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The most popular camouflage in the world - Woodland


Woodland Camo in airsoft

I won't surprise anyone by saying that airsoft very often tries to imitate real military formations. Of course, there are other branches of this hobby that don't put so much emphasis on maintaining realism. However, putting on the uniform and contract equipment of the armed forces of some country is still a popular path for airsoft players. So it's no wonder we often see Woodland at airsoft games. It's basically a self-propelling machine. The camouflage pattern described was used by many military formations. Therefore, its supply is quite large due to the availability of surplus equipment. On the other hand, interest is also high because high availability lowers prices. Additionally, Woodland's exposure in pop culture increases demand for it. And so on.

An additional advantage of the described camouflage is its universality. But not in the same way as UCP is universal, which we may talk about someday. Woodland performs well in a variety of conditions. It is quite effective in forests at various latitudes. Yes, in the forests. As the name suggests, it is a camouflage for use in forested areas. It comes from a time when no attempts were made to come up with a design that would work both in the forest and in exposed terrain. And this is his biggest flaw. In the desert or even on the rocks, we are a large dark spot that can be seen from a distance.

There is no denying that Woodland is our favourite camo to play airsoft. Even though it is no longer used on a full scale in the United States Army, many players still feel sentimental about it. It allows you to purchase basic surplus equipment at a low cost, but also spend a small fortune on carefully selected equipment from a specific conflict or theatre of operations.

man in Woodland uniform

Above: Primal ACU Jacket

Where did Woodland come from?

A separate article or even a whole series could be written about the history of camouflage uniforms. For the purposes of this text, however, it is worth presenting at least a basic outline to fit the described pattern into a broader context. Around the First World War, uniforms in more subdued earth colours began to be used. It was still a one colour uniform, but it helped the soldiers blend in with their surroundings, especially at a longer distance. The next breakthrough came around the Second World War, when armies on both sides of the conflict began to use uniforms with characteristic spots in different colours. Their task is to break down the soldier's figure. The human eye is good at recognizing solid patches of human shape, especially when they move. However, it has problems when a person is dressed in a uniform with a camouflage pattern consisting of different coloured shapes. From then on, the development of what shape of stain should be used and how large it should be begins.

airsoft vest with Woodland camouflage pattern

Above: LV/119 type Plate Carrier

The ancestor of the described Woodland, i.e. the ERDL camouflage, comes from the period immediately after World War II. It took its name from the research centre that developed it. However, it was used only since the Vietnam War and on a limited scale. After this conflict, it was decided to modernize the ERDL. Firstly, its design assumed the use of two versions, a mountain and a lowland one. Additionally, they were looking for something more effective. This coincided with the development of a new uniform pattern. In 1981, Woodland was introduced into service.

ERDL camouflage pattern

ERDL Camo. Source: Wikipedia

When we compare ERDM with Woodland, we can come to the conclusion that they are very similar. It's not a coincidence. The latter was created on the basis of the former. The colour palette has been slightly changed. First of all, the background has been changed. Additionally, Woodland was slightly larger than its progenitor. It proved effective in tests and gradually became part of the armed forces' equipment.

airsoft pants with Woodland camouflage pattern

Above: Revenger TDU Pants

Woodland Camo in pop culture

When thinking about the described camouflage, it is impossible to ignore the fact that it was and still is very visible in pop culture. Personally, I associate it well with the character played by Bruce Willis in the film Tears of the Sun. Its use in real conditions is also common. It is enough to mention campaigns such as Operation Just Cause or the stabilization mission in the former Yugoslavia.

Woodland appears in many films. There are several reasons for this state of affairs. Primarily it was used by the United States Army. This in itself would be enough because the described formation often appears in popular Hollywood productions. But that's not all. Woodland also has a second life in paramilitary formations or directly in the equipment of other armies. Especially after formal withdrawal from service, it became easily accessible. This makes him willingly chosen to play the roles of villains and irregular units such as militias or PMC-type groups.

After all, such widespread camouflage could not be omitted in computer games as well. This popular pattern applied to uniforms appears wherever the army needs to be shown. That's why I think he will stay with us for a long time. Even though it is over 40 years old, it is still effective and visible in the media.

Woodland camouflage - impressions of use

For me, we couldn't have started the series of articles about various camouflage patterns better. I am a user of the uniform in the described camo. I already had a lot of airsoft clothing with these characteristic spots. I have always been pleased with the way they work in forested areas. Regardless of whether I was dealing with an old, fairly washed contract uniform or a new one, manufactured by Helikon-Tex using the described pattern. It has always fulfilled its function.

Equipped airsoft player in front of abandoned building

Uniforms in Woodland, as I mentioned, are quite universal. I don't have the opportunity to test it in different parts of the world, but in Poland they worked at least correctly at different times of the year. Additionally, they match well with equipment in the universal green colour. I'm currently using Ranger Green tactical gear, which goes well with Woodland. Of course, there is no shortage of equipment on the market, also in the described camouflage. Both from surplus and new production.

And this is probably the biggest advantage of the described camouflage. Over the years, it has become universally available. There is no problem finding equipment in Woodland in any price range. Moreover, I personally believe that regardless of whether we buy some old surplus clothes or a modernly tailored uniform, as long as it is in Woodland, we can be sure that it will camouflage us in the forest. I recommend this camouflage when someone asks about a good choice for forest games. It is true that we already have many more modern alternatives, but the classics are still available.


Author: Boreq

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