How to be a Prepper and a Gray Man

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In more articles than I can recall I’ve discussed the importance of being a gray man (or woman) in the digital age, an increasingly difficult task as technology continues to progress and become more invasive.  Keeping your identity hidden in sinister times like these is pretty important, and if you haven’t started taking steps to being a gray prepper, we are going to go over a few tips and tricks that’ll help you in your efforts.

George Orwell Quote If You Want to Keep a Secret
What is a gray man?

Ask ten guys, and you’ll get ten answers, but my idea of a gray man is someone who blends into the population, someone you wouldn’t take a second look at, but is trained and ready for the worse case scenario.  If you want a more indepth explanation of what a gray man is you can check out a long time acquaintance of usCrow, Graywolf Survival.  But I’m not here to write a thesis on being a gray man, you all know my style — short and direct.
There are also plenty of other folks out there who claim to be gray, while running three blogs, five Facebook groups, habitually posting on Instagram, and have a YouTube channel full of their every thought and desire.  My point is there’s a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.  If your only goal for reading this article is to only further enhance your mystique, instead of perfecting your preparedness planning and goals, then please move on.

Why should preppers go gray?

As you should know or accept by now, being a prepper is going to make you a target to those who are unprepared.  Much to my dismay, almost every single prepper I know that is part of the post-Obama freak out treats being a prepper like a fad instead of a serious means of survival.  Sure, it’s great having more people prepared for when the shit hits the fan with less leeches to worry about, but if that preparedness quantifies their likelihood of being targeted, what’s the point?  You would think the negative outweighs the positive in that scenario.

I’ve talked about OPSEC/PERSEC so many times throughout many of our articles for that very reason.  If you are a prepper your personal security comes first!  Facebook is going to get you killed.  Being an administrator for a survival site I’m obviously in many Facebook groups (I’ll explain my hypocrisy later), with thousands of acquaintances, and I see how much and what a lot of you post.  If I were an ‘unprepared’ kind of guy, in your neighborhood, and in need when the shit hits the fan, your house will be the first house me and my posse would hit first.

Roving bands of assholes armed to the teeth is a pretty scary thought, but the federal government before and after doomsday is far more frightening in my opinion.  WIth the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paying your fellow citizens, the people you call ‘friends’ on Facebook, are getting paid for snitching on you if they notice ‘prepper’ habits.  Even better even the local businesses get paid to rat on you if your shopping activities are ‘suspicious’.  It’s no secret, is no friend or fan of the government, and we feel the government will take advantage of their fire power, their knowledge of our habits, who and where we are, and will become the most tyrannical government at the drop of a dime.

The gray prepper and civilians..

My intent is not to marginilize civilians, but being a prepper and a gray man is a professional interest that well exceeds your average civilian’s understanding and ability.  With this mindset, you will need to learn how to blend in with civilians to prevent exposing who you are.  How you interact with civilians is what makes the difference between someone who stands out bringing about suspicion, and someone who blends into the crowd.  There are five basic rules to apply when interacting with civilians;

1.    Casually avoid eye contact in big crowds, while scanning the people around you for suspicious behavior.
2.    Keep conversations short while casually making eye contact.  There are some people who will interrogate you just because it’s in their nature.  A good trick to disengage conversations is to ‘glaze over’, which will almost always shut the soccer detectives down.
3.    Do not volunteer information i.e. prepper beliefs, political ideologies, training, career, and all your other cards should be kept close to the vest.
4.    Personality mirroring heavily relies on your skills of intuition by recognizing the personality traits of someone you’re having a conversation with, and reflecting those traits to prevent that person from learning anything about you, while keeping the individual engaged long enough to extrapolate information.
5.    Think with your head, not your heart, not your junk, your head.  Allowing emotion into your interactions with civilians means ego, greed, lust, hatred, vanity, and every other nasty little feeling that’ll get you marked is invited to the party.  Am I saying you should be a heartless sociopath?  Absolutely not, but cheap acquaintances aren’t worth a four second dopamine rush.  Eat some chocolate when you get home and you’ll be fine.

Wouldn’t you like to be my neighbor?

No, no I wouldn’t.  Every single prepper falls for it, the prestigious position of being King or Queen of the Cul-de-sac.  I get it, the work week was long, your boss made you stay a couple hours past your shift, and it’s time to go home, and unwind with your family, and friends (in most cases your neighbors).  You’ve got the football game on, steaks grillings, bottles popping, and ten to fifteen people going in and out of the house for this and that.  Out of all the people in and out of your home there might be one or two people you don’t know, awkwardly walking throughout your home, and stumbling on a carpet on your floor.  The stranger regains his balance to notice the kicked over rug exposed a 4′ x 4′ latched door that he can speculate has money, guns, drugs, and/or food. Mental note…

A few years later, the U.S. powergrid is attacked by some nameless entity causing the entire country’s descent into pure hell, grocery stores have been empty for two weeks, finding drinkable water has been getting increasingly more difficult, and that very same stranger ‘Tom’ that frequented your house a few years back hasn’t been able to feed his children on eight days, and they’re barely surviving by drinking water from the neighbors toilets.  Tom is getting very desperate.  Tom is thinking about using the gun that’s been hidden in his closet collecting dust on him and his daughters, in a last ditch effort to keep his kids from dieing of starvation…  Suddenly Tom remembers the King of the Cul de Sac….  How do you think this story ends kids?

I hope my colorful, and optimistic story above has finally gotten my point to sink in with you guys.  Yeah?! Neato…  Now let’s talk about some ways you can you can still have the glitz and glamour without all the risk.  The goal for any prepper in a neighborhood who is trying to live the gray life, is to make yourself look like a normal everyday American sticking to a couple of these rules;

1.    Anything that can be found will be found.  Having a food, water, and weapons cache in your home means you will need to identify a location in for your cache that couldn’t be found even if you’re looking for it.
2.    Don’t tell anyone you’re a prepper.  If your entire neigborhood are active preppers no harm no foul, but if they are against guns, don’t prep, and/or are liberals keep your business to yourself.
3.    Keep your home organized and discrete.  Some people are slobs and some are not, but if you’re a prepper you need to keep your  home organized with the goal of not leaving out ammo, casings, targets, books, receipts, and etc  in plain view.
4.    Control movement and prevent entry into your home.  BBQs are meant for the outside, so what are people coming in your house for?  No good reason, and if they don’t come in what’s to worry about..
5.    Social butterlies will die.  It’s OK to be social but its not OK to by hyper social.  Even if you keep all your preps out of public eye being a social butterfly sends unwanted signals to all your neighbors.  Why is this a bad thing?  When the shit hits the fan who do you think they’re going to turn to for help?  You.  Further exposing yourself.

The gray shopper!

Shopping for your supplies, food, weapons, and gear can get you flagged by DHS and other government agencies, ending your party before it even starts.  Now, I can be the first to admit I have a shopping issue, but I’ve learned to curb my impulses a little bit….actually I’m lying, impulse buying is still an issue for me. Ha.  If you have the money, by all means get what you need.  Just shop for your preps in a smart manner…

⦁    Buy a CostCo Membership or Sams Club Membership and go to town!  When stocking up on food shopping at either one of these stores won’t get you flagged.  Ideally you want to go after the sun sets, so when you get home you have the cover of night keeping your nosey neighbors from seeing what you’re bringing in.
⦁    Shop on Amazon with an Amazon Prime Membership providing free two day membership, access to Amazon Pantry, and tens of thousands of vendors allowing you to satisfy every little prepper impulse you ever feel.  Trust me.  Amazon is by far my most favorite ecommerce site.
⦁    Purchase canned goods and basic prepper items from the Dollar Store.  One it’s cheap, and two nothing you can do at the Dollar Store would be considered weird or out of the ordinary.  Same goes for Wal-Mart to a certain degree.
⦁    Use payment methods that are harder to track such as paying in cash, bartering, and/or using prepaid debit cards for online purchases.  Prepaid debit cards can be purchased online, or in grocery and convenience stores.
⦁    Use a private mail box with an alias like ‘Rooster Cogburn’ or whatever for all shipments and correspondence.  Do not us a P.O. Box that requires proper identification.  You can do a Google search for ‘private mail box (your city)’ that’ll give you a few results with some reviews.

Dressing like a Gray Man…

How you dress sends out a lot of messages.  Does every guy or girl wearing a pair of tactical pants and an Under Armour compression shirt live the ‘pew pew’ life?  Well, if I were so inclined to follow them to their car I have no doubt I’d see a couple Molon Labe stickers, veteran plates, and other things that’d tell me more.   How you dress, and the stuff you put on your car/truck tells people a lot about you.  If being gray isn’t a concern of yours then by all means there is no problem whatsoever representing the 2A community.  This guide’s only for people who want to blend in by avoiding;

⦁    Wearing tactical clothing
⦁    Open carrying
⦁    Branding your car
⦁    Slogan shirts

Note: The way you carry yourself can be picked up on.  Maybe I’m just an obsessive guy that focuses on human behavior and characteristics more than I care to admit, but I can pick out people’s careers and personality just by observing how they carry themselves.  Cops are the easiest to pick out, something about the way they stand and how they move is just obvious as hell…

Keyboard Commandos

Come on kids, the internets been around for a while now, so when’s this trend going away?  Not any time soon would be my guess, and until that time you guys have to get your internet habits under control.  Exposing yourself on the internet turns you into a target.  Acquaintances, friends, and government agencies all watch your social profiles.  If you absolutely must have a social presence follow these tips to stay safe…

Use two profiles; your prepper profile and your personal profile.  Your personal profile can have your face, be friends with your family and coworkers.  You prepper profile can’t have any pictures of your face or Facebook’s biometric algorithm will pick it up and you’ll start seeing familiar faces from your other profile, and use an alias for your profile while making sure you don’t friend people from your other profile.  Don’t post your preps to your personal profile.  If you want to keep making connections, be in groups to learn new survival techniques, and shoot the shit with other preppers use your prepper account so people can’t identify you.  Use different emails for different tasks.  if it’s prepper related use a prepper email! tarting to see the pattern yet?  When it comes to being online you have to have two identities!  If you’re making some ‘serious purchases’ make the purchase while using Starbuck’s Free WiFi (or any other place that offers WiFi).

FInal thoughts…

The simple steps listed above are nothing more than the beginning of your journey into the gray world of preppers.  With time, and disciplined methodology, you will not exist, or at least it’ll be damn hard to prove you do.  Depending on how serious you want to get into the gray lifestyle there will be no paper trail showing where you are, you’ll have liquid assets, self-sustained, well-prepared, and no one (including big brother) will give you a second look.  You decide your level of involvement.  How serious do you want to take this?
If you want to learn more about the gray lifestyle feel free to check out Graywolf’s site, who has become the gray aficionado in the prepper community, while not being a particular strong suit.  As always, if you have any tips feel free to comment below!


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About Administrator Ryan

Administrator Ryan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Administration and Management from the University of Kentucky, and has been the primary handler for since it's founding. Professional background includes over a decade's experience in survival and preparedness, graphic design, computer programming, website coding, and asset management. Personal background in mountaineering, climbing, rappelling, combat training, and big game hunting.

15 thoughts on “How to be a Prepper and a Gray Man

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  5. Additional comment, if you don’t mind–My Dad taught me the “personality mirroring” thing when I was young. Idea is that it helps put the other person at ease because they think you’re like them. Has done me well as a cashier, because the customers who want to talk feel free to blab. Oddly, this helped ID a couple of guys who planned on doing something not nice. They wanted to know if we had anything that would stop the bleeding of a gunshot wound. They left with tampons, and the authorities were later able to ID them cuz we got a good look at them on camera. It has also helped me notice out-of-towners who’ve bought land in these here hills for purposes of bugging out.

    • Very good. Personality mirroring works until you meet someone who knows a little about psychology, but then again in this day and age everyone thinks they’re some kind of Freudian genius just because they read a five paragraph blurb in Cosmo on personality traits. I find myself further and further retreating from the world as the days go by, and if you want to know a secret, come January 2017 we will all need to be grey…

  6. I guess I’m living sort of medium gray. My FB profile doesn’t have a pic, and the most they could tell from that is I love my family and like puppies. I don’t wear things that make me stand out in public, don’t discuss politics/religion with folks I don’t know. Some ppl know I’m a prepper, but lately I’ve been telling them that times are so hard we’ve been living off the storage and there isn’t much left. not far from the truth. We don’t talk about what we have, don’t do much in daylight, or if the neighbors are outside. Leeching family members are told to stay away. We have plans that can easily take us from gray to black, but for now, still have to live in the world. The article was good, and got me to consider maybe being just a bit more gray. Thanks

  7. Great article! I do many of these things (including some of the suggestions in the comments). When I was “new” to being a prepper, I liked just about every page and post on FB and joined every group I could. After a new acquaintance (who is also a prepper and former “operator”) made a comment, I realized how out there I was.

    That was kind of my “eye opening” moment. Fixed that issue . . . and then some.

  8. Using Starbucks WiFi to connect to the Internet to make “serious purchases” is unlikely to keep you “gray”. Steer clear of Starbucks, McDonald’s and any other large chains to access free WiFi. Better to use a small mom & pop type place, that is less likely to have the wherewithal to collect the MAC address from your device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) when you connect to their router and is also less likely to have security cameras that record everything. Even better, double up and also use the FireFox TOR Browser, to make it look like your connected to the Internet in another country. Also make sure the web site you connect to is secure (HTTPS as per UsCrow). Because of facial recognition software, you should avoid cameras like the plague or obscure your face. If you drive to your free WiFi spot, do not park right outside the door!

  9. been living that way for decades. good pointers. opsec/persec coupled with personal discipline in time becomes the norm. and will lend to the ability of observing people. I learned by many lessons many moons ago that a friend can turn into your worst enemy. acquaintances can be all right if kept on a leash. I just tell everyone that I’m just a bit shy. I would not ever mention that word loner. Always remaining friendly but non committal to anyone. Never change someone’s mind by tell them what you would do. Start that with I don’t know but maybe, and then leave them alone.

  10. Thank you for your article. Few of us realize how much that unique shirt or vehicle brings you into scrutiny. Tricked out vehicles / fancy motorcycles tell the world you have excess wealth and Bad Guys can target you for a home invasion. This threat is worse when your home is near a public park or shopping center, where a daily crowd of strangers can gather without you paying attention.

    Thanks again.

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