11 of the world's most effective camouflage patterns at hiding combat troops and vehicles

Army photo by Staff Sgt. William FryeA southern black racer snake slithers across the rifle barrel held by junior Army National Guard sniper Pfc. William Snyder as he practices woodland stalking in a camouflaged ghillie suit at Eglin Air Force Base, April 7, 2018.
  • Militaries around the world use camouflage to evade detection by the enemy in all kinds of environments, from jungle and desert to city streets.
  • Avoiding detection is often a matter of life and death, and the patterns and colours are dictated by the environment where troops expect to operate.
  • Some work better than others, but all patterns are designed to help troops blend in with their surroundings.


Desert camouflage

Cpl. Daniel Wiepen/UK Ministry of DefenceBritish Soldiers use a compound as shelter during an operation in Afghanistan.

Desert camouflage has gone through a host of updates since the war in Iraq began, in an effort to make troops harder to spot in sandy and dusty environments there.


US Marines wear a digital pattern with small pixels.

US Marine Corps/Sgt. Olivia G. OrtizMarine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to Marines during a town hall in Shorab, Afghanistan, June 28, 2018.

MARPAT, as the camo pattern is known, is widely viewed as one of the best concealment patterns because of the small, digitised pixels.


US and Romanian Army camouflage, pictured during an exercise in Poland, shows how different countries combine colours and patterns to blend with environments where they expect to operate.

Spc. Hubert Delany/US ArmyUS and Romanian soldiers discuss an operation during a multinational exercise in Poland in June 2018.

Russian soldiers wear a digital pattern with small pixels that’s designed for the forest.

Russian Ministry of DefenceA Russian soldier participates in an exercise in February 2018 in Belarus.

Dutch woodland camouflage uses darker colours to blend in.

Hille Hillinga/Mediacentrum DefensieDutch troops pictured during NATO exercise Trident Juncture.

Exercise Trident Juncture brought together 30 countries, all wearing their various camouflage patterns.

Allied Joint Force Command NaplesBelgian and German soldiers conduct weapons proficiency training in Norway during Exercise Trident Juncture.

Australian sailors wear a grey and black camouflage pattern.

LSIS Tom Gibson Royal Australian NavySailors from the HMAS Warramunga pictured during an interception of a suspect vessel in the Arabian Sea, where they seized approximately 100kg, or 220 pounds, of heroin.

The US Navy used a controversial blue digital camouflage pattern that is now being phased out.

Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Ethan Carter/US NavySailors attached to the USS Blue Ridge fire M16 rifles during qualification training at Camp Fuji.

Up close, this US Army camouflage doesn’t seem to be effective at concealment.

Scott T. Sturkol/US Army.Army students in a cold weather operations course prepare for training in Wisconsin.

From a distance, it helps the soldiers blend in with the treeline.

Scott T. Sturkol/US ArmyArmy students in cold weather operations course prepare for training in Wisconsin.

Militaries have creative ways of concealing vehicles, like this infantry carrier.

Spc. CaShaunta Williams/US ArmyA camouflaged Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle sits under a tree in Poland.

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