What sets snipers apart from other infantry units is their ability to stalk, observe, and engage targets while remaining nearly invisible using natural concealment or a Ghillie Suit. Marine Snipers are renowned as some of the best in their world, and their ability to cheat death is almost mythic.
They have the title “Hunter of Gunmen” and wear a 7.62x51mm NATO round around their neck called a Hog’s tooth because according to military superstition, each person has a bullet with their name on it, and by wearing theirs around their neck they cannot be killed.
Their ability to remain invisible, even while engaging targets, largely comes from years of refining their camouflage and fieldcraft skills. These skills are a Marine Sniper’s most important assets, even more important than the rifle itself. Contrary to a lot of Hollywood scriptures, a sniper’s primary role is usually to gather intel, plot enemy encampments, and confirm key target locations as opposed to taking long-range kill shots, although they do that too!
In this guide, I’ll be discussing a Marine Snipers invisibility cloak, the Ghillie Suit! Chances are, you aren’t a Marine Sniper, but you may still be able to utilize a Ghillie suit in recreational activities, like paintball, airsoft, hunting, bird watching, etc.
- Here Are the Best Ghillie Suits for Sale Right Now
- 10. Zicac outdoor ghillie poncho
- 9. Arcturus Ghost Ghillie
- 8. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Ghillie Suit
- 7. Isafish Sniper Cloak
- 6. North Mountain Gear Ghillie 3D Woodland Brown
- 5. ROCOTACTICAL Viper Hood
- 4. Tactical Concealments Multi-purpose Viper with Backdrape
- 3. Tactical Concealments BEAST Suit
- 2. Tactical Concealments Mamba Suit
- 1. Homemade Ghillie Suit
- The Basics of a Ghille Suit
As usual for my reviews here on Marine Approved, I’ll explain a few key factors that I’m considering while ranking the products. In this case, the three things I’m considering are:
Baseline camouflage: What I mean by this, is how efficiently will this ghillie suit blend into any given environment without adding anything to it. Is it an out of the box invisibility cloak, or an itchy coffin?
Adaptability: Is the ghillie suitable to readily adapt to changing environments? Does it have tie-ins for vegetation, or is it a pattern-only type of deal?
Practicality: Some ghillie suits may look great, but you’ll realize they really just aren’t practical until you try to use them. Some suits are too hot and you’re more likely to overheat, and other suits are incredibly difficult to maintain. I’ll share some of my experience with you, which can hopefully lead you in the direction of the best suit for you.
Here Are the Best Ghillie Suits for Sale Right Now
10. Zicac outdoor ghillie poncho
Estimated Price: $32
My Review: This ghillie poncho is just too fun to not include on this list. I have to start out by saying this gem is only $35 on amazon. Weighing in at 13.6 ounces, you won’t even know you have this in your pack! The fact that this polyester ghillie poncho is literally a poncho, means you can throw this on and off extremely fast. Playing airsoft? Runaway and slip this on and let everyone run past you! Hunting? Skip the tangled mess of a “hairy” suit and just throw this on when you get to your hunting spot. This polyester, lightweight suit is extremely breathable, meaning you won’t be sweating as much or nearly as miserable.
On the downside, while this cheap toy is extremely versatile, don’t expect it to hold up to the stressors of skull dragging or low crawling. This is more a cheap, speedy option to camouflage.
This suit is extremely practical, the baseline camouflage is adequate enough to break up the silhouette, and Is adaptable in an unconventional way. It is adaptable because of how fast you can employ the suit, or take it back off. Breakaway from the squad, throw the poncho on, take a few deadly shots, then take it off and get back in the operation with your squad. Everyone will be worried about a sniper that isn’t even there anymore!
9. Arcturus Ghost Ghillie
Estimated Price: $90
My Review: I’m not a big fan of these “hairy” ghillie suits, which is why you’ll see them lower on the list. However, they aren’t bad if you don’t feel like going all out with the vegetation. The baseline camouflage is actually pretty good if you get the right color suit. Adding vegetation to this suit can work fairly well, but without the vegetation, you still have a broken-up outline, which hides your shape well. They can move in the wind, matching the rhythm and flow of the environment.
When wet, suits like these can become matted, giving a dark solid look, like a ball of wet hair. That might sound bad, but can actually work in your favor when in a wet swampy environment! This suit is mold resistant, which is good if you do end up going into the swampy area. This can really play out in your favor during airsoft fights. I don’t know many airsoft players willing to trudge through swampy areas. That’ll really give you the edge against your opponents. Not only will they not expect your location, but they won’t see you either!
This package includes a zip-up top, bottom, headpiece, and rifle wrap. The rifle wrap is really just a strap with strings on it so you can literally lay it over your weapon. I’d get some rubber bands to help secure it to your gun. At $90, it’s a good suit for baseline camouflage and actually does a great job breaking up your outline.
- BDU mesh base with heavy-duty mold-resistant 7 color 3D blended thread
- The package includes full-length pants, a zip-up jacket, a mesh-based hood, and a standard rifle wrap
- This top tier thread style Ghillie is available in a kids size, teen size, regular, and extra-large
8. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Ghillie Suit
Estimated Price: $90
My Review: This ghillie suit was actually the first ghillie suit that I owned, before enlisting in the Marine Corps I would play around in the yard with this as a child. It’s very similar to the Arcturus ghost ghillie above, with a few improvements. This suit comes with a nifty drawstring carrying bag and is a little bit lighter. It also has an elastic waistband, jacket cuffs, and snap closures on the ankles and jacket. It’s also about $30 cheaper, at around $65. Red Rock Outdoor Gear offers this suit in desert, woodland, ACU, and snow. If you’re going to add vegetation, I’d recommend getting tan as it will become a more adaptable base suit. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of applying vegetation, I would go with the woodland, as it is actually multi-colored.
The downside to these “hairy” suits is that they can become a tangled mess. It is also very difficult to remove fine vegetation that gets stuck to the suit, especially anything with thorns. However, at this price, you can’t go wrong having some fun by hiding from some untrained observers.
- Everything is made out of polyester which makes this suit really good at shedding water and the Ghillie material is extremely dense
- The entire package includes a camo drawstring storage bag, top, pants, hood, and gun wrap
- These suits are available in Woodland, Desert, ACU, and Snow color configurations
7. Isafish Sniper Cloak
Estimated Price: $22
My Review: Here at number 7 on the list, we come across our cheapest option yet. At only $17.99, you can’t beat the price of this suit. The lightweight mesh fabric is breathable, keeping you much cooler than the “hairy” ghillie suits, and also drying much quicker. A suit that dries faster is good because wet suits become darker. This suit doesn’t do the best job at breaking up your outline, so I’d highly recommend adding your own vegetation to the suit in the field. However, this “leafy” suit is a great baseline camouflage that will surely hide you well under a layer of vegetation. This hooded jacket and elastic pants are similar to wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. Very comfortable and easy to put on.
The downside to this suit is the same as the previous suits so far. You can’t skull drag or low crawl without losing the leaves that make up this “leafy” texture. The baseline camo is great, easily adaptable, and very practical based on the price and simplicity of the suit.
- Maple leaf 3D Ghillie system
- 100% constructed from bionic polyester for breathability and lightness
- The entire suit is a one-piece design that consists of a hood and a front zipper
6. North Mountain Gear Ghillie 3D Woodland Brown
Estimated Price: $80
My Review: This “leafy” textured suit is similar to the previous suit at #7 but better. North Mountain Gear made this suit with about twice as many leaves to make that texture bolder. If you’re hiding in a leafy woodland environment, around autumn, the texture of this suit will blend well. It is also so easy to add leaves off the ground to this suit, matching the color of your environment perfectly. This suit really has the potential to be a great ghillie suit in a fall, leaf-rich environment.
The hooded jacket and pants weigh an amazing 1lb!! that’s an incredibly light suit that is also breathable, and will dry quickly as well. The elastic waistband paints also have knee-length zippers, meaning you can take these pants off while your boots are still on. This is practical for hunters, as you can walk to your hunting area quietly, slip on your suit in under 30 seconds and begin the hunt.
- This is by far the lightest suit available that’s worth buying and it weighs only roughly a pound
- Constructed with a heavy-duty polyester mesh base with over 1000 oversized leaves stitched in
- The use of high quality zippers and pockets really makes this set extremely helpful for hunting and the leaves are super quiet
5. ROCOTACTICAL Viper Hood
Estimated Price: $43
My Review: At #5 on our list, we have the ROCOTactical viper hood. We’ve gone over a few “hairy” ghillie suits, a few “leafy” suits, and for the top half of the recommended suits, we’re into the legit, no-crap military sniper ghillie suits. Fun fact about viper hoods is that Scout sniper candidates, (or PIGS) have to make their own suits while in training. Many of them purchase a cobra hood like this after becoming a legitimate Scout Sniper, (or HOG). They’re lightweight, easy to use and provide an easily packed base suit for vegetation.
Add two bungee cords around your chest to secure veg to your body, and you’ll be able to hide in anywhere, easily adapting to changing environments. This suit is affordable at only $42 and is made of an extremely durable RIPSTOP fabric. Finally, we have a suit that you’ll be able to skull drag through rocks and sticks without destroying your suit. The suit is fully adjustable with straps and bands to secure nicely to the body, in an adjustable one-size-fits-all manner. This suit is offered in woodland camo, solid green, and Multicam. I would advise avoiding the woodland camo model, as it has black in it, which is a color that is unnatural to almost every environment. (no, natural shade is not black). Grab a pair of veg clippers, and take what you’ve learned about the 5 elements of visual perception, and add local vegetation to this suit to master the art and science of invisibility!
4. Tactical Concealments Multi-purpose Viper with Backdrape
Estimated Price: $170
My Review: #4 on our list brings us to Tactical Concealment, a company known for making quality ghillie suits for snipers and other military units. The US army is actually issued a Tactical Concealment suit, which Is included later on this page. These are less budget friendly suits, but you do get what you pay for in terms of quality. Pricing was not one of the rating criteria on this review, so say goodbye to $20-$100 ghillie suits. This suit is one of Tactical Concealment’s cheapest options, at around $150, but that is only for the back drape. You’ll still need to purchase their viper hood.
This is extremely similar to #3’s ROCOTACTICAL’s viper hood, with a few more bells and whistles. The back drape, which almost appears to be a cape, can be rolled up and worn on the back, or rolled down and employed. Roll down the drape, and add camouflage to increase the amount of vegetation worn on the body over a simple cobra hood. The back drape can be removed, and worn on the front of the body as well, almost like a ghillie blanket, or a vegged-up screen. The back drape can also be used as a standalone concealment cover. This suit is extremely adaptable, the possibilities and capabilities of this suit are endless.
3. Tactical Concealments BEAST Suit
Estimated Price: $400
My Review: Tactical Concealments BEAST suit. A made from scratch ghillie suit for military snipers going on real-life missions. This suit is extremely durable. If the human body can endure the environment, then the BEAST will drag you through it and come out in one piece. The areas on the suit that have the most contact with the ground while low crawling, called “skid areas” are covered in a hard material to ensure you don’t sand your way through the suit.
You can drag your body over rocks wearing nothing under the suit but a T-shirt and your skin will be perfectly protected. Elbow pads and forearm pads are sewn in for added comfort and protection. 550 cord is sewn into a grid-like pattern for easy vegetation attachment. The bouse is offered in a closed-chest model with a side zipper and a traditional button-down blouse. Adjustable hand loops and foot loops are included in case the stalker finds the need to crawl backward, the suit will not ride up on the user’s body. This suit can do it all, for a price. MSRP is $475 but is often on sale down to $349. Well worth the money if you put your suit through hell.
2. Tactical Concealments Mamba Suit
Estimated Price: $770
My Review: Finally, the last product from Tactical Concealments, I promise. The Mamba suit. This ghillie suit is designed for military snipers and is even issued to soldiers who pass US army sniper school. It is very similar to the BEAST suit, however, the BEAST suit is a more affordable, stripped down version of the MAMBA. The MAMBA is the gold standard of ghillie suits on the market. It has been reported to have completed over 200 grueling stalks by servicemen, without any degrading damage like rips or tears. It’s fairly lightweight, weighing only slightly more than an average pair of utility cammies. Like the BEAST, the MAMBA has nylon skid protection. The MAMBA offers removable and thickness adjusting elbow, forearm, chest, and knee pads! The 550 grid pattern on the back has a tightened pattern to provide more tie-down points for adding vegetation. The MAMBA has a closed chest system, with a side entry featuring quick-detach buckles. There are adjustable hand and foot loops, ensuring that the suit doesn’t ride up the wearer’s body.
One of my favorite things this suit has is the reinforced seat & crotch area since I ripped my ghillie’s crotch down to my knee cap. Twice. This suit comes with suspenders and an adjustable belt, so you don’t have to worry about getting a belt strong enough to drag a rifle case if you were looking to do that. Lastly, the MAMBA’s entire back is vented with an extremely durable multi-cam mesh fabric, allowing heat to escape the body during strenuous stalks, or when baking in the sun. The only thing this ghillie suit doesn’t have is a cheap price. MSRP is at $780. It’s not cheap, but you’re really getting what you pay for.
1. Homemade Ghillie Suit
If you skipped down to this part just because It said to earlier, go back up and check out the other 9 options you have! It only takes a minute, whereas making a suit like this takes hours. And hours.
If you are interested in making your own ghillie suit, we actually have a full guide on how to make a ghillie suit explained by a Marine Scout Sniper here that we recommend checking out.
When marines get selected to join the Scout Sniper platoon, the first weekend in the platoon they have to make their own ghillie suit. And it takes ALL weekend. It’s kind of a tradition, but also a lesson. It’s the first real lesson in fieldcraft. How can I take my cammies, and make them into a ghillie suit, using stuff that’s lying around?
Making your own ghillie suit is something you should be proud of. Nobody can just go buy the same suit you have. It’s one of a kind. You can tailor it to be best suited for wherever you will be using it. You won’t need all the adjustable parts, you can just fit it into your body. If you want mesh vents, put in mesh vents, but you don’t have to, because it’s yours!
There is still more to learn:
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to stalk and hunt a trained observer without a ghillie suit, if you master the skill of stalking. In US Army sniper school, and in USMC Scout Sniper school, students who are competing for the “high stalker” award, actually wear a blaze orange vest on their body while conducting their last stalk. We even had a scout sniper instructor stalk up to other instructors at their observation point, wearing nothing but his boots.
Anyway, which suit is best for you? It all depends on what you want out of it. Some of these suits might be overkill for what you plan on using it for, like deer hunting. Others might be not enough for sneaking up on humans. Shop around some of these suits to find something in your price range that will work best for you; or; head to the store and grab some materials to make your own!
Remember, the ghillie suit alone won’t camouflage you from all 9 elements of visual perception at once. The ghillie suit will assist you in doing so! I have a ton of camouflage tips on our how to make a ghillie suite page under the elements of visual perception section so I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested.
Ghillie suits can be extremely hot, especially when layers of vegetation are added. Some suits are basically giant overall body winter coats, and layers of vegetation just add insulation to the body and block wind from cooling the body. The only thing more dangerous than passing out from overheating is passing out from overheating while literally nobody can find you! I have seen this happen before and it can be deadly. Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration and always keep water on you. Never stalk alone. It wouldn’t even hurt to have something like a “find my phone” app so that a friend or referee can find you in case of emergency.
This applies also to cold environments, as wet ghillie suits keep cold water trapped on your body. I have seen sniper candidates get confused due to oncoming hypothermia and began to stalk away from the course. Keep your safety in mind!
The Basics of a Ghille Suit
A Ghillie Suit is an advanced camouflage garment that helps the wearer conceal their presence. These suits and accessories are designed specifically for the environment of operation. They create a blend of contour by breaking up straight lines and appearing more random like nature.
Taking a trip way back to the 19 century, the original “ghillie suit” was derived from a group of Scottish hunters looking to advance their techniques and gain an extra edge over their game. They realized that adding foliage from the environment they were hunting to their clothing made it less likely that their appearance and proximity to their game would notice them and flee.
After royalty took note of these tactics, they began outfitting their estate managers with ghillie suits so that they could track down animals, trap them, and return them to the castle for royalty to kill themselves in a type of showing for the public. These people became known as “Ghillies”, which basically just signifies that a game warden is special because he brings the royalty animals to slaughter.
In the Second Boer War, Scottish soldiers in Britain’s military began using the Ghillie tactics on the battlefield by modifying their soldier uniforms and adding foliage, netting, string, and even padding to make lying down for long periods more comfortable. These soldiers used anything they could to break up the human silhouette and by doing so, gained a considerable advantage on the battlefield, including being able to sneak behind enemy lines and gather valuable information.
Blending in with your environment is a skill set that needs to be practiced and studied for many hours on end to master. Some of the greatest military feats ever conducted were successful due to the element of surprise, but keeping this element, especially in a world where your adversaries can carry a 50x magnifier in their pocket, is incredibly difficult.
The human brain is a very fascinating thing that can perform amazing feats without us even knowing or thinking about it. Specifically, the human brain can identify patterns better than any species alive, and with that, we gather important information on a daily basis.
Warning: Ghillies Are Not Compatible In All Situations
If wearing a Ghillie Suit practically makes you invisible, why don’t all military units and hunters wear them all the time?
Ghillie suits aren’t exactly great clothing nor are they optimal clothing for activities requiring athletic performance. Ghillie suits are often heavy and awkward, making sprinting, swimming, climbing, etc much more difficult to do.
Speaking of swimming, if a Ghillie Suit gets wet, it’ll weigh much more and if it’s a natural ghillie suit, it may take days to dry and the foliage may change color, wilt, degrade, etc. If your Ghillie Suit is synthetic, the water may make the materials extra shiny or reflect color in a different manner than what the surrounding foliage is reflecting.
Ghillie suits are thick and cumbersome, making them great insulators that can actually make a big difference in comfort during cold weather. On the flip side of this, though, is the fact that ghillie suits can be dangerously hot in the summer. If you’re out in combat in hot weather, sweating even more because you have a Ghillie suit on, you’ll need more food and water, adding to the weight you have to carry and items you have to conceal.
Ghillie suits are only effective when they match their environment, which sounds easy on paper but is actually very difficult to constantly achieve when moving. To the untrained eye, a general pattern that does a decent job of matching colors to the environment would fool them.
To trained militants, though, you’ll have to be nearly perfect to fool anyone, which means your Ghillie Suit has to be convincing. Moving just a couple feet left or right may reduce the effectiveness of your Ghillie Suit, perhaps even hurting your concealment due to the backdrop not supporting your Ghillie’s color scheme or contour.
In the real world, a sniper would constantly be adding and modifying his Ghillie Suit in the field according to each movement he makes. This makes actually moving very slow and requires a lot of time and movement that may actually give away the sniper’s position.
Getting a large number of troops to move quickly and precisely, all while wearing a Ghille Suit, would be a disaster, making Ghillies not very suitable for entire military units.
Another reason why not every military unit wears a Ghillie Suit is that it actually takes a ridiculous commitment of energy and time to master. Using a Ghillie Suit isn’t as easy as just throwing it on and lying down. There is a lot of science involved that is crucial to the success of your mission.
A good example of how an untrained person misuses a Ghillie is in how they move. Someone looking at the field you’re in is most certainly going to take notice of a shrub that’s moving and seemingly crawling around. Marine Snipers train to move with the wind, in a manner that a shrub or bush would actually move. These guys are moving in a matter of inches at the will of the wind. This could take days just to maneuver through a few acres of land.
Your spotter also needs a Ghillie Suit and the skills to conceal themselves and yes, most snipers do use a spotter. Wearing a Ghillie Suit is extremely difficult to shoot accurately with. The Ghillie Suit has to conceal every part of your body and as a result, you’ll have stuff covering your line of sight and blocking your peripheral view almost completely.
Turning your head from side to side can easily give away your position, so in the field, you have to rely on your spotter holding an angle and relaying information to you, without looking where he is looking. Your spotter may also need to relay information on possible target movements, setting you up to move incrementally slow in anticipation of a specific angle. This all takes a lot of training and practice.
Using Ghillie to Up Your Game
Ghillie Suits are used in a very wide range of outdoor activities. From combat to bird watching Ghillie Suits have a rightful place in an outdoorsman’s arsenal of gear but not everyone has several months to hone their skills and practice using a Ghillie the right way. I’ll give you a few beginner tips to use once you buy your new Ghillie Suit.
Anything you have on you, like a bow, sheath, whatever, has to be arranged or dressed in a manner that obscures its straight edges. You can easily tie grass and leaves to things in a hurry but you can also buy special Ghillie accessories like gun wraps and Ghillie yarn.
The shape of a human head and shoulders is a very noticeable pattern in the wild for people to recognize. Your upper 30% is by far the easiest section of the body to identify and even under a Ghillie Suit can give you away. To negate this, you can add padding to one or both shoulders and to the sides of your head, arms, chest, etc.
Never attempt to use your Ghillie Suit to conceal yourself against the skyline. It’s far easier for onlookers to see the shape of your body and sitting in the skyline basically multiplies holes and sections that aren’t so great in your suit. This also puts you in the most light possible, which may highlight color discrepancies.
If you know where the enemy is coming from or where they might travel through, you can try to plan your position on a different elevation. Most people naturally look at what is right in front of them or slightly down from them. It is less likely someone will spot you if they have to look up or down drastically.
Plan for water. Whatever water you would take normally, double it. A Ghillie Suit is hot and will lower your hydration significantly faster than you’d think.
Eliminate hard surfaces, even none-visible ones. Hard surfaces make noise. Tie some grass around your magazines or the gear in your pack and they won’t clang together when you’re rolling through the jungle.
No matter the precaution, you will make some noise when you move, which brings in a whole lot of strategy and trial and error. When you move, try to move under the cover of ambient noise such as the wind or fauna activity.
Avoiding perfectly time-based incremental moves is also crucial. Move at different time intervals, otherwise, the people looking for you may pick up on the pattern of sound you’re making.
Recognize where your Ghillie set-up actually makes sense. Do you look like a giant bush? If so, you wouldn’t hide near a tree stump because people know that large bushes don’t grow next to tree stumps. Are you sitting on a rock? Shrubs grow in the soil, not on rocks. You have to be careful and think about how your position logically appears to an onlooker.
When you first unbox a new Ghillie Suit, take it right outside and throw it in a mud puddle. You aren’t taking it to a beauty pageant, you’re using it to blend into nature, and nothing looks more like nature than mud and, well, actual nature. Some Ghillie Suits coming with material that, when hit with light in a specific way, can actually appear shiny. That’s okay as long as you rough them up a bit and get them nice and “broken in”.
Always carry a knife capable of shredding the netting and material in your Ghillie Suit. In an intense high-pressure situation, you may end up with something tangled, and untangling would be a massive shortcoming in your concealment and self-defense ability.
Do not attempt to swim with a Ghillie Suit on. If you’re wearing a Ghillie, you’re probably carrying a firearm and other gear as well. It is incredibly difficult and dangerous even for highly advanced swimmers to swim with gear and a Ghillie.
A good blend of natural foliage and manufactured Ghillie material is 60/40% respectively. Like mentioned many times in this guide, buying a Ghillie Suit is fine but you will likely need to add real local foliage to truly have convincing concealment.
Corporal McMahon is a former 0317 Scout Sniper with 1st BN 2nd Marines. He served as team leader for a scout sniper team during the 22nd MEU. Shortly after leaving the Marine Corps, McMahon became a contractor for the US Army, testing small arms and large caliber weapons for potential military contracts. In his spare time, he is an avid gun collector, hunter, and outdoorsman. He is also a passionate supporter of the Second Amendment.