There’s tons of articles on the interwebs talking about the Grey Man, how to stay low profile post SHTF and blending in. Each article states pretty much the same point, wearing your tactical gear in the middle of a SHTF event will probably get you killed and at the very least, robbed of all your cool guy kit.
Second point that people make is that your tactical kit is a real pain to hump around even if it didn’t make you stand out like a tree in the desert. This is true to an extent, if you don’t train in your kit and leave it collecting dust, then yes, you’ll probably will drop over of a heartache after the first 5 minutes in full battle rattle. If this is the case, why do you have kit you can’t handle???
But, there’s a time and place for everything so don’t run out and sell off that SAPI armor and chest rig quite yet. Tactical gear does have its use as does common sense, a skill that will take you far.
Common sense would suggest that loading up the full kit and the Ma Duece in the family minivan and then hitting the road to escape the hordes of UN Blue Helmets is a terrible plan. If you do then great, you’ll be a great battlefield pickup. Use common sense. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss what I call the Grey Man Concept kit.
This kit is subjective to change based on your environment and season, but the goal is the same, blend in, don’t make yourself a target and get to your destination safely.
Find yourself a good location in a crowded area, malls, retail stores, etc and do some people watching. Take note of what the majority of people are wearing. Who makes a better target? The person rocking the latest styles and fashion or the guy in jeans and work boots? The woman glued to her cell phone or the 4 pack of teenagers slouching out of the food court? Once you get done, try to find a middle ground between your tactical gear and the style of dress that you think is the most common or the style that is least likely to stand out in a crowd.
For the area I live in, there’s a few hipsters, a few upper class people, but the majority of the population is either middle class or blue collar. That being the case, it was pretty easy to pick out a good set of clothes for the upcoming zombie invasion, I just dug out some work clothes from the closet and proceeded to layout my kit.
Here’s the breakdown:
1. Memphis Grizzlies hat
2. Yukon Gear camo jacket
3. Iron Maiden T-shirt or long sleeve depending on season
4. Carhartt Work Dungarees
5. Boots with wool socks
This outfit is guaranteed to blend in quite well in my area, wouldn’t even garner a second glance. Even better, I’m still able to wear camouflage and the usual brown, tans & greens that occur in nature. Now that we got clothing covered, lets talk about how you carry your first line kit.
Since you’re staying low profile, chest rigs and load bearing vests are out of the question, but don’t worry, you can still carry a first line kit. I use my jacket for that purpose. The British military have been doing the same for years, using the issue jacket or smock as they call it to carry all the required first line survival gear. The concept itself is pretty simple, the soldier carries ammunition and other fighting load components in the jacket pockets. At this point, the jacket becomes more of a general purpose item. Read up more on the smock concept at this link.
The Yukon Gear jacket I have comes with tons of pockets and a few inner pockets. I can easily carry my first line survival kit that contains all the basics – firestarter, water purification, paracord, etc. In another pocket, I have my pistol, two extra mags, a map, flashlight, etc, you get the picture.
With this setup, I can still fly under the radar but still have all my basic survival gear right on my person just like I would if I was using a chest rig or load bearing vest.
This is just a basic setup for the Grey Man Concept, you can do pretty much anything with it. For example, depending on the situation, you can add a Level IIIa soft armor vest. Granted it won’t stop rifle rounds, but can it handle pistol calibers no problem. Add a Maxpedition pouch to your belt and carry items in that, all this is concealable under the jacket.
During the blazing hot season, you can ditch the jacket and use a small sling pack in black or tan, my favorite is the Posse by 3V Gear. If you need more space, go with the ultimate Grey Man pack, the 5.11 Covrt 18.
Lots of different ways to setup this up, depending on the season and the situation. The only true limit is your imagination!
Now you have your kit ready to go, it’s time to try it out, wear it in the field, wear it around town, just get used to it and make sure it’s customized to your needs. But don’t forget to train with your tactical gear. It’s still serves a purpose, it can be used for combat patrols in an area that you or your group controls, you can use the kit in a defensive situation and other scenarios, just use common sense. An added benefit to training with your full combat load is that once you put on basic average joe kit, you’ll feel like your walking on air since you’ve been used to wearing 50-70lbs in tactical gear. Plus it will feel very normal since it’s just regular street clothes.
The Grey Man Concept has a few key features that you will want to practice:
1. Situational awareness using the concept of wide angle vision
2. Avoiding eye contact with others
3. Mimicking those around you in regards to walk, posture, etc.
4. Avoiding an overly confident/cocky attitude.
5. Avoid loose hanging items like headphone cords or chains.
6. Dyed hair stands out, so don’t do it
7. Wear neutral colors in clothing
8. Travel in a crowd whenever possible
The overall goal is to blend in, don’t make yourself a target, but still retain the ability to access your kit and weapons in the same quick, easy way you can in full tactical gear. The Grey Man Concept isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little practice and good set of gear!