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What is MultiCam® Camo?

a MultiCam® camo backpack in an outdoor environment.

Camouflage – it’s all basically the same, right? Camo is camo. Well not so fast my friend.

Sure, you may find it hard to spot the differences, but in fact, camouflage comes in a variety of colors, with differing patterns and designs. If you are just buying camo because you like the look and that’s what you enjoy wearing, then great.

But if you are in the military, it is imperative that you know and can spot the different forms of camouflage, including MultiCam® camo. 


History of MultiCam® Camo 

In 2005, after a barrage of laboratory and field testing, the United States Army rolled out a new camo design called Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP). It featured a “digital” pattern that was considered comprehensive and better suited to nearly any tactical situation.

One of the designs it beat out was the MultiCam®.

However, the military needed a camo pattern that was better suited to the new war fronts being waged in the Middle East. Specifically, they needed a pattern that offered concealment in the desert and mountainous regions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. Enter MultiCam®.  

MultiCam®’s distinct pattern and colors made it the perfect option for these new, desert-focused environments. For this reason, it was utilized extensively in the mid-2000s in the Middle East. 


MultiCam® Colors and Appearance 

MultiCam® colors consist of your usual suspects – brown, light tan, dark green, olive green, and cream. The basic MultiCam® pattern is one composed of a gradient background consisting of the colors above with a pattern-wide layer of deep brown and cream-colored shapes.

Visually, this presents an appearance where the color focus shifts from one to another depending on the section of the uniform. 

The MultiCam® pattern features twiglets which are near-vertical elements or shapes that help break up the main background area of the camouflage. The overall effect of the shapes and patterns is to simulate the different surroundings soldiers may encounter on a mission and help provide cover. The pattern also reduces both visible and infrared light spectrums. 


MultiCam® Uses 

MultiCam® camo can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including hunting, paintball or airsoft competition, and other outdoor pursuits, as well as anytime you need a multi-environment concealment solution. 

There are also a number of MultiCam® patterns designed for specific situations. For example, MultiCam® Tropic is designed specifically for tropical and jungle environments with lush vegetation. Conversely, MultiCam® Alpine is ideal for winter and snow-covered environments, with whites, grays, and creams as the dominant colors. 


What are the Differences between MultiCam® vs OCP Camo? 

In 2014, the United States Army announced that they would begin officially wearing a slightly different camouflage pattern. Originally dubbed Scorpion W2 as a codename, the new camo was named Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) and would replace other camo including UCP and MultiCam® uniforms. 

So, what’s the difference? It may be difficult to see without closer inspection. OCP does feature a similar pattern to MultiCam®, however, MultiCam® has a slightly darker and sharper appearance, with more jagged, rougher edges in terms of pattern. Whereas the MultiCam® camo features vertical elements called twiglets, OCP has linear, horizontal patterns and no twiglets. 

U.S. Army soldiers began adopting the OCP pattern in 2015 while the MultiCam® was phased out from official use. The Army, Air Force, and Space Force all wear OCP camo for their uniforms today. 

It may not be important for civilians to recognize the differences between MultiCam® vs OCP camo, but attention to detail in the military is of paramount importance, therefore, military professionals must know the differences. 

Although the Army and other Armed Forces branches have adopted the OCP camo as official uniforms, MultiCam® stills remains useful and popular among former military and others with who enjoy tactical gear and apparel. Why? Because MultiCam® offers an unparalleled combination of versatility and concealment. 

MultiCam® Camo Uniforms and Gear from 5.11 Tactical  

If you want to take advantage of that versatility and the concealment offered by MultiCam®, whether for everyday use, a tactical situation, or an outdoor adventure, 5.11 offers a full collection of MultiCam® uniforms, gear, and accessories. 

The 5.11 Stryke® TDU® MultiCam® shirt and MultiCam® TDU® pant make an ideal uniform for any situation, while MultiCam® plate carriers, hats, and rain shells offer the personalization you want. 

When life requires camouflage, count on 5.11 Tactical to ensure you’re properly outfitted with the right gear.  


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