The 10 Best Ghillie Suits
A Disappearing Act: Getting A Ghillie Suit
A ghillie suit is designed to help an individual fully blend in with his or her natural surroundings. By helping to break up the easily recognizable shape of the human body and by using carefully textured and colored materials to match the foliage of the area, a ghillie suit succeeds in concealing its wearer in ways that almost no other form of camouflage can help to match.
Most ghillie suits share the same basic attributes; a jacket and pants, each of which are densely covered in plenty of media that approximates the look of leaves, grasses, and other natural material when viewed from any distance. One of the first considerations to make is how active you must be while wearing your camouflage. A large, bulky ghillie suit with six or seven pounds of camouflaging media attached is great for the person spending hours hiding with hardly the move of a muscle, but is not the best choice for the person who needs to be running from place to place every few minutes. The activity during which you will be wearing the suit has much bearing on which suit design is right for you.
Starting at the top, some ghillie suits have attached hoods, while others use separate cowls that can be attached to the jacket but which are often larger and looser. It's important to consider hood design as a differentiator; whether the cowl is attached to the jacket or a separate piece, the right hood shape and size depend strongly on the type of activity for which you needed the ghillie suit in the first place. The paintballer or air soft player likely won't actually be spending hours lying still, waiting for the chance to get the perfect shot; for them, a large, loose hood can be a detriment to fast, agile movement. The person who will likely be in regular motion while wearing a ghillie suit will be best served by a lighter overall outfit with a smaller hood that can be easily donned and/or pulled down.
For the wildlife photographer or the sniper, however, who will be sitting still for hours at a time waiting for a chance to get the perfect shot (that word meaning different things, respectively) a large, loose hood is ideal. It can help to fully cover the wearer's head and much of the camera or rifle they are holding, allowing for superior blending with the surroundings.
While having the right hood is important to make sure you're well suited for your activities, so to speak, of even more importance is choosing a ghillie suit that will actually blend into the natural environment. First and foremost, that means finding a suit that has the right coloration and texture for the location and season in which you use it. A suit that's a perfect design for use in dense, verdant underbrush might be a terrible choice for use in the leafless woodlands of the late fall, for example. Ghillie suits come in a wide range of specialized designs, including suits that were created for use in snow, in deserts, and beyond.
Fortunately, ghillie suits are not expensive. A top of the line ghillie suit can cost around two hundred dollars or more, but perfectly adequate suits are available for well under a hundred dollars, and some cost less than fifty. And as one of the greatest aspects of any ghillie suit is its adaptability, you can always modify, customize, and improve your suit.
Two Products That Help Hide The Hunter
Even with a great ghillie suit, a hunter (or wildlife photographer or solider) is still not prepared for long periods of hiding out in the woods without some more great gear. One of the simplest, most tried and true ways for one to remain effectively hidden in the woods -- at least as far as the animals in the area are concerned -- is by using a hunting blind. A full hunting blind that creates a 360 degree shelter not only helps a hunter remain hidden from his quarry, but also provides a place for leaving extra gear, ammunition, and even a change of camouflage as may be needed based on the circumstances. Your hunting blind gives you a concealed home base when out in the woods.
Human beings are not all that well adapted to life in the wilderness, at least in as much as our bodies are physically capable. It is our cunning ability to overcome deficiencies through innovation that sees us succeed even in inhospitable environments. Using a few pieces of gear that minimize the need for movement can make your attempt to disappear into the background the much more successful. And one oft overlooked tool is the water filtering straw. With this unique type of water filter, a person can safely drink from almost any natural water source, including a puddle or stream. Set up your concealed position near a water source, and you can remain unmoving for hours or, potentially, even days.
The History Of The Ghillie Suit
Some variations of the ghillie suit have existed since time immemorial. Ancient hunters would don the skins of animals they stalked to help them blend in among the herd of bison or to elicit the comfort of a lone elk or deer. Scouts and guerrilla style soldiers have long woven branches, brambles, and leaves into their clothing to help them disappear into the natural tableau surrounding them.
Such camouflage even found its way into some of the most famed literature the world has ever known, such as when "Birnam wood" came to "Dunsinane hill" in Shakespeare's Macbeth; the play tells of an army carving its camouflage out of the very trees of a forest and then in a concealed mass against the doomed Scottish king.
And in fact, the term "ghillie suit" itself is Scottish in origin: the forerunners of this specialized garment were designed by Scots who used their camouflaged clothing as a sort of self-contained hunting blind. The word comes from the term "Ghillie Dhu," which was a game warden charged with maintaining the hunting grounds of 19th Century Scottish estates. And within a few decades of their first development, ghillie suits first saw combat in the Boer War at the turn of the last century.