Optifade Open Country vs. Optifade Forest | Elk101.com | Eat. Sleep. HUNT ELK!

Optifade Open Country vs. Optifade Forest

Optifade Forest Pattern

Optifade Forest Pattern

With the creation of Gore’s new Optifade Forest pattern, we need to answer a very important question…which pattern do we need? Because Optifade camo was developed using science, and not consumer appeal, it’s not just a matter of which pattern looks best on the rack, but which pattern is designed to work best in the environment we will be hunting. To answer this question, we’ll turn to the experts at Gore and Sitka Gear.

Open Country, the original Optifade pattern, was designed around the concept of truly breaking up a hunters outline in the eyes of deer and elk. With eyes located on the sides of their heads, ungulates have a field of view of 280 degrees, over double the field of view of humans. This allows them to do a quick, 360-degree scan of their surroundings with a slight turn of the head. The trade-off for this wide view of the world is visual acuity – ungulate eye sight is only around 20/40, which means they can see pretty well inside of 40-50 yards, but not so well outside of that engagement range.
Optifade Open Country

Optifade Open Country

At these distances, deer and elk are able to recognize a humans “signature”, or the identifiable lines and obvious symmetry that makes up our shape. To truly camouflage us, we need something that breaks up those lines and symmetry – a macro-pattern of light and dark blobs and streaks. But nature is made up of more than just the lights and darks that make up positive and negative shapes…there is also fine texture defining our surroundings. To truly blend in, we need a fractal geometry based micro-pattern overlaid on the macro-pattern. This combination of patterns keeps our outline and symmetry from blocking up in a recognizable mass of grey at standard engagement distances.

Since ungulates see in di-chromatic color (yellows/blues/grays), the color of the camouflage isn’t nearly as important as the pattern of the camouflage. Breaking up our outline and geometry to blend in spatially is much more critical than blending in chromatically. The macro/micro pattern developed for the Open Country pattern is specifically designed to do just that at distances of 20-50 yards.

Optifade Forest

Optifade Forest

What then does the Forest pattern accomplish, and how is it different than the Open Country pattern? First visual impressions will confirm that the Forest pattern is “darker” than the Open Country pattern. Imagine yourself standing in heavy timber, where a canopy of vegetation limits the amount of light that is allowed to enter. When you look upwards – toward a treestand, for example – the brightness of the sky contrasts dramatically against the shaded underside of limbs and leaves. The darker Forest pattern excels in these situations.

Additionally, the average shot distance on P&Y whitetails is 16 yards. At these close distances, micro-patterns are more critical as the fine detail that defines an ungulate’s world is discerned more easily. For this reason, Optifade Forest was specifically designed to incorporate vertical effect compensation, using more contrasting colors in a micro-pattern for reduced engagement distances in heavily forested – especially elevated – hunting situations.

So which pattern will the team from Elk101.com be wearing this fall? 99% of all our hunting is done on the ground and in the more open environments of the Rocky Mountains, where our engagement distance average 30-50 yards. For this reason, we’ll be wearing Optifade Open Country for all of our hunts. However, for anyone who primarily hunts out of treestands, where shot distances are 20 yards or less, or for those who hunt the heavily forested, hardwood canopy environments of the whitetail world, the new Forest pattern is going to excel.

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