Best Ghillie Suits

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
410 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ghillie suits

Last Updated December 2019

A good ghillie suit allows hunters to be virtually undetectable as they approach their prey. With practice and patience, it’s possible to get much closer or lie in wait, unseen, than when wearing a standard camouflage jacket and pants. Ghillie suits are also very popular with the military and frequently used by paintball teams, airsoft competitors, conservationists, and photographers looking for the ultimate wildlife close-up.

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to buy a ghillie suit, you have lots of choices. Suits vary from a simple jacket and pants to those with anti-mosquito face screens and camouflage for your firearm. There are different materials, closures, and camouflage patterns to think about, and, of course, a wide range of prices.

We’ve looked at ghillie suits from more than two dozen manufacturers so we can help you make the right decision when choosing yours. We’ve selected several that we’re happy to recommend, showcasing the variety of options available to you. We’ve also put together this thorough buying guide.

“Ghillie” probably originally referred to the Gaelic tree spirit Ghillie Dhu that could disguise itself as leaves or grass. In the 1800s, it was used to mean a boy servant who helped with hunting and fishing trips in the Scottish highlands.

Key considerations

Uses

Ghillie suits are typically thought of as something for rifle hunters, but they can also allow bow hunters to get much closer to their prey. The potential drawback is the chance of the camouflage threads catching in the bowstring. To overcome this, some bow hunters cut back or shave away the chest and bow arm of the suit.

Though there are exceptions, it’s usually the case that the more components there are to the ghillie suit, the more expensive it is. If you’re using one for paintball or similar leisure sports, a hooded jacket and pants might well be sufficient. At the other end of the scale, you have high-density ghillie suits that include a rifle wrap and perhaps a separate hood with a mesh mask to keep the bugs out.

The amount of camouflage material that is attached is also a factor here. A lightweight ghillie suit is easier to move around in, but it does less to conceal body shape. High-density (multilayered) suits can make you much less detectable but add five or six pounds to the weight of the suit.

Materials

Burlap and jute: The first ghillie suits were made of coarse burlap (sacking) and jute string, with a haphazard collection of twigs, leaves, scraps of material — anything to break up the body outline — tied on. In fact, distracting the eye from the true shape of the item being camouflaged is just as important as color. That’s why so much effort goes into the patterns on military vehicles that look bizarre when you see them on the parade ground but make them remarkably difficult to spot on the battlefield. In a similar way, modern ghillie suits use realistic 3D foliage and additional layers of fabric to provide excellent concealment.

Burlap and jute are natural, very tough materials that are still used in some high-end ghillie suits. However, they’re expensive compared to modern synthetics, and quite heavy, particularly if they get wet. When dry, burlap is flammable, so military ghillie suits use a part synthetic, fire-retardant version. Not something we hope you’ll need in other pursuits!

Synthetics: Most ghillie suits you see for sale are made of polyester, with polypropylene fibers making up a large part of the external camouflage. People might shy away from polyester at first, perhaps thinking it’s like being in a big plastic bag! However, this is a very versatile material, and in this case, it is usually made into a breathable mesh for comfort. It’s also much lighter than traditional alternatives, and it doesn’t get waterlogged.

Color

Color is obviously important in a ghillie suit. Patterns range from leafy effects that blend well in woodland and forest settings to those that are more adapted to long, dry grass and even designs suitable for snow and tundra. If you’re working in radically different environments, investing in more than one ghillie suit may be worth it.

Construction

Much of a ghillie suit’s camouflage material is made of polypropylene thread, which is very resilient and doesn’t break easily, but some is bound to shed, particularly if you’re clambering through undergrowth or crawling along rough ground. Better suits double-stitch their threads for additional strength. A small point, but worth looking out for if you want a high-quality suit.

EXPERT TIP

Youth ghillie suits can be used for airsoft, paintball, and great Halloween costumes until the kids are old enough to go hunting with you.


Staff  | BestReviews

Ghillie suit features

Closures

Jacket closures are almost always zippers (sometimes with a flap), made of either metal or plastics. Large zippers are easier to operate with gloves on.

Other closures can be drawstring, elastic, and quick-release buckles. Drawstrings and elastic tend to give the ghillie suit a snugger fit, but it’s very much a matter of personal taste. Again, whatever type of closure it is, look for good size — for example, a thick cord in a drawstring or a large slider on a zipper.

Pockets

Some ghillie suits have pockets sewn in, while others provide openings for you to reach through to pockets in the clothing underneath, but some ghillie suits don’t have either. Whether that has any impact for you will depend on the activity and how you carry your gear, but it’s worth thinking about.

Fit

Fit is important, but most ghillie suits come in sizes like medium, large, and extra large. You’re not getting a tailored fit here! Any good manufacturer provides size guides, and they’re usually pretty accurate. It’s also worth checking online customer feedback, which often tells you whether the ghillie suit they ordered was as expected, a little small, or a little large.

You certainly don’t want a tight ghillie suit that restricts your movements. On the other hand, you’re going to be tripping over one that’s too big. If in doubt, try another brand to see if the sizing is better for you. When your ghillie suit arrives, check the fit immediately. If you’re not satisfied, return it and reorder.

EXPERT TIP

When your ghillie suit arrives, try to be patient getting it out of the packaging. With all that string and mesh, it can get quite tangled during shipping.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessory

Face paint: Arcturus Camo Face Paint Sticks
To conceal bare skin, you can use natural sources, but it’s healthier and more convenient to use a product like these face paint sticks. You get three tubes in three color combinations: brown and black, light green and moss, and olive and forest.

Ghillie suit prices

Inexpensive: Perhaps surprisingly, the cheapest ghillie suits are not always those that come in DIY kits, which cost $45 and up. Manufactured models can be as little as $35 (you probably won’t get a gun cover with these suits).

Mid-range: Most full ghillie suits are in the $45 to $70 range. It’s a competitive market, and there are a lot of choices in this price bracket.

Expensive: The very best ghillie suits are $90 to $110, including a couple of ghillie suit kits. Why the high price? They’re traditional jute and burlap and also fire resistant.

EXPERT TIP

Many ghillie suits come with a gun cover or wrap, but not all. It’s worth checking to see if you need to add one to your order.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

We found a few more options for you besides the ones in our matrix. The Pellor 3D Leafy Ghillie Suit is designed for young people, though the size range goes from 3’3” to over 6’. It’s a very affordable, basic hooded jacket and pants set with a leaf design available in three different densities.

Although the Pinty Ghillie Suit is one of the cheapest four-piece suits on the market, it’s well made and lightweight, with multilayer polypropylene fiber designed to accurately mimic woodland and forest borders.

The North Mountain Gear Ghillie Suit is a premium, heavy-duty option, with well-thought-out features like useful pockets and knee-length zips on the pants so you can get them off without removing your boots. However, there’s no gun cover, and it’s quite expensive for a two-piece suit.

The first recorded military use of ghillie suits was by a British Army unit of “sharpshooters” (rather than snipers) in South Africa during the Second Boer War, from October 1899 to May 1902.

FAQ

Q. Are ghillie suits legal for hunting everywhere?
A.
As far as we’ve been able to find out during our research, there are no restrictions on hunting with ghillie suits anywhere in the US or Alaska. However, in areas where wearing hunter’s orange is mandatory, there doesn’t seem much point!
 

Q. Can ghillie suits be cleaned?
A.
They can, but how you do it depends on the material. Traditional jute and burlap ghillie suits can mostly be machine washed on a gentle setting and left to air-dry. Manufacturers do not recommend this approach for polyester suits because the machine will likely damage the suit. Hand-washing in warm, soapy water is suggested. It’s a bit laborious, but it should stop all kinds of bugs and beasties taking up residence between hunting seasons.
 

Q. Could I make my own ghillie suit?
A.
Why not? The challenge is finding the materials and putting them together in a way that provides adequate camouflage and reasonable durability. It will also be a test of your needlework skills! Ghillie suit kits are available, but with professionally made versions starting at around $35, it’s unlikely you’ll save money, so it may not be worth the effort.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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