Home Survival 101 Urban Camouflage, Escaping A Metropolis

Urban Camouflage, Escaping A Metropolis

by Kyt Lyn Walken

“The world is getting to be such a dangerous place, a man is lucky to get out of it alive.” ~W. C. Fields

When it comes to SHTF events, finding yourself stuck somewhere in a metropolitan area, could be one of the most dangerous places to be. The cons of attempting to flee will likely exceed the pros of sheltering in place: crowding, looting, and violence are likely threats to those who stay put.



Preppers and Survivalists are well aware of that being prepared involves situational awareness and being cold blooded if and when necessary. This is especially applicable during extended periods of urban chaos, marked by riots, which may separate members of your family/circle. Staying away from big cities in this type of situation is the best option you will have.

A urban SHTF event will likely confront you with the following issues: extended power outages and black outs, shortages of supplies, food, and medications. Hospitals ma be impossible to reach and overcrowded.

Your EDC items may not be sufficient to save your life. In that case, you’ll need to resort to other measures including: creativity, intuition, and profiling.

The last one, in particular, will help you analyze people in your vicinity and to predict their intentions. This is especially helpful for protecting yourself and your possessions.

Knowing the skills to transform yourself into a Grayman is surely the best way to start. Especially if you are caught offguard because you find yourself in a city for a business meeting, shopping, whatever.


The Grayman & Profiling

“Going to the theater or having the honor of performing in theater reminds you of your humanity in a very different way. It’s a real release and an incredible challenge. But the stage is a dangerous place. You gotta be trained. Plus, crowds like when things go wrong. I think that’s part of the thrill. Anything can happen.” ~ Nina Arianda

Profiling methods have been developed by the FBI since the 1970s. It primarily consists of gaining as much data as possible on an individual.

Some clues are:

  • Approximate income (from the way they dress)
  • Habits & tendencies( body language, gestures)
  • Social status
  • Job

This data can greatly benefit you in determining if you can trust someone. When profiling someone you need to be cautious. The other person may become suspicious and defensive.

If you appear harmless, you’ll be proficient in gaining information on people without revealing your intentions.

In a city, the more “invisible” you are as a Grayman, the more advantages you will gain. Whether it be escaping in a silent manner, evading bad people, or not leaving any signs of your passage.

With regards to being a Grayman, how will urban camouflage, concealment and anti-tracking benefit you?

Some guidance on these topics follows …


Urban concealment

“For the anarch, little is changed when he strips off a uniform that he wore partly as fool’s motley, partly as camouflage. It covers his spiritual freedom, which he will objectivate during such transitions. This distinguishes him from the anarchist, who, objectively unfree, starts raging until he is thrust into a more rigorous straitjacket.” ~ Ernst Junger

In addition to the psychological nuance of camouflaging, we need to consider the fluid, and ever changing features, of metropolitan areas.

Many versions of urban camouflage have been developed over the years. Camouflaging soldiers, vehicles, weapons and equipment has  been a priority for military and paramilitary law enforcement purposes even more. A wide range of camo products are available to the general public.

The Russian Army has created and used multiple urban camouflage tactics/products. They were incredibly effective in cities during the Soviet occupation.

A remarkable document on this topic is “Camouflage and Deception Techniques for Urban Warfare” by Thomas Steck. It was written in 1980. It focuses on …

“A task of this work was to define the urban area. recognizing its important transportation and communications systems. Research included historical analysis, statistical study of urban growth. andi an inquiry into the present worldwide doctrine dealing with urban warfare. Consideration was given to strategic points of view, concentrating on those tactics deemed relevant to urban warfare: e.g.. aerial reconnaissance. direct sight. and ground line communications. The report concludes that camouflage and deception can be tactically significant in urban warfare provided that effective materials are provided and that proper training is given to the using troops.” ~ Thomas Steck, 1980

But what if you’re solo? It goes without saying that you cannot move alone by wearing, let’s say, a BDU found somewhere. Anyone, especially trained guerrillas, may easily spot you and identify you as a potential threat. Preparing urban colored clothes (grey, white, black, dark grey) will help you blend into a crowd. You do not want to stand out.

The goal is to move undetected without anyone paying undue attention to you.


Urban Warfare features: combining skills to escape

“The problem is inherent in urban warfare are as old as mankind; the city provided the defender an area for consolidation of forces and hopeful expulsion of the invader. With its narrow streets and interior lines, the city prevented the invader from using his mobile forces (chariots; cavalry; tanks) effectively, thus reducing the speced of the attacking forces to that of the infantry. In addition, every building became a fortress from which the defender held off the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties upon him. The inherent defensive advantage of a city has continued to the present. The overall effect has been to convince the strategists and tacticians to state in their Field Manuals “avoid combat within cities.” ~ Thomas Steck

Making your way out of built-up areas involves a large number of different skills.

Above all, these are the most important:

  • Self reliance
  • Intelligence
  • Resilience
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity

Flexibility is required due the constant movement of people and vehicles in metro areas.

As introduced in one of my previous articles, the application of anti-tracking and man-tracking, will come in handy to check your trail and to detect if the area you’re in is safe or not.

This happens will be extremely helpful when you move through rundown areas, which have the presence of smashed materials, sands, and so on. They’re good track-traps to for capturing footprints or tire tread evidence!

Pairing low profile clothes with these skills will allow you to move undetected in an intelligence manner.

In the manual I wrote several years ago titled “The Urban Tracker” (2020) I pointed out the following principles:

“The fundamental point for tracking (and urban tracking makes no ecceptions) is Locard’s exchange principle: “Every contact leaves a trace”. Simple but true, any person who crosses an environment will leave behind a large amount of evidence — even microscopic and easily overlooked !— of his/her movements.” ~ Kyt Lyn Walken, “The Urban Tracker”, 2020

If you’re attempting to escape a city, avoid crossing ponds, fresh asphalt/tar/concrete, and from public parks and gardens. You don’t want to leave any sign of your passage!



“In addition to reversible urban camouflage, the future soldier may have available site-specific, rapidly deployable urban camouflage. Using special algorithms, an ink jet system will rapidly and accurately design the appropriate disruptive pattern, select the optimum color combination and print the fabric for the specified urban terrain. The technology for urban spectral terrain data gathering and quick fabrication is mature and here today. Computerized ink jet printing systems are currently available on a very limited basis; however, the technology is consistently evolving and should be applicable and widely available in the near future.” ~ United States Department of Defense

Moving in a fast and safe way can and will be achieved through years of experience, and proactively assessing the probability of risks and planning for them.

It’s important for all of us to develop the previously mentioned skills before a SHTF event happens. You may never know when you will have to put your skills in action.

Ultimately, when you face an abrupt change of situation, you may not have time to think. Panic may overcome you. In this type of situation you need to stay focused and utilize your skills on autopilot, aka second nature.

Your reaction threats should be the result of your competence, preparation, common sense, skills and endurance.

“A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” ~ Proverbs 27:12

Kyt Lyn Walken

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