How To Make A Ghillie Suit

You have to slow your heart rate, stay calm. You have to shoot in between your heartbeats - Chris Kyle  

It’s all about making the perfect shot.

Whatever it takes to help you hit your target with the first round, that’s what you need to be willing to do, when it really matters, as that first round can mean the difference between life and death for you and whatever, or whoever you’re aiming at.

How To Make A Ghillie Suit

Sometimes, the best way to make sure that your initial shot is straight and true is by fading, and blending, into the background so that your target doesn’t even know that you’re there.

And the best way you can disappear is by wearing a ghillie suit.

What Is A Ghillie Suit?

A ghillie suit is camouflage clothing that’s been designed to allow the wearer to merge within their surroundings and essentially “disappear”.

Most ghillie suits are cloth garments that have been augmented with burlap, twine, and foliage to mirror the background terrain that the person wearing the suit wants to use as a natural cover.

Named after, and to honor the Scottish gamekeepers who first created and used them, they are primarily associated with covert military applications and personnel. 

A commonly used method to hide in “plain sight” that is employed by snipers, hunters, and preppers, ghillie suits can effectively remove the person wearing them from the line of sight of their enemies, intended targets, and anyone else that they don’t want to be seen by. 

Designed to give the wearer a three-dimensional, natural break-up rather than a conventional, linear two-dimensional one, they are incredibly effective and can give the person wearing it a distinct and unparalleled advantage in a number of high-stakes scenarios and situations. 

How To Make A Ghillie Suit

No two ghillie suits are the same, and in order to ensure that yours is effective, you’ll need to study the terrain that you intend to use it in.

Make a note of the foliage and vegetation, any and all-natural cover in the area that you’re intending it wear it in.

While most commercially available suits have been manufactured to blend into a number of different backgrounds, by designing and making your own suit, you can effectively tailor it to the terrain of your choosing, which will increase your natural advantage and enhance your ability to fade into and become a part of the background. 

The First Layer

Ideally, the first layer of any ghillie suit will be made from military surplus clothing. Almost every military surplus store will have a couple of racks of clothing, and an old camouflage jacket or jumpsuit is the perfect platform to build a ghillie suit around. 

Make sure that you have enough room in your chosen primary layer to be comfortable and that it isn’t too tight, as you’ll be adding weight to it and you need to be able to react and move quickly in your suit if you find yourself in a precarious or dangerous situation.

Adding The Netting

You’re going to gradually build your suit layer by layer, and the foundation that everything else is going to be added to is netting.  We found that old fish netting works best, and it’s relatively easy to find and buy in any store that sells fishing supplies. 

To be on the safe side, always buy more netting than you’re going to need. A roll should do, and any you have leftover can be out to one side and used to create another suit should you, or another family member need one.

Carefully measure two squares across and begin to cut the netting into long strips that are two squares wide. Once you’ve finished, gather your strips together, as you’re about to start sewing.

Thread a need with some dental floss and sew the strips of netting to the arms and the front and back of your jacket or jumpsuit. Leave a four-inch gap between each strip of netting that you see on your primary garment.

When you’ve finished sewing, use a little glue on each of the stitches to make sure that they hold and won’t come undone if you catch your suit on anything. 

Burlap Sacks

The next part of your suit is made from burlap strips, so you’ll need to ensure that you have enough burlap (used coffee sacks are a good source of burlap) to make your suit. 

A good ghillie suit needs around six pounds of burlap, so make sure that you’ve got enough to adequately cover yourself. Remember, if in doubt, always get more than you’re going to need. 

Threading The Burlap

This is the part of the suit that makes the most time, so make sure you set aside enough to do it properly. Cut the burlap sacks into long strips, and when you’ve finished cutting them into strips, you’re going to start unraveling each of those strips into threads. 

After you’ve untangled and unraveled the threads, gather them into bunches of ten and start threading them through the loops of the netting that you sewed on to your jacket or jumpsuit.

Tie them haphazardly to make sure that they stay in place, but try to avoid a uniform pattern when you do fasten them to the netting.  Nature is messy, and your ghillie suit needs to be too. It needs to look a little scruffy. 

The Final Touches

Remember when we told you to take a close look at the terrain that you’ll be using your ghillie suit in? Good, now that you know the colors that you’re going to need, trawl some goodwill shops and try to find some old clothes that match the shades you’ll need.

Don't worry if they are not exactly the same, you can always use a little fabric paint to make sure that they do match. 

When you’ve made sure that the clothing you’ve just picked matches the color of the terrain, rip it into shreds and thread the shreds of clothing between the netting and the burlap on your suit. This will further break up your outline and help you to blend into the background.

And to make sure that you really do disappear, you can always add a little of the foliage from the terrain to your suit.

But if you do, remember to add fresh foliage every time you venture out in your ghillie suit.  It’s time to suit up,  fade into the terrain, and vanish. 

The Simple Prepper