How to effectively blend in with a crowd when SHTF

When SHTF, being stealthy can help you survive, especially since standing out because of your gear or supplies can make you a target for attackers or looters.  However, if you find yourself exposed to potential attackers, you can either hide so no one can see you or you can blend in with the crowd so no one can notice you.

The second option makes use of the “gray man theory.” The gray man theory takes advantage of the fact that even though others see things all the time, not everyone registers and processes this information in their brain properly. The theory also makes use of psychology. With the gray man theory, you can use the inability of people to see what’s in front of them to your advantage.(h/t to

Skip the tactical attire and gear

Don’t use tactical attire and camouflage, especially in public. Wait until you’re out in the woods so you don’t draw attention to yourself. Camouflage will stand out whenever you’re in the city.

Carry your gear in a sturdy but discreet backpack that won’t seem out of place when you’re commuting. Your options include backpacks with several pockets, messenger bags, or bags with compartmentalized interiors that makes it easy to access your gear.

You can also wear a jacket that has hidden storage on the inside. Pants with pockets, like cargo pants, are also great for storing gear. Carry gear like a tactical pen or a discreet folding knife and a compact flashlight.

Turning into the gray man

To become the gray man, make an effort to look like everyone else. This will help you blend in. (Related: Critical survival skill: Teach yourself and your kids situational awareness.)

For example, when SHTF and everyone is hungry and wearing dirty clothing, you can disguise yourself by wearing old clothing and rolling around in the dirt. The gray man knows how to move with the crowd. Avoid being the only person walking in the opposite direction. When a mob runs, run with everyone else.

No matter where you go, there are always people that you don’t notice. Your eyes may even pass over them so you don’t take in their presence. This may be accidental, or it may be intentional, especially if these people make us uncomfortable.

One such group includes street people. You may drive or walk by them on your way to work, but you don’t really care about their presence.

Another group includes people in uniform. You may notice their uniform, but you don’t often care about the person wearing it. If you have access to them, wear these uniforms in certain areas so you can blend in as a maintenance worker or a policeman.

Before you attempt to become the gray man, remember that this must always be done with extreme care. Do your research on the culture of the place where you’re trying to blend in and understand the norms. If you can imitate these norms, you can easily disappear among a crowd.

Make one wrong move and you will bring unnecessary attention to yourself. Remember the details.

During a survival scenario, these tips can help you become the gray man and avoid potential attackers.

You can read more articles with tips on how to blend in a crowd when SHTF at

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