eyes. Instead of relying on your old gear, take a look at the different types of patterns below, and the pros and cons of each of them. I bet you'll be surprised by a few things!
Take a look at this list below summarizing the most popular, and well-known types of camouflage patterns:
Every hunter is familiar with the "sticks and leaves" style of camo pattern as it's the flagship patten for companies like Mossy Oak and Realtree - two of the most popular hunting camo brands. While many stock images showcase the best possible outcomes of these camo patterns, it's important to realize that these are just snapshots of one particular moment.
As conditions change and patterns and colors begin to evolve during the hunting season, that mimicry style camo might not be as well-suited for the surrounding environment. As as a result, these camo patterns can create a silhouette, exposing you to surrounding game.
This camo pattern is best for individuals that routinely hunt from a tree stand, and those that remain somewhat static while is game surrounds them. While this patterns offers a good amount of concealment, it's not foolproof during spot-and-stalk style hunts or if conditions and terrain start to change.
For years, hunters have relied upon the mimicry style camo patterns listed above. However, many new clothing manufactures are incorporating what's now know as contrast / abstract camo patterns.
These particular camo patterns take a more military-style approach to camo, and combine abstract lines and shapes with matching colors to solve the silhouette problem. Take a look at this visual from Sitka, as it sheds more light on how this works.
The patterns not only breaks up your shape, but is also help hunters remain hidden against changing terrain at different distance markers - making it the most effective camo pattern.
This camo pattern is best for spot-and-stalk hunters, as well as individuals that are looking for the peak level of concealment while hunting from both short and long distances.
If you take a second to read this article from Propper summarizing the evolution of military camo, you'll understand where traditional hunting patterns came from.
The "frog" pattern that became popular in the 1950s was quickly adopted by the hunting community and is now seen as a more "traditional" type of camouflage.
Unfortunately, this type of pattern is somewhat obsolete, and one that was quickly aborted by the U.S. military. Although it's a great hunting pattern to look at and one that is somewhat nostalgic, it does not provide the high level on concealment offered by the other options listed here.
This particular camo pattern offers the least amount of concealment and should only be used for individuals that require a minimal level of camouflage. I would only recommend traditional camo patterns for rifle hunters that remain far away from their prey, and thus require little protection.
3D camo patterns are a very specialized type of camo pattern, and one that is not so commonly used amongst hunters today.
Over the years, manufactures have taken the traditional ghillie suit that comes equipped with a mesh shell and synthetic thread and field grass, and moved to a move lightweight "3D Leafy" style design.
While both of these provide excellent cover for specific conditions, they are very difficult to hunt in. The additional material and weight of the suite makes it difficult to move around, and one that's not so pleasant to wear in warm weather conditions.
This type of camo pattern is best for hunters that will consistently hunt in the same type of terrain and conditions time after time. If you're going to build or buy and high performing 3D system, it's going to require some sort of customization to the surrounding area - and if the area changes, your suit is pretty much worthless.
In my opinion the best overall hunting camo is going to be some sort of contrast / abstract camo pattern.
I say this because contrast and abstract pattern manufacturers have done an immense amount of research related to stalking predators in the wild and how their unique patterns enable them to get very close to game.
Furthermore, by utilizing both small and large contrasting patterns, companies like KUIU, Sitka, and Krptek create micro and macro patterns that breakup the shape of your outline. Lastly, these patterns help you remain undetected at pretty much any distance, and might be considered as the best camo for deer hunting.
If you were to ask me which contrast / abstract pattern I'd recommend, I would have to say KUIU. To be honest, these camo patterns offer hunters (for any type of terrain) an unmatched level of performance when it comes to concealment. I personally own the KUIU Verde camo, and it's been a very reliable camo pattern for several years now.
Here's an image of my KUIU Down Jacket in Verde:
To better understand what Reatree recommends, take a look at their camo guide as it asks you several hunting-related questions before recommending a top pick. Of course, these recommendations are only going to include Realtree-style camo patterns so it's not an unbiased recommendation.
Similar to Realtree, Mossy Oak provides a rundown of their complete line of camouflage patterns and the pros and cons of each of them. Take a look at their camo guide before make a final decision.
KUIU offers a more in-depth summary of their camo patterns, as well as the type of terrain it's meant for. It also summarizes the pattern style, which comes in handy if you're wanting to learn a little more about the concept. Take a look at KUIU's camo guide to learn a little bit more about their different patterns.
Last but not least is Sitka's camo guide. While this was a little difficult to track down, Sitka does offer a solid overview of their Optifade system and what each camo pattern offers their hunters. They also offer a system builder, which not only recommends the best camo pattern, but also highlights the different layering systems that might be appropriate for your hunting terrain and location.
Unfortunately, when I tried to research more information about the other best hunting clothing brands, I wasn't able to gather any additional information. In case I missed anything, please leave a comment in the comments section below, and we'll add this to blog as quickly as possible. Thanks!
To learn more about How To Store Your Hunting Clothes we have that too!