The Ultimate Guide to Ghillie Suits: Blending with Nature

Ever thought about getting a ghillie suit? They serve as great camo gear for hunting and airsoft. Wearing one lets you blend into the terrain and almost disappear!

Let’s look into the history of the ghillie suit, its various uses, and what factors to consider when getting yourself one.

Where Did the Ghillie Suit Come From?

The ghillie suit is the modern form of an age-old concept: using camouflage techniques to gain an advantage when hunting. That idea has been around since the age of hunter-gatherers! Of course, the same nature blending tactic would have military applications as well.

Thus the ghillie suit as we know it first came to be developed as sniper camouflage clothing. A Scottish Highland regiment known as the Lovat Scouts began using the suit. The Lovat Scouts included professional hunters and gamekeepers, who may have had experience using similar camouflage techniques.

The name “ghillie” is thought to be of Scottish origin, referring to a servant who worked outdoors, as a game warden who assisted sportsmen with hunting and fishing.

The first ghillie suits served as sniper camouflage gear.

The Purpose of the Ghillie Suit

As mentioned, the ghillie suit found use as military camouflage⁠—more specifically, sniper camouflage. The role of a sniper involves being hidden and camo gear helps with that. You might not be a military sniper, but if you play airsoft, you could take on a similar role. In that case, a ghillie suit can support your effectiveness at airsoft, whatever tactic you employ.

Recreational hunting can benefit from wearing a ghillie suit. It is likely that the precursors to military ghillie suits were created and used as hunting attire. It is common for predator animals to use nature blending techniques to allow them to surprise their prey. The ghillie suit allows human hunters to employ the same tactic to bag their prize.

Ghillie suits for kids can teach them the principles of camouflage techniques. Just be sure not to lose sight of your kid!

Can You Buy a Pre-Made Ghillie Suit?

You can certainly purchase a ghillie suit from a retailer, either online or in person. We recommend buying in person so you can get a suit that fits and not have to deal with returns.

Where can you buy such a suit? Try an outdoors gear store or hunting supplies store in your area. A place that sells military surplus may have them in stock as well.

These days, you can find a number of shops that specialize in tactical gear. Such places may cater to the airsoft crowd and carry equipment that they use, including ghillie suits.

Choose a ghillie suit that allows you to blend into your chosen terrain.

Can You Make a Ghillie Suit?

You can construct your own ghillie suit, if you want. It is a time consuming task, but it is certainly an option for you. And it’s a useful tactical skill to develop. You will also be able to customize the suit to match your fit and preferences.

To get started, you’ll need burlap material, at least 8 pounds of it. You may have to color the material if you can’t get it in the hue you want. You can use fabric dye or even spray paint to apply the right color scheme.

You’ll then work on unstitching the burlap into individual fiber strands. It’s a dedicated task that will take a lot of time. But you’ll end up having many loose strips of burlap that can be shaped into a proper suit by arranging them around a camo mesh base.

The entire process can take from 20 to 40 hours in total. Depending on how much time in a day you can devote to making the suit, the project could be completed in a week or two. You can get the job done faster if you get a ghillie suit kit instead of making the suit from scratch. There are many types of ghillie suit kits available in various colors, and will include synthetic jute and camo mesh.

Ghillie Suits in Various Environments

Before you create or purchase your ghillie suit, consider the nature blending requirements. The design of your camo gear greatly depends on the environment you will use it in. The standard military camouflage design can work for a woodland area in warmer weather. You may want a different design for winter hunting attire, or for use in other environments: desert, tundra, wetlands, coastal areas and so on.

If you can, take pictures of the environment that you will be wearing the suit in. You can refer to the pictures to find camo gear with a pattern that will blend into the environment⁠—or make a suit of that pattern yourself.

A lightweight ghillie suit with partial coverage.

How Heavy Is a Typical Ghillie Suit?

Another factor to consider when choosing your suit is weight. A properly made ghillie suit can be a beast to wear! There are lightweight options available, however.

The lightest suits weigh somewhere from 3 to 5 pounds. Note that these suits are on the minimalist end. They may lack full body coverage, and they may not have as many camouflage features.

A suit that provides fuller coverage may weigh around 5 to 8 pounds. These suits will work fine as hunting attire for most people. They have adequate netting and layering, and include enough camouflage attachments (like fake leaves).

For the ultimate ghillie suit experience, you can go for the heaviest suits. These can weigh 10 pounds or more⁠—they’re a commitment! But you get a tough, durable suit with full coverage and top-notch camouflage. If you plan to wear the suit a lot, this may be the way to go.

Is it Legal to Wear a Ghillie Suit in Public Places?

Yes, for the most part, you are within your rights to wear a ghillie suit in a public area. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. As the ghillie suit is associated with snipers, you can be viewed as a threat if you go out wearing one.

You should have no trouble wearing a ghillie suit for hunting, or while attending an airsoft event. Check the local regulations, just in case. Certain public events may have restrictions on permissible attire as well.

We recommend that you wear a ghillie suit for its intended purpose only. The whole point of the suit is to help you blend into your surroundings. You’re not doing that when you’re calling attention to yourself in a public area by wearing a ghillie suit!

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