WATCH: The Prepper Grey Man Principle In Real Life

prepper grey man

The Grey Man principle is a prepper term for being bland and not standing out in your surroundings.  Most notably, followers of the principle say that wearing tactical clothing and backpacks will be a dead give away to others in a SHTF scenario that “this guy has stuff we need”.  This will inevitably lead to you being tracked and looted or even killed.

Rather than display all your preps, it’s recommended that you conceal what you have.  Instead of a tactical backpack, wear a regular school type backpack.  Instead of camouflage or other tactical gear, wear jeans or other ordinary clothing.

I personally struggle with this principle as tactical gear is very utilitarian/useful.  I do not want to give up my tactical backpack with all its compartments and survival uses for a cheap a** duffle bag.  I do not want to give up my tactical clothing which can shelter me from the elements for jeans or other clothing that is going to make me cold and and shivering.

Being a practical prepper, I think there is a balance between the two.  If you have the money and find a good use for it, buy the tactical or mil-spec gear.  So long as you shop and research it correctly, it WILL be beneficial to you.  However, there are indeed certain times in which you should or should not deploy it.  Here’s a couple examples:

  • If you’ve living in the city like in the video shown below, you definitely do not want to be bugging out with your tactical gear showing.   Wear regular clothing and try to conceal your pack in a garbage bag.  After you get to the outskirts of the city, you can decide whether it is safe enough to break out the gear.
  • If you live in the suburbs or country and there is not too much of a population threat around you, by all means break out the tac gear.  However, if you have to do a “run” into a populated area, think about putting on your “disguise”.

In any scenario, situational awareness of how surrounding individuals react to your presence is key.

Below is an analogous video to the prepper gray man principle.  I ask that you put aside any ethnic & gender issues and focus on the principle of the grey man when watching this video (this video’s purpose is geared more towards gender and Muslim issues).

When the woman is walking around with long hair and T-shirt, it  garnishes men’s attention (rightly or wrongly).  Imagine yourself as a prepper with tactical gear visible.   Think you would get the same attention? (To be clear, I do not support women wearing the hijab, so don’t even go there).

When she is completely concealed in a Muslim hijab, no one cares to even look at her.  Imagine that this is synonymous with concealing your gear in a dark inconspicuous bag.  Do you think you could slip by the mass of people?  Perhaps….at least you would stand a better chance at not garnishing unnecessary extra attention.


  • Sheila Orr

    I think it sucks that dressed as a Muslim she is ignored, but as an American she’s harassed.

    • Being that this is in NY, the hajib dress is probably fairly common. Whether she was wearing the Hajib or some other very bland clothing, it probably would have had the same effect. If this happened in Nebraska, it would probably be the complete opposite and she would get a lot of attention.

  • knotjammin2

    Damn fine article!!

  • Ok, on the video. First of all she is NOT totally ignored wearing the Hijab. People do turn and look at her but probably think “hey, she’ll never put out, she’s religious”… On the other hand you can’t deny she’s looked at wearing the skin tight clothes. What guy wouldn’t? I’m happily married and enjoyed watching such a shapely well endowed women walking. Women that dress like that to bring on the gaze of men are asking for trouble. If you’re not for sale don’t advertise.

    With that off my chest, I do prefer to be the gray man. I do not like others knowing I’m a prepper period, unless I am EXTREMELY good friends with them. I talk about that in my post here:

  • Loog Moog

    I would be TOTALLY suspicious of anyone who looked even REMOTELY muslum. I would be wondering what weapons she was concealing on her person. Other than that, I agree with your points and thank you for bringing the topic to our attention.

  • I really think it would depend on the situation as you said. Grey man in the city for sure to avoid detection, but once I hit a safe zone I would break out the gear.

  • SurvivAllExpert

    I think the counter point here is that people would “respect, fear, conform” to a man who was geared up and looked like he meant business. I trained as an M.P. and I still ride along with the local Sheriffs office on a regular basis – “crowd control” is a skill that can be developed just like any other. With my skills, location and gear I think I’d rather try to G.O.o.D. geared up.