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To most people, being a grey man doesn’t sound very alluring. Is it better to blend in or to stand out? We begin to seek the answer in our teenage years and it follows us throughout life. Our hectic and competitive society encourages us to be unique and to stand out if we want to be successful.

However, in real-life situations, both strategies sometimes work, and sometimes – they don’t. The idea of blending in and staying unnoticed is known as the “grey man” concept.

While there are situations where you need to make an impression, the same can be said about going under the radar. For example, if you’re a prepper, it is most likely that you’ll probably be in a better position than the rest when disaster strikes. You have your SHTF plan, food and water supplies, and so on.

However, if everyone knew about your prepping habits, you could lose your leverage in a minute. Just think about it: if everyone runs out of food, they know that you made a stash. If the rest of your neighborhood is dark due to power outage and your house shines like a Christmas tree because you have a generator – it’s almost a call for uninvited guests.

So, it’s obvious that a low profile is useful in certain situations. But, a grey man concept goes well beyond simple avoiding attention.

What Is a Grey Man Exactly?

A grey man is a person with skills and abilities to blend into any surroundings and situation without drawing attention to himself. It is a skill of hiding in plain sight more or less. This technique should help you not only to avoid potential troubles, but also conceal your skills, intentions, and resources. 

However, it’s much easier said than done. You can’t just say “I am going to keep a low profile and blend in” out of the blue. Actually, you can, but it won’t work.  It takes time and practice to master these skills and techniques. After all, that’s why it is called a grey man theory. It is based on some scientific knowledge, as well as military and intelligence experience.

It’s not rocket science, though. And you don’t have to become a modern sort of ninja. Although ninjas were trained to achieve ‘invisibility’ alongside espionage and survival skills.

Is It Really Possible to Hide In Plain Sight?

The answer is yes. And it is our brain that makes it possible.

Our sensory system is bombarded with overwhelming information all the time. Through our eyes, ears, and other sensory organs, we collect abundance of data every single second. Our mind would explode if it tried to process all entering data. So, it filters out unnecessary stimuli to allow us to focus on things that matter. While we can focus our attention intentionally, most of these processes happen unconsciously.

Let me give you an example. If you take a 10-minute walk in a busy downtown street, you’ll pass by dozens of people and even more cars. You’ll see them all, but you won’t remember any of them. Even though we are pretty good at remembering faces, you only might remember those that stand out from the crowd. A woman dressed in all red, or a 7-feet tall guy, or any other extraordinary looking person. Everything else will be pretty much filtered out.

gray man theory

A grey man takes advantage of this to stay under the radar. If you’re able to look and act like everybody else, no one will notice you. 

If you’re not convinced, just check out the experiment with an “invisible gorilla”. People were asked to watch the video of six people passing a basketball around. They were wearing white or black shirts. The goal was to count passes made by people in white shirts. While people were moving around and passing the ball, a person in a gorilla suit slowly walked through the scene, thumping his chest. The results were unbelievable – about half of the volunteers never noticed the gorilla!

 It’s a case of distraction and not blending in, but it shows that our brain chooses information selectively.

Benefits of Becoming a Grey Man

Basically, blending-in increases your chances to reach safety when disaster strikes. In SHTF situations people are more likely to panic and act irrationally. 

  • Without attracting attention, you’ll be able to move more quickly
  • Also, you will decrease the chance of other people approaching you for whatever reason. 
  • When resources run out, some people will start looting and stealing. If you show that you’re prepared, people can assume that you have supplies and gear to survive. It can be their ticket to survival and safety. If you appear to be just as dumbfounded as everybody else, you will actually protect your family and your supplies.

How to Become a Gray Man – 5 Essential Tips

First of all, you can’t just decide to go unnoticed and follow the principles. It takes time and training to be able to do it well. It’s all about being natural. So, you need to start long before SHTF.

Also, your blending-in practice should go hand-in-hand with situational awareness training. A well-trained gray man is capable of noticing potential obstacles and dangers while preserving a low profile appearance.

1. Grey Man Clothing

It all begins with the looks. If you want to blend in, you need to look ordinary.

While you can’t change your height, you must avoid unusual clothing items or hairstyles. Anything that stands out will be even more noticeable in disaster scenarios. So, don’t wear camouflage pants or bright colors. Even your backpack should look plain and ordinary. Forget about those expensive, fancy shoes. They scream affluence even if they’re the only pair you own.

gray man theory

2. How to Move and Act

Clothing and mannerism make 80% of your appearance. Our brains unconsciously notice or filter out these clues. Obviously, you want the latter. The first rule of acting and moving is to go with the flow. Act like you’re supposed to be there. Avoid rapid movements. Also, you should walk with purpose

And it’s not just what you do, but how you do it. You should look natural, just as if you belong there. You can’t be invisible, but you can avoid making any kind of lasting impression.

3. Hide Your Survival Gear

If you’re wearing a gun or any other piece of gear in plain sight, you can forget about blending in. Unless everyone else has it. Hiding a gun is not so easy, especially in the summertime, so it’s better to wear a boot knife or neck knife instead. Or, if you want a gun anyway, make sure to also get a shoulder holster.

4. Avoid Strong Scents

You probably don’t plan to wear perfume, but you should try to leave no scent trail whatsoever. Our memory is closely connected to our sense of smell, so a strong smell will not make you noticeable, but you’ll also be remembered.

5. Keep Your Prepping Plans to Yourself

Loose lips sink ships. If too many people know about your prepping plans, being a grey man might be useless. You’ll be marked upfront as someone who has resources and emergency valuables. So, preparedness isn’t a good topic while having your friends over.


With your survival skills and resources, you should have the upper hand when it gets ugly. But, they can also attract unwanted attention, to put it mildly. Going under the radar will allow you to keep your advantages and get through the tough times.

A single article is not enough to teach you all you need to know about the grey man concept. My goal was to help you fully comprehend what the grey man is all about, and what skills and strategies you need to use to become one. Hopefully, it’s a starting point to further improve your prepper level. It will increase your chances to land on your feet and keep yourself and your family safe.