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Old November 7, 2009, 09:53 PM   #1
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Anyone ever assemble their own ghillie? I have found a couple sites that sell kits and are pretty reasonable but I was wondering what you guys thought. I would really like to get into some field craft and the such and any info or reading material would be great. If you have pics or links for good stuff add that in also.

Also if you have used a kit, how hard are they to assemble and use? Overall thoughts?

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Old November 7, 2009, 10:06 PM   #2
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I used to play paintball with a couple of guys who made their own ghillie suits. They started with cheap day-desert (the six-color ones) camos from the surplus store, then attached frayed pieces of burlap with a hot glue gun. I think they cost all of $20.00 per set- but very effective and really, really hard to see.

The owners did say the hot glue would kinda chafe where it soaked through the fabric, and that you'd want to wear something under it.

I think the effort you put into matching your colors to your local terrain is what really makes the difference. A little spray paint to tailor the color helps a lot. Most people seemed bound and determined to go too dark in their color selection.
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Old November 7, 2009, 11:43 PM   #3
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" glue would kinda chafe..." Sewing the burlap on then fraying it doesn't itch. Burlap can itch by itself though.
I'd use any cotton coverall and sew assorted coloured burlap(burlap takes dye well) strips on and fray 'em.
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Old November 10, 2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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I've put together a couple different ones.
I used the Army issue hammock for the webbing base.
Cut up strips of burlaps (burlap bothers people with allergies) and overhand knot the strips to the hammock webbing. You can use 550 cord for additional tie down points to yourself. You don't have to fray the strips because the burlap frays on it's own with use. The more you use the suit the better it becomes (crawl on the ground, river crossing, rain, sweat).
When you cut your webbing go bigger than you think you need because the more strips you tie into the webbing the smaller your overall size of the webbing becomes.

I crawled up and out of the hill for the below picture.
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Old November 10, 2009, 10:24 AM   #5
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I've done several, never from a kit though. One-piece coveralls are OK, but I've found using a two-piece style with carhart jeans (about 4 sizes too big) and a zip-up hoody are a better combination. I can keep a small butt-pack and a few things on a web belt, the hoody is long enough to pull over it to keep covered, and I can still access it without shifting too much (not possible with a one-piece as easily).

I use a backpacker's hamock for the net if I have to, but you can also find decorative fish nets at hobby stores or places like Pier-1 Imports. It's usually pretty easy to find them in OD green, tan, or black---Much better than the alternative white that most hamocks are in the civi world--less chance of "flashing" in the evnt you miss a spot, or heavan forbid a piece of your rug snags and gets pulled loose from the base and flops. Hot glue works pretty good for attachig net, but I'd still suggest stitching the edges. Stripping and fraying is ok, but you get a much better coverage and twice as much use out of your burlap if you "unweave" it. By pulling the strands you get the use of both directions of the weave.
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Old November 10, 2009, 10:38 AM   #6
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BDUs turned inside out (so you could still use the pockets) always worked good for me. I used a hot glue gun to glue the netting to the BDUs. Then tie strips of burlap (different sizes and colors depending on terrain) to the netting. Alot of people go over board with too much burlap...use just enough to breakup the outline.
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Old November 10, 2009, 11:17 AM   #7
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A $20.00 ground blind of camo burlap would make a jillion little strips to attach to your clothing. A OD sweat pants and fleece hoody is what I would use...
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Old November 10, 2009, 11:00 PM   #8
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Shoe-Goo (comes in tubes) works well for attaching burlap (or netting) to base clothing (like a DCU or BDU uniform). It remains somewhat rubbery/flexible after drying.

Have used it often to construct Ghillies for military use.

If you intend to use a lot of low crawl stalking, leave the burlap or camo netting OFF of the lower front (belly/lower chest) of your jacket and upper front (knees/thighs) of pants legs.

Cut wide rectangular strips of extra uniform material (or even dark denim) and glue or sew them as double thickness patches to the knees, thighs, belly, and lower chest of your Ghillie top and bottom. They will serve as replaceable scuff pads, allowing the suit to survive longer after prolonged abrasive contact with the ground. This procedure will also provide a snag-free smooth surface for easing yourself along the ground.

Hit the sewn or glued patches with some spray paint to blend into base uniform or gear.

If you anticipate more upright crouched or standing stalking, go ahead decorate the front surfaces with your foilage (burlap).

As Adventurer 2 mentioned, you really don't have to go to any great lengths as far as fraying or feathering your burlap. It will fray by itself with minor use.

A mix of any color burlap will work (OD, grey, brown, tan etc.). Krylon flat paint can be used to dust equipment, hunting gear, and the suit itself. Burlap sandbags (buy a small bundle) make for great foilage strip material.

THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE IS TO MAKE THE GHILLIE SUIT TOO DARK IN TONE. You can always darken a suit (a little) to match conditions by adding a little dark foilage/burlap or dusting some darker spray paint onto the suit. It's much more difficult (if not impossible) to lighten something that is dark. That's why a desert pattern uniform (light) is often used as the suit base (instead of a darker BDU pattern or Olive Green uniform).
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Old November 13, 2009, 11:26 AM   #9
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Snipershihe forum is also a good place to get ghillie info. Here is a link to 1 post but there are many:

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Old November 15, 2009, 05:06 PM   #10
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There are good instructions online. Something to be aware of is that ghillie suits are usually heavy and hot, and the normal canvas material also absorbs water.

You might try what I did, which was to start with a boonie hat and use that as your first test. You get the experience of putting it together, and can see how it works out, rather than finding things you wish you'd done differently only after you've put all the effort that goes into making a full outfit.
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Old November 17, 2009, 07:34 PM   #11
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I made a base of surplus camo net glued up with brown silicone glue. I used screen printed camo mesh, kind of like mosquito net. Much lighter than the burlap and not as itchy.
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Old November 17, 2009, 08:17 PM   #12
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You might like to check out The Invisible Advantage Workbook: Ghillie Suit Construction Made Simple by Tom Forbes.
There's a poorishly scanned e-book version at
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Old November 18, 2009, 01:21 AM   #13
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A couple of tips for your ghillie...

1. Get some leather panels for the front of the clothes you'll be wearing. I recommend modifying a set of BDU/ACU's for this by sewing on a big leather patch to cover chest and waist, and panels for each leg. Your skin under these clothes will thank you for it if you get into the low crawl/slow stalk.

2. IMPORTANT!!! Make sure that whatever you use for your ghillie is FIRE RESISTANT. I believe that there are some spray retardants you can get to spray the suit down with. Take a piece of the material and try to spark it up with a match.

3. With the same thing in mind, make SURE your ghillie suit has a ZIPPER closure, and not buttons. Make sure you can get out of it faster than you can get into it. Being in the middle of a burning ball of canvas or burlap is not a pleasant thing, I've been told.
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Old November 18, 2009, 10:35 PM   #14
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I used a set of military surplus over-alls that were sevral sizes bigger than normal, then used the shoe goo to glue 550 cord in checkerboard pattern everywhere I wanted to tie burlap.(about 2" squares)
Burlap was free from local hardware stores and feed stores that had damaged bags they were getting rid of.
To dye the burlap, I used several five gallon buckets and "RIT" dye in earth tones and greens. I started with about one gallon of water in each bucket and enough dye to make the first batches dark. Then added water to each subsequent batch to make the following batch lighter and lighter as I went.
Burlap was cut into strips that were about 18-22" long and from single strands to 1.5 inches wide- tied on with a simple overhand knot.
there are alot of little things I'm leaving out- but thats the general jist of it-
Dont over do it- leave some space so that natural camo can be added from each area that you use the suit in. Also have seen inner tubes cut into patches for the knees, thighs chest and elbows.....good luck and have fun!- its very rewarding when done, and I believe the suits made from scratch are far better than the kits you can find.
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