When the camouflage of a soldier’s uniform isn’t enough, a military netting is there to provide protection. Not the kind of protection that body armor gives a soldier, but the protection of stealth. Some missions require soldiers to hide from their enemies, and any military surplus that can make them tougher to see helps them.
Camouflage did not become very popular among military units until the beginning of the 20th century. Previous to this, soldiers’ uniforms were often brightly-colored. Camo was first used for soldiers’ uniforms, but then military netting and ghillie suits were developed to hide soldiers even better. Ghillie suits are basically netting covered with material that looks like actual twigs and foliage. They are designed to give soldiers even more stealth than military netting alone.
Camouflage is not necessarily designed to hide a soldier completely. Even today’s camo uniforms, such as the MCCUU MARPAT, do not completely hide a soldier in the thickness of a forest. The goal of camouflage is to hide the outline of a soldier’s body so he is not a clear target. It would be ridiculous to say that a camo-wearing soldier is invisible while standing next to a tree. As long as an enemy has difficulty pinpointing the outline of a soldier’s body, he will have difficulty taking a shot at him.
All that being said, military netting does give soldiers greater stealth than their uniforms alone. And ghillie suits can almost make soldiers seem invisible.
You can get military netting for your own camo purposes, such as hunting or paintball. Amazon.com has some great military netting made just like the netting soldiers use. You can get personal netting for yourself, or a tent-sized netting to fit several people in. The netting is made water-proof and mold-resistant, and is rustle-free to prevent making too much noise. Some netting even comes in the new digital camo patterns.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.