Whoop, whoop it’s the sound of the (fashion) police…

As my seat mate downed his 5th brandy, he started to get a bit chatty and his very first comment was off putting. “Take off your jacket, trust me”. Assuming I was about to become one of the new headline stories du jour, “accosted by a seat mate” I braced for the worst. As a very quizzical look spread over my face, he said “no, no – the camouflage, they’ll take it”. We were on our way to the island of Barbados and sure enough, camouflage is illegal there. In fact, it’s actually, genuinely illegal to wear in 11 countries, some of which are popular destinations…

11 Countries, No Camouflage

The “why” varies between countries, but it’s illegal to wear camouflage in: Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia or Zimbabwe. You probably won’t end up in jail, but you can expect to part ways with all your camouflage gear, even if they’re the only things you have on. This is yet another reminder to always pack a change of clothes in your carry on. Oh, and it’s illegal to even have camouflage with you, so expect be asked if you have any in your bags…

What Happens If You Get Caught In Camouflage?

I asked around about famous camouflage run ins with tourists, because how could anyone resist? Unsurprisingly, amusing anecdotes are everywhere. Visitors have arrivedย  in the various countries dressed in camouflage, only to find that their bag had not made the journey in a timely fashion. Guess how that turned out? Enforcement is strict and travelers have been forced to buy sarongs or any garments available in airport gift shops to pass through immigration.

So Why Do Countries Ban Camouflage?

So, back to the “why” part. Camouflage laws are generally centered around a fear of confusion, rebellion or support of terrorist organizations. In Barbados it’s said that the rules are framed upon a desire for civilians not to be confused with members of the military on patrol. In other countries, historical uprisings or crime waves by camouflage wearing assailants are to blame. One thing is for certain: you don’t want to do a naked airport walk, especially if you’re expecting paparazzi on the other side! Does leopard print count?