How to Choose an Urban Survival Bag

Urban Survival Bag

Choosing an Urban Survival Bag is a lot different than choosing your Bug Out Bag. In some ways it is easier because you probably don’t need to worry about having a MOLLE system or an internal or external frame. However, there are some things you need to consider before choosing your urban survival bag.

There are generic qualifications you would look for in any backpack; sturdy, pockets, comfort, and I trust most people will be able to figure those out for themselves. The one thing you really want to ask when choosing an urban survival bag is Does it blend?

Why Blend?

If you are in an urban survival scenario do you really want to be the person with an olive drab rucksack full of gear walking through the streets of a chaotic city? You would absolutely scream Prepared!”

Urban Survival BagPeople will see you and think “Hey that guy probably has some gear or food”

Law Enforcement will see you and think “That guy might have a weapon I need to stop and search him

Survivalists always talk a lot about camouflage in the bush. We have camouflage for everything. Why should urban survival be any different? Being prepared is about bringing the tools for the job.

In an urban survival situation you want to blend. Go with the flow. Look like just another scared sheep trying to get home. So you should choose an urban survival bag that works for you.

Choosing a Bag

So what do you look for in an urban survival bag? Simple: Dark colors and no camo.

When you walk around your city how many hundreds of people carry a backpack that you never even notice? Be one of those people.

Camo screams prepared and survivalist. Bright colors are generic in backpacks but can draw attention.

Buy a dark colored generic backpack that fits your needs and doesn’t look overly outdoorsy and fill it full of lifesaving gear no one will ever notice in the aftermath of an urban emergency.

How Will You Blend?

I am interested to know if any of our readers have other ideas for blending in during an urban crisis? Leave a comment a let us know.

Visit our new Survival Gear Store – Forge Survival Supply

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

mr_smashy April 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I've changed jobs drastically over the last few years, and my EDC bag has gone from this:
to this:

I can't run as well with the messenger bag setup, but it's actually MORE functional than the jocked out MOLLE pack. The interior is high contrast and finding gear and the admin area is setup very nicely. There is a whole flickr set dedicated to how the messenger bag is setup here:…

Does it blend? Sure. Do I blend? I need to learn how to walk like a human being and stop checking my six every five meters, keep my hands either in or out of my pockets, stop scanning people's faces and hands, etc. Then I have a shot at blending.


roguesun July 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm

>I need to learn how to walk like a human being and stop checking my six every five meters, keep my hands either in or out of my pockets, stop scanning people's faces and hands, etc. Then I have a shot at blending.

That's interesting. I'm trying to get better at scanning faces and hands and checking my six. Maybe there's a way to do it without the zombies noticing.


ru12bseen August 26, 2010 at 9:27 am

I ran into a situation last night that I would like input on. I went to the grocery store with my wife and I had my EDC bag with me. Turns out that my starter failed in the parking lot of the grocery store and had to get the truck towed to a local mechanic. I called some friends to come get us. What this made me think of, though, was what I had in my bag. I noticed that I was wearing shorts and the temp was dropping quick. I didn't have any pants in my EDC bag. Is that somehting you would recommend for the EDC bag? Would you put some light weight synthetic pants in? Just wondering. It was an awesome experience because my lovely wife, who has been watching my preps with curious eyes, really saw how handy that bag was even though we didn't have to use anything in it last night.


aj52 September 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Consider zip off leg pants.


Lucas_SurvCache April 8, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Awesome set of pics! Thanks for sharing.

I didn't know what you meant about the high contrast interior until i looked at the pics. I bet that really helps.

You're right you have the right bag to blend, but I guess only you can help not be so "tactically obvious" maybe is a good way to put it.

For people who don't know what to look for, they will still never see you, but for people who do know (the ones you should probably be worried about) then you might stick out.

Keep up the good work.


Josh April 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I am homeschooled so when I actually do get out and about its usually when normal kids are in school. A school age kid walking around during school hours automatically draws attention. I dont carry around a backpack full of gear because it would just draw even more attention to my person. I do however carry a couple of EDC items on my person such as a SAK in my pocket, a large multi- tool and flashlight crammed into a cellphone case on my belt, a book of matches, mini Bic lighter, and a Victorinox Executive stuffed into my wallet in addition to money and I.D.


Lucas_SurvCache April 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Josh, thats a good thing to notice. Knowing you own situation and how to remain "grey" (there, but not noticed) is different for everyone. Sounds like you have a good handle on yours.


Josh April 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I am homeschooled so when I actually do get out and about its usually when normal kids are in school. A school age kid walking around during school hours automatically draws attention. I dont carry around a backpack full of gear because it would just draw even more attention to my person. I do however carry a couple of EDC items on my person such as a SAK in my pocket, a large multi- tool and flashlight crammed into a cellphone case on my belt, a book of matches, mini Bic lighter, and a Victorinox Executive stuffed into my wallet in addition to money and I.D.


caine30 June 21, 2010 at 2:17 am

that is all cool Josh my friends that live in citys think along the same lines i always get in trouble when i go to a city because i carry on my side my gerber gator folder and my gerber multi tool with my mini mag flash light it all well and good out home no one even thinks twice about me because they are carring almost the same on their belt so I go visit friends at their work on their breaks and feel like i am going naked by taking them off i have learned that it never hurts to keep a pocket knife but not a belt knife lol


yatahey June 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm

blending in is an art in itself. Someone with a molly pack or any other military style pack is just easy meat. You may have a concealed weapon, but you may be surprised how many city kids are carrying. Since they run and would run in packs you'd loose. Someone that stands out with all that cool gear is icing on the cake. If its a big city, I'd seat still and wait for nite. You can usually hear a group a couple of blocks away. And you would know that if you spot three or four males or females at 3:00 a.m. there are probably not up to anything good. Carry a couple of black yard bags, there are alot of rivers to cross before I make it home and flotation is a must.


yatahey June 30, 2010 at 12:42 am

grey dark colors work great. I have a worn 2nd hand store skater's pack with a small skateboard tied to it to blend with my surroundings. I carry enought to get me to my home which also means two garbage bags for flotation- Bridges will be monitored and dangerous. Stay off of freeways and at nite which means a flash lite with red lense. One MRE. A map, compass and a side arm. multi tool and paracord. I figure anywhere from two to three days as the crow flies. Being on the other side of the fence in my youth if I see someone with a BOB with supplies and I need to get home, that person may be history.


Lucas_SurvCache June 30, 2010 at 4:47 am


Sounds like a good set up and Get Home Plan, or Bug Out Plan, whatever the case may be.

I like your flotation garbage bags too. I've done flotation system with blown up pants and shirt for emergency training before but it's a good bit of work and not really fun.


yatahey June 30, 2010 at 4:55 am

I agree on the pants. that was #1 survival in the coast guard. Up here I have two rivers to cross, one at leat three different times. However there are canals and streams that could be a problem depending on the time year. one for flotaion and one to keep my clothes dry. Once home (and getting back to family is #1) I can modify if we need to leave the house.


RudeBoy August 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I have a small, black camelbak day pack. Ive streamlined everything and can travel really light. Holds all the essentials plus all the random crap I use on a daily basis.


ru12bseen August 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I am new at building this whole thing and am putting it all together, so I don't have much to offer here. However, I would add that Ebags makes some incredible back packs that are innocuous but tough and ready to carry load. I have one for my laptop and I am surprised by its versitality. As Mr. Smashy mentioned, these bags also have the interior contrast thing going on. I would also add that instant oatmeal makes a pretty nifty EDC addition. I can be eaten with or without water and has lots of goodies in it and it scrunches down to a small shape. :-)


Joe August 3, 2010 at 1:15 am

I think the idea that an ALICE pack stands out and people will think you have equipment or are armed is a bit outdated. We have been at war for enough years now that there is a LOT of surplus on the market. BDUs and other surplus items are now very common. I live in the chicago area and nobody would look at you twice because of an ALICE pack.


RudeBoy August 3, 2010 at 3:35 am

Joe, have you ever actually seen anybody walking down the street in an ALICE pack? Second, have you ever lived through urban chaos and total disintegration of social order? Besides, I'll think youre armed. Isnt that enough? Where there is one there is many.


Joe August 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Was there some kind of, "Buy an ALICE pack and get a free gun" deal that I missed out on?
"Have I ever actually seen anybody walking down the street in an ALICE pack?" That's like asking if I've ever seen anyone wear a hat. I've seen a lot of them. Many college students use them as book bags. And you can go right on thinking I'm armed. That's the beauty of concealed carry. You should treat everyone as if they are armed because you just don't know.
"Have I ever lived through …?" No. But I'm pretty sure the fashion police take that day off. When everything first hits the fan the masses are more concerned with getting a free stereo or TV than they are with getting your 3 MREs and flint and steel. By the time they start getting hungry you shouldn't be on the streets.
I don't think wearing a baseball cap means you play for the Cubs and a bathrobe does not mean you are Hugh Hefner. Why would a green pack make you a survivalist?
I personally hate the ALICE pack. I think it is too short and too fat. There are many better options in internal frame climbing and hiking packs.


RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 7, 2010 at 1:15 am

Let me guess, just buy yourself a big ol suburban commando pack with lots of MOLLE webbing? lol I cant help but think Ive touched a nerve. BDU's and surplus are very common and have been for a long time amongst many different groups but we arent talking pants here. You mentioned ALICE packs and how they are so common you likened them to baseball caps. In Chicago, Joe? I lived in Wicker Park which possesses every demographic from the largest concentration of Latin Kings anywhere to dumb, rich, yuppies. I never recall anyone lumbering down the street in a framepack absurdly large and out of place for its enviroment.


RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 7, 2010 at 1:17 am

Im gonna go out on a limb here and chalk that up to the above mentioned Latin Kings and their skill at being able to spot "free" stuff and the rubes that are willing to show the world what they are carrying. This is a discussion about blending in. About not drawing undue attention to yourself. You seemed to miss my point. Its not so much what youre carrying your gear in as opposed to obviously carrying a lot of gear. "Stuff" makes you a target.

Scott August 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I am constantly working at condensing what I think I need and what I actually have to have to survive a man made or natural disaster. Never stop questioning every item you plan to carry! In the Marines our smoking light was always out so should be the case in survival mode. I only need to get from point A to point B. If I smell bacon I am coming to see what goes with the bacon. If I see a warm fire I know you have other useful resources, I will track you, monitor you and if the need arises I will take what I need from you. This is an unfortunate reality of what will happen when the SHTF. Train, get fit, control your diet, use your BoB resources once a month to life off, adapt and overcome. Go to the worse part of your city and spend 3 nights with your Bug Out Bag to see what it will be like.



Earl August 15, 2010 at 2:05 am

Scott, an excellent set of points. I grew up in Alaska hunting and fishing and loving the outdoors. I have some skills with respect to survival outdoors, albeit they are, of course, limited. My general question regarding BOBs are where are people planning to go? I understand if you are at work or away from your house and family and you just want to get back there… but once you do get home, isn't that the place where you prepare to make your stand?

I'd like to read more about "destinations" with BOBs if one is preparing to leave one's house or residence. I am serious, lets talk about that and then get back to BOB contents with mission in mind. Of course there are variables but lets talk generally about where we are going prepared.


RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 17, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Best point yet, Earl. I think most people (preppers) dont realize what long term survival entails. I think lots of folks end up getting caught up in the "stuff" and not the where, when, and how. A big bag of stuff isnt going to help you if you are not prepared in body and mind as well as possessing the required skills and a fluid working plan. I have a large rural property I plan on retreating to if the time comes. Soon it will become our primary residence. This is 40 acres crawling with game, its remote, borders protected lands, has fresh water, shelter, timber, supplies, etc. I am a realist however. I live within a 6 hour radius of most of the population of the U.S. Because of this I realize I might have to leave all this behind based on the situation and reaction of the huge numbers of people on the east coast. Im just going to have to adapt , improvise and overcome.


carolyn August 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

One comment on clothing. Long pants, a long sleeve shirt and good shoes are a must. If there is a natural disaster and you have to walk through rubble the long pants and sleeves will protect you from cuts and also protect you from cold in winter and sun burns in summer. Good shoes will help you over any mess and protect you from rodents and snakes if you are walking through water.


aj52 September 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm

If the idea is just to carry enough to get home in 2 to 3 days why carry a pack of any sort at all? A fishermans or photographers vest is loaded with pockets. Keep a wind breaker with the vest to put on to conceal it from common observation. All the basics could be carried. It might not be so much that the bad guy wants what's in your pack as maybe he just needs/wants your pack to carry his stuff.


Carmen October 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

As brand new to this site I may br talking to the choir. I found a couple of items that I stuck in each bug out bag was a plumbers flint striker with additional flints, medicine bottles filled with pencil shavings, vasoline, cotton makeup (round pads) and clothes dryer lint. Cheaper than the blast match, butane lighter etc.


Carmen October 11, 2010 at 11:25 pm

For blending in I have found it very easy, I have looked into the area that I had to go through or to and looked at the neigbhorhood dress styles. Looked for in using public trandsporation who rides the bus or train and if they were factory or high end business managers. I have also used plain plastic store bags doubled up for strength in lieu of a backpack. A roll of blueprints on the outside also conceals longer items.


Ford October 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I think survival is all and well and I know that you don't want a random groups of people looking for you to share your supplies but I'm also for helping out those in need. I do agree with the dark color and blending in, and let me know if i'm wrong, but I have a bright orange backpack. My reasoning is that it helps me be seen by any form of rescue from long distance and If someone really does need help then i'd hope the backpack would be a beacon to those in need.


Pass October 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I have a camo bag for obvious reasons, but i also have a yellow and black waterproof covers that are used to waterproof backpacks. Helmets come with different types of (camo) covers, so why not use that principle on your backpack?


G. Lam November 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Do you guys think this bag(in black) will stand out?…


cautionaryprose November 23, 2010 at 1:14 am

Lam~no I have a number of maxpedition products (the jumbo versipack and kodiak) and found that they generally look way more tactical in pictures than they do once get them home. I the O.D green can stick out a bit due to color, but a couple buttons, or patches (non military) goes a looong way into making them look like something run of the mill. The black is also a pretty good color if you just want to blend.


cautionaryprose November 23, 2010 at 1:14 am

I rock a black maxpedition kodiak, which for me is a nice balance of understated look and everyday functionality (both my GHB and book bag) . The single shoulder strap goes a long way to make it look not overly tactical although it is pretty good if i need to sprint my way out of trouble. I made the molle webbing understated by weaving in some double sided velco straps and sticking some patches form various bands and national parks on it. This makes me look like a kinda outdoorsy/music loving grad student (which I am) but still gives me the option of taking off the patches whenever i want to use the molle or blend into the night. Since I live in Illinois (no conceal carry), my bag is not really going to make people think one way or the other about me carrying a gun (i don't). In fact most people just assume it is some type of bike messenger bag they have never seen. When I wear it, the bag looks pretty much like what your average 20-something grad student should carry even though I could live out of it for at least two days and still have room for my course work.


Mary November 29, 2010 at 5:53 am

All these ideas sound great for the young guy(grad student type as one person put it)–but what about us 50+ grandmothers?! Talk about looking out of place! I am just starting into preparations and want something to keep in my car for "just in case". For years I have carried a flashlight in my purse(since a vacation trip to Mexico where a storm knocked out power in our hotel!) and usually have a few other things in there as well. But I travel about an hour away at least once a week and want to have the extras to get home if necessary.


Old Scout November 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Something to keep in mind is that you need to double and triple up. Your GHB should be something that you carry with you at all times. If its in your car and your can is buried under a slab of collapsed concrete it does you no good. It should be like a PFD on a deep-blue boat. If it is not on your person then it should be close enough to grab it. If it is on the third floor in your office and you are in the main floor cafeteria, it still does you no good.
I think you should double up, or triple up. Have one with you at all times, even if its just to get you to your car. If you can not carry one on your job, as in a factory, carry a small fanny pack of what you can have and store your regular GHB in your locker. Then have one in your car also, just encase you can't get to your locker. As for Miss Mary, you might think about going to a bigger hand bag and buy smaller items( ie, mini-mag light, micro-leatherman, etc.), and this would not look out of place on a lady.


Old Scout November 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Another thought before I go. You also need to know your situation. If, god forbid, you are caught in a nuclear blast zone, the last thing that you want to do is run head long into ground zero. Likewise, if you know ahead of time that an area that you have to traverse is going to be a hot spot of looting and rioting then you need to have another way to get to your destination. Remember; the man who does not pay attention to where he is going is destined to stumble.


stellaone23 December 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

have a bandana, a small flashlight, a whistle, spare glasses if you wear them. protect your best pair. a small notebook and write in it the most important contact numbers. keep change for pay phones. keep a small knife you may have to cut yourself free of pinned clothing. a small sewing kit will a fit into a film canister and not weigh much at all. a light weight shower cap will keep particulates out of your hair – which will help keep things from falling into your eyes.

keep an energy bar, a small bottle of water, at least two days worth of any medication you take on you in case you can't get home in the same day. a lightweight poncho that you find at any checkout counter on rainy days is better than nothing.

get in the habit of wearing shoes you can walk in. remember sleeves can be cut, but not invented. long pants! if you can't walk the full distance, know a place at the distance you can walk where shelter or assistance can be found. first responders tend to go to places where there are likely to victims; schools, etc.

having a plan and even minimal supplies, will help you stave off panic. pack what you can carry and walk with.


LesStroudfan December 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm

im with this article on the point that people in a chaotic situation should blend in with the crowd. however, this doesn't just involve what survival bag you carry. even stuff like how you dress could or what you're riding in could spell out an easy target to the wrong people. my advice is to go simple on everything to avoid making yourself look like to go-to guy for that situation


Slobyskya December 31, 2010 at 8:15 am

Mention was made of a GHB which could be inconspicuously carried or stashed at one's workplace.
Well – Uncle Mike's gear – a great company – makes a plain looking black briefcase, which would fit in most places blandly enough to not stand out. It has the standard briefcase features but also has hidden velcro closed compartments which will conceal and secure a full size pistol and extra mags, tactical folder, flashlights and one of those great 'Breacher Bars' from They come with a shoulder strap, removable of course, but a good feature when you need both hands free.


Chance January 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I like old school camo and wool flannel. Why? because it makes me look like 90% of the homless guys out there. Through on a greasy truckers hat and slide my Omega Seamaster off my wrist and suddenly my surplus gear blends in just fine. People go out of their way Not to notice homless people. I have been there.


T.Rapier February 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

This may sound weird , but I carry a construction framing hammer in my get home bag . Like a pry bar , it has plenty of uses and made for swinging if it came to that .


chris February 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm

On your person is the best concealment. i drive truck and have 2 knives, 2 firestarting, 2 signaling and cord. just in case something happens i am prepared at least to get back to my truck and from there im set


Stewart March 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

What is the name of the bag in the article. Looks like a very good Urban Surival Bag! Almost like a Maxped Condor II, but with any MOLLE.

Thanks guys!


KvG March 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

the objective is to leave the city (You have 3 days to get out)- police will not be concern with you walking down the street and wondering if you are armed or unarmed. No communications, no electricity, massive traffic, no clean water. They will be worrying about their families. I don't have the sheep mentality. I leave home every day heavily armed. It would be hard for me to blend in, and i m not worried about blending in, if it got to that point. Most sheep will sit in their houses or cause massive traffic jams trying to get home (from work), then clogging the highways to flee. They will not worry about what you have until the 4th day. On the 4th day all the stores are looted and the government has not arrived to save them and now they start looting the houses (they come in packs) for food, water, guns, and ammo. I do not have a bag for car. I have a MOLLE ballistic plate carrier, w/2 camelback ambush 3 liter water packs, and energy bars in my dump pouch. I try to keep a case of water in the car at all times. Most situations do not occur when you are at home.


Lou March 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

You did help me a lot and thanks.But what is a pemmican.


OfficerOtto March 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

Just about everyone in my region carries a knife on them, so having a camo bag vs having a bland color bag isn't going to necessarily set off any flags with the law enforcement community here. However, the average sheep is far more likely to associate a camo bag with someone who is prepared than a black or gray backpack.

I personally carry a relatively small black backpack. There is nothing distinctive about it and it blends in quite nicely. It has a divider for a laptop case which I conceal a KelTec Sub2000 in (I have a CCW permit for my state) along with a first aid kit and other basic suvival supplies.

As for blending in, don't discount a good hat. A hat is an excellent way to blend into the crowd and not draw attention to yourself. A baseball cap with no printing or stitching on it will hide your eyes and make you "forgettable." Its also functional in rain or strong sunlight.


JonM1911 April 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

Obviously it all depends on your surroundings. I work on the outer edge of the downtown area of my capital city. While I like the military style packs, something does have to be said for blending in, which has already been mentioned. As the gentleman above stated, the military look, specifically in regards to backpacks is a more common occurrence, but I'm not sure how much you'd see of that in a business setting, I see more of it on campus then in the office. I'm currently torn between a full on backpack or a messenger bag, since I carry a laptop, though that would be quickly discarded.


joker2814 April 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I bought this pack over the weekend at the US Cavalry warehouse sale (Yep, I live 20 minutes from the store outside Ft. Knox), and I can't wait to stock it up. I got it in black. The thing is massive, and has compression straps to keep a lower profile.…


jackjack1385 April 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm

This is very interesting to me. I live in a large city in a rural state and area. I have ALWAYS carried a war bag. It's what I call it at least. Anyways, my most recent bag is gray with orange trim and such. It's hydration bag, minimalist style like runners and hikers might use. I walk everywhere and I never drive where I am so I don't have to worry about much. Anyways again, blending in is something that I am quite adept at. A few points of interest tho…
1) I have a few things IN my bag that are essentials so far as I am concerned. I have 550 cord. I keep 200ft at all times. I have duct tape in two colors, classic and safety green.( I find that the green gets recognition faster than orange which everyone uses) I have a multi tool that I use daily and another stowed at the bottom of my bag that I keep just in case. I have heavy duty contractors bags. These have more uses than you could imagine, I keep ten at all times. I have just 1 roll of toilet paper. I keep it double bagged tho so that it will stay dry. I have a collapsible hikers pole. This item is also good for so many more things than hiking, and this is true of an urban environment as well.
2) I have several of my essentials clipped to the outside of my bag. This is where blending just enough and advertising get mixed a bit. Clipped to the outside of my bag I keep a scabbard knife called a dogfish. I find new uses for this knife daily. I keep a flashlight lashed to the arm strap of my bag so that it points just ahead of me when it is turned on. This keeps my hands free and also, the lashing style I used to do this allows me to rip the flashlight free if needed to use as an equalizer or to blind an opponent or just to quick signal. This is a very bright flashlight, 120 lumens but it is tough. I also keep a different multi tool attached to the outside of my bag. I finally have several reflective devices attached to the zippers of my bag.
3) I find that I blend the most by what I wear and how I act. I wear headphones everywhere. This might seem stupid but, it creates the illusion that I am not paying attention. The opposite is true. I rarely have my music on. I dress in clothes that fit into my environment. I wear hoodies with very large hoods that I can leave down or pull up. I wear pants that are always tactical. Jeans are tactical people if they are tough and not fashion oriented. I wear sunglasses but know when to take them off.
I would like to say finally that survival comes from a willingness to do what is necessary when it is necessary without hesitation. In an urban environment, even in a total emergency, this is almost the only thing you will need. Carrying water is not usually necessary. Guns are heavy and attract attention. Over preparedness breeds laziness and discourages thinking. A willingness to steal bottled water, hotwire a vehicle, break into a building, fight for what you have and protect yourself are the things that are most important.


Lou March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Well said and logical thanks especially the last part.


Eric May 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I couldn't agree with you more! There's alot of people claiming if I have something they want they'll just take it. Not from me they won't. I portray an image of confidence and readiness, and not an easy target. People don't want to get shot, and killed over something I "may" have.
I carry everyday, train twice a week and know how to use my weapon. Most people are going to think twice about getting in a gun fight with someone who has the mindset and the abilities to shoot back with greater accuracy.


Thebugoutbag June 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I completly agree that it is better to wear darker colour then to be wearing camo, I personally have "Lowe alpine Sirrocco2 70+15" its an amazing pack 85 liters!


wardog July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Reading many posts from various sites I read many are willing to take what they want/need as they traverse to their destination or to restock their own supplies. I think we need to remember murder is still murder and very likely be investigated. It would be disastrous to take a life under unlawful situations only to be locked up for it. Protecting oneself against serious bodily harm or fear of death is one thing but to kill someone for stealing???? I dunno how that would play out. A lot to consider for a lot of scenarios.


NurseKC July 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I was looking for ideas about what type of bag would be best to keep in back of my car should TSHTF while I'm at work. But until now I hadn't taken into account the fact that I need to "BLEND" and not look like I am prepared. So instead of going out and buying a high profile back pack, I think that I may use my very feminine, Vera Bradley backpack instead.


James August 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Another thing that might be good is a local or pro ball team backpack in subdued colors. Just a thought. As for camo you can use a camo t-shirt and thread the shoulder straps through the arm holes or you can make a simple cover to go over the pack.


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Redfivealpha September 9, 2011 at 10:28 am

Just a thought from E&E course, carry some coveralls or service worker attire. No one pays attention to a guy with his name on his shirt, a clipboard and a hard hat.


squiddy1 October 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Very good read , I mean I like cammo and olive drab as well as the next guy but I agree wholeheartedly that to blend in is better than Trying to win the John J Rambo award for best prepared for success in the urban assualt look category.
The less people suspect the better off everyone is and i especially like the refference to attracting the police theroy.
In Virginia we have concealed carry as well as open carry and while it is perfectly legal to holster a Berretta m-9 and walk down the street you may rest assured you will be stopped numerous times and asked about it and what would normally be a 20 minute walk to your destination is now a 2 hour walk, I agree BLEND IN


Melodie Wetherell October 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

Oversees I just love your own wonderful website and you should remain at it


survivalguy November 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

i would recommend the maxpedition vulture II it is the perfect b.o.b.

i am a young kid however, i have created my own site
it not the best but for wilderness survivors for teotwawki and those who have a wilderness b.o.l. it has some good info. i had to use a free website designer program

password is outdor73


grouseboy June 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm

i doesn't seem to blend well. looks like you are prepared


survivalguy November 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

click on my user name survivalguy


survivalguy November 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

note site is not finished


Scott December 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Just picked this bag up:…

Looks to be very useful as an EDC GHB…I carry my laptop, a gallon of water and misc supplies around and it holds up…I took the waist belt off to untacticool it to be more blendable as well as removing the sleep system straps…I keep them in the bag just in case, but a plain black backpack is just bland enough.


Jeff January 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

I think one factor that seems to be overlooked is your age. I mean if you’re 45 years old and wearing a hoodie, you sure wont blend in as well as a teenager wearing the same. Just as a teenager wouldn’t blend very well wearing a tuxedo, unless it was prom night of course.


Janet January 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Good points. Just a reminder to any here who are not fit, well you are not alone. But, if you take this day by day as part of your lifestyle, walking, strength training and pushing your limits bit by bit, you will have the best possible chance to survive. We have already set a date for our first BOB "outing." Practice runs. Today's hike we each identified any viable food sources, helpful plants, and possible viable primitive shelters, campsites, deer paths, squirrel nests, and risk from any who might be out to raid in a SHTF situation, all while walking a brisk pace. A lot of survival will be about awareness. Just start where you are.


KansasScout April 18, 2012 at 9:43 am

My usually everyday carry bags (ECBs) are either a red Jansport book bag with a black mesh water bottle carrier on the right side or a mustard green canvas messenger bag I purchased a few years back at an industrial/ military surplus store in Lawrence, KS. I've used each for school while I was getting my BA and later working on some post graduate hours. Currently I've tested the carry capacity of the bookbag as far as what I can fit in it. If I truly have to bug out both bags may wind up being my carry-alls for what I can take. I can put three days' change of clothing, food, and water in the bookbag and take things like my pistol, spare ammunition, Gerber multiplier, Gerber "Bear Grylls" survival knife, Cell Phone & charger, and Netbook & charger in the messenger bag. I also have a plastic two quart canteen and some other canteens that hook or clip onto webbed pistol belts for added water.


Simon May 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I have seen several homeless people with backpacks. They are usually military packs, not usually those like a condor or fox 3 day assault pack. but more like a rucksack sometimes. Usually OD or a dark color, never desert or coyote tan. Sometimes they have molle but not always. The point is: if you disguise yourself as a homeless person, then the backpack might not look too out of place. Though that might encourage a few punks to go after you cause all they see is a weak homeless person. I believe there is an article on this site that covers disguising oneself as a homeless person.


Hannibal June 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

To blend, stay away from anything trendy, high dollar trademarked or "Tacticool", wear dark colors. If you wanna look like an "operator" than go be one, otherwise you stand out. Fanny packs for CC carry are a joke. Anyone over 18 wearing one of these and it's assumed you're a cop or that you're carrying. Just ask any street smart teenager.____I bought a 5.11 COVRT 18 pack, dark colors of course, cut the damn tag off and the logo'd zipper pulls too. It blends very well. I travel extensively and "carry" – on planes, trust me, you want to blend. You have to blend, you need to blend. ____Carry cash, at least a hundred in small bills. Carry a tactical trauma 1st aid kit, weather radio, toiletries, poncho, pen, paper, TP or small tissue pack, cell charger for car and wall 110V. AND EXTRA AMMO! If I get stuck and can't get home, I'm comfortable for a few days. Stay safe and stay alive!


morgan November 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Been looking for a nice civvie -looking bag, the problem was I just couldn't find one that had comfort, drab coloring AND organization. I checked out the 5.11 COVRT reviews and it's just what what the doctor ordered! Thanks for the tip! Especially love the covered up molle on the shoulder straps. I will be trading out my osprey for one of these.


brannon August 27, 2012 at 7:49 am

For those with camo bags, do you really think that camo will blend in, in an urban environment SHTF crisis? Screams survivalist. May work in the woods, but not blending in on the streets.


Tim September 11, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Just a thought, what ever bag or clothes you have could be camouflaged on site by rolling in the mud or street. To me, looking sharp and clean, would draw attention.


JB. September 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

When 911 hit if you were in the area blending in was no problem… shock, fear, confusion (hundreds & hundreds covered with dust and ash… Everyone getting away, walking, walking over bridges or directed to go uptown. No one knew what happened.. no buses, subways closed down Thank goodness the bridges were intact. BTW..The idea of a large black plastic bag or two to use a a floatation device is a great idea. … it was 4,5,6 hours for some to walk home.. No cars.. Telephones systems were down..People did talk to each other questioning, wondering. The wind was blowing toward Brooklyn that day …When the Towers when down it was like a dust storm in parts of Bklyn…Didn't last long but A bandana, .99 painters mask was the thing to have…and water.. Backpacks are normal in NYC.. what you put into them is important.. Everyone seems to carry a bottle of water …


SAVOA October 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

I work in an urban environment daily. Suit, tie, wingtips and a good sized "portable office" type of laptop bag are what you will see me show up to work with. Casual days, I still have that "portable office" with me. Interesting point – if you wear the monkey suit to work, everyone expects you to have a bag of bananas. Suit = briefcase/computer bag. It really is that simple.

The laptop bag I use is a rollaway with an extendable handle and two large zippered compartments. My laptop is insanely thin, so I made a minor mofication to the bag by cutting a piece of 2" thick foam to fit the area beneath and attached a false, velcro attached bottom to the laptop compartment. This allows me to pull the laptop out without people knowing that I have a 9mm compact, its holster, and 4 magazines imbedded into the foam. I the nifty little see through pouch I have a picture of my wife and kids on a piece of cardboard visible through the mesh with a survival multi-tool (window breaker, hammer, saw, etc) tucked behind the cardboard. I have a 9v battery and steel wool in a bagged set up in the other, non-viewable, pouch along with several disposable hand warmers, and a 2-cell mini-maglight. In the other large compartment I have the reast of the meat of the kit. Aranged in a combo of small tackle containers I have a rain parka, 550 cord, 100 mile an hour tape, poly-p glove liners and socks, 2 cans of pepper spray, a 3 day 3600 calorie coast guard ration, and a collapsed bodabag (There is a watercooler right next to my desk) among a few other items. As soon as the weather starts to get even a little "un-warm" I carry a rain coat, with liner in and out of work every day. It is a, um, homemade liner that has a few "modifications" put into it. In the bottom file drawer of my desk I have a gym bag with a pair of hi-tops, jeans and a flannel.

I don't expect to be able to get to my car if the SHTF so I try to be prepared to walk the 50 miles it would take to get me to the wife and kids. I figure 2 days, 3 at most. Some people call BS at that, but after walking required 12 milers and an annual 25 miler for years, a person learns what they are capable of. If I can get to the car then all is well because my true GHB, an Alice pack, is in the trunk with pack tent, sleeping bag, etc.

One piece of baggage you don't want is worry. If you work a good distance from your family and all hell breaks loose you really need to talk to your wife and kids about what to expect. If I can get to the car, using back roads could take me up to 3 hours to drive what is normally a 50-60 minute drive. If the car is toast or gets stolen, then I have 5 days to get home before she loses her mind. I can do it in 2-3 if unhindered, but I had to add extra as a just in case. If you know that your wife is in the basement with your stores and knows how to handle the Mossberg 500 and that your kid is down there with the .380 along with your other toys, you are a lot less likely to make bad decisions yourself.


jordeaux504 November 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

Once you get your b.o.b., I'd think "Scotch-Guarding" it would be a good idea. To me this would just improve the water resistance of the nylon bag or whatever your bag is made of. What do ya'll think?


Sam December 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Mary – I agree with what you are saying. Women in their early 40/50s look unusual when wearing ALICE packs and tend to draw attention. I have converted a gym bag into an emergency "get home safe" bag. Since I live 45 minutes outside of Raleigh, but work downtown, I now spend the extra time driving the back routes to ensure I know exactly how to get home, where additional sources of water are located, and where nice farmers live. In the event that I have to walk, after I get a certain distance outside the city, I can pull my backpack out of my gym bag and everything I need will be there. Since I am not allowed to have a weapon in my car at work, I have a plumber's issue monkey wrench, several screwdrivers, and a pair of sharp scissors in my car for defense. As a former military brat and a former Marine, I know I can defend myself and get home safely. Personally, I believe in an adage I was brought up on – the 7 P's – Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


catfish hunter January 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

A slip on drawstring or elastic rain cover in a plain color can do a good job of concealing a camo or MOLLE pack until you are out of a populated area. Have this set-up for my Eberlestock packs.


Mason May 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

I have been after a urban bag for ages, thanks for the info. I favor cammo packs.


Bill-G July 31, 2013 at 6:53 am

Camo bags etc are getting more acceptable here in the UK, as there are so many guys coming back from deployment and utilising there issue kit in a day to day off duty setting i.e. the ammunition grab bag etc, and I've seen all different types of military and pseudo military bags out on the street.

However, I personally would still rather blend in to the majority, and not the minority. Hence why I use a leather messenger type bag. I has good capacity, water and weatherproof, secure fastenings and good weight loading. I've also had a seamstress sew two loops onto the rear of the bag to function as belt loops, so I can thread a belt through it and coupled with the shoulder strap, run at a decent rate with it on and loaded.

If I ever find myself in a situation such as the appalling riots of the other year here in the UK, I can satisfy the three needs of blending in, ability to run with it and enough kit in it to make a difference.

When I served, the teaching was always 'be the grey man'. I'm sticking to that as it works for me. Good luck with your preps everyone.


Christian Gains August 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Having been in several varying circumstances where I did NOT want to "stand out" I can say that the social dynamic circumstances are what will GREATLY affect your choices, BUT, nonetheless, the more AVERAGE LOOKING gear you have, (in comparison to the locals), the less you'll "stand out".

When people are under severe pressure, ANYone who "stands out" draws (often unwanted), attention. So, "Tactical appearing gear" might NOT be the way to go, unless there are a lot of folks utilizing that style, (due to durability). Practically, you should have BOTH, civies & tactical — and frankly, (unless you're like me and have a LOT of free time to research & pay attention to my local & surrounding AO), the moment will OFTEN tell you WHICH is MOST advisable…but PRAYER is ALSO a significant factor in doing the right thing at the right time.


Tim August 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Great bag information.
Thank You


Jazzmine December 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Just a thought but for women a purse could be an option. I know that I carry rather large purses that fit a many things in them and nothing would look out of place with a woman carrying a purse. Some purses have a lot of pockets and a cross body strap would not be difficult to sow on to a bag (a cross body would be easier to run with then a purse you have to hold on to).


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Midknight August 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

If a totally discreet back, how about a Jansport backpack? Not big, but also not noticeable. It's very typical, something you get at walmart.


RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 7, 2010 at 1:20 am

I asked if youve ever been in the inner city when any crazy s_ _ _ went down and you said you hadnt. I am a Katrina survivor. I am simply relaying what I saw. Saw a lot of. People getting jumped and worse for very meager possessions. You mentioned TVs? No thanks, give me those three MREs and the firestarter. Any water in there to wash it down? TVs they had! Water and food and being dry were scarce. I prefer the path of least resistance. I live in an urban area so I travel light and look urban. I dont want to advertise. I got out of NOLA with a camelback under my rainjacket and a S&W 640 in my jacket pocket. Why the revolver? I thought it might come in handy seeing as how neither the NOPD or the "fashion police" bothered to show up that day.
If your skills equal your outspokenness youll outlive us all,


Regulator5 March 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

High vis panels used to mark locations are easily obtained from surplus stores. I'd recommend 1-2 of these over an entire pack of hi-vis orange, just my opinion.


WAC June 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

Mr, Smashy, as far as blending is concerned, the amount of observation noticed depends on a few key elements. The first being the number of people around you. the second being the time of day, and the third being the kind of neighborhood you are in. It all truly comes down to you getting out and walking around in all of these different elements, and experience what YOU notice most and least about others and putting it to use when you walk. Walk with different gear, clothes, and levels of recognizable spacial awareness. It's indespensible experience,even if you never perfect it. Try it out.


KansasScout October 27, 2012 at 7:39 am

Actually doing the checking of your six every so often will likely keep you from being attacked by a mugger or other urban theif. The predators look for those not paying attention to their surroundings. Scan their faces too as you move through a crowded street, by all means keep monitoring you surroundings and situations, and just learn to read people. You can blend by just not being so obvious that you're checking your area and those within it.


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