What Does a Well Dressed Survivalist Wear These Days?

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

Can you tell a survivalist by looking at him?  In Jerry Ahern's Survivalist series, John Thomas Rourke wore RayBan aviator sunglasses, a blue chambray shirt, a battered leather bomber jacket, Levis jeans and USGI combat boots.  In Patriots, Jim Rawles has the main group wearing British SAS camouflage smocks (IIRC).  Back in the 80s, you could always tell the survivalists at the range or gun show by their West German "flecktarn" camouflage trousers, "man among men" Rhodesian army t-shirt, and woodland camouflage beret (usually accompanied by a big mustache). 

Today, there are tons more options.  The rugged, yet refined, outdoorsman dressed in Orvis...  The super active adventurer wearing The North Face...  that guy from the 80s who is still wearing the flecktarn...  And with the US military's departure from the old woodland BDUs, a plethora of new camouflage patterns on the surplus market.

My Marine Corps was first with the digital MARPAT utilities.  They seem to have gotten it pretty right with a good camouflage pattern and comfortable and useful designs.

The Army was next, with their "Army Combat Uniform."  I'm not impressed.  They look like slobs being out and about off base, the uniforms look like shapeless pajamas, and there is so much Velcro on them that their durability is negligible.  Also, the soldiers themselves are not satisfied with the effectiveness of the camouflage pattern.  It is being phased out for the much more useful and effective MultiCam pattern.

The Air Force uses the incorrectly named Airman Battle Uniform.  It is a digitized tiger stripe (original tiger stripe was very effective in the heavy jungles of SE Asia).  However, Air Force personnel such as pararescue and Combat Controllers use the MultiCam because the ABU is not designed for to be a tactical pattern for combat.

The Navy replaced their timeless dungaree uniform for working on ship with a blue/gray digital camouflage cut in the same basic pattern as the old BDUs.  It's pretty useless for a tactical uniform.  But...

Today I saw a guy at WalMart wearing a camouflage that I had never seen before.  I nearly wrenched my neck trying to get a look at him as I drove past, and kind of freaked him out.  The camouflage reminded my of the German flecktarn, but he had a USMC style cover.  After I parked, I went up to him explaining why I was looking at him. He was in the Navy and the camouflage is the new design for Navy ground forces.  The cut of the uniform was pretty much the old BDUs (which I have always thought was great, but of course it is what I came up with) and it is a digital, pixelated pattern that really does look a lot like the flecktarn.  It looks effective, and the guy looked squared away in it.

If you want to check out any of these patterns, look at this Wikipedia page.

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