Monday, January 07, 2013

Camo patterns

I was going to do today a post in the A to Z challenge.  I'm on L, which would have been for Lakama Jungle.  However, I looked at my map that I drew, and I was mixing up the Lakama and Hsan Jungles all this time.  I've already done H.  Now, I could simply do a DARK•HERITAGE post on the Hsan Jungle, or I could swap my names, or do a number of other things to salvage my original plan.  What I'm leaning towards is doing an L is for LENG post instead, and then doing a separate, non-A to Z challenge post on the Hsan Jungle some other time.  So, I'm left with a few resources for a post that I'm not prepared to make, but I wanted to post something.  So here's a somewhat random thought.

I like the outdoors, as you may have noticed.  HIKING is one of my labels, and I use it a fair amount.  My setting has lots of inspiration in the great American West; the Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas, the Colorado Plateau, the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts, the Great Basin shrub steppe, etc.  Because of that, I like to haunt the outdoors section of sporting goods stores.  Luckily for me, I've got a nice selection; within half an hour I can get to a Cabelas, and in even less time I can find an REI and a big Dick's Sporting goods, and a few other local stores like Dunhams.  And frankly, the outdoors section of some "regular" stores ain't bad.  In fact, while in Wal-Mart buying some new printer ink the other day, I wandered over to the camping/hunting area and saw a bunch of stuff on clearance that I quite liked.  I ended up picking up some mid-weight base layers--black with big side patches on the sleeves of Mossy Oak's Break-up Infinity, as well as a few performance Ts (one with BUI and one with RealTree AP), and several pairs of mid-weight merino wool hiking socks.  A little earlier I'd picked up some new hikers at Kohl's, and a few loose-fit cargo pants at Old Navy (should have gone for the military style, but oh well.)  I'm actually doing pretty good on "outdoorsy clothes" right now.  And frankly, I like wearing them around.  Although I'm not one for making fashion statements normally--I think on this, I kinda do.  I like wearing outdoorsy clothes.  If it were up to me (i.e., if I were retired or self-employed in some kind of capacity where I didn't have to interact with customers or whatever) I'd wear base-layers or performance ts with a camouflage pattern, cargo pants and hiking boots everywhere I went.

Now, I don't really need camouflage patterns.  I'm a hiker, not a hunter.  I don't need to hide from deer.  I love eating venison when I can get my hands on it, but since it isn't an imperative for my survival, as it turns out I'm just not really interested in hunting myself.  Because of that, like I said, wearing outdoorsy patterned clothing becomes a fashion statement rather than a utilitarian one. 

However... I do have some use for the camo patterns.  This is more my kids thing, but as I'm looking for fun things to do with them (and our friends) I'm moving more and more into the orbit of running around in the woods with airsoft guns playing capture the flag, and other organized games.  It's not quite as "extreme" as paintball (since airsoft ammo doesn't hurt as much, and there's potentially some ambiguity on whether or not you actually got hit sometimes) but otherwise very similar.  So, for this, I'm thinking that camo patterns would indeed be quite useful.

I've done some googling, and it looks like debates on hunting forums and elsewhere about Break-up Infinity vs. RealTree AP are often bitter and acrimonious.  When they're more honest, folks will tell you that it doesn't really matter all that much, especially given the incredible similarity of the two.

But for the heckuvit, does anyone out there have a preference?  Here's a sampling:

Break-up Infinity

RealTree AP


Joshua Dyal said...

One common discussion point I hear is that the RealTree AP is much lighter than the Break-up Infinity--although BUI is not nearly as dark as the older Break-up pattern was. RealTree AP may be better for drier, sunnier days, while Break-up Infinity is better for grayer or rainier days.

Not that I think that's sufficient reason to get two sets of camo, but still. I don't really think that either of them is sufficiently different to worry too much about, especially since my use of them as a utility will be very limited.

Joshua Dyal said...

Read some comments on a discussion that I thought were interesting; they pointed out that both Mossy Oak and RealTree both are more designed to appeal to the hunter's eye in the store than they are to actually camouflage the hunter from deer in the wild. For that, patterns like Predator, Optifade or ASAT tend to do better.

In other words, it really is a fashion statement after all. As one guy put it, "When it comes to camo worn strictly for style purposes I actually prefer the Realtree brand. I tend to go the AP route on hats, long sleeve t-shirts and fleece jackets. To me it's just more pleasing to the eye and kind of has a more classic camo vibe about it. For just kicking around in I also kind of like the Natural Gear line as well. It's like you are paying homage to your love of hunting and the outdoors without getting too 'Bubba' about the whole thing. Somewhere in the world of camo fashion there is a line between 'outdoorsman' and 'redneck'. It's a fine line indeed."

From a guy who preferred Mossy Oak Treestand for actual hunting.

James Sullivan said...

I'm just not sure if the prey one is hiding from are that picky. Because the terrain is nowhere near that uniform. Look at the two examples you've shown; they could both be accurate depictions of an 'autumn-ish' temperate woodland. Just different focal points. And depending on the prey, some like deer, are believed to be red-green colorblind. So in those cases, the pattern is really all that matters. Which brings us to paintball/air soft games: Given how many men are believed to be red-green colorblind, it would be interesting to do an experiment in the use of orange camo patterns with humans, rather than deer or other animals.

As for me, I prefer the marpat digital pattern. Which has no scientific basis. I just like it better.

Joshua Dyal said...

I don't really like the look of the pixelated camo patterns like MARPAT or CADPAT or whatever the Army's camo pattern is called, which name escapes me at the moment.

Besides, they were basically designed specifically to break up the pattern of the wearer to night-vision goggles. They're no ineffective in other formats, certainly, though.