in: Featured, Outdoor/Survival, Skills

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

How to Disappear in the Wilderness: A Natural Camouflage Tutorial

Man camouflaged with tree.

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

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

Man covered in mud for camouflaging.

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.

Man face covered in mud for camouflaging.

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

Man's full body covered in mud for camouflaging.

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

Duff and Forest Debris

Man face covered with forest debris 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.

Men covered in stewart forest debris 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

Men camouflaged 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.”

Men camouflaged with log.

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

Men face camouflage with mud and leaves.

Men camouflage with mud and laves.


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.

Listen to my podcast with Creek about survival and prepping skills.


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. 

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