What is Optifade?
Optifade is a very special camouflage pattern, developed by W.L Gore, which is probably best known for the “Gore-TEX” membrane, which is used in a lot of hunting equipment.
What makes the optifade camouflage so special is that it is based on the game’s eyesight and perception of the world. Unlike the other brands and patterns which are made from the human point of view.
When taking a look at “Realtree” and “Mossy Oak”, which are two of the big players when it comes to camouflage patterns (which is a whole industry in itself). We can see that their patterns are made to reflect something as we humans perceive it. For example, a tree, leaves, shrubs or reeds, which the pattern is made to look like. Of course, this makes good sense, as a hunter, from our point of view, will be hidden when he uses the pattern in the right environment – but are we sure that the animals see the world just like us?
That was the question the people at W.L Gore asked themselves when they had to make their own camouflage. The result was the optifad, which is a “camouflage concept” developed based on the views of the individual game species. The development took place with the help of researchers and other experts in the field, to ensure optimal efficiency.
“The science of nothing”
Due to the above, the optifade does not look like the traditional camouflage patterns, and with human eyes, it actually doesn´t look very “realistic”. The patterns are more pixelated to look at, and do not really look like anything, and that is actually the whole idea of it. The people at W.L Gore have made the patterns so that the hunter, looks like nothing, rather than the other brands, which try to make the hunter look like something. Hence their slogan “The science of nothing”
Optifade is available in a number of different patterns, each of which has been developed for special forms of hunting. There is, for example, one for mountain hunting, hunting in open terrain and one for duck and goose hunting.
In this post, we will focus on “Optifade Marsh”, which has been developed specifically for duck and goose hunting.
What is so special about the Optifade Marsh?
Optifade Waterfowl Marsh is a specially developed camouflage pattern that takes into account how ducks and geese see the world beneath them.
The pattern makes you unrecognizable in the eyes of your prey, as it is based on the visual abilities of ducks and geese. Instead of a pattern that makes you look like your surroundings, like most other camo patterns, the OPTIFADE makes the hunter appear like “nothing”.
GORE ™ teamed up with the best biologists in animal vision and leading experts in military camouflage to develop a pattern that not only hides the hunter, but actually makes him / her disappear, in the eyes of the animals, and it seems that they are succeeded in the task. “Optifade Marsh” can now be found at some of the most prominent manufacturers of equipment for duck and goose hunting.
How it works
Birds are particularly sensitive to color and continuity with their surroundings. Therefore, the Marsh pattern is made to confuse the birds’ vision. In particular, the colors have been manipulated to create a great depth.
Duck and goose hunting often takes place in an environment with great contrasts in light and colors. For example, skylights from the horizon or sunlight reflected from the water surface will create concentrated light spots. To fall into that environment, “Optifade Marsh” uses both elements that are light in color and elements that are darker in color. It gives as natural an expression as possible.
While most other patterns are designed, assuming the game is on the ground and looking at the hunter. Then “Optifade Marsh” takes into account that the birds are usually in motion, and also are above the hunter, during the approach. Therefore, the pattern in “Optifade Marsh” is more vertical than camouflage patterns designed for, for example, hunting deer.
The video here gives a really good insight into the technology behind the pattern
Why use it on the hunt
If we assume that what is being said about the thoughts behind optifade is true. Then it makes really good sense to use the camouflage for practical hunting, as the animals simply have a harder time spotting the hunter. Of course, it’s hard to ask the ducks how they see the world and whether the patterns actually work, but all indications are that it works. The products have become extremely popular and big brands like Sitka Gear, and RigÉm Right, have had great success in using the patterns.
We carry a large selection of blinds, clothing and bags in the optifade Marsh camouflage, and we have used it on our hunts, with great succes. – Whether it has been in reeds for ducks, on cornfields for pigeons, or in the fields for geese. So we believe it works, and we just think the patterns look really cool.