Traditional leaf camouflage vs digital pixelated camouflage: what are the differences?


July 12, 2023


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Leaf camouflage vs pixel camouflage

Military camouflage and hunting camouflage have the same purpose, which is to help you really blend in with nature. If there could only be one rule, it would certainly be this: adapt your camouflage gear to the species you’re hunting and the surrounding environment. Follow this simple principle, and you will maximize your chances of harvesting. 

Now, given that two main types of camouflage coexist – traditional camouflage and digital camouflage – the question is, why choose one or the other? Should you go for camouflage that mimics the textures and hues of nature, or camouflage that is typically made up of pixels or abstract shapes? 

Let’s discuss these two equally viable alternatives for your hunting clothing. And get ready to become one with your environment.

In this article, you'll discover the differences between traditional camouflage and digital camouflage:

  1. The importance of choosing the right camouflage for hunting
  2. Traditional hunting camouflage
  3. Digital hunting camouflage
  4. FAQ

The importance of choosing the right camouflage for hunting

Leaf camouflage, pixelated camouflage… The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to choosing hunting clothing. Why is camouflage clothing so important?

Most species hunted in Quebec and Ontario have excellent vision, though they don’t see the same palette of colours as we do. Hence the importance of choosing the right hunting clothing.

That’s not always an easy task, however, with so many patterns and types of camouflage available on the market. Still, there are a few that stand out, and hunters have been wearing them for a long while. These include the “Mossy Oak,” “Realtree,” and “Digital Camo” models, all registered by the brands that developed them.

There are several main categories. The best-known camos come in several different versions, so there’s really something for everyone, depending on the terrain, species or hunting season. There is “leaf” or “branches” camouflage, paler shades for winter, and so on. “Mossy Oak,” for example, combines visuals of soil, twigs and leaves.
Choosing camouflage is all about adapting to your hunting environment. Factor in the amount of foliage, the colours, the game… In summer, opt for green hues and leaf patterns. In autumn, you’ll want to stick to brown, with a focus on earth and bark colours.

The choice also depends on your desired shooting position; the hunting outfit won’t be the same for a hunter who wants to get as close as possible to his prey and for one who wants to keep a greater distance. The reason for this is simple: the effectiveness of each pattern is either increased or decreased with distance.
The last thing to bear in mind is the configuration and type of hunting. You’ll want to adjust your hunting camouflage depending on whether you hunt from the ground, a treestand, or a shelter.

Don’t forget that our in-store specialists are there to help you!

Traditional hunting camouflage

Seasoned hunters know all about “traditional” camouflage, which is very useful for blending into the environment. What are its main features?

Traditional hunting camouflage involves a variety of “natural” patterns: weeds, branches, river bottoms, conifers, bark… In fact, there’s almost no limit to the range of patterns available. Inspired by military camouflage, these camo patterns often combine several textures in order to “erase” a hunter’s silhouette. But the overall hue and texture of the camo pattern have to be adapted to the targeted game and the time of year.

Some camouflage patterns have greater depth, with varying degrees of detail and a play of perspectives. A good camouflage is one that breaks up the wearer’s silhouette, both in two and three dimensions. Some designs also include shading to add to the realistic look. These types of hunting camouflage are called “multidimensional.” They have a simple purpose: to blur the outlines of the human form as much as possible.

On the market, there is a wide range of leaf camouflage, tree camouflage and other “photorealistic” patterns designed to reflect hunters’ environments as accurately as possible. This well-proven type of camouflage is actually the most commonly used today.

Some traditional camouflage patterns combine both vertical and horizontal elements. Others feature a mainly vertical or horizontal flow. Here again, the choice of one or the other depends on the hunting environment, targeted species, etc. Some camouflage patterns are very versatile (depending on the types of forest or hunting areas), while others are more specific to a particular environment or time of the year (think of winter camouflage, for instance).

Are you considering traditional camouflage clothing? Come and meet our in-store hunting specialists to make sure you choose the best possible gear. You will get lots of tips tailored to what you’re planning for your hunting season!

camouflage clothes

Digital hunting camouflage

Digital hunting camouflage is more abstract than traditional camouflage, but it has the same purpose: breaking up your silhouette to help you blend into the environment – this time with a pixelated matrix.

Even if digital camouflage has evolved since the first model, already developed using science (“Optifade Dissimulation,” by W. L. Gore), the main principles remain the same. Digital camouflage consists of precise abstract shapes designed and positioned on clothing with the help of algorithms. It has a digital aspect combining larger patterns, designed to blur outlines from afar, and smaller ones, to improve concealment up close. These are known as “macro” and “micro” patterns, all of which are non-recurring.

Inspired by the military camouflage used by certain armed forces, pixelated camouflage is effective at both long and short distances. An increasingly popular choice among hunting enthusiasts, this type of camo blends shapes so that animals can perceive textures but not distinguish the outlines of a hunter’s body. The idea, quite simply, is to avoid being perceived as a threat by the game you’re targeting. If an animal notices your presence, it should not be able to identify you easily.

Digital camouflage also plays on colour, combining lighter tones with darker ones. This helps break up the human form and its symmetry even better.

Like traditional camouflage, pixelated camouflage also comes in many different versions, depending on the species hunted, environment, etc. You can find digital camouflage clothing for moose hunting and wild turkey hunting, for example. And like “classic” camouflage, digital camo is effective at varying distances, although there’s often an optimum distance for each pattern.

To get the best camouflage for the species you’re hunting, drop by one of our stores and talk to our specialists!


Whatever your preference between traditional camouflage and digital camo, the key is to adapt the pattern and hue to the game you’re hunting and its environment. Not all species have the same eyesight or colour perception. Your clothing has to blend in with your surroundings. 

All in all, it is a draw between traditional camouflage and pixelated camouflage; both alternatives are equally good. To find out which patterns best suit your hunting style, do not hesitate to come and see us in store. That’s what our specialists are here for!


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Why pixelated camouflage?


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