This season we’ve made a small range of camo gear designed for everyday summer skirmishes—with lightweight favorites like our Shell Cargo Shorts and our Shell Packable Shorts printed with a specially designed pattern we created ourselves.

Seeing as we make true functional clothing, and camouflage is a true functional pattern, we thought it was only right that we tried our hand at creating our own—making a modern camo that works just as well for blending in as it does for standing out.

Camo has a long and winding history—and whilst these covert patterns were originally designed for military use (often created by artists, surrealists and zoologists), they’ve winded up far beyond the battlefield—worn not just for their practicality during outdoor pursuits like hiking, fishing and hunting, but also co-opted by all manner of subcultures and even reappropriated as a symbol of pacifism. 

For our camo, we wanted to do something different, so rather than just pick a pattern off the peg, we decided to make our own print—creating a unique design which takes influence from the ‘rain’ or ‘needle’ camouflage used by many Eastern European countries in the late 1960s. A stark departure from the woodsy British DPM camo or the leafy pattern used on North American BDU gear, rain camo is made up of a series of broken lines designed to help blur the outline of the wearer.

Using this lesser-spotted design as a base, we brought things up to date by swapping out the original drab tones for something a bit more summery, adding some ‘frogskin’ blotches into the background and incorporating our logo into the mix. Whilst camos from the early days were often printed onto heavyweight twill fabrics, we wanted our camo gear to be fresh and wearable, so we opted for nice and breezy shell nylon that’s cool enough for hot days—whilst still reassuringly tough. It’s water repellent too—making it ideal for those summer downpours.

 The Needle Camo Shell Cargo Shorts are a fusion of classic military design and our trademark rock-climbing details—a highly functional pair of utility shorts that pluck details from both worlds. The built-in belt, elasticated waist and crotch gusset are pure Gramicci—all functional features we’ve been using on our shorts since right back in the early days, whilst those big pleated thigh pockets are a feature we’ve nabbed from the military world.  To put things simply, they’re built for life outdoors—whether that means a mind-expanding voyage into the desert, or a stroll around your local garden center. 

Our much-loved Shell Packable Shorts also got the full camouflage treatment. A touch more stripped-back compared to the Cargo Shorts, these are ultra-light, ultra-useful and ultra-packable—stowing right down to a little zipped bag. This makes them ideal for those who like traveling light—one minute stashed away with the rest of your holiday provisions in that carry-on backpack, the next, hiking up a mountain in full incognito mode. Laying low never looked so good.