Why do ghillie suits work?

Why do ghillie suits work?

A “ghillie”, “yowie” or “wookie” suit (yep, they sound like fun, eh?) is a type of camouflage clothing worn to mimic the environment you are hunting in and break up your silhouette. They look like a tangle of leaves, bush and twigs.
They’re definitely… interesting to look at, but what’s the deal with ghillie suits?

 ghillie suit

Why’s it called a ghillie suit?

The suit may be named after the Ghille Dhu, a Scottish mythical god covered in moss and leaves. “Ghillie” was also a Scottish term for game wardens tasked with making sure the animals on their Lord's land were kept safe. The ghillie suit was first used in the second Boer War by a Scottish Highland regiment called the Lovat Scouts, who were Britain's first sniper unit. The suits are used by snipers in the military and modified to suit the specific terrain in which they are trying to hide.

Get closer to your target

When trying to take the perfect shot, the further you are from your target, the less likely you are to hit it. Ghillie suits make it harder for animals like deer to determine you as an unusual part of their environment. If you aren’t noticed by the game, you can get closer without the risk of being seen and spooking the animal.

Mimic The Environment

Mimicry in hunting camouflage is all about imitating or copying aspects of the environment such as bush, leaves, and moss, in order to avoid being seen by game. Two main factors contribute to this: outline and colour.

 ghillie suit in use

Disruptive Colouration

Ungulates such as deer have 20/100 vision which means they see what humans see at 100ft at 20ft. This means that deer have very poor vision when compared to humans, so they generally use outlines and shapes to determine what something is.

A common camouflage tactic used by hunters is disruptive colouration or disruptive camouflage. This tactic works by breaking up the outlines of your body in order to make you blend in with the background.

Ghillie suits are a great tool to disrupt your colouration and can be modified with leaves and twigs to further break up your lines and shapes.


Hunting at night

Ungulates have a few advantages when it comes to humans in regards to seeing in the dark. They have larger pupils and a layer of tissue in their eyes called tapetum which allows them to see threats even when it may be pitch black.

This shouldn’t be a problem - we aren’t hunting with a light attached to our chest, right? Well, some studies have shown that clothing made with fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) actually make the colours in our clothing brighter.

Commercial Ghillie suits are all made without FWAs and can be modified to be a darker shade to fit in with the greens and greys exhibited when hunting at night.

Ghillie Suits: A Hunting and Photography Camouflage Tool

The key tactic to camouflage is to produce disruptive colouration enough to fool the eye. A ghillie suit achieves this much better than a flat printed piece of camo clothing as the physical shape/outline conforms to its environment. Furthermore, no matter how good your ghillie suits your environment – there is nothing like adding local fauna to it. This way you can match the outlines & colours of the locale you're trying to blend-in with and dampen any synthetic smells from the ghillie suit.

Soldiers often spend upwards of 100+ hours creating a ghillie from scratch, often using an old uniform or some sort of overlayer as a base and adding burlap strips to break up the shape. Not everyone is as dedicated to their art or have the time as an Army sniper however – that’s where these ready made ghillies come in. By themselves they will break up your human outline and with a small bit of time up your sleeve you can add local vegetation to go that extra mile to hone your camouflage without the fear of rotting.
Soldier creating a Ghillie suit
The ghillie suits we currently carry are water-resistant, bug proof and a great off-the-shelf concealment option allowing you to get perfect shot 'undetected' every time.

Check out our range of ghillie suits:

Jackal Pro Killer Camo Ghillie Suit
Jackal Pro Woodland Ghillie Suit

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Featured products

Black Bamboo SocksBlack Bamboo Socks
Mil-Tec Black Bamboo Socks
Sale price$12.50
No reviews
In stock
military surplus