As a part of developing The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit (TUUSK) with the team at Ready To Go Survival our conversation turned to urban survival planning and strategy. We talked about our experiences with the various snowstorms, hurricanes, blackouts, and terrorist threats that we had been through and compared notes. In this email I am going to share the Top 5 Urban Survival Tips that came out of our brainstorming session. If you are not one of the 80.7% of people who live in an urban environment feel free to share these with anyone you care about who does.
- Top 5 Urban Survival Tips
- Urban Survival Tip #1 – Move fast before exit routes are clogged or closed
- Urban Survival Tip #2 – Be prepared for environmental hazards
- Urban Survival Tip #3 – Be a Grey Man or Woman
- Urban Survival Tip #4 – It’s better to look like a threat than a target
- Urban Survival Tip #5 – Follow your instincts, not the mob
- Putting These Tips Into Action
Top 5 Urban Survival Tips
Urban Survival Tip #1 – Move fast before exit routes are clogged or closed
There is a clear first mover advantage when evacuating a highly populated area. Once everyone around you gets the same idea, getting through the exits – bridges, tunnels, highways, or train routes will become hopelessly clogged. To ensure a speedy exit:
- Make sure your bug out bag is packed, accessible, and ready to go.
- Make sure everyone you are bugging out with is on the same page for when to initiate your bug out plan and where to meet
- When in doubt MOVE! Don’t wait for everyone around you to agree, get going. Be a survivor, not a statistic.
Urban Survival Tip #2 – Be prepared for environmental hazards
The modern urban landscape if full of dangers that become exposed in any type of disaster. Damaged buildings put all manner of dangerous debris in the air from asbestos and concrete dust to broken glass and toxic smoke.
We need to be sure that our bug out bag has the proper protective gear to keep us moving through such hazards, you never know what you will need to scramble over or through to get to safety.
Sturdy shoes, and well made pants and a long sleeve shirt should be your default bug out clothing even in summer to protect you from jagged or burning debris. Additionally consider having environmental protective gear to protect the rest of your body:
- Eye protection
- Hearing protection
- Respiratory/lung protection
- Hand protection
Urban Survival Tip #3 – Be a Grey Man or Woman
The idea of being a “Grey Man” (or Woman) is based around being fully prepared but inconspicuous as to not draw unwanted attention to yourself. This serves two purposes:
- Being a Grey Man will help you blend in with a crowd if people are being singled out or if you are trying to evade a pursuer
- Being a Grey Man will make you seem like a regular person instead of a target of opportunity for aggressive people who are less prepared than you
There are many ways to be a Grey Man and a lot of them just come down to common sense and not advertising your presence:
- Wear normal looking clothes, not camo or other tactical looking gear
- Remove any military style logos – The TUUSK bag comes with a velcro patch of the RTGS logo that can be removed at a moment’s notice to slip into the crowd
- Do not open your bug out bag in a public area where others can see that it is loaded with food, water, and survival gear that they may need.
- Avoid staring or unnecessary eye contact
- Conceal any obvious survival gear on your person
Urban Survival Tip #4 – It’s better to look like a threat than a target
In an urban scenario you are inherently more likely to encounter other people. Some of these people may be aggressive, desperate, or seeking to take advantage of others in the chaos. It is best to deter such advances before they even start by making yourself look like more trouble than it is worth to bother you.
- Travel in a group if you can, single people are far juicier targets than two or more people who are obviously together
- Have a self defense item ready to deploy if you are approached, this can be pepper spray, a firearm, knife, or other hand weapon. Showing you are armed and ready to defend yourself shows that you are not a target of opportunity
- Be aware of your surroundings – If you are being followed or possibly entering a dangerous area keep your eyes open and change course immediately
- Keep in mind the Grey Man tips above to keep off the radar of inquisitive people
Urban Survival Tip #5 – Follow your instincts, not the mob
When a disaster hits 99% of people are completely unprepared. You are reading this article so you are obviously of a mindset of preparing for the worst BEFORE it happens. Stick to your bug out plan and improvise when necessary.
If a mob of people is heading one way it doesn’t mean that is the best way for you. You don’t need to go in the opposite direction as everyone else but look for the safest way for YOU to reach your destination.
Follow your instincts when faced with a hard choice, not just the path of least resistance.
Putting These Tips Into Action
Partnering these 5 tips with a well thought out bug out bag will vastly improve your odds of making it through the next urban disaster alive. For more urban survival tips based on my real world experiences check out my article here: 10 Preparedness Lessons From Living In NYC.
As I mentioned at the top of this article these tips came out of the TUUSK project that I partnered with Ready To Go Survival (RTGS) on. The team at RTGS has been hard at work sourcing gear and getting the The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit ready to launch out into the world. If you are interested in getting your own TUUSK and free Lifestraw before they are made available to the general public check it out here.
Good luck prepping and remember, Chance Favors The Well Prepared.
Do you have an urban survival tip to share? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!