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Urban Survival Tactic: How To Become A Gray Man

Knowing how to be a gray man is quite possibly the greatest urban survival skill that anyone can learn. No fancy equipment, no fancy gadgets, just good old fashion common sense combined with intuition and innovation. Find out how you can be invisible in a sea of a million people.



Crowded streets of new york city during rush hour in urban business area | Urban Survival Tactic: How To Become A Gray Man | Featured

Being a gray man means moving among the crowd undetected. This is an essential skill in a survival situation and a real survivalist must always be prepared when such event rises.

RELATED: 19 “Old World” Primitive Survival Skills You’ll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

In this article:

  1. Gray Man Skills
  2. What Is a Gray Man?
    1. Size
    2. For Men
    3. For Women
    4. Dress
    5. Mannerisms
    6. Movement

Gray Man | The Art of Blending in

Gray Man Skills

Do you know what your most important survival skill in an urban crisis is? It’s not how well you shoot, how much you’re packing, or how many knots you can tie.

Your survival could well depend on exactly how much you look like everyone else.

So how does one become a gray man? What are the necessary things you have to consider to blend in perfectly with the crowd?

How can you travel incognito? Scroll down to find out the answers to these questions.

This survival tactic is a form of urban camouflage called “gray man,” and in the middle of an urban crisis or martial law, it could be the only thing that keeps you from having a target painted on your back and a bullet in your brain. Being a gray man and having the ability to seamlessly slip in and out of situations unnoticed is an art form mastered by few.

Do it wrong and you’re dead. Do it right and you’re home free.

Think you have what it takes to be a gray man?

What Is a Gray Man?


A gray man is someone who blends in where they go. It is a person who does not stand out.

They are wallflowers. Outside of a survival situation, this can be an incredible asset, especially for information gathering and improve your situational awareness if you don’t stand out you greatly reduce your risk of being targeted.

How is this accomplished? It seems simple enough – just blend in. But there is actually quite an art form to this.

I will caution you… don’t go overboard. The key is to blend in without looking like you’re trying to blend in.

Try too hard and you’ll end up sticking out like a sore thumb.


Height is an element of being a gray man that we have little control over.

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The best gray man is ordinary in every respect. He’s of average height (5’10” for men and 5’ 4” for women) and weight (180lbs for men and 166lbs for women).

While you don’t have much control your height and weight control is a lifelong issue for many of us, there are a few things you can do to help yourself blend in more.

For Men

Long shorts, monochromatic colors or horizontally striped clothing, flat shoes, leaving a longer shirt un-tucked, and slouching could all help you to appear shorter. The slouch will also help make you appear as less of a threat by making you seem less than healthy.

Just be sure to only use this when blending in; otherwise, you could damage your spine.

For Women


Try wearing capri pants, or pants with cuffs in them. Wear flats instead of heels that cover the tops of your feet (this could also help in case you do need to break into a sprint to escape).

Carrying a large bag will also help you seem smaller.

For more information on how to appear shorter check out these articles:

Look Shorter If You’re Tall

How to Look Taller



How you dress is an element completely within your control. For the most part, natural and neutral colors work best — browns and grays.

Highly colorful and graphic shirts should be avoided at all costs. Nothing that shows off a lot of skin and nothing too fashionable.

Ordinary is the keyword here.

This is one thing in a bug-out situation that I think is key. A lot of people, myself included, have a bug out backpack that should get them out of a situation no problem, but that backpack looks like something you would see on a soldier in Afghanistan and really sticks out in a crowd.

This is likely to get you killed or at least get your gray man gear stolen.

That is why I think a really good bug out bag looks like a normal backpack that you would see on a college student, and wouldn’t think twice about. Sure, the tactical might look “cool,” but remember, you’re trying to avoid looking like anything.

This also applies to how you “dress” your car and even your front yard. We all have strong opinions (and that’s a good thing) but in a crisis, you don’t want to make yourself an enemy.

Putting overly political or identifying stickers on your car or signs in your yard can only serve to paint a target on your back.

RELATED: 31 Outdoor Survival Skills For The True Outdoorsman


Your mannerisms must be small and discreet. Avoid grand, sweeping gestures. Reduce your energy level to a low simmer.

You need to appear withdrawn and aloof. Even if you’re a strong type A personality, you need to avoid projecting confidence.

Avoid sweeping your head side to side and use your peripheral vision as much as possible. Keep your head slightly tilted forward and avoid eye contact.



One of the key elements of camouflage is learning to match your movement to the baseline. When you’re in a crowd, even if you want to push through and get to the front of the pack… STOP.

Move with the crowd, and match their speed and cadence. Walk with a purpose but avoid projecting authority.

This is probably the single most important part of your gray man tactics. The speed at which a crowd moves, the gestures they make, the volume and speed of how they speak.

All these elements and a whole lot more make up the baseline. You can learn the baseline for a given neighborhood by sitting at any cafe or coffee shop and watching.

You might be surprised at what you learn.

Learning to walk like the natives’ walk will hide you better than just about anything else. I think that this is key during times of social unrest or martial law.

The people most at risk of attack are the people whom the group believes to be against their cause. If you are caught near a riot, just try to blend in while moving quickly to the nearest egress point.

It takes years to perfect, but I’d like to share some gray man survival tactics with you to help you get started.

To get started, check out this video and learn more on how to be a gray man from BlackScoutSurvival: 

Would you be able to recognize gray man sightings when you see them? Your goal as a gray man is to go unnoticed.

Be the type of person that no one gives a second look. You are a wallflower, you blend in, do this and you may survive the next urban crisis.

I hope these tips help you start down the path to becoming a gray man.

What do you think about the information in this article on becoming a gray man? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


Urban Survival Tactic: How To Become A Gray Man |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 21, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. mic

    October 1, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    In a Bug out situation, having a camo pack or clothing might be an advantage. They are so common, few people would consider them out of place, at least where I live. (you might be surprised as to how common military, or camo backpacks will be in such a situation).
    If you have to evade attackers, a non camo back pack may give you away, So if you must go that route, get one in dark or earth tones, not bright colors.
    Secondly, most attackers in such a scenario WILL be more attracted to those with a college looking back pack, as they will be considered as easier targets.
    Thug mentality is to go for an “easy” and “safe” target. They never rob the doughnut shop that the cops hang out at. (This is also why many convenience markets serve free coffee to cops.) Street thugs seldom bother Bikers or places where they hang out, either. Thugs also like to pick urban, yuppies over rednecks, as targets.
    Those that they perceive as “weak” targets over the stronger looking ones, especially the ones that might fight back and might know how to do so, effectively.
    Lone individuals and small families traveling alone will be more of a target than a larger group.(so as a “grey man”, just blend into a large group, preferable one that is armed or otherwise looks strong. So do not make yourself a individual target, if at all possible).
    It also it depends a lot upon who you are (strong, silent, shy, cowardly, or physically impaired), where you live and if you will a part of a group traveling together or not.
    If you plan to go as a “grey man”, just plan to blend in as much as possible

    • Whiskers

      October 5, 2016 at 11:08 PM

      If I go it will be with a Bang not a Whimper.
      Blending in involves graphic Tee shirts in my area.
      Mostly I wear Plain shirts, or a Blending in area Columbia Style shirt. You yourself blending in is one thing getting others to do so with you is tricky. I try sticking to lit up areas, safer Areas, avoiding areas at times, scanning the surroundings, evaluate the surroundings and situations. Trying to stick with guidelines in a emergency, back up meeting areas, being flexible with in guidelines and attempting to have E&E routes to safety in danger times. Not wearing Neon Colors, keeping the voice low, staying off the phone Long Term make it quick. Wearing shoes or boots to move quickly, project a strength but not to strong and not being Weak or appearing as such, avoiding strangers chit chat. Wearing a Hat, hats shade the face and help keeping ID low and lets you look. Keeping kids close to mom or dad. But Dang USE Common Sense, keep your Wits, and Preform! Bend dont Break and do all whatever needs to be done..

  2. Matrix

    October 6, 2016 at 1:08 AM

    I saw a homeless dude by an intersection sitting on the ground in khaki trousers and gray shirt. I wouldn’t have seen him at all out of my peripheral vision if he hadn’t moved.

    Also recently saw a very expensive bug out bag recently that was almost navy blue. It was very difficult to see in wooded area with low lighting. Black and camo actually stood out more.

    • Mike

      November 26, 2017 at 11:27 PM

      Good observation. Blues are the first colors to become difficult to see when the light starts to fade.

      Bright blue not so much. Good thing eh?

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  4. Anonymous

    November 27, 2017 at 3:42 PM

    I want to know how a deaf gray person talks?

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