Over on SOFREP there's a new article up on how to pick handcuffs with nothing but a hairpin. It's a really helpful tutorial with step-by-step photos showing how a simple bobby pin can be used in a pinch to unlock a pair of handcuffs. He also explains the easier method of shimming, which is a really useful skill to have as well. The caveat is that a shim cannot be used on double-locked handcuffs. Double-locked cuffs are very common now, so you want to be sure that you have practiced a few methods of escaping them as well.

This is incredibly useful information to know, and important to practice if you are in law enforcement, security, or you travel regularly, especially to unstable countries or places where you don't speak the language. We created a similar tutorial with illustrations- check it out here.

There is no telling when handcuffs could be unlawfully used against you. Whether they're your own cuffs being used against you by a criminal, or an unlawful incident with corrupt police in a foreign country, it pays to have the knowledge and skill that will enable you to escape from unlawful restraint.

Escape handcuffs with a hair pin

Being truly prepared for anything means having a Plan A, a Plan B, and preferably a Plan C as well. Flexibility and quick thinking under stressful circumstances will help you escape hairy situations with your life, and maybe even dignity, intact. So what do you do if your trusty hair pin slips out of your pocket? It would pay to have a tiny, inconspicuous handcuff key on your person as well. Not only are they easier to master than a bobby pin or shim, but if you know what you are doing they will buy you precious seconds as well. Check them out here and get prepared!

Shop Urban Survival Gear

These stories are so common it's scary.

A 24 year old woman was minding her own business in her apartment at 4:30 in the afternoon when a man forced his way in, attacked her, and tied her up.

Fortunately, he left and she was able to run to a neighbor's house for help. But there are so many ways that this scenario could have gone much worse. Keeping a multi-tool on your person that gives you the ability to saw through cord, cable, and rope can give you a fighting chance to avoid being victimized.

Shop urban survival gear now.

You don't have to be paranoid or up to no good to see the value in keeping an evasion tool on your person; home invasions happen all around the country literally every day, and not everyone is as lucky as this woman.

Along with a prepared mindset and practical knowledge, an escape & evasion tool can help give you an edge against the unthinkable.

Check out the EvadeClip- escape & evasion tool.


By now you've probably seen the commotion online about those Boston Dynamics SpotMini robots that can open doors. The internet has gone a little ballistic over how advanced the robots are (and how much they resemble the killer robot dogs in a recent episode of high-tech twilight zone TV show Black Mirror).


Get ready for the weird robot future with urban survival gear

And while obviously there's some hype going on, the fact remains that... wow, those are creepy. Whether those robots will ever be used for something unsavory or not, we just have no idea what the future holds. Decades ago everyone envisioned a Jetsons-style utopia of the future, and while we DO have a lot of awesome tech that makes our lives easier, there's a lot that could go wrong. A lot.

That's why we think it's important to be prepared for anything, every day, no matter where you are. No matter how paranoid you feel, you can't just hide in your bunker all day. But you can develop some peace of mind by knowing that you are as prepared as possible no matter where you are.

Shop our line of urban survival gear now and resist the robots!

Delaware brewery Dogfish Head has recently debuted a new brew aptly titled “It’s The End of the Wort As We Know It”. The 9-percent ABV fruit ale includes blueberries, acai berries, goji berries, purple sweet potatoes, rose hips, chia seed, flax seed, spelt, oats and quinoa, and is being billed as a beer perfect for that "desert island" scenario because it includes more than 8 times more vitamin B complex than similar lagers.

(If you need a handy tool to help you crack that beer open, you probably need an Urban SlimTool in your wallet.)

Amino acids, micronutrients, and vitamins: they're important even after the end of the world, so if you're the prepping type perhaps you should pick up a few cases to keep in your garage... or your bunker. Or just assume that every day could be your last and crack open a cold one today.

"It's The End of the Wort as We Know It" is being packaged with some survivalist goodies, including a Swiss army knife, a solar blanket and a length of paracord... just in case.

If you're the "just in case" type, check out the other cool survival gear available to help you prepare for anything.

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.

Do you fear this too? Be prepared for anything and get your peace of mind back.

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."

Stock your bunker with TIHK's latest urban survival gear

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.

As much as specialized skills and helpful gear are important to helping you survive a catastrophe in an urban environment, the correct mindset is the real key that will mean the difference between life and death.

How to Adopt a Survival Mindset

An effective survival mindset strikes a delicate balance between a realistic knowledge of the danger of a situation, and the ability to choose to survive and remain hopeful in spite of bad odds. A common survival saying says that you can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without oxygen, but only 3 seconds without hope. Sure, it’s oversimplified, but the point is that your will to survive will make or break you. In a life or death situation, losing the will to fight for survival will kill you faster than the elements.

Aspects of a Survival Mindset

  • Situational Awareness

    • An important aspect of a survival mindset is an awareness of the situation. Cultivate the habit of being aware of your surroundings: the entrances and exits, the people in the surrounding area and their behavior, and any immediate or potential threats. If there is a dangerous situation brewing, your awareness of it is key to your survival. You don’t want to be taken by surprise.
  • Rehearsal of Scenarios and Actions

    • Visualization is a tactic used successfully by pro athletes and elite Navy SEALS alike. Rehearse possible scenarios and visualize them from beginning to end. If you can see your successful completion of a survival task in your mind’s eye, you have a higher chance of actually completing it, even under stressful circumstances.
  • Psychological Preparedness

    • This involves being both aware of the gravity of a situation, and preparing yourself psychologically to survive. Make the conscious choice to be hopeful in spite of the fear you may feel. Decide that you will make it to the other side of the situation, and then simply do what’s necessary to get there.
A stockpile of food and water and cool gadgets is great, but if you let terror take over in an emergency, you might as well have nothing. When you have the right mindset, only then you can make use of cool survival gear to help you get where you’re going safely.

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.

What Kind of Bag Should I Use?

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:

  • Comfortable. You don’t know how far you may need to go on foot, so you’ll thank yourself for finding something with cushioned straps and an ergonomic design.
  • Inconspicuous. The last thing you need in an emergency situation is to draw unwanted attention to yourself and what gear you might have in your bag. Find something in neutral colors without patches or insignia. It should not look overly tactical, because this broadcasts that you’re prepared, which can turn you into a target. Follow the Gray Man philosophy of a forgettable appearance.
  • Well-organized. Find something with a decent network of pockets for good organization. A bag with a single deep pocket where everything is jumbled together will not be helpful if you need to find something quickly.

What do I Put in my Bug-Out Bag?

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:

  • An extra set of keys for your home and vehicle(s).
  • Identification.
  • Water. Start with a couple bottles, and eventually add a water purification device.
  • High-energy, low-volume snacks such as nuts and beef jerky.
  • A first-aid kit
  • Extras of any prescription medications you take
  • Cash
  • Fire-starting materials
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Extra clothing. At the very least, a few changes of underwear and socks. It is especially important to keep your feet dry and warm.

Final Thoughts

  • Only include items that you are likely to use. Don’t bother to include a fishing kit if you’re not anywhere near a body of water.
  • Only include survival gear that you know how to use.
  • A bug-out bag is not intended to contain everything you need to survive for months in the wilderness; it’s a short-term solution to a temporary emergency situation.

Get started with urban survival gear to include in your bug-out bag. Check it out here.

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.

What NOT to do

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.

What to Wear to Become a Grey Man

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.

How to Act

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:

  • Being educated in martial arts or other forms of self-defense and practicing regularly.
  • Carrying a self-defense weapon that you know how to use.
  • Practicing situational awareness and knowing how to identify exits, possible threats, and mentally create a plan as soon as you enter a new environment.

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.

“Prepper” is a strong word with strong connotations attached to it. You might visualize a paranoid bearded man standing in a garage stuffed with canned food and rifles. (That is, of course, a stereotype.) You may be concerned about the state of current events at home and abroad and wonder what you could do to be prepared, but balk at being called a “prepper”. Maybe you just feel so overwhelmed by it all that you don’t know how to start.

You don’t have to stockpile a year’s worth of food, store 5 rain barrels in your backyard or become a gun collector. Although it may sound trite, a great way to treat your preparedness is like a Boy Scout. An anecdote from usscouts.org illustrates this well:

“"Be prepared for what?" someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting,

"Why, for any old thing." said Baden-Powell.

The point of the Boy Scouts is to teach young boys how to be prepared for emergencies and for being productive members of society, not by teaching them how to hoard emergency supplies. Time spent in the organization is intended to imbue them with the knowledge and skill to be mentally and physically prepared for whatever life throws at them.

So why not view your “prepping” like a boy scout? Rather than just stockpiling items (although it is wise to have a small stash of food, water, first aid supplies, etc. on hand,) work on expanding your survival knowledge and skills. Do you know how to pick locks? How to blend into a panicked crowd? Are you prepared to feed yourself and your family without electricity for an extended period of time? Not only will expanding your skills and your knowledge base make you more prepared for an emergency, but you’ll have greater peace of mind that whatever life throws at you, you’ll be able to handle it.

And it’s much harder to be accused of being a paranoid prepper when the main thing you’re hoarding is valuable skills.

There is, of course, a perfect balance of skill and gear to be perfectly prepared. Check out our collection of urban survival gear and be ready for anything!


Last Updated:  October 10, 2017

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