You shouldn’t wear camouflage patterns because they make you stand out.
“What?” You say. “Has this guy lost his mind? The whole idea of camouflage is to blend in.”
Yes, that is in fact the idea of camouflage. And in certain situations, you should attempt to camouflage yourself. However, camouflage is more than brown and green and tan.Â The true meaning of camouflage is to disguise something in its environment. For a tree frog, that might mean looking like part of a tree. For a person interacting with other people, that means looking like the other people.
For those in the military, camouflage uniforms do intend to hide the wearer in a field environment. But uniforms also serve to identify the wearer as a combatant on one particular side of a conflict. When not in a field environment, wearing a camouflage uniform doesn’t hide you, it identifies you as something. Whether others would see you as a combatant in a military force depends on the pattern worn, but they would definitely pay more attention to you.
Of course, the gear you carry also makes a difference. If you sling an AR and walk into a bank, people are going to notice you even if you’re wearing entirely nondescript clothing. But why draw more attention to yourself than necessary? And who are you hiding from – and in what environment – that you need to wear (or even own) a camouflage patterned uniform or gear?
I do not suggest that this is the case for everyone, but there is a definite attraction towards the newest and coolest camouflage pattern that is not justifiable. Playing tactical dress up at the range is quite pointless. Even some instructors get all dressed up for a range class – why? There is no need to hide at the range, and unless they are a member of some military or government unit, it is highly unlikely that they will be given the occasion to wear that uniform in a “combat” situation.
If you are “just a guy” like me – or “just a girl” – then camouflage has a different meaning than woodland, ATACS, or Multicam. I’ll admit, I think ATACS looks cool and effective. So does Multicam.
However, I don’t own anything in either pattern, because I have no need for ultra-effective camouflage. Solid grays and browns appear nondescript in a casual urban environment and are quite effective at the purely visual aspects of concealment, especially when you learn how to move effectively, whether that means low-crawling or adopting the mannerisms of a local populace.
At the individual level, successfully evading detection has far more to do with the manner in which you move from point A to point B than what you wear while doing it.