Best Ghillie Suits of 2022

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Best Ghillie Suits of 2022

Published Sep 12, 2022 1:58 PM Ambushing a buck from the ground in a ghillie suit is incredibly exciting. T


Published Sep 12, 2022 1:58 PM

Ambushing a buck from the ground in a ghillie suit is incredibly exciting. The deer are at eye level, shots are close, and nerves run high. Ghillie suits can give you that extra stealth and concealment whether you’re hunting from a natural ground blind or performing a spot and stalk in open terrain. Their 3D leaves or jute cords add realism to your setup that regular camo lack. 

A good leafy suit can be your ticket to getting out of your stand and into the game. I guarantee you’ll have more fun trying to sneak up on a buck instead of watching one cruise by out of range. To help you find one that can keep you hid in a variety of terrain, I spent a weekend testing the best ghillie suits and comparing each of their features.

How I Tested Ghillie Suits

I tested ghillie suits over a weekend in southern Mississippi. The first day I performed three-shot groups with my bow in each jacket to evaluate bow string interference. Next, I had another tester evaluate each suit’s ability to break up my outline in the field. After these tests, I evaluated how many modifications each suit would require to reduce bow interference. Here’s a breakdown of each evaluation.

Testing the best ghillie suits
Running the Hybrid Ghillie through the bow string interference test. Adam Moore

Bow String Interference

For this portion of the test, I shot groups at 20 yards with my bow to see if the suit interfered with drawing and releasing. I shot while standing and kneeling to simulate field positions. I scored each suit from one to five, with five being the best. The score was determined by a jacket’s interference with drawing or releasing the bow, getting caught in the string, and having to make an adjustment around the suit.

Modifications

Based on bow interference, I then considered how many modifications each suit would require to shoot the three-shot group without any interference. For suits that produced bow string interference, I then made alterations to the bow arm sleeve by cutting away jute or leaves until a suit produced zero interference. I then scored them from one to five, with five requiring the least number of mods.

Concealment

To see how well each suit broke up my outline, I wore each one in the same setup and had someone photograph me from the same place every time. I did this in three different settings (field edge, grassy field, and timber) and then compared each photo to see how well the suit blended into the surroundings in each location. I then scored them from one to five, five being the best.

If a company offered multiple camo patterns for a particular suit, I didn’t count it against the suit if the camo itself detracted from concealment. However, if a company only offered one camo pattern, I did consider how that pattern contributed to the suit’s concealment.

Overall Score

The overall score, which is an average of the bow interference, modification, and concealment scores, reflects each ghillie suit’s effectiveness (for bowhunting) out of the package.

Size

I also considered each suit’s size, if it ran true, and how difficult it would be to wear with layers.

Pants

I intentionally didn’t focus on pants for a few reasons. First, I was unable to get several pairs because of availability issues. Pants also would have played little role in the interference and concealment portions of the test. Instead of including them, I just focused on if a manufacturer offered them and if they were sold together or separately.

The North Mountain Gear Leafy Jacket is the best overall pick.

Why It Made the Cut

With zero string interference straight out of the box, great concealment, easy layering capabilities, and extra features, the North Mountain Gear Leafy Suit edged out the rest of the pack for the top spot.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Med/LG, XL/XXL, 3X/4X
  • Jacket and pants sold separately
  • Large front zip pocket
  • Adjustable hood
  • 12 different camo patterns
  • Interference: 5
  • Concealment: 3
  • Mods: 5
  • Overall: 4.3

Pros

  • Excellent breakup
  • Front pocket great for storing a rangefinder
  • Hooded/non hooded options
  • Roomy for layering yet adjustable for close fit

Cons

Product Description

Even though the North Mountain Gear Leafy Jacket scored the same as the Nomad and RedHead suits, it comes in 12 different camo patterns, hooded and non-hood options, and has the versatility to be a season-long outer layer (in most places), all of which gave it an advantage over its competitors. I wear a Large in shirts, jacket, etc., and the M/L size fits just right. It also features side pockets and a large front zippered pocket, which is great for stashing a rangefinder, wind checker, deer calls, or other gear.

The leafy jacket consistently produced zero interference during that portion of the test. I tend to fully extend my bow arm when I get sloppy, so I even tried a shot group doing so, and it still didn’t impede bow string movement.

For concealment, this leafy jacket performed near the top of the test. The cuts and leaf strips around the jacket and hood add great dimensionality that other suits lack. Instead of falling flat, the strips of the jacket with 3D leaves really break up your outline and add depth, which you can see in each of the three settings. North Mountain Gear also offers this one in several different camo options, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Construction wise, this jacket feels much more substantial than other mostly-mesh options in the test. It’s 100-percent polyester, provides excellent breathability, and the hood doesn’t impair hearing much either. You can also add a few layers under this jacket on especially cold days without feeling like that poor kid from A Christmas Story. The jacket alone runs around $100, but it quickly justifies that price with the features and breakup it provides.   

Arcturus Leafy Jacket is the best budget ghillie suit.

Why It Made the Cut

For a full suit and mask, the Arcturus 3D Leafy Suit has the best price out of all the tested suits, and it comes in several camo patterns that can fit a variety of terrain.

Key Features

  • Weight: 18 ounces (M/L Size)
  • Includes carry bag
  • Six camo patterns
  • Interference: 2
  • Concealment: 4
  • Mods: 3
  • Overall Score: 3

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Breaks up outline
  • Quiet, zippered pockets

Cons

  • Required several mods
  • Main zipper catches leaves on the front

Product Description

Perhaps the best thing about the Arcturus 3D leafy suit is the price. Compared to the others in this test, this one runs about $30 cheaper than the rest, and it includes the full suit and mask. I also appreciate the quiet zipper pockets and the carry bag it includes.

For the concealment portion of the test, the Arcturus 3D leafy suit did a great job breaking up my outline in all three terrains. It scored a four out of five, one of the best in the concealment test. Thanks to the excess leaves on the suit, it broke up my shape even at a distance and didn’t fall flat like others in the test. However, those leaves also produced some of the most interference in the test and caused it to score two out of five on that portion. During the three-shot groups, the Arcturus consistently caught between the bow string and stop every two out of three shots.

Modifying the suit only required a few alterations to the bow arm sleeve. I cut most of leaves around my forearm, and after two more shot groups and alterations, the Arcturus produced zero bow string interference.

Arcturus Leafy Suit modifications.
Though not as extensive as the Hybrid Ghillie, I did cut most of the leaves around the bow arm sleeve on the Arcturus. Adam Moore

With relatively few modifications and excellent concealment, the Arcturus 3D leafy suit is a steal.

The ASAT Leafy Jacket is the best lightweight ghillie suit.

Why It Made the Cut

The ASAT Vanish Pro is extremely lightweight, won’t slow you down on a spot and stalk, and is great for warm weather conditions.

Key Features

  • Sizes: S-3XL
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Mesh material
  • Jacket and pants, mask sold separately
  • Interference: 3
  • Breakup: 2
  • Mods: 4
  • Overall Score: 3

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Packs down great

Cons

  • Main zipper catches leaves
  • Camo pattern dark for a lot of terrain

Product Description

If you’re looking for a lightweight, breathable leafy suit, the ASAT Vanish Pro should top your list. I tested these suits on a steamy September afternoon in south Mississippi, and the ASAT, along with the First Lite Phantom, provided the most ventilation. It packs down extremely well and could easily fit inside your bowhunting backpack or jacket pocket just in case you decide to spot and stalk.

The Vanish Pro performed well on the interference test, consistently interfering with the bow string every one out of three shots. But after one round of alterations to the bow arm sleeve, it produced zero interference.

During the concealment portion of the test, however, the ASAT underwhelmed. Part of its lackluster performance has to do with its highly contrasting camo pattern, while the other results from leaves that blend with the suit instead of breaking it up. 

In the field edge, the ASAT’s super dark brown and black camo pattern wasn’t exactly subtle. Though the field edge consisted mainly of bright green privet hedge, the ASAT’s bright beige colors still stuck out in the timber setting as well. This pattern might work great in Western states, but will probably stick out, at least for the early season, in most places. And though subjective, you’ll probably either love or hate the ASAT camo pattern.

The leaves provide some dimension to the suit, but not nearly as much as others in the test. In all three settings, they fell flat. While it isn’t as versatile as other ghillie suits in this test, the ASAT should work great in shadows or rolling hills with dry, dark vegetation, especially for mobile, early-season hunts.

The North Mountain Gear Hybrid Ghillie is the most versatile ghilile suit.

Why It Made the Cut

The Hybrid Ghillie suit broke up my shape extremely well, and its flat colors adapted to each setting.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Med/LG, XL/XXL
  • Includes jacket and pants
  • Carry bag
  • Woodland brown or green options
  • Interference: 1
  • Concealment: 5
  • Mods: 2
  • Overall Score: 2.7

Pros

  • Breaks up outline extremely well
  • Versatile pattern/colors
  • Lightweight
  • Snap buttons instead of zipper
  • Packs down great for a more traditional ghillie

Cons

  • Required the most mods
  • Jacket material isn’t the most durable

Product Description

The most traditional ghillie suit in my test, the Hybrid Ghillie from North Mountain Gear, provided excellent concealment and the colors/camo (Woodland Brown) adapted to every setting. One of the features I appreciate most are the snap buttons instead of a large front zipper. Most ghillie or leafy suits can be a headache to zip or unzip because you almost always catch the leaves in the zipper. The buttons on the Hybrid Ghillie are a small but brilliant touch, and I didn’t have any issue with them coming unsnapped.

Because of the excess jute and leaves, the Hybrid Ghillie, unsurprisingly, produced the most bow string interference in the test. I had to make an adjustment around the sleeve on my first couple groups, and the jute caught between the bow string and stop every shot until I made modifications. I also had to make significant alterations to the bow arm sleeve before it consistently produced zero interference, and I removed most of the jute from almost every side of the sleeve. However, these alterations didn’t affect the suit’s overall concealment, and these modifications are almost guaranteed when it comes to more traditional ghillies.

Modified sleeve on the North Mountain Gear Hybrid Ghillie.
The sleeve on the Hybrid Ghillie required several mods before it produced zero bow string interference. Adam Moore

In each setting, the Hybrid Ghillie broke up my outline, and the camo/colors fit right at home in the grass, field edge, and timber. I was thoroughly impressed with how well this suit broke up my outline and didn’t blob-up. Whether you plan to spot and stalk through the prairie or brush yourself into a field edge, you should feel confident in the Hybrid Ghillie. It’s light enough to use for mobile hunts or the early season, yet you can easily layer in this jacket without it feeling bulky like traditional ghillies tend to do. And the camo will work from your first archery opener to the last day of the season (in most terrain).

The Hybrid Ghillie carries a reasonable price, especially considering you get the jacket and pants for around $100 with free shipping, and it even includes a convenient carry bag. The jacket’s construction is both an upside and a strike against it. Its lightweight mesh material is perfect for early season or mobile hunts, but it’s also just mesh, which makes me question its longevity. Still, I’m a big fan of the Hybrid Ghillie, and it’ll be in my pack for ground hunts this fall. 

ReadHead Open Mesh

Why It Made the Cut

The RedHead Open Mesh Hunting Jacket was noticeably quieter than the other suits and performed near the top in each testing area.

Key Features

  • Sizes: S/M, L/XL, 2XL, 3XL
  • Full front zip
  • Jacket and pants sold separately
  • TrueTimber Kanati camo
  • Interference: 5
  • Concealment: 3
  • Mods: 5
  • Overall Score: 4.3

Pros

  • Super quiet material
  • Decent breakup
  • Budget-friendly
  • Hood doesn’t impair hearing

Cons

  • Only offered in one camo pattern

Product Description

The RedHead Open Mesh suit is probably the best bang for your buck ghillie suit and the biggest surprise in my test. RedHead’s Open Mesh pants and jacket will run you around $100, which is on par with most ghillie suits.

Out of the box, the Open Mesh had zero bow string interference, and therefore required zero mods. It performed average for concealment but added more dimensionality than others in the test. It’s only offered in the TrueTimber Kanati camo, but it adapted well enough in each setting, thanks to its overall flat colors. The leaves didn’t add as much dimensionality as the North Mountain Gear Leafy jacket or Arcturus, but they provided more than the ASAT and First Lite Phantom jackets. I’m also a huge fan of the hood, which won’t impair your hearing. So whether you’re using a ghillie suit during deer or turkey season, you shouldn’t have any problem picking up footsteps or the direction a turkey gobbles in.

While the other suits were quiet for the most part, the RedHead Open Mesh was noticeably quieter. The leaves don’t make noise, and I had to shake the jacket to produce any. This would be a great option if you needed to close the distance on a bedded buck, especially in timber, and its reasonable price makes it one of the best ghillie suits for the money.

The Nomad Leafy 1/4 Zip is the best ghillie suit for timber.

Why It Made the Cut

The Nomad Leafy ¼ Zip does a good job breaking up your outline in the timber, and the large front pocket works great for stashing a rangefinder or other gear.

Key Features

  • Sizes: ML, XLXXL
  • Front zippered dump pouch
  • Jacket and pants sold separately
  • Polyester/spandex blend
  • Interference: 5
  • Concealment: 3
  • Mods: 5
  • Overall: 4.3

Pros

  • Great breakup
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Wicks moisture great

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Hood significantly impairs hearing

Product Description

Nomad’s Leafy Jacket feels more at home in the turkey woods, but its zero-bow string interference and dimensionality make it a viable option for bowhunting whitetails from the ground, especially in timber or thick cover.

Like the North Mountain Gear Leafy Jacket, the Nomad has a durable construction, which consists of a polymer, spandex blend. This provided plenty of breathability when I tested it on a 90-plus-degree day. While the hood provided extra concealment, it significantly hindered hearing capabilities, and I wouldn’t want to use it, unless it was an especially windy day where you probably couldn’t hear much anyway.

The leaves on the Nomad did an average job of breaking my outline, but the dark camo pattern didn’t adapt the best. It excelled in the timber, but for grass or sage fields, it stands out, and I would expect the dark Shadow Leaf option to perform similarly.

Its snug fit makes the Nomad comfortable to wear, but it’s more of a warm weather option and might be difficult to add multiple layers for colder temps. The jacket also runs more expensive (around $100) than other options, so the whole suit will run double that. But for timber hunts or thick cover, the Nomad leafy suit is hard to beat.

The First Lite Phantom Leafy jacket.

Key Features

  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Mesh material
  • Balaclava sold separately
  • Interference: 3
  • Concealment: 2
  • Mods: 4
  • Overall Score: 3

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to layer
  • Inside pouches for storage

Cons

Product Description

As someone who’s a fan of First Lite’s camo patterns, I found the Phantom Leafy Jacket to be a bit underwhelming. It consistently produced interference every one out of three shots, but it only required one round of alterations to the bow arm sleeve to remedy this.

Like the ASAT, which this top is similar to, the Phantom Leafy jacket added minimal dimensionality. It best displayed depth on the sleeves, but the torso area fell flat for the most part. However, it provides more breakup than a regular camo jacket, and this would make a decent lightweight ghillie option, especially if you needed to layer over a lightweight puffy. I did like the inside pockets on both sides of the jacket, and the leaves are quiet.

The biggest drawback is the price. For almost $100, you get a mesh top with a First Lite pattern. Yes, just the top. First Lite doesn’t offer matching leafy pants, and you have to purchase the Balaclava separately. I had the privilege of testing a sample model, but I would struggle to drop that kind of cash for such little return. On the upside, I think any of First Lite’s camo patterns are versatile and excel in most terrains. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Ghillie Suit

Here’s what to consider when selecting the best ghillie suit for you.

Terrain

It’s best to invest in a ghillie suit that adapts well to a variety of terrain. Even if you just hunt a single property, the vegetation can drastically differ on one parcel. For instance, I conducted the concealment test in three different locations that were within 100 yards of each other. Also, ghillie suits that have vibrant or dark colors are more terrain and season-specific and might not adapt as well.

Material

A lot of ghillie or leafy suits use some type of mesh as their primary material. These are great for the early season or mobile hunts but can be difficult to layer under. Ghillie suits with more substantial materials like wool or polyester blends offer more durability but might make you sweat through your clothes if you plan a spot and stalk or hunt in warmer temps.

Budget

Some ghillie suits include a jacket, pants, and a mask, while others only include one or a few of them. Suits that include multiple pieces tend to run a bit cheaper than those that are sold individually. On the other hand, if you only need a leafy top, you can save or spend about the same amount of money depending on the brand and extra features.

FAQs

Q: Are ghillie suits hot?

Ghillie suits can be hot, depending on the type of material and weight of the jacket. Most leafy suits are typically lightweight and designed for turkey hunting, so they provide a lot more ventilation than traditional ghillie suits.

Q: What color of ghillie suit is best?

The best color for a ghillie suit depends on the time of year and terrain you plan to hunt. But a ghillie suit that offers a mix of flat earth tone colors will typically provide a versatile camo option for most terrain. It’s best to have a suit that takes the middle road of light and dark colors.

Q: How much do ghillie suits cost?

Ghillie suits can run from just under $100 to several hundred. Those on the lower end are usually lightweight leafy suits, while those at the other end are heavier suits that use more material and even feature custom modifications for bowhunting.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to up your ground game, the best ghillie suits can give you an extra edge. Brands aside, you should opt for one that breaks up your outline and doesn’t interfere with your bow string when it’s time to let an arrow fly.

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