When you hear the words “Predator Armor,” what comes to mind?
For me, that’s an easy one:
One of my favorite movies of all time. Should I have answered that question with my own company? Oh well, sorry boss!
Still, our badass alien friend here is a fantastic introduction to our topic today:
Was the Predator’s ability to become invisible purely science-fiction? Is it something humans can replicate today? How exactly was Dutch able to use mud to conceal himself from the Predator? And what does this all have to do with an armor company like Predator Armor?
We’ll talk about all of these subjects, touch on Predator Armor’s color and camo options, and provide a few tips and tricks for you to ensure you blend in with your environment as well as you can.
Camouflage - What is it, exactly?
According to Oxford, camouflage can be broken down to a simple definition: To conceal the existence of something.
Simple enough, right? Bear with me here, because I am confident that understanding what “camouflage” intrinsically means can allow us to be much more efficient at utilizing it. The important first step is understanding that camouflage is not exclusive to sight. You can camouflage many things in many ways - sight, sound, smell, you name it.
Here’s a trivial example: I remember attending church with my family as a youth. My sister was tasked with playing a compilation of various hymns and spiritual music on the organ prior to the service. She, however, often liked to… subtly deviate.
I would recall her mixing in popular themes such as Super Mario Bros, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and other signature songs into the middle of her playing. She would do so in an elegant, soft manner that would make only those listening for them even notice. For the rest of the congregation, it just sounded like hymns and spiritual music. It was hilarious.
It was also camouflage. My sister was, as we said, concealing the existence of additional tunes, hidden among the rest, that should not have been there.
So camouflage can clearly take on many meanings and applications.
Camouflage has been utilized by living organisms since the dawn of life itself for basic survival: Predators use it to sneak up on prey, prey use it to conceal themselves from predators. As such, it may be said that camouflage can reverse the role of predator and prey with the advantages it provides.
And don’t go thinking it’s as simple as that - we humans have spent thousands of years attempting to understand and perfect camouflage with ever-evolving advances in technology. Consequent to those advances, it is no longer enough to think your clothes blend in with the environment. How well does it perform in the IR spectrum? How does it perform in low-light conditions versus broad daylight? Is it adaptable to multiple environments?
Which prompts us to ask the question...
Is there a “do-all” camouflage?
No, it’s not Multicam.
The short answer is yes, there is a “do-all” (or at least “do-most”) camouflage, but it’s not really available yet. The longer answer is… incredibly interesting.
You may have heard of “active” or “adaptive” camouflage. In a nutshell, it is camouflage that the user can utilize to adapt, often instantaneously, to a changing environment around them. Think of something like the screenshot below, taken from a video game set in a near-future where humans have learned to utilize adaptive camouflage:
Impossible? Not at all, actually. We know that it is possible for us humans to become “invisible” on other spectrums of light - just not the visible spectrum, necessarily.
As an example, you will likely recall the scene in Predator where Dutch is covered with mud and rendered “invisible” from the Predator’s view, which looks for sources of heat (think IR/thermal vision) to identify targets. These are obviously just pop-culture references with some technical inaccuracies, but the principle stays the same.
In fact, there are actually a number of animals that are capable of using adaptive camouflage.
Cuttlefish, for example, are able to change color almost instantaneously for camouflage and signaling purposes. Pretty neat, huh? Can you make out its shape below?
While humans obviously do not possess this ability naturally, the military has spared no effort in working to continually develop the most state-of-the-art and high-tech camouflage patterns and systems available - and yes, that includes near-invisibility.
The truth is, we don’t know when this kind of technology will be available, or if it’s already being used in secret. As far as the general public is concerned, it currently only exists in other lifeforms and via proof-of-concept prototypes (which is a fun Google adventure if you’ve got the time). There are multiple ways it may be done and standardized - Phased-array optics, organic light-emitting diodes, simple cameras and screens, and more - but only time will tell where the technology goes.
Until then, what can YOU do to conceal yourself, should the need arise?
Let’s start with your Loadout.
At Predator Armor, we currently offer 3 distinct colors and patterns for our equipment. All of our products will match in color, so you do not have to deal with a Coyote Tan mag pouch that is slightly off from your Coyote Tan carrier. When choosing, keep in mind that no single color or pattern is “superior” and each will have its own unique strengths and weaknesses:
Black- Often ideal for urban environments. It is the subject of some contention in the tactical world as some say its usefulness is limited due to it not being “common in nature.” This is obviously truer in some areas than others. A major issue is that even at night, true black will show up against a background much better than other colors, providing a silhouette which is much easier to spot in the wilderness.
Again, this depends on the specific terrain, but black will almost always perform better in visually-unpredictable urban settings, where it is more frequently found and shadows can be utilized with great advantage.
Coyote Tan- This is my personal flavor, living in an area of the Pacific Northwest where it shines (figuratively of course). Coyote Tan, similar to, and often synonymized with Flat Dark Earth, is easy on the eyes and can blend into a vast number of wilderness and urban environments. Numerous camouflage patterns today incorporate it as a foundational color due to its extensive prominence in nature - again, this will vary widely depending on where you live.
A friendly rival to Coyote Tan is OD (Olive Drab) Green, which is also incredibly popular in the tactical world - especially for heavily forested areas - for similar reasons. We are planning to launch most of our products in OD Green later this year.
Note - If you are considering Coyote Tan and plan to keep your color patterns truly “uniform,” I recommend keeping most of your same-colored gear within a single brand. You’ll find that many companies sell their own shade of Coyote Tan and that it will differ from others. Tactically speaking, you will not have significant issues with your camouflage integrity being compromised if this is the case.
Multicam- The current “celebrity trendsetter” of the civilian tactical world. If your goal is to be the most famous Instagram operator, you wouldn’t be caught dead without Multicam gear.
Jokes aside, Multicam is popular today for good reason - it blends well in a wide variety of environments, it’ll probably match your other gear regardless of color, and it’s easy to find. Make no mistake, Multicam is no trend or fad. Many patterns have come and gone (and thank the heavens for it - I’m looking at you, UCP) but most have not taken over as viciously as Multicam. It is by no means a “perfect” pattern, but it is certainly here to stay.
If a pattern is what you’re looking for (as opposed to single colors), you likely can’t go wrong with Multicam.
Of course, given that there is no true “do-all” camouflage pattern, we always recommend dressing for the mission at hand. This will usually mean owning multiple colors and camouflage patterns for different environments. I keep dedicated setups for urban, winter, desert, and so on. It’s never a bad idea to mix and match some colors as well, depending on the environment. Sometimes a single color will be your safest bet; other times it will compromise you.
The world of camouflage and concealment is immense. If you’re needing to truly hide yourself, you’ll need to be consciously aware of any sound you are emitting, any scents you’re giving off, and of course, your appearance. From earthy colors like Coyote Tan and Olive-Drab Green, to well-designed patterns like Multicam, ATACS, and MARPAT, there are countless great choices for visual concealment.
If you’re still a bit confused about which direction to go, try this:
Look around and study the colors and patterns around you. Begin thinking about how you would dress to blend in with those colors and patterns.
Do you have a bug-out location you plan to go to if shit hits the fan? Study that location as well. Does it snow half the year where you live? You better plan for that too. It is not overly difficult, though it does take some practice and observational skills to master, especially if you’re needing to come up with something on the fly like our friend Dutch had to.
The simple trick to camouflage is observation.
You must have a thorough understanding of your environment before you can blend in with it and manipulate the view of others to your advantage. As always, go ask the experts as well, those that have firsthand experience with it in the field. You can never learn enough.
So get to it!