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RGHQ-51 Home Page In-Base Kit & Service Dress Uniform (SDU) Essential Safety Kit MultiCam® Camouflage Pattern
Military Ref. Page Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) MultiCam® Boots Combat Equipment

Battle Dress Uniform (BDU)

A truly big wet weather hat; the Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero or "Sea-Som" in Multicam® and GORE-TEX
Click image to enlarge or visit the Heinnie Haynes website

Above: The official MultiCam® Pattern. Click to enlarge.


Our uniform colours and camouflage pattern were chosen by the players back in 2008. For our combat clothing MultiCam® as developed by Crye Precision Industries (USA) was adopted. There are numerous similar copies of this pattern, the only ones authorised for major items of kit are Camogrom®, and V-CAM®. NB: for the purposes of this article where it states that "only"MultiCam® is to be used, this can also be read to include Camogrom®, and V-CAM®. NB: British MTP and its Helikon made equivalent MP® are NOT, nor any other similar patterns are acceptable for major items of kit.

For the camouflaged combat clothing no particular cut of uniform was selected, as this was felt better left to personal choice and depth of pocket. This page deals with the styles most often used by CONTACT players, they tend not to be the top of the range, but good solid performers.

The term BDU meaning Battle Dress Uniform is our general term for all combat clothing. It also has a more technical meaning in that it refers to the style of uniform developed by the US military, and popularised around the world for paintballing and airsofting through the last quarter of the 20th century. Other styles have come and gone but BDUs are still here.


Right - top: MultiCam® "hang-tag"

When buying kit venders tend to make a big thing out of the fact their goods are made with real MultiCam® as created by Crye Precision Industries of the USA. The "hang-tags" are secured to everything in store, and the label sewn in to every item of kit or clothing, just so you won't forget. This does make it easier to sort out the chaffe from the wheat. However there are copies. For a better explanation of the patterns etc. see my article on MultiCam® Camouflage.

Right - bottom: MultiCam® label.

MultiCam Hangtag and Label

Camogrom®, V-CAM® & Other Patterns

As already mentioned Camogrom®, and V-CAM® are authorised substitutes when buying major items like headgear, jackets, trousers, webbing, vests and rucksacks etc.

However it is obvious that it is impossible for you to buy absolutely everything in MultiCam®, Camogrom®, and V-CAM®, therefore there has to be some latitude. So a limited amount of none-genuine MultiCam® kit is perfectly fine. Indeed using other similar patterns like the British Army's MTP (Multi-Terrain Pattern) or Helikon's very similar MP® pattern for minor items not available in in the authorised patterns is considered perfectly acceptable. But using these alternatives for the bulk of your kit, or for major items like jackets, trousers, vests and rucksacks is not.

MTP (Unauthorised)

Camogrom® (Authorised)

V-CAM® (Authorised)

Click any image to enlarge

The British Army spent a lot of money working with Crye Precision to develop a unique variant of MultiCam®, so that they would stand out from the paintballers and airsofters of the world. And I think the least we can do is back them up by not using MTP or any similar pattern like Helikon's MP® pattern.

FYI both V-CAM® as made by Viper Tactical, and Camogrom® as made by Helikon of Poland, are extremely popular camouflage patterns amongst the airsofting community, mainly for being cheaper than MultiCam®. Both vary from the original but are close enough to be mixed easily, while at the same time looking sufficiently different from British MTP to be distinctive. Camogrom® suffers from having a washed out appearance due to the use of a paler set of greens rather than the darker ones of MultiCam®. Thus it is far less effective, for example in woodland, where it tends to stand out by comparison. V-CAM® on the other hand has a less sophisticated pattern, which renders it less effective in the field.

Obviously, those players who have already blown their budget on MTP, get to keep it and use it. But when it comes time to replace a worn out item, it should be done with one ideally in MultiCam®, or if budget is a problem Camogrom® or V-CAM®, but not MTP.

Plain Colours - But No Black

Many items of kit are simply unavailable in either MultiCam®, Camogrom®, V-CAM® or even MTP, but can be had in plain colours such as tan, coyote, ranger green, foliage green, olive green, olive drab, kharki and black. All but the very last, is fine. Whatever you do never buy or deploy a large item of clothing or webbing in black. It shows up really well on the battlefield even at night. And as you may have noticed there is no black in the original MultiCam® pattern, for that very reason. Tools and other items of kit in black that are packed away, and only taken out for use are not a problem.

But when you need a really contrasting colour to go with MultiCam® for example for the stitching on name tapes and rank insignia, black thread is ideal. It stands out and can easily be read. But then these are after all very small items with tiny amounts of black in them. See below.

Although a major issue in airsoft, that is the prevalence of black in the basic colour of weaponry, it is today much easier to resolve. However if you can not aford it do not panic, it is a like not a must. But if you are willing and able, then whenever possible these should ideally be re-painted or "dressed" with accessories that break up their shape and shade to better assist you in the field. Simply fitting rail covers in contrasting colours will make a sizable difference. Fortunately there is an increasing number of custom paint shops offering to transform your weaponry.

Fabrics - Get Comfortable

Materials in which MultiCam®, Camogrom® and V-CAM® are available:

1. 50/50 Cordura Nylon/Cotton Rip Stop, otherwise known as NYCO. This has been the default military issue fabric for decades, and of the available options I have owned or examined is the one that achieves the best balance between comfort and being hard wearing. Better protection from nettles etc., than 100 per cent cotton, but only slightly more sweaty. I personally recommend this as your best choice for headgear, jackets and trousers.

2. FR, or Fire Retardant, which is NYCO laced with a FR compound. Expensive and unnecessary for what we do, but available, especially in high end kit from companies like Crye Precision Industries.

3. 100% cotton. Very, very comfortable, but not hard wearing. I have owned alot of BDU's in this over the years, as I always hated the idea of NYCO, until I was "forced" in to it, when MultiCam® was not originally offered in 100% cotton. NYCO turned out better than I expected, and that is what I have continued to use for the last ten years. These days producers like TRU SPEC only offer this fabric in plain colours. Some headwear and most good T-Shirts, including those in Camogrom® can be had in 100% cotton from Helikon. Likewise some items like scrim net, bandanas and shemagh are available (see below).

4. 60/40 Cotton Polyester Twill. Few now offer MultiCam® in this fabric, as it was intended as a budget material for civilian hunters.

5. 60/40 Cotton Polyester Rip-Stop. A civilian fabric. Camogrom is made in this fabric.

6. 50/50 Cotton Polyester Twill. Intended for civilian use. V-CAM is made in this fabric.

7. 65/35 Heavyweight (6.5 oz) Polyester Cotton Rip Stop. It is a budget material intended for civilian hunters, that feels like you are wearing heavy plastic. Very sweaty. MultiCam® is still offered in this fabric, but I really do not recommend it at all. Buying this will be a false economy.

8. 65/35 Lightweight (4.5 oz) Polyester Cotton Rip Stop. Same comments as per its heavyweight cousin, but these days rarely encounted in real MultiCam®, so again not really an issue.

Getting Dressed For Battle

The very first thing you will want to get is your basic uniform jacket and trousers. Below are the ever popular Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) style of combat jacket and trousers. These are made in MultiCam® by the US manufacturer TRU-SPEC, and are shown complete with their technical diagrams.

Other manufacturers like Proper of the USA also make a quality product, and like TRU-SPEC they can usually be easily found on sale here in the UK.

The BDU design was developed through the late 1960s and formally entered general US military service in the very early 1980s. Eventually being officially replaced in the early 2000s. However they remain in production, why, because they are simple and highly cost effective. The jacket has four bellows pockets, and the trousers have 6 pockets; 2 slit, 2 rear, and 2 large cargo pockets on the thigh. Both use all button closures, no Velcro™, no zips, and are fitted with a standard style collar. The trousers have pulls at the side, but most folks never use them, preferring a proper 1 3/4" wide military belt. The legs have ties at the ankles to seal them from mud, rocks, and insects. They have double thick elbow, knees and seat for extra durability.


ACU, T.R.U. & T.R.U. Xtreme

The following design known by its makers TRU-SPEC as T.R.U. or Tactical Response Uniform evolved from the US Army's replacement for the BDU called ACU (Army Combat Uniform), which was a disaster that they are still trying to sort out.

TRU-SPEC created this as an improvement over ACU, which to some degree it is, but the basic design is I think still flawed. To much Velcro™ which is a true pain, especially on the pockets.

The jacket has two sloping breast pockets, two more on the sleeves, and none at the hips. A zipper front fastener with a Velcro™ flap seals the front opening And yes ALL the pocket use Velcro™. The only buttons are on the trouser fly. There are Velcro™ openings at the knees and elbows for soft foam insert pads, which are rarely used as most people prefer hard plastic exterior knee and elbow protection. The trousers have 8 pockets, 6 much like those of BDU, but with another 2, one on each calf. The cargo pockets have a sloped access and fitted with an elasticated draw cord with lock. There is a hidden poket inside the cargo pokets too. Unlike BDUs the T.R.U. trousers also have a drawstring at the waist, so you do not have to use a belt if you do not wish to.

One problem I have encountered with these trousers is that to open the thigh mounted cargo pockets, which are secured with Velcro™, it can require both hands! so I have just given up using them. Needless to say I am not a fan. Interestingly enough, the latest pattern of ACU that is just coming on stream for the US Army has gone back to buttons - oh what a surprise. Sadly these are being made in a cut-price version of MultiCam® called Scorpion, and are not intended for public sale.

Meanwhile TRU-SPEC have gone on to further develop their T.R.U. garments to an even higher specification. This is their T.R.U. Xtreme, a suped up version, with additional pockets, and zips on the lower legs. The trouble is again too much reliance on Velcro™, if only they would go back to good old buttons and ditch the sticky stuff altogether.

Helikon of Poland manufacturer several variations of the ACU pattern in Camogrom, and Viper also offer a range of similar garments in V-CAM.

FYI here is the basic TRU-SPEC T.R.U. design:


Under Body Armour Combat Shirt

At left is the TRU-SPEC offering of what is called a Under Body Armour Combat Shirt or UBACS, which as its name suggests is for wearing beneath body armour.

The body of the shirt is made of a soft fabric designed to wick sweat away from the body, while the sleeves are made of NYCO, as per a regular ACU style combat jacket. The body is featureless, so nothing will rub and produce sore areas when worn for extended periods of time.

It is perfectly possible to wear armour over a BDU, ACU or T.R.U. jacket, but you may find that after a long time you will have sore bits. Fortunately, individual SG missions tend to be short 1~3 hours, with the longest to date lasting 15 hours.


Note that the sleeve pockets and cuffs are secured with Velcro™ as per a regular ACU combat jacket.

Both Helikon and Viper also manufacturer their own variations of the UBACS pattern in Camogrom, and V-CAM respectively.

No Belt No Trousers

You will also need a suitable broad military belt to hold your trousers up. Wide riggers belts are often used for this purpose, however TRU-SPEC offer two excellent 1 3/4" wide options in several colours as follows:

PRO BELT IN COYOTE Pro Belt in Coyote
PRO BELT IN TAN Pro Belt in Tan
TRU-SPEC RANGE BELT IN TAN 24-7 Range Belt in Tan "Classic Olive"
T-Shirt by FOTL
TRU-SPEC RANGE BELT IN COYOTE 24-7 Range Belt in Coyote


Because T-Shirts are not worn openly in the field, the choice of colour, style etc., is entirely up to you, as we have no uniform policy. However, by way of a personal recommendation, the heavyweight 'Super Premium' 100% cotton T-Shirts made by Fruit of the Loom in "Classic Olive", is not only an excellent product, but it goes really well with MultiCam®. They are available in sizes S to XXL from Amazon for just £2.82 including P&P. I have been wearing these for years and can not fault them.

Helikon make a 100% cotton T-Shirt in Camogrom.

If You Want to Keep Your Head Get a Hat

In CONTACT the primary function of head gear is to take the sting out of any BB hits to your scalp and to prevent injury. So you MUST have a hat, helmet or some other covering. You will not be allowed to enter the fighting area without it. The secondary functions are to keep the sun out of your eyes, off your scalp in hot weather, or simply keep your head warm and dry.

Below left to right: a Baseball Cap (aka "Ball Cap", adjustable, one size fits most), apeaked Patrol Cap, broad brimmed Boonie Hat, all by TRU-SPEC in MultiCam. Helikon also make all these hats in Camogrom. Next is a MICH or ACH balistic helmet with cover, a Viper V-CAM Snood*, and finally the Helikon made Watch Cap which is ONLY available in Camogrom. Only the baseball cap and snood* are available in V-CAM®.

* A snood or head-over is a tube of fabric designed to be worn as a scarf, a hood or as a watch cap.


Helmets - Bump or Balistic?

Helmets, not only protect you from low flying branches and the pain of BB strikes, they are, presuming that they are genuinely balistic ones, considered in-game as "bullet-proof". NB: non-balistic helmets and replicas are treated as "bump" helmets. Their only purpose to protect you from BBs and the terrain. A hit to a bump helmet is the same as one to a hat.

Brand new balistic helmets are expensive, but available. Fortunately the military surplus market is well stocked, and at affordable prices. The only real difference between replica or balistic is weight. Replica helmets are very light, normally between about 500g to about 900g, whereas balistic ones on the other hand weigh between 1,000g up to around 1,910g depending upon coverage and size. Most real helmets require a cloth camouflage cover, so that they can be used in various environments. Modern helmets are often painted in a default pattern like MultiCam®, so a cover is not needed at all times.

Here are some links to pages about the most common real-world helmets that you may find on sale here in the UK, listed in chronological order:

M1 Steel Helmet, which entered US service in 1941, and was replaced by the PASGT in 1983.

GS (General Service) Mk6, which entered UK service in 1982, and was replaced by the GS Mk6A in 2005, which was in turn replaced by the GS Mk7 in 2009.

PASGT or Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops, which entered service in 1983, and was commonly known as either the "Fritz" or the "Kevlar" helmet.

MICH, or Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, which replaced the PASGT in some units during the mid 1990's.

ACH, or Advanced Combat Helmet, which entered US service in 2003.

GS Mk7, which entered UK service in 2009, and is being replaced by the Cobra Plus as of 2015.

Ops-Core FAST Helmet, or Future Assault Shell Technology was in production before 2010, and is in service with US Special Forces. See also the Ops-Core Head-Loc Helmet Retention System on the Military Morons web page.

Ops-Core FAST Helmet, in production from 2010, and in service with US Special Forces.

ECH, or Enhanced Combat Helmet, which entered US service in 2013.

Cobra Plus Helmet, made by Revision (USA), and entered UK service in 2015. You are unlikely to find one of these on sale just yet, unless they are a non-balistic replica.

NB: whereas normally we try to avoid looking like British troops, the old "battle-bowler" helmets are currently being replaced by the new American Cobra Plus, which is supposedly also in US service. So for CONTACT you may use ANY balistic helmet, as long as the camouflage pattern is either MultiCam®, Camogrom®, or V-CAM®, or a plain colour. <

Below left to right: a PASGT Kevlar helmet with MultiCam® cover by TRU-SPEC, then a genuine balistic MICH or ACH helmet with a MultiCam® cover, a MultiCam® painted replica FAST non-balistic helmet by Viper, followed by another Viper replica, this time the M88 or bump version of the PASGT Fritz helmet which provides more coverage, and this time in V-CAM®.


Scrim Nets, Bandanas & Shemaghs

To protect your neck and head from BBs, a scarf is an excellent accessory. In the role of scarf the military typically use either; a snood (see hats), a scrim net, a bandana, or a shemagh, because they can serve a multitude of other improvised functions beyond the capability of a regular scarf.

'Scrim Net', or sometimes called a face veil, or sniper veil or just veil, is a one-person camouflage net. They are designed to serve as either a scarf, an emergency sling, or as camouflage to hide the face and/or break up the distinctive shape of the head and shoulders. The better ones are made as a fine weave net usually of 100% cotton. Cheap ones are sometimes found made of a punched sheet of polyester. They come in both plain and camouflage patterns. The one illustrated is variously labelled across the web as either MultiCam® or as MTP or both, in any case either is acceptable. Here it is from Soldier Of Fortune where it is described as being made of 100% cotton net.

A bandana is a square of very light cotton cloth that can be tied about or over the head to absorb sweat, even under a helmet. Alternatively it can be draped around the neck or lower face as protection from wind blown debrie or as camouflage. The one offered by 0241 Tactical is in 100% cotton MultiCam® fabric and measures approximately 58x58cm (23" x 23").

Our final scarf -like garment which are commonly called Shemagh ("sh'mah") by British troops, but are also known as Keffiyeh, are the classic Arab desert headdress. The traditionally made woven shemagh in 100% cotton will perform exactly the same functions as the scrim net and bandana, plus it will protect you from the sun, wind and cold, and can even be used as a towel. There is normally a very fine portion designed to be worn over the eyes and seen through. Shemagh come in a multitude of colours, but make sure you never get one containing black. The one shown below is manufactured in 100% cotton by Valken in foliage green and tan which will compliment MultiCam® perfectly, and is available from Just Airsoft.

The other, non-traditionally made shemagh illustrated below, is in fact just a simple large square of printed lightweight 100% cotton fabric, effectively a giant bandana approximately 112x112cm (44" x 44"), but hey it's in MultiCam®. Available here from 0241 Tactical

For more information about shemagh ingeneral see this Wiki page. There are also numerous YouTube videos on how to tie them.

Below left to right: a MultiCam® Scrim Net from Soldier Of Fortune, a MultiCam® bandana and a non-traditional Shemagh both from 0241 Tactical available HERE , and HERE respectively. Finally a traditionally made Shemagh produced by Valken in foliage green and tan available from Just Airsoft.



Gloves are critical pieces of kit, and like head protection, you will not be allowed in the fighting area without them. You MUST wear full fingered gloves, not half-fingered ones, as BB strikes to the exposed digits can cause painful and potentially quite serious injuries. If you can, a pair of gloves in MultiCam® are perfect, but if you can not afford or find a pair you like, then use ones in either brown, tan, coyote or green. Whatever you buy do NOT get black gloves as they show up far to well, even at night.

Below left to right: Three pairs of MultiCam® gloves all available from UK Tactical: HWI Combat Glove, the Mechanix M-Pact and the less expensive Mechanix Original.


Magnum Sidewinder Boot


Left: The superb Sidewinder boot by Magnum in MultiCam®.

These are in many ways the most important pieces of kit you will ever buy. Bad boots will ruin your day, completely. So you should buy the absolute best that you can afford. I have written a separate page for boots, click the image at left to go to the MultiCam® Boots article.

Wet Weather Gear

The ECWCS or Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (GEN I & GEN II) or Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System (GEN III), is the US Army's solution to keeping their personnel warm and functioning between -51°C ~ +4°C. Fortunately it doesn't get quite that cold here in the UK. However, the waterproof outer layers, the parka and trousers are extremely useful and not wildly expensive for this class of kit. FYI the word "Extended" is sometimes supplanted by "Extreme" by some. Below are illustrations and technical diagrams of the current GEN II versions of the waterproof parka and trousers offered by TRU-SPEC.

Below left to right: the TRU-SPEC ECWCS MultiCam® parka, its diagram and the matching trousers and their design diagrams. NB: Helikon also offer their own version of these in Camogrom.


SNUGPAK - For The Cold

For keeping warm, both on the move, in camp, or in bed, many CONTACT players use the range of kit made by the UK manufacturer SNUGPAK. I and my other half Mary, can vouch for the quality and effectiveness of SNUGPAK kit, as during the winter we use it daily on the farm, worth every damn penny. Below is a selection of favourites.

Below left to right: the SNUGPAK Sasquatch parka, and Sleeka jacket, followed by the Second Skinz Coolmax long johns, top and socks. The Sasquatch is very, very warm indeed, Mary and I swear by ours. She also owns a Sleeka which is intended for slightly warmer conditions. The 2nd Skinz set of garments wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you nice and snug. And finally they offer a Marino wool mix sock that several folks have said is a good buy.





Insignia & Accessories

Because there is no black in the original MultiCam® pattern, black thread is ideal for when you need a really contrasting colour as in for example for the stitching on name tapes and rank insignia. Black thread stands out and can easily be read at close distances. Larger patches use very little black to avoid it becoming too noticeable.

On the helmet band at left, UNSGC practise is to place the name offset over the left eye, so that it is not covered by any helmet mounted low vision aids. The blood group is positioned over the left ear as shown, but over the right, our bands carry our UKARA numbers.

RGHQ-51 Home Page In-Base Kit & Service Dress Uniform (SDU) Essential Safety Kit MultiCam® Camouflage Pattern
Military Ref. Page Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) MultiCam® Boots Combat Equipment

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