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Wilderness Fashion: Color or Camo

My 2-cents.

I must admit that I’m not the most sociable person in the world. I’m not one to walk up and start a conversation, especially with strangers. Nor am I one that relishes people coming up to me and starting a conversation, although I can be sociable when that happens. But, usually it’s not a long conversation. When I’m walking around the ‘big city,’ I’m going somewhere to do something, and ‘sitting around on a park bench chatting with the locals’ is not my thing. Nor do I stand out in a crowd…other than my altitude. I don’t dress to be seen. I don’t act to be noticed. I don’t intentionally draw attention to myself. It’s not that I have anything against being visible. I just would rather ‘be in the background.’ Call it leftovers from living a life of being in the shadows.

 

A lot of this comes out in me when I’m working ‘in the field.’ I’m out there for a purpose…generally, treasure hunting, metal detecting, or prospecting for gold. When I’m concentrating on my activities, I don’t want to be approached, especially if I’m wearing headphones (listening to the almost imperceptible changes in tone of my metal detector) or working underwater dredging for gold. I’m not paranoid, but in my experience, not everyone is friendly and with good intentions. I’m leery of people I don’t know approach me in the middle of nowhere, especially if I’m looking for or digging up valuables and some stranger walks up wanting to know what I’m doing. It’s not that I’m trying to hide either. If I were, I’d go into complete “stealth mode” (A whole other subject). So, when I’m “out and about,” I dress for success…my kind of success.

 

Bright Red Jacket Against a Natural LandscapeI cannot tell you how many times I go out into the woods only to see streams of people walking the trails dressed like they were trying to be spotted from space. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong in wearing neon colors, if that’s your thing. If communicating [some kind of] a fashion statement is part of your enjoyment in getting out into the wilderness, by all means do it. As a treasure hunter, doing so has some inherent risks…especially if you’re successful or perceived to be successful in your hunt. 

 

When I look for clothing and equipment for my treasure hunting (in all its forms) activities, I have a couple of basic criteria. First, it must be functional for what it is needed. Second, it must be “earth-toned,” or at a minimum, “not-flashy.” I won’t even consider bright reds, blues, yellows, oranges, lime-greens, whatever. I choose to blend in. Camouflage is great. I have a lot of camouflage “stuff.” But, camo is not mandatory.  Dark blue…OK. Dark orange (like an autumn “burnt orange”) – OK. If I’m gonna wear it, carry it, or use it, I want it to NOT draw attention…to it or me. 

 

One of the easiest things to spot is a bright non-natural color against a naturally colored background. Fortunately, there is a large selection of good quality garments and equipment that manufacturers make in earth-tones…many of which also come in bright colors (if you choose to do so). Fleece for warmth, Gortex for rainproof, 400 Denier nylon for durability. All of them come in “subdued” colors. There are other technologies for modern fabrics besides these three, many of which are good. But, whatever it is, I choose ‘subdued.” I recommend you do the same.

 

Now for one piece of contrary advice. Always…and I mean always…carry something that is blaze orange, signal red, or at least “very bright.” Why? If you get hurt. If you get lost. If you are marking a location for aircraft or rescue parties, you need to have something that they can easily spot. Keep it handy in the bottom of your rucksack, or carry a cut down version in your cargo pocket or a pouch on your canteen belt/knapsack. But, carry one.


Full Disclosure: The supplies, equipment, tips, techniques, and procedures I recommend are based on my evaluation and experience. I link items I recommend to companies I have an affiliate agreement with (or to The Rocker Box Catalog) from which I receive a small percentage of sales if sales are made during your visit to their website. The recommendations are mine, and mine alone. I use any proceeds to pay for The Rocker Box website, and to generate future articles and activities. I thank you in advance for your patronage and support to further the great recreations, hobbies, and vocations of treasure hunting, gold prospecting, metal detecting, ghost town hunting, and rock hounding.


30-Second Bio: I am a retired soldier of the US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets),The Author: Mark Prewitt serving for over 25 years. My specialties were communications, medicine, operations and intelligence, with extensive cross training in weapons and demolitions. I was a paratrooper, jumpmaster, combat diver, combat dive supervisor, combat dive medic, sniper, and pathfinder. I’ve been deployed countless times to locations on four continents, and have participated in operations in open water, riverine, jungle, mountain, desert, arctic, and urban environments…but I’ve been a “treasure Hunter” since I was eight. The End.