While attending a few sniper courses before a deployment to Afghanistan, we were told that the era of the ghillie suit had faded. Although we practiced traditional stalks and ghillie suit construction, most of us knew/thought that we would have no need for them while deployed, especially us being more of a direct action sniper.
Before we deployed, my sniper team (myself and spotter) decided to pack our suits just in case. A good call that was. Mid-way through the deployment, my team found ourselves using out ghillie suits on multiple occasions in Afghanistan. We owe our lives to them.
For those who are into “the sniper world”, or just hunting and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a pre-made ghillie suit, I thought I would share with you a few tips and tricks on construction, the same way I made my ghillie suit used overseas. It can also be a great addition to your “bug out kit”.
- Multi-cam/BDU/DCU top and bottom
- Burlap or Jute
- Shoe glue
- Netting (1 inch squares) and (1/2 inch)
- Sewing needle and thread (optional)
- Rubber bands or 55 cord
- Spray pant
- Boonie Hat
Most of the suits I use have some type of a breathable compartment on it, typically the back. Start by cutting out a section of the back of the top. Lay the 1/2 inch netting over the square piece you cut out. Depending on the materials you have available, you can either sew the netting on or use shoe glue to secure it. Make sure you use plenty of shoe glue to secure the netting.
Once the 1/2 inch netting is secured, place the 1 inch netting over the entire back of the top, minus the sleeves. You may secure the netting by either sewing or applying shoe glue.
Next, place the canvas on the front portion of the BDU top. Be sure not to cover the buttons. To secure the canvas, its best to use both shoe glue and sewing thread. The canvas keeps you from getting caught on twigs, branches, etc., as well as keeps you from leaving a large amount of jute and burlap behind. The canvas may also be applied to the forearms and elbows.
Once everything is dried and secure, cut 4-6 inch strips of burlap or jute. Apply the burlap to the back of the top by tying them to the 1 inch netting. DO NOT OVERDUE IT. You will use a large amount of natural vegetation to complete the suit. Keep in mind 30% burlap and 70% natural vegetation. Use the rubber bands and or 550 cord and place erratically on the back netting. This will be used to apply natural vegetation.
The bottom is the easiest. Place the 1 inch netting along the backside of each leg. Secure by shoe glue or sewing thread. Take your 4-6 inch strips of burlap or jute and tie onto the netting. The legs do not need as much as the top. Be sure to also place the rubber bands or 550 within the netting as well. The canvas is applied along the front side of each leg a well, using the same technique used on the top.
I prefer the Boonie cover. Simply take the 1 inch netting and place the netting over the cover/hat. The back side of the cover should have a “tail”, typically about a foot long. This will be used to cover the scope of the rifle. Now tie on your burlap and jute.
Once your all complete, utilize spray paint to darken or lighten the burlap and uniform to better blend into your natural surroundings. After the spray paint has dried, its time to “weather” your suit. There are a few ways to do this. My preferred method is the following.
On concrete, drag your suit across it until the loose burlap has fallen off and it appears “shaggy”. Now soak the suit in water and repeat 2 – 3 more times. Let dry outside and your ready to go.