Ghillie suits are composed of outer materials connected to an inner base. Outer material is made from jute or synthetic thread, while lightweight mesh, nylon netting, or military combat uniforms (BDUs - Battle Dress Uniforms) usually compose the inner base of a ghillie suit. The article will describe more in detail the outer materials and the inner base that forms the shape of the suit.
Ghillie Suit Outer Material
The outer material is composed of thread from natural jute plants or man-made synthetic thread. Both provide effective camouflage, but differ in weight, odor, and fire resistance. Jute and synthetic thread is discussed below.
Jute is a natural fiber that has the great ability to blend in well with natural foliage of a terrain. Jute thread is created from the fibers of jute plants and is sought after by manufacturers for its high tensile strength. Jute fiber is widely used throughout the world, second to only cotton in terms of production and availability. Jute thread can be woven into different types of products in such as carpets, rugs, and burlap cloth. Burlap and jute thread are valued by the military for its sturdiness and used in a variety of bags, coverings, camouflage netting, and apparel.
Synthetic thread is created from man-made fibers formed in a chemical process using minerals and plant materials. Common synthetic threads including nylon, polyester, and acrylic are made from oil and coal. The use of synthetic fibers became popular during World War II, and today approximately half of all fabric is made using synthetic thread.
Jute vs. Synthetic Thread
Both synthetic thread and jute thread have the remarkable ability to blend in with a terrain. However, synthetic thread bends easier and is softer than jute thread. Jute thread is straighter and coarser due to its natural plant characteristics. For a stationary hunter who does not move around much during a hunt, the choice of using natural jute or synthetic thread is less of an issue. If mobility is a concern, we recommend synthetic ghillie suits. Jute and synthetic thread are the same in appearance, but that's where the similarities end. Ghillie suits made using synthetic thread offers the following advantages over jute ghillie suits:
|Lightweight||Synthetic thread is less than half the weight of jute thread. This lighter weight can have a huge impact when wearing a ghillie suit for long periods of time.|
|Mildew Resistant||Jute ghillie suits can attract mildew and mold after collecting moisture and not properly aired out. On the other hand, synthetic thread is naturally mildew resistant.|
|Fire Resistant||Synthetic thread is safer than jute thread since it is inherently fire resistant. Jute thread is made from plants, so jute ghillie suits are treated with a fire retardant for safety precautions. The military is increasingly using synthetic material for making their sniper ghillie suits.|
|Odorless||Synthetic thread is odorless, where jute plants and thread carry a natural odor.|
|Non-allergenic||Someone with severe allergies should consider a synthetic ghillie suit. Ghillie suits are worn for concealment and stealth, dealing with allergic reactions from jute would certainly give away your position.|
Ghillie Suit Inner Base
The base or shell of a ghillie suit is usually composed of nylon netting, lightweight mesh, or some type of battle dress uniform worn by the military. The inner base of a ghillie suit is important since it adds to the weight of the suit and determines how well a suit is ventilated.
Netting and Mesh
Nylon netting or lightweight mesh are used to construct ghillie suits so air can easily pass through both sides of the ghillie suit and keep the user comfortable. Netting and mesh material is light weight and does not add much weight to the suit, but is very strong and can easily support a full body cover of ghillie thread.
Battle Dress Uniforms
The most durable inner base of ghllie suits are made from military clothing such known as Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs). These are known as military-style ghillie suits. Some include reinforced padding on the front of the BDU jacket and pants and are specifically made for crawling long distances. Ghillie thread is either sewn directly onto the BDU or tied onto a netting that is sewn onto the BDU. For more information, see our article Overview of Military Ghillie Suits.
Outer material of a ghillie suit is usually composed of jute thread or synthetic thread. We generally favor synthetic thread over jute thread for ghillie suits mainly for its lighter weight and mildew and fire resistance. Using lightweight nylon netting or mesh as the inner base creates a well ventilated ghillie suit. Battle dress uniforms of the military produces the most durable type of ghillie suit.