The 5 Components of Camouflage
Camouflage, sometimes called “cryptic coloration,” is an adaptation that helps an organism blend in with its surrounding. By blending in with the natural world around it, that animal can avoid predators or more efficiently stalk prey.
As humans, we don’t come equipped with stripes, spots, or skin that can change colors. But we do have one thing that helps even up the odds quite a bit, a big brain. By understanding the five components of camouflage, we can better adapt to our surroundings and take a page out of nature’s book.
Being conscious of where your shadow is being projected is something to remain aware of at all times when looking to blend in with your surroundings. Keeping track of the sun and staying in low-lit, already shaded areas is the easiest way to control the presence and movement of your shadow.
The human world is full of shapes that do not exist in nature. Perfect circles, triangles and squares are not present anywhere in the wild. When it comes to being identified as a human in the woods, the best thing you can do is break up your form as well as the form of any gear you may be carrying with you. It can be as simple as tucking a few long pine sprigs into the back of your baseball cap, to disrupt the shape of your head. One can also go so far as to wear a full ghillie suit that that makes you look like a bog monster. The purpose remains the same, break up your shape and blend into the background.
Ever use your watch to shine light into someone’s eye as a playful prank when you were a kid? Well, all games aside, the glare or sheen that comes off of things like optics and electronics can give your position away in a heartbeat.
Covering up the shine that can reflect off of skin or black leather boots is also critical when seeking to blend in to the world around you. Mud, or ashes from a campfire are solid natural resources that can be used to achieve this.
As any deer hunter can attest to, the sounds you make in the woods can be the difference between being seen or not. While it is somewhat elementary to mention that it’s important to move slow and deliberately, keep in mind that anything attached to you or your gear makes noise. Items stored in backpacks should be arranged with noise discipline in mind. Pay special attention to buckles and straps that can catch on to foliage and create unnatural sounds.
If you’re looking to blend in with your surroundings, color is obviously one of the more important things to pay attention to. But it is just as important to take note of color as it changes in the landscape you are moving through. Subtle differences in the color-changes of a habitat can be a serious factor in a situation where someone or something is looking to spot you. Be aware of where dark green turns into light green, or light brown turns into high yellow.