| September 1, 2015

How To: Holiday, Manly Skills, Outdoors, Survival

How to Disappear in the Wilderness: A Natural Camouflage Tutorial

natural camouflage in woods

Editor’s Note: This guest post by Creek Stewart first appeared at willowhavenoutdoor.com.

You never know when you might need natural camouflage. Whether to escape and evade or to hunt and stalk, blending into the wilderness around you might be a necessary part of your survival scenario one day, and it’s important that you understand the basics. Luckily, the process is fool-proof, and perhaps surprisingly, fast.

The Base Layer

mud on body natural camouflage

It all starts with muddin’ up! It goes without saying that this method of natural camo lends itself to warm weather scenarios. This process also works much better on bare skin. I started the whole process by stripping down to my skivvies and then scooping some goopy clay-mud mix from the edge of the pond. There’s really no delicate way to do this — just smear it on! Once you’re all mudded up, the next step is pretty easy.

creek stewart natural camouflage

Get it on nice and thick; a substantial, wet base layer is critical.

creek stewart mud on body camouflage

I had to go Garden of Eden style in these shots with a Burdock leaf for the sake of decency.

Duff and Forest Debris

forest debris on face natural camouflage

Forest duff, debris, and leaf litter cover the floor in every type of forest environment. What better material to use than the stuff that exists naturally in the area that you’re in. Just grab handfuls of forest debris and slap it all over your wet, gooey base layer. It will stick, and as the mud dries, it will become cemented into place. You can even roll on the ground; you’ll be surprised what your fly-paper-like body will pick up.

creek stewart forest debris on body natural camouflage

I know what you’re thinking — it looks itchy. It’s not. The mud layer protects your body from all of the little leaf and twig pricks that you imagine might be happening all over my body. I’m also impressed at how well this keeps the mosquitoes at bay. It’s certainly not 100% effective, but it does help.

Now, Disappear

natural forest camouflage against tree

It’s amazing how quickly you can disappear using this simple two-step natural camo method. A few years back while giving natural camo a stab while hunting I actually had a squirrel run down the tree I was leaning against and eat a nut while sitting on my leg. I kid you not. I could tell he knew something wasn’t quite right but he had no idea he was sitting on a human! It was an amazing experience and that squirrel was delicious (just kidding, I didn’t kill him). And, yes, at that distance I could tell it was a “him.”

natural forest camouflage log

By the way, my skin feels amazing. I think I’ll start charging for “Natural Camo Full Body Treatments.”

natural camouflage on face mud and leaves

natural camouflage face mud and laves

Conclusion

Next time you find yourself being chased by a Predator from another planet, don’t forget what you learned here: get naked, mud up, and roll on the ground. In less than 5 minutes you’ll be an unrecognizable fixture in the forest around you.

Remember, it’s not IF, but WHEN.

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Creek Stewart is a Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft and the host of the Weather Channel’s Fat Guys in the Woods. Creek’s passion is teaching, sharing, and preserving outdoor living and survival skills. 

Last updated: September 8, 2016

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