Sunday, March 4, 2018

When Camouflage Is Wrong

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
The entire point of camouflage is to make things which are camouflaged difficult to see.

Well DUH, Erin. We know that.

In that case, look at your preps and tell me how many of them are either camouflage (hard to see in terrain) or tactical black (hard to see in dim light) and whether or not those preps are things which are easy to lose and necessary for survival.


You've just dropped your camouflage survival knife here. Where is it?
Sorry, no, that's a copperhead snake

Yes, that's a problem, isn't it? And to be fair, it's not your fault. Sales and marketing techniques use psychology to sell items, and colors have become a form of subtle shorthand to convince people to buy them:
  • This item is White; that means it's clean. 
  • This item is Green; that means it's good for the environment. 
  • This item is Blue; that means it's pure water. 
  • This item is Orange; that means it's for emergencies.
  • This item is Red; that means it's for first aid. 
  • This item is Black; that means it's tough and tactical. 
  • This item is Camouflage; that means it's for the outdoors. 
The problem is that emergency orange, by its deliberate attention-getting shade, is simply not aesthetically pleasing, and in fact can be unpleasant to look at. On the other hand, black goes with everything (plus it's tactical), and camouflage is outdoorsy ("If I need survival gear I'll be outdoors. This is for the outdoors. I'll get this one!"), so it's natural that a lot of survival gear comes in these colors. 

Which is all fine and dandy, until you drop the darn thing. If you're lucky, you'll realize you've dropped it and know where to look and have the time to look for it; but if you're in a hurry, or you don't realize you've dropped it, you may very well have lost your knife / fire starter / water purifier / etc for good. 

The easiest and most effective solution is simply not to purchase critical gear in those colors. However, sometimes that's unavoidable, so here are ways to make your gear more visible:
  • Wrap a portion of the gear in blaze orange tape
  • Paint a section of the gear with the brightest shade of paint (or nail polish) you have -- the less natural the color, the better. 
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint can be used to make dark items visible in dim light. 
  • If paint seems too permanent, purchase glow-in-the-dark stickers or keychains. UV Paqlite makes gear tags which are great for keys or anything with lanyard holes and sticky sheets which can be cut to size for other items.
  • Alternate, buy a box of glow-in-the-dark stars used to decorate children's bedrooms; these are great for gear with lots of flat surfaces that won't see hard use the way a knife or flashlight will. 

The next time you buy gear, get it in a color that makes it easy to find. You aren't a soldier, and the goal of survival is to be seen and be rescued. 

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