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#697 - 05/14/01 07:43 AM clothing color
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Clothing materials are given great care and consideration. I thought Id pass on a few tips on color,and hope to learn any additional information. Backpacking gear is deliberately bright for high visibility,but did you know that modern laundry soap brightening increases your visibility? If a S&R unit is using various night vision gear your laundered clothing almost glows in the dark! Many milspec and commercial camoflage sets are initially treated to negate this. So along with their subdued patterns you are doubly hidden. If you forsee hunting game,the large 'buffalo plaids' are just as effective against colorblind deer! That red/black mackinaw may be just the item for stalking that buck,and helping the rescue team find you after excitedly tripping over his rack ! Mosquitos are a serious threat to man and animal. The most attractive color to their senses is blue. Likewise bees may become aggressive to large dark objects.This may be an adaptive response to large,comb raiding predators. Notice what color a beekeeper wears?I know from personal observation that dark horses are sometimes stung,yet greys and paints have a very low bite incidence.My clothing,like my gear is a work in progress;some excellent,some sadly deficient. Comments?<br><br>

#698 - 05/14/01 03:10 PM Re: clothing color
NAro Offline

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 503

You make some good points about color. Don't let the Realtree Camo people hear this, though. You've wrecked their industry!. But I agree with you. If you want to sneak up on a meal in the woods, broken-up rather than solid color patterns are fine. But being still beats all camo. I've read that deer and elk have some UV or near-UV receptors, so that they ALSO can see in that spectrum. Therefore the brightening which laundered clothing has under your SAR UV scan also brightens to the critters. Some folks are selling UV blocking detergent for hunting clothes. Defeats the purpose if you want to be rescued, though. I enjoy your posts.

Edited by Doug_Ritter (09/29/08 11:48 PM)
Edit Reason: Real Name removed

#150342 - 09/29/08 10:34 AM Re: clothing color [Re: NAro]
Did Offline

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 15
Loc: France

I think your idea is very interesting. On wilderness forum we have a lot of discussion about gear but quite a few about color (except "camo discussion" of course).

I agree with you about the fact that color is important with insects. Normally mosquitoes prefer "dark" color and insects like a lot "blue" because normally you have somme UV reflects and insects could see UV band quite well. It's especially true withs synthetics.

Color is important for Rescue. It is a good idea to have some piece of equipment in "orange rescue". Fjallraven, a respected swedish brand, have made jacket in olive green with "orange rescue" on the other side. They have also hat in OD/orange.

Color is important for comfort. In high moutain, it could be very cold, very windy AND very sunny. If you have the normal "Black goretex Jacket" it could be very hot inside even in 10°F. Red/yellow is a better choice.

Of course, in front off a fire for warming, it's a good idea black gear, especially for woollen or cotton underwear.

TNF had the good habits to have black liner inside down sleepings bags....it was very helpfull for drying it with sun.

Filson mackninaw in "buffalo plaid" is useful in hunting country...It's also useful for drying : the black squares are hotter than the red ones and speed up the drying time. But it's not too hot under the winter sun.


#150352 - 09/29/08 02:13 PM Re: clothing color [Re: Did]
Yuccahead Offline

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
That is some good information. Here in the desert just walking my dogs on the summer mornings, clothing color makes a big difference. If I wear a dark shirt, I can usually feel the sun heating up my shirt and feel hot most of the walk. That it could make such a difference in a northern winter is very surprising and interesting to me.

It seems these additives in detergent generally reduce UV and increase blue light according to Wikepedia: "Optical brighteners, optical brightening agents (OBAs), fluorescent brightening agents (FBAs) or fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) are dyes that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet region (usually 340-370nm) of the electromagnetic spectrum, and re-emit light in the blue region (typically 420-470nm).... These additives are often used to enhance the appearance of color of fabric and paper, causing a perceived "whitening" effect, making materials look less yellow by increasing the overall amount of blue light reflected."
-- David.

#150353 - 09/29/08 02:22 PM Re: clothing color [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
falcon5000 Offline

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
I know light colors are much better for rescue, bugs and warmer weather however, the darker colors dry faster out in the sun faster and are better for colder environment and hiding from people hunting you but it is very hot in warm climates and mosquito love you. I wear light cloths when traveling and have all black cloths in a waterproof bag in case I get wet.

The advantage of the black (for back up) is for quick warmth and drying of cloths faster. Hypothermia is a greater concern than the heatstroke for the back up cloths only. Both will kill you fast and that's why I wear the light cloths for traveling and black for emergencys. Every environment is different and this setup applies to my environment.

Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

#150364 - 09/29/08 03:53 PM Re: clothing color [Re: ]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I have a military rescue panel. Its a square of nylon or cordura fabric, about 14" x 14" and is florescent orange on one side and florescent pink on the other. On each corner is a grommet and some 550 cord. Works great in the woods and desert.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#150367 - 09/29/08 04:41 PM Re: clothing color [Re: comms]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1164
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Of course bird hunting is a different story. Turkeys see colors
and patterns. Deer see the blue end of the spectrum so can see
blue jeans. Shapes are also important and the leafy type camo is
good for big game as well as birds.

Dark colors absorb more light/heat as mentioned and so in a desert
enviro- a sun shade should be made of a dark color and set far above
you to give the best shade while providing and insulating airspace.

#150373 - 09/29/08 05:13 PM Re: clothing color [Re: falcon5000]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 736
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
My winter outerwear (parkas, jacket and wind shells) is mostly black and the main rational behind this is that it contrasts better than any other colors in a snow storm.

I'm also a proponent of the "store what you eat and eat what you store" principle of food storage and think it should apply to clothing (wear what you store and store what you wear!?) and so I enjoy wearing black.

In this connection, I'm afraid Military Chic is going out of fashion. Paradoxically military chic is often in vogue at times of anti-war feeling as after the Iraq war of 2003.


#150381 - 09/29/08 06:14 PM Re: clothing color [Re: ]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 736
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
As long as you don't grow a mullet, it should be fine. Or else you'll end up alone.


#150391 - 09/29/08 07:26 PM Re: clothing color [Re: clearwater]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3663
Loc: TX
a sun shade should be made of a dark color and set far above you to give the best shade while providing and insulating airspace.

Is there any thermal "bleed-through" using this method? I mean the shade heats up and radiates heat towards you, or is this effect minimal compared to the sun-blocking effects?

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