How to Make a Ghillie Suit Fit

The ghillie suit is an excellent addition to the traditional bowhunter’s bag of tricks. The textured camouflage clothing of a ghillie suit is designed to break up your outline to help you blend into your environment. Ghillie suits are also called sniper suits as they are used by military sniper units all over the world.

Wearing a ghillie when bowhunting can offer more opportunities to get you closer to big game and out of the treestand. The challenge for the traditional bowhunter is customizing the ghillie suit to not interfere when you are shooting your bow. Getting your ghillie suit ready for hunting season only requires time and a good pair of scissors. We are using the Rancho Safari Shaggie® longcoat. If you use a different brand of ghillie suit, it may require more trimming.

Ghillie suits are made to travel easilyUnrolling the ghillie suit

Ghillie suits are hot. Adding strips of material, such as jute burlap and cotton, helps to break up an outline, but it also reflects your body heat back on you. So when wearing a ghillie suit you have to take into consideration that it will not be comfortable to walk around in. Many hunters will carry them to where they intend to hunt, then put them on.

Open your ghillie suit up outside Shake your ghillie suit to get loose strips off

When you first get your ghillie it is best to open it up outside in case of any loose material. We recommend giving it a good shake into the wind to force anything not sewn down to come off.

Size your ghillie suit for a close fit. Not loose. Ghillie suit cinch straps keep it closer to your body

Cinch down all straps on your ghillie suit for maximum mobility Ghillie suits use velcro straps to keep them in place

When first fitting a ghillie suit be aware of all straps, ties, and Velcro® strips. You want your suit to fit tight against you so as not to be cumbersome, get in the way when shooting, or get snagged on brush. The Shaggie longcoat has a waist level cinch cord, zippered front, forearm straps, and a Velcro® collar strip.

Ghillie suit sized and adjusted

Now with the ghillie suit situated, do some walking around. Try some stretches, stalking (crouched slow walking), and just anything to confirm the ghillie fits properly to your body.

The Shaggie Cat-Guard Arm Guard is a great accessory for the ghillie suit

One great accessory to have is an extra long armguard. Rancho Safari offers the Cat-Guard Armguard and fits nicely on most arms and is made to bend with your arm for great comfort.

TECH TIP: When putting on your armguard, turn your arm so your palm faces up and the straps point downward. This will get more of the camo strips to the outside of your arm and away from the bow string.

Watch for ghillie suit threads getting in the way of the bow string Ghillie suits normally catch the bow string in the chest area

Now, it is time to practice shooting your bow and arrow with a ghillie suit on. This is best done with a friend to watch where the ghillie suit is interfering with the bow string. You can do this step alone, either by setting up a camera to record yourself, or by pulling to full draw and holding while inspecting. Pay close attention to your upper chest nearest to the bow. Depending upon your form, this is the area that will require the most trimming.

Use scissors to trim your ghillie suit Cut all ghillie suit fabric that will interfer with the bow string

Using a pair of good scissors, trim down any strip that comes in contact with the bow string when at full draw. How much that will be cut is up to you, but you don’t want to miss the shot of a lifetime, or wound an animal, because your bow string got caught on a strand. This process can be quick, or it can take an hour(s). It really depends on how much the string is being interfered with and how many different shooting positions you are trimming for.

The ghillie suit carrying strap can do more than carry the suit Using the ghillie suit carry strap for keeping the chest area tight to the body

TECH TIP: Wear a chest guard, or the included carry strap, to cinch down material across your chest.

Trim the ghillie suit boonie hat Be sure to shoot with the ghillie suit boonie hat on during practice

Most ghillie suits will include something for your head; a facemask and/or a hat. These help break up your outline, and may require trimming as well to make sure they do not interfere with your anchor.

The Shaggie longcoat comes with a boonie hat. It is best to trim all that you can in front of your face so as not to have any strands in your peripheral vision that may distract you during the shot.

Wear the ghillie suit boonie hat behind the left ear for a right handed archer Wear the ghillie suit boonie hat in front of the right ear for the right handed archer

TECH TIP: For the right handed shooter, put the straps of the boonie hat behind your LEFT ear and in front of your RIGHT ear. This will help keep the hat in place when you go to draw your bow.

Practive shooting your bow and arrow with your ghillie suit on Practice different shooting stances while wearing your ghillie suit

With all of your trimming done it is time to practice, practice, practice. Shoot your bow with your ghillie suit on any chance you get. You want to be 100% comfortable shooting with it on by the time you are using it during a hunt. Be sure to shoot standing, sitting, kneeling, and any and all positions you can safely shoot a bow from. Always be willing to trim unneeded pieces to make sure your shot is not interfered with.

Bowhunting with a ghillie suit is an exciting undertaking. Once you get your ghillie suit fitted to your body and shooting style you will be on your way to an exciting new chapter in your hunting career. Best of luck, and be sure to share with us your hunting successes at our online trophy room here.

By: Johnathan Karch