I recently had the chance to use Hyde Definition’s Badlands pattern in the field as I detailed in part one of this two part review. While part one reviewed SOD’s uniform, part two will cover the badlands pattern itself.

Badlands is certainly the most complex camouflage pattern I have ever seen. Despite being a 4-color pattern (Mirage for instance is 10-color), the level of pixelation is extremely small. Using a flat earth tone as something of a base color, green, dark brown, and a beige/whiteish color are blended throughout the uniform. The dark brown is present in larger blocks as seen in current issue military uniforms but then the white and green squares are so small as to resemble white noise on a television screen. The distortion effect this creates is plenty impressive, in fact it looked as if it were deliberately made for the fall season in New York where I tested it, even though Badlands is marketed as being for semi-arid environments.

I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures but Hyde Definition did a great job at balancing light and dark colors. This is always a big debate in sniper courses, where you hear that lighter colors are better, there is no such thing as black in nature, and so on. The truth is, although the color black is rarely found in nature, various levels of darkness exist in the shadows. The presence of a darker color in the pattern gives it a three dimensional aspect, creating the sensation of looking through the person wearing the uniform rather than at them. Multicam also has darker color elements but it always struck me that Multicam was a little too light for many environments. Badlands excels at this and appeared equally effective in direct sunlight as it did in the shadows.

I am going to have to continue to experiment with the badlands pattern in different seasons and situations to get a better feel for it, but so far I have been thoroughly impressed. Debates about camouflage patterns rage on the internet, the debate being highly subjective on all sides. All most can say is how they feel the pattern works based on pictures on the internet. Real scientific and human testing needs to be done to find out which pattern is the most effective, something I can’t accomplish on my own in this review. However, I hope this gives a good thumb nail sketch and convinces people that Hyde Definition should not be disregarded as a viable option.

Will the Badlands pattern save democracy and the free world? Probably not. But it would be a shame if the militaries of the free world did not include this pattern in their test sets as the US Army and others search for a new, more effective pattern for our troops.

*Update 1, to show this pattern at a distance.  This picture comes from Hyde Definition rather than the reviewer.  I will work on getting some more pictures for you in the next week or two.  If you have any addition requests, feel free to ask in the comments box below.

Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger, Special Forces Soldier and is the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

chaos0xomega November 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

I'm hoping that Pencott takes the win in the Army's search for a new pattern, from what I've seen, their various colorways are more effective than multicam or atacs or the other popularly championed patterns.

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Go Navy! November 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

At a distance, this reminds me of the German Military camo. I wonder how durable is the materials…..it may look good but if the uniform rips easily…it doesn't do any good.

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reflexivefire November 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

I think it's Ranger School durable, the fabric seemed pretty tough to me.

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nuclearnuances November 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

Pretty cool how the pattern obscures the author's face, too!

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PLiner November 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

I would still like to see some shots from a greater distance (25, 50, 100 meters) to see how the pattern performs. As I mentioned in part one of the review, this pattern is similar to another pattern that I was involved in testing and evaluating and my thoughts are that it will perform the same. That being all that small detail and light coloring will cease to be effective at greater distances and what a human eye will see is a predominately dark silhouette in the environment. In this case, the two predominate colors in the Pencott pattern are both dark(er) colors which compounds the issue. Again, great review and write up, thanks for posting it.

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Lawrence November 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

Guys – just to clarify, the fabric of that uniform is US Army spec 50/50 NyCo ripstop, with nIR performance levels that are also to US Army milspec.

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Lance November 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

Still looks like a digital version of old 80s vintage Soviet camo.

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greyghost November 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Any chance you could photoshop out your white skin or maybe even paint your face and hands? Its hard for me to evaluate the camoflauge photos when its clearly visible that your just standing there, or take pictures from further away and show no skin tones please.

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reflexivefire November 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I'm open to taking some addition pictures at a distance but as far as editing out my skin tone for you, I'm going to have to take a pass on that.

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gunslinger6 November 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Refexivefire- What is that about? Strange request i think.

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greyghost November 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I was just trying to see the uniform without any skin exposed, so my eye can really decypher and evaluate the camoflauge compared to the natural surroundings.

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Jack Murphy November 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm

You can put you're thumb over my face in the picture, pretty much the same effect. As for the long range pictures, I put one up (courtesy of Lawrence) and I will work on getting some more taken as well.

Pliner November 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm

@Jack Murphy: What is the distance from the camera to the subject in that last photo? Thanks again.

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Jack Murphy November 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I don't know since that one wasn't mine. Looks like 75m or so.

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Pliner November 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

@Jack Murphy: For ***** and giggles, if you want to evaluate it to the same standard that they would at Natick you can do the following. Choose several different backgrounds at 60 and 120m from varying orientations (Standing back view, kneeling back view, prone side view,Standing 45 degree view front/right side, Standing 45 degree view front/left side). The target will be directly in front (12 o'clock) to the observer/camera and not be obscured by vegetation or objects.

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Jack Murphy November 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Good idea, do you have the task, conditions, and standards for the Natick tests?

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Pliner November 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I can send you the PPT presentation from an older pattern test session that breaks it all out. Send me an e-mail address that can accept a 18MB file and I'll send it over to you.

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Jack Murphy November 30, 2011 at 5:34 am

Thanks, maybe I can make use of it next time! Reflexivefire (at) yahoo (dot) com

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Pliner November 30, 2011 at 6:56 am

@Jack: e-mail sent, let me know if you have any issues with it and the file size on your end. Thanks again.

greyghost November 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

but then my pink thumb is breaking up the camo color scheme, i will not!

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Dumb Grunt November 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Looks like a very good pattern. Many of the civilian patterns are either very terrain specific or are too dark, even Marpat(woodland version), Multicam, and others are too. From these preliminary photos it appears that some one is on the right track. Still I/we need to see how this pattern works in many more environments than what has been shown. I believe there is no one perfect pattern for everywhere, it's all a compromise.

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Brett Weeks November 30, 2011 at 6:31 am

Call me a grumpy skeptic, but has anyone ever taken a hard look at how effective ANY camo pattern really is in the field? I mean, by the time a soldier straps on all the "battle rattle" and then gets all sweaty and grimy, will any pattern work? Then there is the whole issue of changing terrain/vegetation. I was watching the "Vietnam in HD" series recently on the History Channel. In the field, the jungle fatigues were either dark "sweat green" or caked in mud. I can understand needing specific camo for specific missions (spec ops), but for general field use, is there really a valid "tactical" benefit, or is this just "tacticool"? Before we send hundreds of millions of taxpayer $ to the clothing manufacturers for the "pattern du jour", who have an inherent conflict of interest in this whole process, I think the questions ought to be answered.

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adil November 30, 2011 at 7:07 am

I am a non american muslim who does appreciate american efforts in the stan.

Why is this pertinent to this discussion?

Camo helps but does NOT do the job! Boots on the ground does! The job got done in ACU for gods sake! MARSOC even reverted to Woodland! In Word War II the US service men got the job done in OD.

I'd seriously hope that all due efforts goes to helping the troops complete their mission and get the people home and not spent on another ACU goose chase!

Soldiers are someones sons/daughter, friend, brother/sister, husband/wife or partner. The long and short is the longer they are there the longer the american people and the afghans will be impacted.

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Jack Murphy November 30, 2011 at 9:15 am

Camo is not nearly as important as tactics or strategy but it does seem like a topic worth discussing, especially considering the nature of Kit Up! and it's readers. Of course soldiers will get the job done, even with sub-standard kit, but that doesn't mean we should stand by while the Army bolo's the job again as they did with ACU's.

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UVR November 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Camouflage is also a verb. Some camo is definitely working against the soldier in most environments – e.g., UCP – but a fine camo pattern like PenCott Badlands gives a foundation of protection against discovery. If the soldier then builds on that with proper training in camouflage and concealment – think FM 20-3 and the U.S. Army's "Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks – Skill Level 1" – he stands a good chance of being the master of the moment.

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bbb November 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Camo is a cheap investment (by military standards) that gives our guys the incremental edge over the bad guys that make the difference in combat, where the margin between life or death is measured in millimeters.

Even if you don't change the pattern for the entire force, giving our trigger pullers and door kickers a whole rainbow of patterns is important. All the training manuals I have seen say that the most basic and important part of camouflage is selecting that which is most appropriate for your surroundings. But the current military just cares about everyone looking the same, and cutting down logistics costs.

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Justin December 1, 2011 at 4:31 am

Agreed, also maybe as a benefit, a group of soldiers on patrol in full kit, with matching camo patterns, and maybe with just all coyote brown gear (a la Marines). I mean, it's great if it can hide just 1 person laying still, but if a whole platoon would be interesting to see.

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Mark August 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

Been looking for PennCott or Vegetata – where do you get these? I go t othe websites and nobody sells them…its sad.

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Ojimbo December 9, 2012 at 3:19 am
Woodland DPM September 28, 2013 at 11:33 am

Dom Hyde based the pattern on the German Waffen SS blurred edge oak camouflage (Eichenlaubmuster)

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