Would students in this Special Operations Mountaineering Course photo benefit from camo that reacts to ambient temperature? (Picture from Army.mil)

I am a Southern boy who grew up in the woods with a gun in my hand hunting all types of game. From day one, camouflage was paramount to any successful hunt. The right camouflage can sometimes determine whether you bring home a trophy buck and bragging rights or  you’re heading back home empty handed.

Unfortunately, camouflage can get pretty expensive and, if you hunt multiple types of game in different seasons of the year, your wallet will quickly feel the effects of your obsession with the outdoors. Cabela’s has a plan to remedy your need for multiple articles of camouflage and help your budget with one quick dose – and I wonder how this might impact things from a tactical perspective.

Cabela‘s has launched their line of camouflage, ColorPhase, which is a rapid-change, temperature activated dye that alters the appearance of the fabric as the temperature rises or falls. The camouflage is currently available in Cabela’s Zonz Woodlands Warm and Cold Phase and Western Warm and Cold Phase patterns (seen below).

Cabelas2

The magic happens once the temperature of the fabric reaches 65°F. As temperatures fall below 65°F, the camouflage will transition, and the green colors will morph into late-season shades of brown. The leaves, shrubbery and green hues within the fabric will transition to tans and dark browns to simulate a colder climate’s foliage. Temperatures in excess of 65°F will conversely react in the opposite manner.

What could this mean to someone with a tactical mindset or modern-day military mission? Would the students in the Special Operations Mountaineering Course photo above benefit from a camouflage that reacts to ambient temperature?

Well, it could open up quite a few possibilities within the camouflage spectrum for the military in terms of a team or unit being pigeonholed into deploying with only one distinct camouflage pattern. As one of the first iterations of a camouflage technology, it also promises some interesting developments in the future if properly utilized.

A scenario that comes to mind would be to take this technology and embed it into a more military or operational-based pattern. This would allow a specialized unit who is working in a foliage-rich environment and conducting movement to a higher, colder altitude. The greens would darken to break up the pattern and the background becomes lighter to evenly match the surroundings and give the team the ability to blend in as the temperature changes around them.

The one obvious question I have to wonder about is, what happens when your body heat begins to push through the clothing and take effect on the pattern? Would it impact how it reacts to “ambient temperature.” In a conventional military situation, a soldier may participate in patrols lasting various lengths of time up to 24-plus hours. Within a very short time, the body heat created by the soldier could easily change the pattern to something possibly unwanted in certain circumstances. This is all hypothetical, mind you, but you see where I’m going.

Either way you look at it, this technology is pretty cool. It is obviously tailored to the hunting and outdoor community at the moment, but it has the potential to be a great tool in certain situations and missions for military personnel.

– By “Mad Duo Brad” Brad Walker

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