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Published Dec 13, 2022 7:40 PM
Whether you need a late-season insulated setup or are just getting into the sport and are on a budget, there are plenty of good hunting camos to choose from. Hunting often requires a lot of stealth, and the closer you get to the animal, the better. The best way to do that is to take some notes on your surroundings and find a way to blend in with them.
The type of camo and the camo patterns/colors may differ depending on the time of year and the kind of hunting that you are doing. A.k.a. what you wear deer hunting will be different than what you wear waterfowling. To help you find the best hunting camos for you, we rounded up this year’s top picks along with some insight into the best patterns to help keep you concealed as you hunt.
- Pattern: Breakup
- Materials: 77% polyester, 23% wool
- Best For: Winter and cold weather hunting
- Available in tops and bottoms
- Very wind-resistant materials
- Functional design
- Lining can be noisy
- Prepare to layer
A fan favorite among the Field and Stream staff, the Cabela’s Outfitter Woolimate Series is our top pick for the best hunting camos. While it won’t be the best in warm weather, it’s an excellent option for layering systems in shoulder seasons and late-season hunting. Whether sitting in a tree stand or hiking through brush, it will keep you warm with the right baselayer combination.
Available in both a jacket and pants, you can match the camo pattern seamlessly and benefit from the ideal weather protection. This camo works for all genders, so we recommend you pay attention to sizing—especially on the pants—to ensure you get a comfortable fit. One of the highlights is the handwarmer pockets. They conveniently add extra warmth and protect your hands while bowhunting. The jacket’s high collar also reduces the need for a hood and enhances wind protection.
- Pattern: Digital breakup
- Materials: 93% polyester, 7% elastane
- Best For: Bowhunting, deer hunting, cold/wet weather
- Built-in facemask and hand mitts
- Excellent temperature regulation
- DWR finish for water resistance
- Durable materials
- No zippers on kangaroo pocket
Sitka is well-known for its high-quality and functional hunting apparel, and the Elevated series is no different. Featured here is the Elevated Fanatic Hoodie, but we recommend checking out their entire Elevated line of camo. The materials are ideal for various climates but perform particularly well in cold, wet areas. Equipped with a DWR finish, you have the added benefit of moisture resistance.
The body-mapping fleece does a surprisingly good job of helping regulate your body temperature, whether you are moving around or sitting stationary. Plus, the Fanatic Hoodie has a built-in face mask and hand mitts, making it easy to stay warm or change layering setups as needed. Although we selected the hoodie for this roundup, the Elevated series features bibs, jackets, pants, vests, and more.
- Pattern: Mimicry
- Materials: 52% Cotton, 48% Polyester
- Best For: Layering, turkey hunting, deer hunting
- Available in a variety of patterns to fit hunting needs
- Affordable price
- Casual design
- Good for all season use
- Cotton blend isn’t great for wet weather conditions
Although we have it listed for turkey hunting, the Mossy Oak Original Bottomland camo can be used for deer hunting and beyond, depending on your selected pattern. We like the casual feel of this camo as the hoodie is comfortable enough for daily wear or to use in a layering system on a hunt. It is also a very affordable camo option and one that has surprisingly good durability for the price.
This is an excellent choice for a hunter of any level, and it can function well in various systems. The only downside to this camo is that it is a cotton blend, making it less ideal for wet conditions. There are also more specific 3D options for turkey hunting if you’re more advanced and not concerned with affordability or versatility.
- Pattern: Mimicry
- Materials: 100% Polyester Dual Blend Fleece
- Best For: Waterfowl, turkey, and deer hunting
- Realtree Max-7 design is very versatile
- Loose fit
- Avaialbe in hoodies, longsleeves, and bibs
- Easy care and durable
- All polyester materials
The Realtree Max camo pattern has been popular for waterfowl hunting and beyond for quite some time. The newer Realtree Max-7 is a versatile camo pattern you can trust to keep you concealed in tall grasses. Made from all polyester materials, the brand’s products are relatively moisture-wicking and hold up well in the field.
The bibs and parka with the Max-7 patterns are waterproof and thus the best for waterfowl hunting. Available in a few hoodie design options and a long sleeve, it is easy to create a full camo setup with this series.
- Pattern: Breakup
- Materials: 4-Way Stretch-Woven Polyester
- Best For: Big game hunting, multiple seasons
- Functional in several seasons of hunting
- Great range of motion
- Pants have removable knee pads
- Highly durable materials
- Could be quieter
- Not the most breathable in warm weather
The Sitka Optifade Open Country is hard to beat for the ideal big game hunting camos. The line of camos makes for a functionally seamless setup for all seasons and most environments. The overall design of the apparel is ideal for minimal layering and optimal comfort.
We feature the Mountain Pant here, but all of the Open Country designs come highly recommended by the Field and Stream team. The hunting pants come equipped with a DWR finish which can impair some breathability but are great for wet weather hunts. The open country concealment pattern within this apparel line is tested to be effective up to 50 yards for the optimal hunting experience.
- Pattern: Breakup
- Materials: 30 Denier Ripstop Face, 12 Denier Nylon Lining, 850+ FP Quickdown Insulation
- Best For: Late season and winter hunting
- Ideal for low level activity
- Water resistant
- Hood with collar
- Packs down small
- Not the most durable, so be careful when walking through brush
If you need a warm jacket for cold-weather hunting, look no further than the KUIU Super Down Pro. This hunting jacket is designed for frigid temperatures, and you can trust it even for late-season hunts in a tree stand with little to no movement. It fits true to size, so finding the right fit is rarely an issue.
Roomy and comfortable, there is plenty of space for additional layering if needed, and the cozy down fill is shockingly warm. We also liked that although it is super warm, it packs down small, so you can keep it packed away and pull it out when you get to your location. Use caution, however, when hiking through brush or trees because the outer shell isn’t the most durable. Although it is a ripstop material, it is still prone to tearing.
Things to Consider Before Buying Hunting Camos
Identify your intended use before you buy any hunting camo. How, when, and where you plan to use the camo will determine the ideal pattern and how weatherproof and insulated the material needs to be. While many camo options work well in layering systems, others will be best as outer shells or stand-alone pieces.
Different types of hunting will also determine the preferred camo design. For instance, a waterfowl hunter may be more concealed if they wear a shadow grass pattern, whereas a turkey hunter may wear timber patterns or even 3D prints.
The design or pattern type of the camo varies according to the environment and animal you are hunting. Some animals, like deer, cannot see specific colors like orange, which is where blaze orange comes into play. Turkeys, on the other hand, spook more easily and may require a higher level of concealment. Whatever the case may be, the purpose of camouflage isn’t necessarily to make you invisible to the animals. It’s to hide the outline of your body within the environment you are hunting.
The three most common camouflage patterns you’ll see for hunting include mimicry, breakup, and 3D. Other varieties exist in nature for military purposes or as design choices for casual clothing.
- Mimicry camo is a pattern that mimics or copies the natural environment you are hunting in at the time. So, if you are in a treestand, the camo may look like tree bark, while if you are hunting in grassland, it may look like tall grasses.
- Breakup is one of the most traditional camo designs we think of when we picture the multi-colored blobs of camo patterning on clothing. The purpose of a breakup camo is simply to break your shape as a human against the natural backdrop.
- 3D camo is similar to mimicry camo but adds a three-dimensional aspect to it by attaching leaves and other pieces of fabric to the outside of the clothing to add to your ability to blend in with the surroundings. This is similar to a ghillie suit but not quite as elaborate.
Another type of camo that you may see is abstract. Abstract camo is more of a design or fashion choice than a functional camouflage option for hunting. It is somewhat similar in layout to breakup or digital camo but with varying shapes that can be natural or artificial.
Q: Does hunting camo really work?
Since most animals do not see color, the camouflage colors do not help much, but the patterns help break up your outline against the natural environment. The effectiveness of the camo depends on the type of hunting and situation. For example, it isn’t as important for upland bird hunting as it is for bowhunting or any kind of predator hunting.
Q: What are the 4 types of camouflage?
Although there are many other types of camouflage in nature, the four main types that humans utilize include mimicry, breakup, 3D, and abstract. Every kind of camo has its pros and cons and varying applications.
Q: Is black good for camouflage?
Black can be used for camouflage but is often just used as part of a pattern. If you have all-black camouflage, it is designed for stealth at night.
Q: Is it okay to mix camo patterns?
Generally, it is not recommended to mix different types of camos or camo patterns. The reason is that wearing a top patterned differently from a bottom breaks the flow of the design and makes it less effective overall. It may work in some situations when camo patterns are similar, but it may not work very well with two drastically different designs.
Q: Can deer see orange camo?
Deer tend to be less sensitive to colors such as red and orange (long wavelength colors). They are likely to see short and middle-wavelength colors like blue or green. Humans can think of deer as essentially being red-green color blind, so they are not able to see blaze orange.
Q: Is military camo better than hunting camo?
Both military camo and hunting camo are adequate for their specific activities; however, they are not interchangeable. While military camo may work in some hunting situations, having a hunting camo is a better concealment option. In a sense, military camo is designed for a broader spectrum of human movements. In contrast, hunting camo is often designed for one specific location or activity, making it more effective for hunting overall.
The best hunting camo is the one that suits the time of year and the type of hunting you enjoy. That means that if you hunt year-round in all seasons, you may need a variety of camo to suit each outing. The good news is that they make camo that works for each type of hunting and every environment. Do your due diligence before running out to buy any old camo, and make sure it is suitable for your needs.
How We Made Our Picks
Beyond the information provided in the “things to consider before buying” section above, we took into account our favorite hunting camos among the Field and Stream editors and writers. After surveying the team and finding out what they like to wear, we compared those brands and designs to the top sellers in the market. With that and other market research, we could narrow down our picks. Remember that the camos we picked may not be your favorite or may not be the ideal option for you, and that’s okay! Use this guide to discover a new brand or type of camo that fits your hunting style.