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Hidden in Plain Sight

July 2020
Author: Jerrod Lile

It’s relatively easy to make products that function under ideal circumstances. This is especially true for camouflage because almost any pattern and color palette will work when used in environments with a lot of cover and contrast, but what happens when the cover and contrasts disappear? Should we have to settle for patterns that turn into blobs that stick out like a sore thumb, or is there a better solution? After Chief Hunting Officer Brendan Burns shared a sneak peek of KUIU’s new VALO pattern during the design process, I was cautiously optimistic that there was about to be a better solution.

Recently, I was able to test the new pattern in a variety of habitats, and I’m convinced that it’s a game changer when it comes to blending into the landscape. At first glance, the pattern looks like it was made for the desert. As a result, I headed straight to 10,000 feet of elevation where I was surrounded by budding aspens and lush, green vegetation. I figured that if the pattern was adaptable enough to make my outline feel at home in this environment, it would probably work anywhere.

To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. To add some context to the shots, I grabbed my bow and a baseball cap and left my hands, face, and neck uncovered. I have learned that the more those things jump out at you, the better the camo is blending into the environment. As you can see by the photos, the outline of my body is not what your eye is drawn to. Instead, it’s drawn to the uncovered parts of my body and the accessories.
After verifying that the pattern did its job in bright green foliage, I headed into the desert. Again, I wasn’t disappointed. Like all camouflage patterns, VALO hid me the easiest when I could tuck up next to some type of cover, but I was amazed at how well the pattern blended into the wide-open environments, both in the high green meadows and the lowland sage flats. In several of the photos that we took with an overhead drone, my cameraman and I struggled to locate me in wide-open terrain.

KUIU has made a huge impact on our industry by solving problems in unique ways. I find it interesting that with VALO they set out to design a pattern for places where patterns traditionally don’t work well. It’s risky, but I believe it will become part of a long line of risky moves that have paid off. If you’re looking for a pattern that works well in open environments with little to no cover and very low contrast, you better take a hard look at VALO. After all, it works great everywhere else too!