a jacket on a table

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…

a jacket on a table11 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…

a body of water with trees and a beachWhat 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 arrived  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.

a passport with stamps on itSo 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?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. In Nigeria, it used to be illegal to own a green colored car. The reason was because fraudster would pretend they were the army. They would show up at a factory or warehouse and demand goods.

  2. Actually, it’s allowed to wear camouflage clothing in the Philippines as long as it is not any of the current Official Patterns used by the Philippine Armed Forces and Police that are very distinct.

    Many people(mostly teenagers) here wear US Woodland pattern pants all the time as they used to be abundant in US surplus shops.

    1. Thanks Jamie, there’s always one who doesn’t have a clue or who thinks it’s amusing to mislead

    2. Well, somebody didn’t read the article! Camouflage in general is not illegal, wearing a uniform and impersonating army or police personnel is illegal.

  3. I want to wear camouflage because military is my idol as a symbol of peace… Even I’m not an authority… That’s my wish to become a soldier of my country but, my family can’t afford to go me for college… I hope , we, as security guard in our country can wear cargo sports long pants either Short pants camouflage , if so… Thanks..

  4. I hate camo. It is likely that you will be run over by a car if you wear camouflage. Invisibility does not make you safer.

    1. Hi, I wanted to know if you are less stupid 2 years later or did lose even more brain matter

  5. It’s illegal to wear camo in Barbados because the recruits from the local Defense Force were selling their newly issued uniforms to the boutiques for cash. When asked where their uniforms were, the recruits would shrug, and upon being issued with replacements, head straight back to the boutiques. By making camo illegal, the boutiques were suddenly unable to resell the uniforms, so the recruits were unable to find buyers for their new, reissued, camo uniforms.

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