Having been searching through Ghillie Suits listings on Ebay for several months, we thought to put a guide together in order to offer buyers who aren’t 100% familiar with this area, some advice before they spend their hard earned cash. As with everything, it depends what you require a Ghillie Suit for but there is often a lack of information and even a significant amount of misinformation in listings.
This guide mainly relates to buyers looking for a Ghillie Suit for applications such as airsoft, paintball, military re-enactment / enthusiasts etc. We are not aiming this guide at military personnel, as they know exactly what they need and can look at a suit in seconds and tell if they would use it or not.
Base Construction: Probably 99% of Ghillie Suits sold on Ebay are based on a netting only construction. They are simply not suitable for an operational environment. Military / Law Enforcement Units will always use Ghillie Suits which allow the operator to crawl unhindered. Why? Because it makes them significantly harder to see! With a netting only constructed Ghillie Suit, crawling is not practical as you constantly get snagged on everything in your way. An operator would likely wreck their camouflage (potentially giving away their position), expend more energy, lose their concentration and most importantly put their life and operation in jeopardy using a netting only constructed suit. The only suit design that is acceptable to a Military / LE Unit is one which keeps the front of the suit snag free as much as possible (depending on the requirements of the operation). Netting is ok, it’s how Military Units have made their Ghillie Suits for decades but with 1 key point; have the netting securely attached to the base garment (smock, BDU, Flight Suit etc), leaving the front of the suit clear. That way you are free to crawl but also the material under the netting will limit snagging to a minimum on the surrounding environment. After all, the main point of netting is to catch something but you definitely don’t want to be caught in a Ghillie Suit! Search the internet for pictures, you won’t find any of a Military / LE Sniper or operator using a netting only constructed Ghillie Suit; yet many sellers still continue to say they do. The only time we could ever begin to recommend a netting only constructed suit would be to photographers, bird / wildlife watchers who are predominantly going to be standing up. Where crawling is required, these suits are not practical.
Front: Garnished or Not Garnished? : Most definitely not garnished! As touched on before, it is significantly harder to spot an operator in the prone position (face down) than it is if they are standing up. So therefore a Ghillie Suit garnished on the front is impractical as you will snag on everything in your path; which leads to a multitude of problems.
Garnish: Natural or Synthetic? : It’s got to be 100% Natural!! We have never heard of any Military Unit that uses synthetic fibres on their Ghillie Suits. The whole point of a Ghillie Suit is to merge into the surrounding environment and natural jute is simply the best for that. From this base, you can add local foliage and you have the best possible camouflage. Natural garnish is more expensive but synthetic fibres just don’t compare to natural fibres.
Maximum Garnish or Minimal Garnish? : It’s got to be as minimal as possible as far as how much garnish is added to the suit. Some of the suits for sale are so big and bushy that unless you want to mimic a bush or hedge they are not effective for any other purpose; not even thinking about the extra weight you will be carrying and the extra heat you will be generating! Military / LE Units just don’t use these. A Ghillie suit should always be kept as minimal as possible for Military Operations, depending on the specific operation and environment.
Colours: So many of the Ghillie Suits for sale are so dark in colour, mainly dark greens, browns, black etc. The problem with these suits is that they will always look darker than the surroundings; whatever the light conditions and surrounding environment are. Light conditions affect the colour of everything in the natural world, so the big problem with Ghillie Suits that aren’t coloured to take this into consideration is that they will always be darker and therefore will stand out. So, take this into consideration when selecting a Ghillie Suit. Most Military / LE Snipers choose to garnish their Ghillie Suits with colours which are quite light.
Materials: Military Ghillie Suits will always be constructed with top quality materials. If they aren’t, they will fail you and very likely at the worst moment possible. Always look for suits constructed with quality materials. Probably 99% of Ghillie Suits available on Ebay don’t tell you the quality / manufacturers of the components used in the construction of the Ghillie Suits they sell. Why? Well that is open for debate but maybe it is because they don’t actually know (they buy them already made to sell onto you) or they don’t want you to know because the quality of the components isn’t great. We wouldn’t recommend buying a Ghillie Suit for over £40 unless you know its quality. There is only one other seller we have seen on Ebay that gives a complete breakdown of the components used to construct their Ghillie Suits and other items. By doing that, you know exactly what you are getting! Why buy something based on the outer looks when you don’t know if overall it is worth the money you are paying for it? Again, we have only ever seen one other seller on Ebay showing pictures of their Ghillie Suit etc before garnishing it. If you see the Ghillie Suit before it is garnished, you can see the quality. You don’t want to pay good money for a piece of cheap netting with synthetic garnish tied to it, just because it looked alright in the picture; especially when for a bit extra money you could have bought a product that is quality and that a Military / LE Unit would consider using or indeed use.
One good Ebay tip which applies to some sellers (not just Ghillie Suits sellers) on Ebay is to check their Feedback; not their “Feedback as a seller” but their “Feedback as a buyer”. In here, you can see what they have bought and this can give clues as to the quality of their product. If a seller is buying cheap netting and other Ghillie Suit components in bulk sizes and amounts every few weeks, it may be to that these components are what are used in the making of their suits. Also, if someone is buying top quality components, it shows there too. We have seen instances of both, so it’s worthwhile to check as it may put you in a better position to decide which Ghillie Suit to buy.
Listing Propaganda: There are sellers that will try everything to make you buy their Ghillie Suit. Listings will say things about their Ghillie Suits like ‘used by special forces’, ‘used by the SAS / SBS/ Royal Marines / USMC / Navy Seals / Delta etc’, ‘designed by ex Special Forces operator’. Don’t believe this for a second! 99.9% of these statements are simply untrue, as generally they are made about Ghillie Suits which no Military / LE Unit would ever use. Again search the internet to check this out, one simple search on the internet will be enough to confirm that. A quality Ghillie Suit will sell purely on its quality, it doesn’t need to have propaganda.
Well we hope this guide is useful to some buyers in making their mind up on which Ghillie Suit to buy for their needs. As mentioned above, any suit that costs over £40; research it thoroughly, don’t take everything you read in the listings as true and go for quality. Quality Ghillie Suits can seem expensive but there is days spent in making one and the quality of the components that you get is not comparable to any of the cheap ones; so you get what you pay for! It’s much better to buy a quality Ghillie Suit than to buy the ‘latest Special Forces issue as used by the SAS etc’, only to get it and be disappointed; more so when you realise that Special Forces don’t use it!
Thanks very much for your time in reading this guide. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.
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