Do you choose gear / clothing based on color?

2:01 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Hey all,

Many websites I visit that sell gear & clothing have several search options to let you narrow the search. One of those options is color.

I like for the color of some of my gear/clothing to blend in with my surroundings, and others to stand out. So sometimes I use the color search option.

For example:

I like my fishing shirts to blend in, but I like my tent & guy lines to stand out.

I also like my favorite plastic cup to stand out.

I was just wondering how everybody else felt about the color of their stuff, what their reasons were, and does anyone care about color if it doesn't effect performance in some way?

If you are picky about color, that's cool with me, I was just wondering.

2:57 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

I prefer my colors to blend in but it's not a deal breaker, except maybe pink. If I can buy a piece of quality gear at a great discount I'll go for it even if it is a brite color.

3:22 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
66 forum posts

My navy blue Gregory pack would'nt be my first choice in color but the price made it too good to pass up.I chose my tent in a muted green to blend in with my environment.I prefer earthtone colors on most of my clothing except my rain jacket,which is bright red. I figure if I need to be found or to signal someone the brighter the better.The neon yellow of my Neoair is almost offensive but it stays in the tent.Nalgene bottles I buy the color I think no one else will have(pink or purple) just so we don't mix them up.

3:51 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
389 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

I'm bright and perhaps a little flamboynt. But thats my personality. I seem to be the brightest packer on the trail. I never care to choose the colors, they sem to choose me.

7:38 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

Most of my gear is black or blue. But my winter parka is red. I like it for two reasons-got it off eBay and that's the color it was and two, easy to see from a helicopter (no I'm not kidding).

8:24 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

As some have posted, whether color is a factor depends on the intended use. My tents for most uses are "earth tones", but my expedition tents are bright yellow or orange and have highly reflective guy line tabs and guy lines (one likes to find them in low visibility conditions and at night in a fading headlamp). Most of my clothes for most conditions are also "earth tones" or black, but I carry bright colors (yellows, reds, blues) for expedition and low visibility conditions where visibility for SAR is desirable (never been buried in an avalanche, but a bright-colored piece of parka is easier to spot sticking up through the snow than light colors that might look like slight shadows.

OK, someone will look at my Africa trip report and comment on the blue shirt - that's the only color available for the Ex Officio "Buzz Off" mosquito repellent shirt. Then again, a lot of the locals there wear very bright patterned colors, so the typical American or Euro tourist stands out in "Explorer Khaki".

OTOH, at the OR Show, way too many of the vendors emphasize "this season's colors" - what difference does the sock color make, anyway? Nobody can see the sock color down inside the boot.

One problem I encounter all the time, though - a lot of my stuff (including the covers and storage sacks) is black or otherwise very dark in color. Finding the desired item inside a black pack (look at my avatar) is really hard when it is very dark in color and you are inside the tent waiting out a blizzard.

8:27 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,142 forum posts

A lot of my stuff is from thrift stores, you wear what you can find.

10:22 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
275 reviewer rep
1,377 forum posts

In the old days when I was stealth camping "illegally" from North Carolina to Virginia to Tennessee all the way to California, I had to have a green or brown tent for peace of mind. I even carried an Army poncho tarp to throw over my tent at times just to stay hidden.

Aren't there places where you cannot set up a bright tent? Like in some National Parks?

Now I'm not sneaking around trying to get my all important bag nights and don't have to worry about Neighborhood Watch types since I do all my camping in "approved wilderness areas" and national forests. But if push comes to shove I sure wouldn't want to hit the closest treeline with a brightly colored tent and clothing.

10:39 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
14 reviewer rep
318 forum posts

I rejected a lot of gear based on color. Most of what I want isn't available in the first place so I have made some concessions to get a kit together. I want to learn how to make some of the gear I was unable to buy.

12:28 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
39 forum posts

How much difference does color make in more extreme temps? (light colors in hot weather/dark colors in cold weather) Or does the material make more of a difference than color, especially for clothing since you generate heat from the inside?

9:39 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
169 forum posts

Mostly earth tones. or blue or black. I like my boot laces in red cord. My parka is a subdued orange, in case something happens. Of course, something will happen in the forest when I am wearing the greens and browns!

9:50 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
389 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

Ok, I'm just alittle confused. Why would you want to hide while treking? In nature arnt bright colors more a warning sign? It would seem to me that smells would attract animals that could harm you.

9:53 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts

I tend to go with natural or earth tones. Greens, nutrals, browns, even dark colors. But that is purely from my aesthetic and liking to blend in. But then I have had friends who were suposed to meet me out on the tail, and they missed my camp because they didn't see my green tent and green pack in the foliage. Oh well.

10:00 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
415 forum posts

I like bright colors so the hunters don't shoot me.

Also, if you're out in winter, brights help rescuers find you.

11:27 a.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts

I like colors for outdoor clothing to be earth tones. Except in winter then I prefer bright colors that will show up against the snow.

1:54 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
62 reviewer rep
312 forum posts

Bright for safety, as Tom says, with some caveats. A yellow jacket looks dirty pretty quick but a fleece will hide the dirt, so you don't look so bad walking around town etc. Rucksacks, hats, fleece, scarves, gaiters, can all be bright and hardly ever get cleaned. Trousers are therefore dark, jackets a darkish colour but never grey, brown or black. And so on...

Its ironic, but here in the UK, everyone has been choosing their 'outdoor gear' based on the most fashionable colour for the past several years. There is still a huge amount of black clothing on the hill. Anyone unconscious in the snow would look just like a patch of earth, undergrowth or a bush (no trees anyway ;-) ). I'm sure there are relevant psychological reasons for the stealth/aggressive look - I'm talking about people and their gear which is completely black, whole groups of them.

Green used to be popular in the UK, blending in an so on. I hate that some of the good tents (MSR) only come in expedition colours, along with the requisite advertisements on the side.

Jeez, I just remembered seeing a black tent last summer.

1:59 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
389 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

I was just worried that there might have been a problem with being overly bright. Thanks

4:05 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

Ok, I'm just alittle confused. Why would you want to hide while treking? In nature arnt bright colors more a warning sign? It would seem to me that smells would attract animals that could harm you.

I agree that bright colors are easier to find in an emergency situation but prefer earth tones just because they are more pleasant to look at or better yet not look at. Most all of my hiking is in the Sierras and nothing takes away from the view of a high mountain pass as much as looking down at a beautiful valley with several red and yellow tents or jackets scattered about. I really appreciate the guy on the otherside of the valley who I pass by without even knowing he is there because he blends in with his surroundings.

9:53 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
5,732 reviewer rep
2,048 forum posts

most of the gear is drab colors - green, gray, brown, black. that's a combination of preference and the fact that ugly colors go on sale first. a few caveats, though, for specific reasons. fuel bottles are bright green, the only color they come in for my stove; the zipper pulls on my packs are threaded with reflective material, easy to spot at night with a headlamp; crampon straps and the webbing on my ice axe are hot red or orange, easier to see or adjust in grim weather. Finally, my favorite weekend pack is bright red. the manufacturer is out of business, and no one currently makes a pack like it. hybrid aluminum/fiberglass suspension attached to a perforated frame sheet, split waist belt. most comfortable weekend pack i have ever worn. i would wear it in hot pink.

10:51 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
880 reviewer rep
301 forum posts

I tend to go with earth tones, but have bought some brighter colors in the past.

7:34 a.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
80 forum posts

On snow we use bright, distinctive colors or patterns to stand out and be seen in an emergency and to locate friends quickly.

For hiking,camping and travelling I like subdued/black/grey drab colors as they (usually) don't show how filthy I am and blend into most environments pretty well. Mesh and stuff sacks in my pack are different colors for easy I.D.

I was recently looking at bug out bags and one experienced survivalist I met recommended against Shoot Me Red, Here I Am Orange and Steal My Stuff Yellow.

I guess it depends on what I'm doing more so than any style kinda thing.

7:53 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
84 forum posts

Most of my gear has tended towards the darker or blending type colours. More recently I have made an effort to select the more colourful types. One it makes it a lot easier to find in a pack in the dark. Two the rescue thing comes to mind. Three my stuff will hopefully be easier to pick out when jumbled or mixed with other peoples gear in a group setting.

Now I have been on a camp or two where people have worn the HELP ME RED survival suits. They do get tiring on the eyes after a while. If things went south I would be very happy to have them in my group though.

9:07 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
905 reviewer rep
554 forum posts

Yes, subdued or camo colors to blend in. I dislike "billboard" colors.

I even colored the yellow pole tube of my TT Moment tent W/brown permenant marker for when stealth camping is required.


10:14 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
75 reviewer rep
306 forum posts

For jackets backpacks and hardshells I have (maybe a paranoia) always liked colors that don't mesh/blend with the surroundings. I want to be seen when I am hiking/backpacking and would prefer not to be shot via bullet or arrow!

I guess like you said, it depends on what exactly you will be doing in the garment. I recently purchased a jacket and wanted it to be in a bright red, that way I could not be confused with a deer or a pheasant....


11:04 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
170 reviewer rep
99 forum posts

Due to the obscene prominence of "No Camping / No Campfires / No Biking / No Dog Walking / No Picking Wild Edibles / No Walking Off-Trail / No Walking In The Streams / No Swimming In The Lakes / No Having Fun Of Any Type" in my area, I have to make sure that all of my visible gear is either black, green, brown, or a combo of all three. Camo!!! Eternal stealth camping kinda necessitated it. Hunting isn't too prevalent in my area, so I've never had to worry about looking like a deer to some hunter not paying enough attention. I just can't stand sticking out like a sore thumb while I'm out in the bush. For example; This never would have happened had I been wearing any bright colored gear: I was hiking along an old beaver dam when I noticed about a dozen birds freaking out in a tree about 25 feet ahead of me. So I come to a stop and try to figure out what's got 'em so excited when a beautifull little mink came bounding out of the grasses near the tree and hopped up to within about five feet of me before either smelling me or realising that I wasn't there just a minute ago and took-off back into the long grasses. Never would have happened had I been wearing bright colors. About the only major pieces of gear I've ever owned that haven't been earth-toned were a funky little "two man" single wall insta-tent for winter camping, and my winter camo shell. Everything else, eath toned or camo. Of course, I've lost several knives, cups, flashlights, bundles of rope / twine and probably more because they blended in just a little too well, but oh well, better that then risking being spotted by someone you don't want spotting you because you were too flashy.

So, my vote: Earth Toned!


4:05 a.m. on January 29, 2010 (EST)
3 reviewer rep
101 forum posts

Given a choice, I would go for green, blue, black, or camo. I like to blend in with my surroundings.

A lot of gear only comes in one color so if it is something I want and the color isn't hideous, OK. I have crossed many pieces of gear off the purchase list because I thought the color was awful.

I like my stuff sacks to be different colors so I can easily tell what is inside.

Some things like wallets and lighters should be brightly colored so they can be found when dropped.

1:13 p.m. on January 29, 2010 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

For me it depends. If it is something like my lighter(which I can conceal) bright is good. I really don't feel like losing it.

In regards to signalling purposes I carry a mirror, my aurora head lamp has 2 strobe settings, my pack(Aether)has a built in whistle, and I have a firesteel w/fatwood I carry. It works well in the areas I frequent and there is enough on me and around me that can generate mass quanities of smoke if needed. So if I can't get noticed with these items/abilities I probably wouldn't get noticed with anything else.

As far as my apparel, tent, etc. I tend to stick with more earth tones and drab colors. I personally go out to get away so being noticeable is not what I am looking for. Plus if ya have a bright tent as one other user stated you definitely increase the probability of being robbed if venturing away from camp for a day hike.

As with anything there are pros & cons to either(dark or bright.) My best suggestion is do what will serve you best in the conditions you are venturing into. Everyones needs are not the same and things do happen.

3:46 p.m. on January 29, 2010 (EST)
52 reviewer rep
200 forum posts

Color selection might be more relevant if you share backcountry with hunters. Here in the Midwest it is often suggested that you hike in brightly colored clothing so as to be conspicuous to any hunters that might be in the area, especially during peak hunting seasons.

10:15 p.m. on January 29, 2010 (EST)
82 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

Color does matter to me.Being storm bound on a mountain or winter camping in a dark,and to me dreary,tent is just not fun.I prefer the brighter golds and yellow for this type of camping.Any dark color is not my choice in any condition even sunny,to much heat build up for one.This is pertaining to tents.In clothing i use a variety of colors once again depending on season and type of trip.ymmv

7:46 a.m. on January 30, 2010 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

yock- see my pics. I hunt......

8:36 a.m. on January 30, 2010 (EST)
52 reviewer rep
200 forum posts

yock- see my pics. I hunt......

Yeah, I quite like the pics you share. If I'm not mistaken though, you sport the orange vest when you're carrying, right? As a hunter, I'm sure you suggest that non-hunters in the backcountry do the same or similar during gun/bow/etc seasons.

10:53 a.m. on January 30, 2010 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
153 forum posts

I prefer my stuff to stand out so it's easier to find. If I were going someplace well traveled, I suppose I might prefer to blend in so as not to be an eyesore, but I wouldn't buy a second set of gear for that.

3:31 p.m. on January 30, 2010 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

yock- Only during rifle season(its the law.) Bow and turkey I am in full camo.

11:42 a.m. on January 31, 2010 (EST)
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

Does color matter? To varying degrees, based on item and options: sure.

For many items, quality and other features will in effect determine color, as when one chooses one tent over another based on these other bits. Availability is often, for me, a determinant as well. If it's the last one, on sale as clearance, but good quality, I may put up with a color I wouldn't pay full price for.

For some items, though, i do tend to make color a significant factor. For small but important items I really don't want to lose--the brighter the better. My "survival kit", for instance, is in a small orange bag. My knife has a bright yellow handle. Lighter orange-yellow. My go-to shell is bright yellow. And I make sure I've got something bright and reflective on the outside of my pack.

One note re: tent guy-lines: I like 'em not only bright, but reflective, so neither I nor others stumble over 'em in the dark. I immediately replace dark/black lines with reflective cord on any new tent/fly. For similar reasons, the emergency cord I carry also has a reflective element.

Another note re: animal vision. For many animals, color is less of an issue than is brightness/reflectivity and patterns of light/dark, etc. Many animals don't "see" the same color spectrums we do, and some seem not to have much in the way of color vision at all. Orange vests, for instance, don't matter one bit to the buck you're about to shoot--he can't distinguish it from the "explorer khaki" background. Many songbirds are sensitive to colors, but not in the same way our eyes are. If you're really concerned about whether some particular animal is interested in your coloration, it's necessary to research what is known about that animal's vision sensitivity and visual triggers of behavior.

1:41 p.m. on January 31, 2010 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

Valid point Perry...

10:39 a.m. on February 1, 2010 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
9 forum posts

I go to the woods to see wildlife.As far as deer and blaze orange, the old research said they saw it as white ? The texture thing is very true. Shiny nylon camo is not camo to an animal.

My main focus is on parrots and primates anyway.

I often wander far from my gear and try not to attract 2 legged predators..The worst kind.If it doesnt blend in I absolutely will not buy it.I suppose that's why much of my gear is custom made.

1:26 a.m. on February 3, 2010 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

On the hunting topic. The areas I hunt are pretty dense and I(personally)look at what I am aiming for but @ the same time I have heard shots fired before the sun was coming up while sitting in a stand 20ft in the air and couldn't quite comprehend what they were firing at. Then there are the ones that go out hunting after pounding a 6pk or carry a flask w/them thinking it will keep them warm...which it doesn't....all it does is create a very dangerous environment for anyone around them.

Yes if you are venturing out in an area during hunting season for your own personal safety I would strongly suggest at the least a bright noggin topper.

During hunting season I do just that, hunt. I do not hike these areas for about a week before the season starts as it disrupts the patterns of the game I am hunting. I would personally wait for the season to be over and then go out. Its safer and as short as the season is in some areas its no big deal.

Oasis- You are definitely correct on the subject of texture. I have learned that over the years as well. 90% of the time I wear wool/scent lock.

I have a few buddies that work for the Game Commission here in Pa. and the stories they tell me would blow your mind as far as the people out there that SHOULDN'T carry firearms.

June 18, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Garmin 76CSx Newer: SleepingBag Help & Input
All forums: Older: New here, ambitious. Newer: Outdoor Retailer: Columbia Omni-Heat