Urban Invisibility

With our tactical brethren talking a lot more about field camouflage than what to wear when wandering round inner cities, I thought it time to talk about what the other 98% of us will be having to cope with in urban conditions.

Consider you are transiting covertly, trying to be invisible, through the back streets and alleyways trying to escape from the “troubles” around you.

Being prepared, you’re probably wearing your carefully selected survival clothing and carrying a pack. (Open carry optional). Only in our case it’s the two of us and the dog.

Then someone sees you!

I’ll give you a basic “civil disorder”scenario to deal with.
No way round, you have to pass through a high density neighborhood. The lights may be out, the area possibly dimly lit by fire, and you turn a corner straight into a large group of people.

Your dress will probably be para-mil /or tacti-cool, almost certainly a sort of Gucci-cam military styling, with matching packs, which everyone seems to be wearing nowadays.


  1. What do I see as a rioter?
    Authority, recognizable by your dress, and you in the wrong place at the wrong time and alone.
    My immediate reaction “Kill the Bacon”.
  2. What do I see as a looter?
    A portable well equipped one stop shopping mall.

Anyway you cut it you are almost certainly in for a fight.

So what do I mean by FIRST IMPRESSION?
People make snap judgments, especially when emotions are running wild. You may not have time to explain you are a prepper or survivalist running for your life and even then, if they are rioting and looting, your backpack will look real attractive to someone.

Having said that, a big dog, snarling, lunging, is a deterrent to all but the stupid.

Chalk one up for our
fur coated razor blade.

Yet what happens if it’s NOT rioters or looters but the authorities?
Think about it. What do you think their briefing would be?
Control movement, stop looting, look after property, and finally (more as an after thought) the “protect and serve” sort of thing and they come across you !?!

Control movement, They will sweep you up.
Stop looting, You stood there in new clothing and matching packs.
Protect and serve. Gawd help you if you are open carrying!

On the face of things you are still in a no win situation.
You could be right although there is a standard way of slowing things down and that is to don an emergency services style fluorescent vest and a hard hat.

Wearing this type of clothing you take on an “official, meant to be there persona” in the UK. Part of the solution, and not part of the problem. Although I’m still not sure about the open carry bit in say the US.

Whilst it may slow down reaction from the LEO’s and other agencies, don’t do that with rioters. After all it’s probably the authorities that triggered the mess in the first place and a fluorescent vest positively screams public servant / authority. Thus you may appear as part of THEIR problem.

When dealing with Joe Public the most invisible dress is that of the gray man. Wearing non distinctive or work wear clothing similar to everyone else in the area you are transiting through. Different clothing and bag for each person.

I need to add a comment about race.
The why is because some ethnic groups are known to riot more frequently than others. Basically it don’t matter what you are wearing if your face race doesn’t fit!

Unfortunately if this is this case all you can only pick your transit route with care and hope for the best.

So what is the gray man look?
Simply what everyone else is wearing but underneath (or in your  pack) you’ll have your survival gear on.

From there only a couple of things that will give you away.
Your footwear, pack, and weapons.

When on the streets I started with a pack only it did give the wrong “impression”. Ultimately I bought the biggest second hand holdall I could find. the pack went into that, the holdall over my shoulder. Instant invisibility as it looked like I had intended, carrying his home in a tatty bag.

Footwear is easy though.
I’ve always worn working boots and for the most part they look different from hiking, fell, or combat style. Only why not pumps? Simple, no support or protection for the ankles. Also if you are wearing the WRONG make (i.e. whatever is expensively in fashion), there are places in the UK where the fillings in your teeth aren’t safe let alone “must have footwear.”

With all you gun hoe US citizens this just has to be discussed.
All armed to the teeth with a minimum of a handgun, shotgun, and assault rifle.

Then the two of you turn a corner into:-
riotHow would you rate your chances?
Just you two and the dog against a riot.

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2 Responses to Urban Invisibility

  1. revenent2014 says:

    Reblogged this on The Survival Library.

  2. yokel. says:

    i’m not going to be hanging around an urban situation once “the balloon goes up”, get out of there as fast as possible by the first available route!!!!

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