Gear, Parts and Accessories

MultiCam Pattern Camouflage

Camo vest with light tans and greens, on a white background

MultiCam was developed by Crye Precision as a universal camouflage adaptable to a wide variety of environments. The reflective nature of the pattern causes it to change apparent color depending on the surrounding environment. Special fabrics and coatings help it blend in under various lighting conditions across both the visible and IR spectrums. The infrared spectrum camouflage makes this pattern effective even when viewed with night vision equipment. MultiCam Camo vest with light tans and greens, on a white backgroundMultiCam works by tapping the ability of the human brain to “fill in the gaps” when viewing an image. Very little of the brain is dedicated to processing colors. Instead, the brain picks up cues and uses pattern recognition, which it excels at, to construct that we actually perceive as sight. MultiCam tricks the brain into seeing the pattern as a part of the surrounding environment. The unique pattern absorbs certain wavelengths of light and reflects others, which allows this camouflage to work in a variety of environments at nearly any time of day.

Referred to as OEF Camouflage (Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage), the MultiCam pattern has been adopted by the US Army and other NATO forces participating in the ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan. Because it was developed for the US military, all MultiCam products are made in the USA. All clothing and uniform components using the MultiCam pattern are fire resistant and use no melt-no drip Cordura fabric.

One of the unusual aspects of MultiCam is the use of a unique, non-repeating pattern. Below are pictured two different swatches of MultiCam camouflage.

Note the distinct differences between these two swatches. The above swatch is dominated by darker greens, while the lower swatch has lighter tan coloration.

Current ACU, and even MARPAT, patterns have the same hue no matter where you sample the pattern. This leads to an overall blurring of the colors of the pattern into only one recognizable color at long distances.

This “blobbing” effect causes the current ACU uniform to take on an overall blue-ish hue when viewed at long range.

MARPAT patterns fare slightly better, since they blur into natural tans and a dark brown-green color depending on whether the desert or woodland pattern is viewed, but they still present a large single blob.

Because the MultiCam pattern can change so much over a given section of cloth, it tends to further break up the pattern when viewed at long range and virtually eliminates the “blobbing” found with most other patterns.

Crye Precision refers to this aspect of MultiCam as “macroflage.” The macroflage characteristics of MultiCam means some colors may dominate some areas of the pattern and be completely absent in others. The small patterns within MultiCam help the wearer blend in with the immediate environment, while the larger dominating patterns break up the silhouette and eliminates the “blobbing” when viewed at long range.

What’s more, in some areas the colors actually blend into each other, which is distinctly different from the various other digital camouflage designs where each color location is clearly defined.

The MultiCam pattern is currently standard issue for US troops in the Army’s 12th Infantry 2nd Battalion deployed in Afghanistan, where it is referred to as OEF Camouflage (Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage) and is also in use by a number of private military contractors and special forces teams operating in the theater.

Ongoing testing suggests that more military units based in Afghanistan and elsewhere will be incorporating the MultiCam design.

What are your thoughts on this approach to creating camo? Share in the comments section.

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