Common Camo and You

It should be obvious that there are many people out there not looking to pay the premium price on camo patterns like Crye “Multiglam”, Penncott, and Kryptek. So where does that leave them? Well, there is still a bunch of surplus to be had, and it’s often as good as it is cheap. Should you not want surplus for cheap, there are still mid-grade patterns, but I’m not here to discuss that.

Naturally, nobody in their right of mind is going after Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), for their choice in camo (unless maybe you really need to hide on a tile floor or a floral print couch).

Who left perfectly good boots on this couch?

So let’s look at the other stuff.

Run-of-the-mill M81 uniform.

First on the list is going to be M81, a pattern most just known as “woodland.” There’s nothing wrong with it, and if you keep your eyes open you can score a small or medium-sized surplus set for $20. If you want newly made M81 avoid buying Rothco or Mil-Tec made uniforms; you’ll thank yourself later for putting down the extra dollar. There really isn’t much else to say about it, past that it’s just a scaled up version of the earlier, less common ERDL aka “Leak pattern”.

There is also quite a lot of German “flecktarn” to be found.

Pre-2005 Flecktarn uniform.

This pattern is the least effective for spring, summer, and fall in the Mid-Atlantic. Yes, we know it has a lot of “meme value”, but if you can ignore that for just a minute you’re still getting value for your dollar. The real issue for German military clothes is the “Grossung” system they use for sizing clothes isn’t very clear for those in the USA. However, there are many sites that help out with this.  While you can still get the jackets for under $10 and the parkas for under $20, you’ll find that the pants are drying up. Where you could cop the pants for $12 in 2012, you’ll find they are starting to go for $24+ these days.

Examples of late and early Streichtarn uniform cuts (yes I know the late variant and early variant are being worn with their boots swapped).

Still on the subject of Germans. There are still plenty of East German uniforms and “rain” camo fabric just waiting to be had all over the place. Think of this as the poor man’s communist made camo. In winter months when you see more browns and tans opposed to greens, it isn’t so bad. However, good luck finding the winter weight uniforms in sizes other than m48 (Small-Regular). When you find a set of the summer uniforms, expect to pay close to $20 for a full set in m48, and a little more the larger you go. In fact, if you want this camo and you are a XL or XXL, my advice is get smaller if you can. For those of you who like blousing, better get yourself some jackboots as the pants have buttons toward the cuffs.

Swiss TAZ70 is quite effective in the mountains of PA in the Winter.

Next up on the list is the cult classic known as “Alpenflage.”  The design of this stuff is basically a rip-off of SS “Liebermuster”. Don’t overlook this stuff for your fall and winter needs; you’ll need to layer under it, but the color scheme is great in the fallen leaves and sea of brown you get in the woods in colder months. This is because the human eye tends to not notice red when it’s paired with brown at a distance. There are two common cuts you’ll find this in the early heavyweight sets as well as the newer lighter sets. While similar in color, the two sets have two separate designations. The pattern on the old heavy sets is known as TAZ70 and the uniform is meant to double as your light pack. It’s also worth mentioning the older uniforms are meant to be worn with the wool overseas hat. The pattern on the newer set is TAZ83 and this one is closer to a traditional BDU style; also if you don’t want to look like an idiot, never blouse your alpenflage. If you pay more than $30 for a set of the heavy-weight set (pants, jacket, backpack), chances are you are getting scalped. As for the light weight stuff, you’ll find $30 is fair for a full set. Again, the smaller the cheaper.

Pattern 85 smock. These guys make for a good top layer in fall and early spring.

The last of the common camo patterns I am going to touch on is the British developed Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM). This stuff is a solid choice for your “innawoods” needs. The Brits started using this stuff back in the 1960’s, but the most common cuts are going to be from the late 80’s and 90’s. Should you want to put a solid date to the clothing, good luck, You’ll be better off ball-parking it by the cut of it. The older DPM clothing is generally a heavier fabric and the newer DPM is made of lighter materials. With how effective it is I can’t imagine why the Brits would drop this stuff for use at home. Then again, most places are adopting “Multisham” for use in the sand lands. The older smocks go for $20-$25 if you look around, where the newer, lightweight sets (S95 pattern) can be had for about $20. Keep in mind that older DPM pants are harder to come by.

Austrian M75 field shirt and M43 style Feldmuster in use. Pretend not to notice the Canadian Mk2 Combats.

While not camo, olive drab uniforms of the USGI and Austrian flavor are commonly found as well as the green Swedish uniforms of the 60’s. The USGI OG108 and OG507 shirts are still easily found, though the prices tend to vary based on production dates. SPOILERS: “Nam” dated uniforms and kit sell at a premium, though if you aren’t looking for Vietnam era things you won’t be hurting your wallet. Moving onto the Austrian stuff, there are plenty of their olive drab uniforms and gear coming stateside, from their M75 uniforms to the Anzug 2005 uniforms. I’ve seen the M75 pants go for $10 in the past year (again, they were small-reg so the larger they are the higher the price). Should you look for summer weight olive drab, the Austrian uniforms are a great way to get your fix under $30.

L-R: Swedish m59 parka, m39 thermal shirt (with a whole other story of its own), m59 pants.

Then there are the old Swedish uniforms, which are almost a ranger green in color. This stuff tends to pop up on eBay and in stores quite often. However, these are definitely drying out fast, as they have become less common over the years: much like flecktarn pants.


Small time military surplus and Lego collector with a penchant for pocket guns and dry humor.

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