CNBC recently reported on doomsday prepper Clyde Scott- he expanded his storm shelter business to build underground bunkers during the Obama administration, selling to people who feared their liberties would be taken away.
The surprise came with the new administration, which brought with it an unexpected- and massive- influx of folks all over the political spectrum fearing impending nuclear war. Clyde's business has skyrocketed.
After Trump's election in the fall of 2016, Scott's business increased by nearly 700 percent in one month. Scott said of his business, according to CNBC, "the more politicians talk, the busier I get."
What does this mean for the average Joe, who's concerned about impending nuclear war but may not be able to shell out the $125,000 for the most popular 500 square-foot option?
There is a lot you can do without breaking the bank. Research urban survival skills like blending in to a panicked or riotous crowd, for starters. Build a bug-out bag for your home and office, and then stock it with urban survival gear. Even if you can't afford to build a bunker beneath your home, you can still be ready for (just about) anything.
A bug-out bag is an important element of everyday preparedness. You can go down a pretty deep rabbit hole of various types of bags you can build, including get-home bags which you would keep at your place of employment, emergency bags specifically for keeping in your car, and go-bags for your children. But today we’re going to focus simply on the elements of the basic bug-out bag, which is the bag you’ll grab in the event that you need to evacuate your home, and quick. Let’s assume for the purposes of this article that you’re building a bag only for yourself.
The kind of bag you choose will up to a certain point depend on your individual taste, although it should conform to a few standards:
The idea of a bug-out bag is that it contains everything you need to get you out of dodge as quickly and efficiently as possible. The typical rule of thumb is to pack enough supplies to last you for three days. This will vary depending on where you live and your personal lifestyle and habits, but some essentials are:
You may have heard the term “grey man” mentioned before in the context of urban survival. It’s a concept that surmises that you’ll have a better chance of surviving an urban emergency if you are able to seamlessly blend in and be utterly forgettable.
Imagine a stock photo of a burglar or criminal. He has a dark hoodie on with the hood up, maybe a sneer on his face. Perhaps he’s looking around suspiciously, lurking in a corner glaring up from under hooded lids. As we mentioned in the clothing section, you don’t want to tip too far into the realm of looking suspicious. You should appear bland, boring, and forgettable.
Don’t wear tactical gear. This turns you into a target.
Don’t make eye contact with everyone you see. People are much more likely to remember you if you’ve made eye contact.
As the name suggests, a grey man will likely be dressed in neutral tones such as grey or brown. Nothing that draws the eye- no graphics on your shirt, no shiny jewelry. Wear well-worn and comfortable shoes that will carry you far. Avoid flashy designer logos.The idea is to be instantly forgotten as soon as someone takes their eyes off of you. Or rather, to be seen through. You want to be effectively invisible.
There’s something of a balance here: you don’t want to tip too far in one direction and end up looking homeless, but you can’t look like you’ve got cash either. Images of a “grey man” will often show someone in a bland sweatshirt and jeans, which tends to be a safe
Another point worth noting is that the neutral baseline may vary depending on your surroundings and what is normal for the other people around you. In an office building where everyone is dressed in suits and ties, the stereotypical gray man attire stands out like a sore thumb. The key is to blend in to the environment. When in Rome, so to speak. Dress however you need to dress to avoid standing out.
There is nothing about a grey man’s behavior that draws attention. You should be keenly aware of your surroundings, but don’t look like you’re casing the joint or searching for exits. Make your observations discreetly.
Weapons and gear must be completely hidden.
Move naturally and go with the flow. Melt into the scenery. This requires thoughtfulness and practice. If the crowd moves together or everyone directs their attention in one direction, follow suit to avoid raising suspicion.Keep your urban survival gear discreet with the Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key.
Imagine you’re doing your thing in the city. Maybe you live there, maybe you commute there for work. It’s just another day. You pass a large group of political protesters outside as you make your way into work. These days that’s just par for the course. But around mid-morning, you start to hear shouts and loud noises coming from the direction of the street. You look outside and see turmoil. It’s a riot, and the rioters are becoming increasingly violent. They’re not letting people past them. They’re breaking windows, attacking cars, and targeting stunned passersby.
You need to get to your family in another part of the city. But how are you going to get around the violence?
You need to avoid looking like an easy target as you make your way through and past a volatile situation. The finesse lies in not looking aggressive, as this can also single you out for violence; in this case authorities may even mistake you for one of the rioters. What you want to shoot for is a neutral and forgettable look that also communicates: “it would be a bad idea to mess with me.”
It’s urban survival 101- if you must choose, it’s better to look like a threat than a target.
Before we delve into how you should look and carry yourself, think about what may constitute an easy target: someone encumbered with too much “stuff” that can easily be dropped or grabbed, someone wearing impractical clothing that puts them at a disadvantage (i.e. heels), someone whose body language communicates that they are frightened or vulnerable and wouldn’t know how to defend themselves.
The ideal “look” for an urban survival situation is the oft-referenced “gray man”, that is, a completely neutral and forgettable appearance that draws no attention and blends in easily. The look involves plain, neutral clothing and shoes, an unremarkable hairstyle, nothing to draw unwanted eyes. In the event of a violent situation, you’ll need to tip this scale a little further toward the direction of looking formidable. Much of this comes down to body language- make confident eye contact, but don’t stare. Hold your head up; make it clear that you’re aware of your surroundings, but not as if you’re paranoid. The larger you can make yourself appear, the better, so don’t hunch. It’s a delicate balance that may require some practice if it doesn’t come naturally to you.
The best way to appear as if you are confident and would make for an unpleasant encounter should someone try to harm you is to actually be confident. What this means will vary among people and situations, but may include:
Lastly, a huge advantage that will make you instantly less appealing to those who may want to take advantage is to travel in numbers. The instant you add numbers to your group, especially if they can all manage to appear confident if not formidable, you reduce the chances that anyone will think of messing with you.Be prepared for anything. Equip yourself with urban survival gear for any situation.
America under Trump is vehemently divided in a way few living citizens have seen. Tensions are high, and violent outbursts by and against both sides seem to be on the rise. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, or whether you side with the elephant or the donkey (or neither)... now more than ever it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of an urban emergency.
An urban emergency is going to look vastly different depending on the location, the kind of people perpetrating the violence or causing the unrest, and what their purpose is. It could be a riot, a terror attack, or the appearance of marshall law militias. There’s the very real possibility that you’ll see neoliberal extremists attempt to use force to take away your rights.
Even if you can’t predict exactly what shape an urban emergency will take in Trump’s America, you don’t have to be paranoid or a full-fledged prepper to recognize the need to be prepared.
Do you have a plan to get home if you’re stuck in the city when violence breaks out around you? What if you can’t get to your car, or the route home is blocked? Do you have the skills you need to take shelter in an urban setting? What if you find yourself the target of someone else’s violence?
One of the most important things you can do is develop a plan for a variety of scenarios. Talk through them with your loved ones, and rehearse them in your mind. When SHTF, you won’t be caught entirely by surprise and you’ll have a plan in mind.
We can’t all be MacGyver. If you aren’t prepared to get yourself out of a sticky situation with nothing but duct tape and a length of shoestring, do yourself a favor and enhance your everyday carry with some low-profile urban survival tools. For all-around preparedness we love the EvadeClip, a tiny tool made to get you out of the hairiest of situations.
If you everyday carry for urban survival, you’ll want a small lockpick set. Check! The EvadeClip features a set of heat-treated stainless steel picks including a tensioner, a w-rake and a half diamond pick.
In addition to the lock picks and a carbide glassbreaker tip, the EvadeClip includes two saws for escape and evasion. The carbide grit rod saw can cut through just about anything, even chain link, and the stainless steel rod saw is perfect for hacking through ropes and cords.
As its name suggests, the EvadeClip includes a sturdy clip for attaching to gear or clothing, so you always have it handy. Just in case. Pick yours up here!
Last Updated: October 10, 2017
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