> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Gear Color Conundrum



Gear Color Conundrum

Here's a first-world gear junkie problem that I'm sure some of you have dealt with...

So you've read done research, read the reviews and figured out a piece of gear to meet your needs...maybe a bag, chest rig, whatever. That's the easy part.

Then comes the hard part...picking the color. Paralysis by analysis ensues.

This ain't just choosing from black, brown or green...let's look at some of the options out there these days...
  • MultiCam
  • UCP
  • Kryptek Highlander
  • Kryptek Mandrake
  • Kryptek Nomad
  • Kryptek Typhon
  • Coyote Brown
  • Foliage Green
  • OD Green
  • Ranger Green
  • Black
  • Wolf Grey
  • Pencott Badlands
  • Pencott Greenzone
  • Pencott Sandstorm
  • Good ol' Woodland
And then there are a bunch more...we can obviously keep going and going. And they all have their benefits, too.  Some are more civvy/urban friendly, others more environment specific, others are multi-taskers. Some are more exotic and others tend to only be available in older surplus gear.

And then as you start buying gear, you start thinking about color matching. Like "Does this shade of green match my plate carrier?" and "Will my black holster clash with my new ATACS BDUs?" It's the tactical equivalent of a wardrobe crisis.

Decisions, decisions.

Really, the incremental difference between the various patterns don't often matter much. If it matches up with your environment, you're usually good to go.
The Colors of My Gear: I've got MultiCam, Black, Coyote Brown and a couple pieces in Foliage Green.

Black is good for low profile, EDC stuff, concealment and generally blending into a crowd. Not so good for blending into wild environments, though it's better in forest than it is in desert or other barren turf.

Coyote Brown is a fairly good all arounder...being the color of dirt, it does fairly well anywhere you find the stuff. Fairly civvy friendly and also "goes with" most camo patterns as well--most involve some shade of brown.

MultiCam is, well, MultiCam. The most common camo pattern these days, very popular, and a fairly good all-arounder. More environment specific camo patterns will win out in their specific environments - so Kryptek Mandrake or Pencott Greenzone will perform better in woodlands - but MultiCam will do well in a wider variety of environments.

And foliage green gear I just kind of ended up with. It works ok in urban and wild environments - a grey/green combo.

What colors/patterns do you prefer? Do you have one that you stick to, or multiples that you switch between? Not care at all? Let us know!


  1. Multicam, ATACS AU, Black, "Combat Chocolate" Sheriffs/MARPAT Brown, and Wolf/Shark Gray.

    Brown, Gray, Black and ATACS all blend wonderfully.

    I like the looks of Pencott Greenzone, Maybe if I move out of SoCal I'll get the opportunity to check it out

  2. I like OD Green, Coyote Tan and Woodland. I also like Tiger Stripe, but it stands out a bit too much in an urban environ - which I try to avoid anyway, but sometimes that's just not possible.

  3. Bison Survival blog said a long time ago: brown; it's the color all the animals are...

    At first, I thought, "Nah, there are some really good cammo patterns out there."

    Then time went on, and I spent $$ on different patterns and thought I had it all figured out.

    But after all the $$ spent, and the OPSEC considered, and the effectiveness evaluated, I've come to agree with him (tho' I disagree with a lot of his other . Brown. I think they call it 'coyote' on Amazon. But basically, brown.

    It works at work, in the city, in the country, in the car, on a boat even.

  4. Big on the Coyote Brown, have been wearing it to work.

  5. Coyote tends to work well with other colors and patterns, too. Grey/black/coyote work well for urban. Greens, camo patterns and coyote work well in the back country.

    1. Big fan of the tan variants (desert, coyote, etc), gray variants (urban grayman, and I consider foliage green on the gray side), and black.

      Brown coat (I aim to misbehave), jeans, black boots, and a gray or black backpack would not look amiss in suburbia or post apocalyptic LA.

    2. Browncoats forever! (shamless "Firefly" Plug!!!)

  6. I like OD green, Realtree hunting camo (Partaily because I hunt and it is plentiful), and good ole green, and black and brown woodland.

  7. Not a single one works well everywhere. The 2 atacs patterns seem to cover a huge portion of most environments.

    I've chosen OD green for my equipment, Atacs FG for summer camo, Atacs AU for winter.

    1. If you live in a redneck town like mine, you stick out not wearing camo. I have found that winter (not snow, but "winter woodland") will work in summer and if you live in the piney woods like me, summer camo can work in winter as well, of course, you have to mind where you stand, but I would say that is pretty universal. Also, You can get solid colors like brown, black, tan, and green and mix them up and you would look inconspicuous in an urban or with a little practice, you could easily disappear in the woods.

  8. my armor is coyote brown weapons are black any stuff i have from the army left over tops bottoms pouches etc i am currently in the process of gettting rid of the acu color by dyeing it green or brown . most of my shirts are earth tone and all my pants are brown or dark blue emt pants ( its my job) .

    i do understand the drama of haveing a something mismatched on my armor my Ifak is still the same one i had in iraq seems like a good luck charm so it stays even if it looks out of place . my goretex jacket is british desert .

    at least for CO coyote tan seems to be the best bet for your money in the plains regions

    1. i forgot to add even with all my old army gear my goal post shtf is to not stand out like a sore thumb dressed up like GI JOE

  9. Coyote brown. West Texas is mostly brown. Blends in well. I have some old stuff I don't wear in OD Green.

  10. After some time in the sun, coyote brown turns a lovely shade of pink...

    1. And, as cheesy as it may seem, the Real Trees and Mossy Oaks are some pretty good camo patterns for where I live...but all in all, I don't put too much thought into colors, etc...

  11. I have a bunch of different types. Lots of multicam, some tan/ coyote and some black.

  12. I first bough my kifaru pack in black. Even with all the PALs webbing all over it, people never notice the "tactical" nature of it in the city and it blends right in. Black is the new black. The second piece of kit I got was the Kifaru Koala chest pack in OD. Why? I wanted more of a wilderness but not tactical look. I could have gone Coyote, but the boreal forest is green, even in the winter. Why not black again to match? It didn't REALLY matter.

    Oh and for camo, I prefer Multicam. It is everywhere, it works and it is what people will design in, other than OD and black.

  13. I usually stick to OD green and black, and typically wear a lot of earthy browns in my casual wear. Not a lot of dry desert up here in Canada to worry about blending in to with coyote or tan.

    My bug-out clothing is a pair of faded woodland camo pants, dark brown hiking boots and a very similar pair of taller winter boots, OD green/black shemagh, OD green Vietnam-era looking jacket. Even in the whitest of snowy winters there is plenty of brown muck and green foliage.

  14. I live at 46 degrees N.latitude my veg. zones include Fir forest, Pine forest, Scrub oak. I've used Felcktarn, OD, Multi-Cam, Brown, White, Woodland, Realtree, VN USMC.
    For cross spectrum wear Brown and OD are the best/easiest to obtain followed by Multi-Cam, Flectarn, Realtree, with Woodland/VN USMC being the least versatile.
    Coyote Tan is a very poor choice for my area.
    As to LBE I try to avoid black and favor Multi-Cam, but again brown/green pouches work as they break up the outline

  15. I like coyote brown, since it's coyote brown.

    Someone should invent a nice fox red, and puma tan, for urban usage.

  16. I remember playing paintball back when it was first getting started (mid '80s). The playing area was wooded with oaks and mesquite and low scrub brush. I saw a lot of camo patterns but a guy wearing old faded OD green would go a few feet into the brush and "vanish" like someone threw a light switch. I noticed that lots of people had new cammies that would kind of "stand out" from the background as the colors were very strong. Older "faded" camo cloth didn't stand out as much and lacked the almost reflective look of the brighter new cloth. So hang your stuff in the sun for a while or wash it several times and tumble dry it to "fade" it a bit.
    As Andrew flores17 said, try to NOT look like a renigade National Guardsman!

  17. My $0.02 worth. Personally it doesn't matter much. I use a modern H-harness with a battle belt. My belt is OD(Ranger)green as is my harness. However, most of my pouches are Coyote brown or surplus green with some Woodland camo mixed in left over from my military service. I stay away from Black though it sticks out like a sore thumb in the wilderness.
    My buddies at the range give me a hard time that I can't make up my mind what pattern I'm using. Until I walk into the wood-line just a few feet and they can't find me anymore. So basically my gear is Woodland pattern in bigger chunks. At least it works here in the Ohio Valley, your mileage may vary.

  18. Most of our gear is Coyote brown and OD green. Those two colors seem to work the most situations. Our go-to outdoor clothing that we REALLY use and rely on is predominately Carhartt brown, Realtree Hardwoods or Advantage Timber. This is a great post, I enjoyed reading everyone's choices!

  19. There is a good comparison of camoflauge patterns at ITS Tactical, both to each other and in the field. This was helpful to me.

    For us, Bushlan works well, but its crazy expensive. The faded U.S. military T-shirts are pretty good, I'd describe as cinammon brown. Black DOES NOT work and is hotter 'n heck in south Texas sun.

  20. I like coyote brown as it somehow seems less explicitly tactical than a camo, OD, or black--these are colors I associate with soldiers an ninja swat dudes. Coyote makes me think of the boy scouts, still not exactly urban oblivious but not weekend warrior apparel.

  21. best i've ever found was faded od green jungle fatigues.sadly they aren't made anymore, just knockoffs that fade different and stand out. i found that black spraypaint sprayed from a distance in random swipes gives good shadow effects. i like fleck for my terrain but pants are hard to find. od's and spraypaint can adapt to wherever you find yourself. a cheap way to convert all that cheap acu surplus to actually camo too.

  22. I just choose whichever colour the item itself looks best in. Doesn't matter if it matches with anything else (most of the colours match anyway ;) ).

  23. Coyote brown. Live in a heavily wooded area and most gear is available in the color. Also easier to lose the pack and blend in. The guy in the straight camo tends to stand out when there are people around but if you're kicking it by yourself, whatever blends in with your local environment.

  24. What Brands do You all recommend?

    Tru Spec?


    1. Depends on what you are looking for. For gear kits and pouches, I've had great experiences with Maxpedition stuff, it is a bit pricey but definitely worth it. I've also had great experiences with cheap Condor stuff as well. The condor insulated water bottle holder is about half the price of the Maxpedition stuff and it works flawlessly...I've kept a 40oz stainless steel water bottle cool for hours in it and never had a problem.

      When it comes to backpacks, I am a huge fan of Kelty's military line of packs. They do not look overly tactical, yet are resilient as hell and have very good admin features. I have seriously tried out a ton of different brands, yet I keep going back to Kelty. Kelty has been light years ahead in suspension system comfort and durability for years, and their military packs don't disappoint. I've got a Peregrine (1800ci) for EDC, Map 3500 (2300ci) for 2-3 day trips, and Falcon (4000'ish ci) 3+ day trips. Probably the most valuable gear purchases I've made.

  25. So I'm not the only one who spends far too much time staring at the color options imagining how it will affect my overall collection? But I have to agree with Elise, I tend to stick with whatever looks the best on that particular item while also taking into consideration my local environment, which just so happens to be best in Woodland Camo.

  26. Just found your blog a mention in the new "Be ready" mag, great blog so far. I tend to stick to desert colors out here in the desert, black stands out for hundreds of yards so I avoid that as much as I can, but coyote tan is pretty darn good for out here in the Nevada Desert.