This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
When disaster strikes your city and you are away from home, one of the best things you can do to survive is to become what is called the gray man. No, being a gray man doesn’t mean wearing gray clothing. It primarily means three things: blend in with the crowd, steer clear of confrontation, and avoid being detected by dangerous people.
So, how do you become a gray man? Here are ten tips:
1. Wear Neutral Colors
First, stick with neutral colors for your clothing This means avoiding both bright colors (yellow, red, orange, pink, etc.) and tactical colors (black, camouflage, etc). Bright colors will make it insanely difficult for you to hide, whereas tactical colors will also stand out and make people think you’re a threat. Examples of neutral colors include dark blue, dark green, gray, or brown. A simple dark-colored T-shirt and pair of jeans is an excellent example of clothing that will blend in nicely with any crowd.
2. Don’t Wear a Hat
You may believe that wearing a hat is wise because you’ll be keeping your face partially covered (especially if you look down). However, if you look around you, you’ll also see that the majority of people do not wear hats. Furthermore, the authorities will be on a close lookout for suspects after a disaster or catastrophe has taken place, and they’ll zero in on anybody who’s wearing a hat because they know that could mean you’re trying to keep your face covered.
3. Avoid Eye Contact
Don’t make eye contact with anyone while you’re on the move. This only increases the chances of them confronting you, and even if they don’t, at the very least they will remember you, but being a gray man means that you can slip in and out of a public location without anyone even realizing you were there.
4. Don’t Walk Too Fast
You don’t want to walk too slowly, but you don’t want to walk too fast either. This will especially make you an obvious target for authorities such as law enforcement units; for example, if a bomb has recently gone off in town and they see you running away from it, that will immediately arouse suspicion and they will give chase.
5. Keep Your Valuables Hidden
If you have any valuable items on you such as jewelry, electronics, money, and so forth, keep those items hidden at all costs. Not doing so makes you a prime target for looters or robbers in a disaster scenario who will take advantage of the situation to rob innocent people. Granted, this can be more complicated if you have a backpack or a messenger bag of some kind over your shoulders (this signals to people that you could have a computer or even weapons with you), so be sure to have the straps firmly around your shoulder and one hand on the pack at all times.
6. Don’t Take Pictures or Record Video
It can certainly be tempting to take pictures or record video during a disaster. You could submit the footage to major news stations or upload it on YouTube and potentially get thousands if not millions of views. Nonetheless, taking pictures or videos of a disaster is not something a gray man would do as it automatically makes you stand out. Remember, if you have any electronic devices on you, keep them hidden.
7. Stick To Areas Of Cover
The gray man always travels by sticking close to areas of shadow or cover where they can hide at a moment’s notice. Don’t walk out in the open where you are clearly visible to anyone and everyone. Rather, stick close to buildings or natural foliage, but do it in a way that looks natural. Don’t skulk around, quickly moving from way hedge to another. That will just make you stand out even more.
8. Avoid Choke Points
Choke points are any location in a city that will become highly congested with people and traffic during a disaster. They will be the most dangerous and chaotic places thanks to a possible combination of law enforcement units, angry mobs and looters, and swarms of desperate people. Examples of choke points in a disaster scenario include bridges, tunnels, intersections, stadiums, public parks, grocery stores, sporting goods stores, restaurants, gasoline stations, police stations, hotels, train stations, airports, and even churches.
9. Analyze a Street Before Continuing
The gray man never directly walks down a new street without first inspecting it. Closely observe a new street or block with extreme caution before continuing down it. Again, don’t walk too fast or else you’ll stand out to any law enforcement or dangerous people that are present.
10. Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Finally, just don’t let your guard down. You must be on high alert for potential threats and practice situational awareness. Examples of situational awareness skills include reading the people around you (without staring at them), always identifying at least one exit route before entering a new building or area, and being prepared defend yourself in the event that someone confronts you.
As you can see, anyone can be a gray man and it’s really easier than you think. Becoming a gray man is all about blending in with your surrounding environment, and you can do that if you know what to wear, how to act, and where to travel.
By successfully applying these tips in a disaster scenario, your chances of avoiding detection from the authorities and gangs alike will go down significantly.