Camouflage - Personal Camouflage
When camouflaging yourself, consider that certain shapes are particular
to humans. The enemy will look for these shapes. The shape of a hat,
helmet, or black boots can give you away. Even animals know and run
from the shape of a human silhouette. Break up your outline by placing
small amounts of vegetation from the surrounding area in your uniform,
equipment, and headgear. Try to reduce any shine from skin or
equipment. Blend in with the surrounding colors and simulate the
texture of your surroundings.
Shape and Outline
Change the outline of weapons and equipment by tying vegetation or
strips of cloth onto them. Make sure the added camouflage does not
hinder the equipment’s operation. When hiding, cover yourself and your
equipment with leaves, grass, or other local debris. Conceal any signaling
devices you have prepared, but keep them ready for use.
Color and Texture
Each area of the world and each climatic condition (arctic/winter,
temperate/jungle, or swamp/desert) has color patterns and textures that
are natural for that area. While color is self-explanatory, texture defines
the surface characteristics of something when looking at it. For example,
surface textures may be smooth, rough, rocky, leafy, or many other possible
combinations. Use color and texture together to camouflage yourself
effectively. It makes little sense to cover yourself with dead, brown
vegetation in the middle of a large grassy field. Similarly, it would be
useless to camouflage yourself with green grass in the middle of a
desert or rocky area.
To hide and camouflage movement in any specific area of the world,
you must take on the color and texture of the immediate surroundings.
Use natural or man-made materials to camouflage yourself. Camouflage
paint, charcoal from burned paper or wood, mud, grass, leaves, strips
of cloth or burlap, pine boughs, and camouflaged uniforms are a few
Cover all areas of exposed skin, including face, hands, neck, and ears.
Use camouflage paint, charcoal, or mud to camouflage yourself. Cover
with a darker color areas that stick out more and catch more light (forehead,
nose, cheekbones, chin, and ears). Cover other areas, particularly
recessed or shaded areas (around the eyes and under the chin), with
lighter colors. Be sure to use an irregular pattern. Attach vegetation
from the area or strips of cloth of the proper color to clothing and
equipment. If you use vegetation, replace it as it wilts. As you move
through an area, be alert to the color changes and modify your camouflage
colors as necessary.
Figure 21-1 gives a general idea of how to apply camouflage for various
areas and climates. Use appropriate colors for your surroundings. The
blotches or slashes will help to simulate texture.
As skin gets oily, it becomes shiny. Equipment with worn off paint is
also shiny. Even painted objects, if smooth, may shine. Glass objects
such as mirrors, glasses, binoculars, and telescopes shine. You must
cover these glass objects when not in use. Anything that shines automatically
attracts attention and will give away your location.
Whenever possible, wash oily skin and reapply camouflage. Skin oil will
wash off camouflage, so reapply it frequently. If you must wear glasses,
camouflage them by applying a thin layer of dust to the outside of the
lenses. This layer of dust will reduce the reflection of light. Cover shiny
spots on equipment by painting, covering with mud, or wrapping with
cloth or tape. Pay particular attention to covering boot eyelets, buckles
on equipment, watches and jewelry, zippers, and uniform insignia. Carry
a signal mirror in its designed pouch or in a pocket with the mirror portion
facing your body.
When hiding or traveling, stay in the deepest part of the shadows. The
outer edges of the shadows are lighter and the deeper parts are darker.
Remember, if you are in an area where there is plenty of vegetation,
keep as much vegetation between you and a potential enemy as possible.
This action will make it very hard for the enemy to see you as the
vegetation will partially mask you from his view. Forcing an enemy to
look through many layers of masking vegetation will fatigue his eyes
When traveling, especially in built-up areas at night, be aware of where
you cast your shadow. It may extend out around the comer of a building
and give away your position. Also, if you are in a dark shadow and there
is a light source to one side, an enemy on the other side can see your
silhouette against the light.
Movement, especially fast movement, attracts attention. If at all possible,
avoid movement in the presence of an enemy. If capture appears
imminent in your present location and you must move, move away slowly,
making as little noise as possible. By moving slowly in a survival situation,
you decrease the chance of detection and conserve energy that you
may need for long-term survival or long-distance evasion.
When moving past obstacles, avoid going over them. If you must climb
over an obstacle, keep your body level with its top to avoid silhouetting
yourself. Do not silhouette yourself against the skyline when crossing
hills or ridges. When you are moving, you will have difficulty detecting
the movement of others. Stop frequently, listen, and look around slowly
to detect signs of hostile movement.
Noise attracts attention, especially if there is a sequence of loud noises
such as several snapping twigs. If possible, avoid making any noise at all.
Slow down your pace as much as necessary to avoid making noise when
moving around or away from possible threats.
Use background noises to cover the noise of your movement. Sounds of
aircraft, trucks, generators, strong winds, and people talking will cover
some or all the sounds produced by your movement. Rain will mask a lot
of movement noise, but it also reduces your ability to detect potential
Whether hunting animals or avoiding the enemy, it is always wise to
camouflage the scent associated with humans. Start by washing yourself
and your clothes without using soap. This washing method removes
soap and body odors. Avoiding strong smelling foods, such as garlic,
helps reduce body odors. Do not use tobacco products, candy, gum,
You can use aromatic herbs or plants to wash yourself and your clothing,
to rub on your body and clothing, or to chew on to camouflage your
breath. Pine needles, mint, or any similar aromatic plant will help camouflage
your scent from both animals and humans. Standing in smoke
from a fire can help mask your scent from animals. While animals are
afraid of fresh smoke from a fire, older smoke scents are normal smells
after forest fires and do not scare them.
While traveling, use your sense of smell to help you find or avoid
humans. Pay attention to smells associated with humans, such as fire,
cigarettes, gasoline, oil, soap, and food. Such smells may alert you to
their presence long before you can see or hear them, depending on
wind speed and direction. Note the wind’s direction and, when possible,
approach from or skirt around on the downwind side when nearing
humans or animals.