Sticks and twigs and leaves and such. That’s how a friend of mine once (jokingly) summed up camouflage. That’s all it is, right? Well, not exactly.
Today, there are several great camo patterns on the market—there’s no denying it. Camouflage has come a long way, and it’s even better than it was 20 or 30 years ago. But today, there seems to be an endless number of patterns being offered to the public. That said, don’t think that camo is camo is camo—it isn’t. I mentioned there are some great camo options available, and that’s true. But there are just as many (if not more) bad options to sift through, too.
Photo: Bill Konway
It’s important to note that a quality camo pattern does two things really well. First, it disrupts the human form. The second thing, which is equally important, is it blends in with the surrounding environment. You can break up the human form all you want within a given pattern, but the hunter will still have the overall shape and silhouette of a human if the pattern does not blend in with the surrounding environment. It does no good to disrupt the human form if the pattern does not simultaneously blend with the terrain.
This year, Realtree released its latest camo pattern—Realtree Edge. So naturally, I had to take it to the woods and see it in action for myself.
My off-the-cuff response regarding the pattern? I didn’t realize how good of a pattern this was until I took it afield and tested it. It blended very well no matter the time of day, lighting conditions or actual environment. There are several reasons why it performs so well.
First, the light- to mid-tone colors blend well up close, at mid-ranges and from afar. Many camo patterns glob up at a distance and look like a dark shadow—this pattern doesn’t do that. It keeps you hidden at various distances. Strategically placed highlights and shadows also help the pattern to stay open at a distance.
This pattern did a great job of blending in both in a treestand and on the forest floor. Photo: Bill Konway
Second, the open-pattern theme that Realtree has carried over from previous patterns continues to prove its worth. A camo pattern that’s too “busy” will also look dark from a distance and won’t effectively hide the hunter in a semi-sky-lit treestand.
Third, this pattern does not incorporate geometric shapes. You don’t find those in the wild. It uses organic shapes, which you find in abundance in the outdoors.
Lastly, the high-definition of the sticks, leaves, branches and twigs in the pattern are life-like and realistic. The technology that it takes to achieve this on clothing material has come a long way in the last decade.
There were some additional reasons why it did so well during our field test:
• This pattern utilizes warm grays and browns that are found in the woods year-round. • It’s very difficult to match up the color green to greenery in the outdoors. There are many different shades of green on the color spectrum—many of which aren’t found in the outdoors. However, this pattern utilizes a touch of green that does blend well. • Photo-realistic leaves and branches are arranged in a way that blends well with both the forest floor and tree canopy.
Realtree Edge blended well with and without leaf foliage around it. Photo: Bill Konway
“The new Realtree Edge pattern is unique in its design and arrangement,” said Realtree President Bill Jordan. “This pattern features an abstract background with realistic limbs and leaves in the foreground to allow for seamless concealment in a variety of hunting environments. Leaves of varying shades and colors create a random pattern, and a variety of crisscrossing branches with highlights and shadows disrupt the vertical silhouette of the human shape.”
While in the field, I tested this pattern in grasslands, timber, swamps, cattails and even in rocky terrain. It blended in well in all of these scenarios. I’m a firm believer this pattern will do well in a treestand or on the ground floor.
“Not only is it a great hardwoods pattern but also one of my favorite elements is the abstract background which gives it so much versatility, even out West,” said Realtree Outdoors’s Tyler Jordan. “Whether we were in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado or Montana, this pattern had us covered all across the county.”
Edge performed very well in a snowy timber scenario. Can you find the bowhunter in this winter landscape? Photo: Bill Konway
In an age where alternative forms of camo are sprouting up everywhere, Edge embraces the distinctive qualities that are designed to disrupt the human form. It does so while sticking to the Realtree roots, offering realistic natural elements commonly found in the outdoors.
All in all, it seems Bill Jordan and his staff have outdone their previous pattern once again. The attentiveness to detail and ability to design a pattern that keeps hunters hidden is incredible. The verdict? The effectiveness of the all-new Realtree Edge pattern receives a thumbs up from us. The pictures and videos don’t lie—it blends, and it blends well.