Gray Man

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Learn about the gray man concept and the popular gear that can help you blend into the crowd in 2023. You want to always be prepared if there is a disaster or when SHTF and looters come to your door. It is important to choose the right camouflage clothing, a backpack or a bag, and a knife and tools. Even a wallet could be important when you want to feel overall preparedness for absolutely anything.

We decided to touch on the topic of the Gray Man. We have already touched on it a little earlier in articles such as:

But now we decided to devote a whole article to the concept of grey man. This is not about how to hide your values, but about how to hide you.

Most people like to stand out from the crowd, and it seems we all strive for individualism. Why should we want to blend in with the crowd? Yes, we want to be a special one in a normal situation, but when disaster strikes, and you are around one prepared person, you do not want to stand out and be in public. You and your family will want to get away to safety quickly, ride your bug out vehicle, preferably unnoticed.

Why? Well, the first reason is that unprepared people can pose a danger with their panic, and secondly, less prepared people may want to take your survival supplies from you. In an SHTF situation, you first of all need to take care of yourself, your family, maybe friends, and only then, as far as possible, you can help everyone if you want. That is, the gray man theory is a self-defense way. You should not be a target of anyone.

This may seem selfish to someone, but it is not. You cannot save everyone, and you cannot help anyone if you suffer yourself. The cost of this help might be your life or the life of your beloved one.

After leaving the radar, you will not become a target for those who want to take away the survival gear from another. Those who do not know what to do in an SHTF situation will not pay attention to you. You will be able to travel to any of the safe locations unnoticed. You will go your way.

Excessive attention from the government can slow your escape way also.

And right off the bat, “gray man” does not mean only a man. Of course, it can be a woman, an older adult, a teenager, any human being.

What Is The Gray Man Theory?


The Gray Man is a whole concept and science aimed at the ability to hide and merge with the environment, a behavior model in which you do not attract attention. Moreover, this project teaches how to hide when being in plain sight, for example, in a crowd.

The theory was based on the Reticular Activating System (RAS) of the human brain.

To understand this system, it can be compared to a face controller security at the club entrance. He only lets in people who fit the subjective rules in this place. Similarly, RAS allows only the sensory data it thinks needs to enter our brain and the filter filters out the rest.

If there were no RAS, the brain would be overloaded with terabytes of unnecessary data and unnecessary information. Our brains would simply explode from being overloaded with sensory data. But thanks to this system, we receive already filtered data.

Examples of RAS in Action

  • People in the crowd

Imagine you are at a stadium concert or any busy location. While you are heading to your place or moving around the dance floor, you will meet hundreds of people. You will see their faces, but after a second, you will hardly be able to reproduce the appearance of anyone. This is the merit of RAS, which filtered out unnecessary information from conscious memory.

But if you see a friend in the crowd or just something unusual that attracts your attention, for example, a person with a funny hairstyle or interesting clothing, you will pay attention to him or her and remember. You will miss most details but will remember differing ones.

That is, you need something distinctive or unique for an object to pass face control into your memory or your attention.

  • Items before and after buying them

Surely you have had this, you buy something, let’s say, a bag or a car, and literally the next day you notice that there are a lot of such bags or cars. And this is not the case when everyone en masse in one day went and bought a Toyota like yours. It is just RAS now recognizes this object and passes the data to your brain. From an uninteresting object, the car has turned into something that you possess. Previously, you just saw it on the street, but now you notice. And between seeing and noticing lies a big difference in the work of our brain.

  • A stroll around the block

Another example — you went for a walk with your dog or just walk on the evening promenade. Along the way, you come across many things, people passing by, plants, houses, but you will not remember all of this and will not even pay attention. Pretty much everything you will see is a background.

Yes, you will notice some objects, but the brain does not select every blade of grass, every stone. You will not notice all the insects or birds. You are only aware of the data that RAS will miss, and your brain considers it important.

Unfortunately or fortunately, the brain cannot process all the information, so the data is filtered in substantial quantities. We only focus on what interests us. This allows us to exist without constantly overloading the system.

The Gray Man Theory uses this RAS filter to avoid attention.

By forming your special appearance, by adjusting your actions, you can become almost invisible. This will help to elude others, to hide in plain sight. You will be fully prepared, but you can hide it from prying eyes. Thanks to RAS.

How To Spot The Gray Man In a Crowd?


A good practice is to observe people. Go to a busy place — a shopping center, a park, a crowded city square. Try to find out what makes you pay attention to specific people, what details attract you to them.

Try to remember the person and highlight the first thing that you paid attention to. What will you tell a friend if you have to describe or say something about a person? For example, that lady in big fur coats, or the man with the hooked nose, or the guy in the bright sneakers. That is what identify these people from the general, from the crowd.

These are the details you will need to avoid if you want to be an invisible one. The gray man does not have distinctive features. He is the same as most people.

Try to distinguish unremarkable people in the crowd. This question will not be easy at first, but you can train your brain. If you find it difficult to distinguish a person’s distinctive detail, he has merged with society. Pay attention to how these people move, interact with the environment, and what they are wearing. This will help you understand which behaviors to follow.

Make notes of what grabs your attention most and what does not pass your brain’s filters.

The more you observe, the more such details you will be able to notice and appropriately accept.

Watch in different places to see the environment and conditions change.

Create the perfect gray man image.

Preparing The Gray Man Look

First of all, think about your appearance, your clothing. You need to be as average as possible, ordinary, not stand out, and not look dangerous. You need to merge with other people.

If you are now thinking about a tactical backpack or army tactical pants, this is not always a suitable option. You need to choose clothes that will suit the occasion and setting. If this is a formal meeting in the city center, then military clothes will not look appropriate, and an office uniform will only make you stand out at the summer festival. Choose what suits the occasion but will be average and inconspicuous.

Popular Gray Man Gear

Let’s keep in mind that we are giving recommendations for a gray man in a typical modern American metropolis or a large metropolitan area of ​​a developed European country. We repeat once again that there is no universal recipe for how to be a gray man. The prescriptions for an urban person in the United States will not work for Qatar or Syria. Everywhere you must fit the society you are in. Favorite definitions of a gray man are “typical,” “average,” and “middle.” Clothing should be of inconspicuous colors.

Gray-Man Jacket

ScottevestThe jacket should be neat, unremarkable, better in dark colors, but at the same time comfortable. We can recommend the SCOTTeVEST Enforcer Jacket. In addition to the fact that its appearance is fully consistent with the gray man’s target, it is functional and has many CCW pockets.

Its modest modern look hides tactical features.



Gray-Man Backpack

Cannae Pro A survival bag with many pockets, flask, and sleeping bag compartments will certainly attract too much attention in urban settings. You want a backpack in a neutral color that is roomy enough but does not have a lot of pockets—for example, the Cannae Pro bag. Choose from bags with an internal concealed carry so you can hide some survival tools. This backpack is a great option for everyday life.

We advise you to check the article about everyday carry bags that you can carry around the city.

Gray-Man Pants

Under ArmourWith the tips for the gray man’s pants, everything is as with the rest — inconspicuous, durable, comfortable. We like the gray Under Armor Tactical Pants.

They are made of high-quality, durable fabric. Their style is as simple as possible. They look like the most ordinary pants. Just what we need!



Gray-Man LockPicking Tools

Gray-Man Lockpicking Tools The ability to pick locks seems reprehensible only if you are up to something bad, but if all you have to do is hide without taking anything else, we think it is not bad.

If you need to get out of the city, you can pick the lock on the door of a closed building to hide there for a while, and so move from building to building. Less likely to run into a crowd.

A compact set of lock picking tools will help you in this matter.

Gray-Man Accessories

We are sure that if you see a man with a sharp machete or a large survival knife on the streets of Los Angeles, you will pay attention to him, and not only you but everyone around. It is better not to wear the tactical survival belt either. But you can take a small neck knife, which will easily hide in many pockets of a jacket or backpack.

Gray-Man Mistakes


Often in movies, the gray man is shown as someone like this:

But this is generally not what you need. This person raises concerns, he has something to hide, and therefore he attracts eyes.

Your key task is to hide, but not to look as you are hiding.

No problem with the sweatshirt, but the pulled hood is suspicious (but not if it is raining). A lowered head, hidden arms look as if a person is hiding, which of course, stands out against the general background.

You need to behave like everyone else around you in this particular company. If you are in a crowd of tourists, you can gaze at the sights. If you are in the stream of people rushing to work, you should not go too slowly.

Repeat the movements of others.

The Behavior of The Gray Man

Observe the people around you and repeat their social behavior. Just do not stare around or scan everyone. It will look weird.

Be prepared to conduct small talks where appropriate, such as the weather or food topics, but do not bring up debatable topics like religion or politics. They always lead to controversy.

Better not to smoke, only if not everyone went out to smoke, and you went after everyone, but just loitering. Then it is better to get a cigarette too.

Remember also to be careful with your eye contact. Its absence, or conversely, too much, is immediately noticed in the heads of other people.

Gray-Man Disguises For Access

Almost all of our tips are about how to be a gray man in your everyday life. But you may need to become invisible in a certain place, maybe at an event. There is an opportunity to “try on” a gray man’s suit.

To whom do people not pay attention, and often even look away? They are homeless people, cleaners, and security staff. Those we often treat as decorations, who works or is anywhere.


Perhaps you need to keep an eye on someplace. Pretending to be a sleeping homeless person on the city streets is a good option. They are not remembered. They are ignored. You can calmly follow the situation through a lowered cap or newspaper.

Just do not pretend to be aggressive or disturbing everyone. This behavior can attract unnecessary attention.

Just a person quietly sitting or lying in the corner of the house, merging with the city.

Security Staff

They have great access and opportunities to pass unhindered.

But this method has several disadvantages:

  • Do not bump into another guard so that you will not be discovered. Although if it is a big event, everyone may not be familiar with each other.
  • In an emergency, you are the first person to act. And in principle, you can be contacted with any question.

Therefore, although for a standard ordinary case, this may be a suitable option, in the case of any riot, you will come to the foreground, which will be the opposite of our plan.


They are in every building, at every event. If you need to get somewhere, this might be a chance.

They are cleaning something, scurrying here and there, appearing unnoticed and also disappearing.

Gray Man Special Features

Better to get rid of anything that will help remember you. If possible.

For example, if you are too tall, you should not wear shoes with soles or visually stretch your silhouette. And if, on the contrary, you are too low, you can buy shoes with a hidden sole.

Just man’s long hair will be eye-catching. And for women, on the contrary, terse hair or a shaved head will cause attention.

For you, this trait may seem common, but for some, it may not.

Tattoos, piercings, this is what you can be recognized by. Although if you are at a tattoo convention, then people are more likely to be surprised that you do not have one.

How to Blend In During an Emergency: Camouflage Hacks


When SHTF, blending in with the crowd can be more difficult because people start to notice details, the brain starts working more carefully. The brain is looking for the best opportunities in a fight or flight response.

What would go unnoticed in another situation will attract attention in an emergency.

If people are running in one direction, and you in the other, if everyone went to one exit, and you to another. These actions can be performed only if you are sure that nobody will notice them. If you want to remain unnoticed, then you should not stand out for your actions or reactions to events.

How to Blend In After an Emergency

After SHTF, people can split into two camps according to their thoughts:

  • Camp of those seeking a victim;
  • Camp of those who need a leader.

Seeking a Victim

This is a smaller group but more dangerous. Your key job is to hide from them because these people will want to take away from you what you have prepared for SHTF situations — water, food, survival backpacks, money, weapons, they can take away any survival items.

In an emergency situation, these people can threaten your life or the lives of your friends, so you need to exit their target skillfully. To do this, you need to recognize these men (or women) quickly.

Repeat everything that people around you do, but maybe with less zeal. If they panic, feign panic too, but do not overdo it.

The key idea is to look indecisive, as confused as everyone else.

Need for the Leader

Most people need a leader, the one who will help them and tell them how to act. If you made a choice not to be a hero in survival situations, which may be the right way, because if you do not save yourself in the first place, then you will definitely not be able to help anyone in the future, then stick to the plan to leave the sight of people. You do not have to be a saving target.

When disaster strikes, the gray man leaves the place unnoticed and heads to the safe location or vehicle, possibly taking a friend or family with him.

Your survival supplies will not be enough for everyone, no matter how hard you try, and unfortunately, you cannot help all people that have zero levels of training.

Untrained and unprepared people will limit your movement, time, and resources. Yes, you may want to become a hero, help your neighbors or randomly meet ones, but this is different from the concept of a gray man. Our article is not about that way.

Therefore, if you decide to hide, then do not be heroic, but quietly leave to the safety.


The ability to become a gray man is one of the key skills of the post-apocalyptic world or disasters.

Your priority should be to keep yourself or your friend or family alive and get to the safe area as quickly as possible. Those who do not have a clear plan may even try to stop you, to interrupt your way. And a strategy of not drawing attention may be the best choice.

The advantage of being a gray man is that you will not even let someone think that you are perfectly prepared, and no one will want to take what you have from you. No one will notice you.

In a state of panic, people can do strange things, and it is best to get out of crowded areas as quickly and unnoticed as possible.

Study the streets of your city so that you can better navigate and leave faster in case of danger. More confidence in area orientation will help you.

Watch how you act, move, look, and even smell. Yes, the scent is a recognizable trait for someone. Bring with you a spare part of clothing, such as a cap or glasses, to tweak your appearance if necessary.

Mask not only your appearance but also the sounds. For example, if you need to break a window to get in, take advantage of the noise of a passing train or bus.

The key to becoming a grey man is observing society and becoming its most average and ordinary part. Treat this like a project to prepare for.

Being a grey man will help you increase your chances of survival. This might be your super-power of disappearing.

What thoughts do you have regarding this theory?


Why Use the Gray Man Theory?

Gray-Man theory may seem cruel to someone because, according to it, you are not only hiding from those who want to hurt you and take away your supplies of food, water, money, weapons, survival bags, and other stuff, but also from those who could find a leader and help in your face. The key reason is that this is done to protect yourself and your team (if you have any). Extra followers can be a problem since your resources are limited. As well as excessive attention from the military forces or government can reduce your chances of survival. Thanks to the gray man theory, you can leave the radars.

What does it mean to be a Gray Man?

To be a gray man means to be in the same area as other people but to be an unnoticeable part of the group. People can see the gray man, but they are not able to notice him or her. The idea is to be an average person that most people will not pay attention to. Clothing should be of inconspicuous colors. Actions should be the same as those of most people in this society. The gray man goes in the same direction as others.

What is GREY man theory?

The gray man is the one who goes unnoticed being on the surface, the one who does not attract the attention of prying eyes. Thanks to this theory, you can move around without too much attention when the world is on fire. The theory is based on the Reticular Activating System of the brain, which filters unnecessary information. Gray men move like shadows, although they are in the same locations as others. You can call it a self-defense way and a project of disappearing.

How To Be a Gray Man?

To become a gray man, you need to not draw attention to yourself. First, observe people, what features you pay attention to, and remove them from your image.

Blend into the terrain while looking like a typical representative of society. If you are in an American metropolis, then wear clothing of dark gray colors, take a not lost look, but also do not overdo it with confidence. You need to become someone who will be forgotten in a few seconds. The key idea is to be a typical and average one.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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