Gray Man Tactics: Using Gray Man Theory To Stay Safe

December 19, 2022 6 min read

being silent is one of the grayman tactics


Gray man theory is all about not sticking out. Do you hate sticking out like a sore thumb? Have you always wanted to blend in but didn’t know how? As it turns out, you can turn shyness into a skill—in fact, blending in could save your life.

Wild animals in nature use camouflage all the time to avoid threats and survive. We humans can also do that by employing the gray man theory.

Keep reading to learn about the gray man theory, and learn gray man tactics you can employ to incorporate the art of blending in into your survival skills repertoire. 


What Is the Gray Man Theory?


a person who is unnoticed in the group is one of a grayman tactics


The gray man theory comes from military culture. In military training, the gray man is a candidate that does not stand out amongst his peers. They may not win events or have superior fitness, but they never fail. They are a candidate that consistently meets the standards. As a result, they do not stand out negatively to their instructors and are well-regarded by their peers.   

The gray man theory is a concept adopted by preppers to discuss how to blend in with any environment or situation, specifically stressful emergency scenarios, such as riots in the aftermath of natural disasters or other acts of civil disobedience. 

Due to the concept’s origins in military culture, it is common to think that only a man can act like a gray man. However, it is essential to note that a gray man does not have to be a man. Women can also employ gray man tactics to remain undetected in emergencies.  

To sum things up, in an ideal situation, a gray man (or woman) is an overlooked, forgotten, or utterly unnoticed person.

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Why Be a Gray Man?

Acting like a gray man during different emergency scenarios has many benefits.

  1. You can evacuate from an unsafe situation with your bug-out bag inconspicuously. 
  2. Conversely, you can take refuge or bug in with ease.
  3. You are less likely to be targeted.
  4. As a result, the food, water, or equipment you possess is more secure.

How to Be a Gray Man

Believe it or not, most of us instinctually already have what it takes to be a gray man. For example, in the past, you’ve probably employed gray man tactics to avoid someone in public. 

In addition, you’ve probably been a gray man without intentionally trying. Think about running errands around town and behaving like one of the locals (because you are) or dressing up for a sports event to blend in with the crowd and show support for your team.   


Dressing Like a Gray Man


dressing like a gray man


The first step to becoming a gray man is dressing the part. How you dress is vital to blending into whatever scenario life may throw at you. 

Blend In

Blending in is easier than you think, especially if you need to be a gray man in your hometown community. Chances are, you already dress pretty similarly to the local aesthetic—it’s only human to want to fit in.

However, there may be a scenario where you are caught far from home and must blend in. In this case, it will be essential to take stock of the situation and adjust your appearance to blend in. 

This doesn’t mean you have to literally wear all gray. But it may require you to ditch a piece of colorful clothing, change your footwear, or stop at a convenience store for a new outer layer.     

Avoid Logos and Emblems

When dressing like a gray man, it’s crucial to avoid logos and emblems. Artistic logos, symbols, and phrases on our clothing invite people to look more closely or to read what your clothing says.

In trying to decipher what brand you are wearing or what your hoodie says, they notice more about you, and you fail to blend in as you walk past them. 

Don’t Wear Flashy Jewelry

A gray man does not wear flashy jewelry like rings, bracelets, watches, earrings, or necklaces. In a pre-disaster context, jewelry is entirely ordinary. However, in an SHTF scenario, jewelry may attract unwanted attention.  

Conceal Your Tools and Gear

A gray man does not display their preparedness for the outside world. Instead, they conceal their equipment in baggy clothing or ordinary-looking containers. For example, use a large-fitting jacket to hide your everyday carry. Or, if you need to transport emergency supplies, do so in an old backpack.   

Dress Quietly

It’s imperative to ensure that your clothing (or gear) does not make noise. For example, avoid squeaky shoes, zippers, and noisy synthetic clothing. 

Similarly, if you are transporting gear or emergency equipment, we recommend packing your supplies tightly, so they do not make unwanted noises as you move. 


Behaving Like a Gray Man

Dressing like a gray man is one thing. However, to complete your concealment, you must also behave like a gray man. 

Avoid Eye Contact

In our culture, making eye contact when talking with someone is often considered normal, if not a sign of respect. In most cases, eye contact welcomes and sustains interaction.

However, you want to avoid as much interaction as possible as a gray man. One way to do that is to avoid eye contact. For example, as you move through a city or crowded mall, try not to look at people or greet them with a nod or smile like you usually would.     

Try Not to Partake in Conversation

Similarly, as a gray man, you must avoid conversation. For example, your friendly neighbor does not need to know where you are off to or what's going on. If someone asks you a question on the street, be polite but refrain from diving into a conversation.   

Match your Movement to the Local Scene

Behaving like a gray man in a populated area where there may be an incoming riot or crowds of people evacuating from a disaster is super important. In these scenarios, a gray man matches their movement to the local scene.  

Here are some helpful tips to focus on as you practice moving unnoticed through a crowded area. 


  1. Act as if you fit in by moving with confidence.
  2. Walk or run at the same speed as everyone else.

  3. Move with purpose, as if you know where you are going, even if you don’t.

  4. If you are alone but need cover, walk alongside larger groups to avoid the group's attention, while staying close enough to where other people think you’re part of the group.

  5. If you need to go in the opposite direction, move methodically, and avoid cutting through the crowd unpredictably.  

How To Practice Gray Man Tactics

Even though parts of being a gray man are instinctual in all of us, practicing your gray man tactics is still essential. 

We recommend considering dressing and behaving like a gray man as one of your survival skills—you wouldn’t want to leave it up to chance when SHTF. Instead, you will want to have your gray man tactics dialed in just like your other survival skills, such as building an improvised survival shelter or a fire.   

Hone Your Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is acute attention to what is occurring around you at any given moment. It is a perception of environmental events or stimuli concerning time and space, understanding their meaning, and predicting their future status. 

  1. Notice your surroundings – Detect threats and non-threats, recognize exit and entry points, and monitor for suspicious behavior of individuals.
  2. Practice predicting events – Observe the environment around you and the likely scenarios that could happen. Then, use your predictions to predict future actions you could take or how the environment could change.

  3. Be time conscious – Be aware of the time it takes you to complete tasks or to get to certain places—practice timing yourself to be better prepared for performing tasks or moving through certain zones in an emergency.
  4. Make use of your senses – Refrain from just looking and observing. Instead, use your sense of smell; listen to the background noise; touch and interact with the physical world.

Go People Watch

People-watching is a great way to practice being a gray man, and it’s something you can do regularly without investing too much extra time. For example, as you go shopping at the grocery store or run errands at the mall, ask yourself questions about the people you are observing to absorb the scene.  

go people ask is one of the gray man theories


  • What do they have in common?
  • What are they wearing?
  • What is the general vibe of the group?

In addition, take stock of people that draw your attention. Conversely, have a second look at people that you glance over almost without noticing. There is a lot to learn from being more observant in your daily routines. 


Final Thoughts On Becoming A Gray Man

Being a gray man is not reserved for military personnel and CIA covert operatives. You can be a gray man (or woman) if you take the time to hone your skills and prepare your equipment.

Becoming a gray man is like securing your home—by investing enough time and effort, you can blend into any environment, just like creating a safe space for your family.

For helpful blog articles like this, visit our Practical Prepper Blog. Or, to learn more about food prepping and survival food buckets, schedule a meeting with one of our product experts.