Concealment And Movement Strategies In Urban & Wilderness Environments
By now you should know what concealment and movement during evasion means and today we are going to get right down to the fine details and go over some very important concealment and movement strategies you will need to exercise for both urban and wilderness environments. If you missed the first article in this series, “What is concealment and movement during evasion?”, you can click here to read it before continuing on.
To being, lets start with your choice of clothing. Blending in with your surroundings in an urban environment can be tricky. There are many wide open spaces, the bright city lights (if the power is on) can make it a real challenge to hide and if this is a complete shtf scenario, you can guarantee that other people will probably be on the streets either trying to escape or searching for any remaining supplies that they can get their hands on. On the other hand, it will be much easier to blend into a wilderness environment, however, you can’t rule out that people haven’t escaped the city and are possibly lurking around in the woods. To play it safe, I would assume that everyone else is the enemy and would make it my priority to avoid every one of them if possible. What you wear will either help you to conceal yourself or it can completely give you away so it’s imperative that you have the proper type of clothing in order to adapt and blend in with your surroundings.
Here are some types of clothing and apparel that should be avoided in both environments:
- Bright or florescent colored clothing.
- Clothing with shiny or reflective features.
- Loose clothing that can get caught on objects.
- Clothing that is stiff or made of material that can make noise, even if you’re tip toeing around.
- Loose, flashy or bulky jewelry such as necklaces, earrings, lanyards, bracelets, etc..
- Anything else that’s shiny and can stand out against your clothing, body or background.
- Don’t keep loose metal objects in your pockets such as keys or change.
- Jeans – they are cold, don’t have much storage and take forever to dry
Here are some types of clothing and apparel that you will want to have on hand:
- Cover your skin – wear gloves, long sleeve shirts (can serve as extra protection from scraps and cuts) that are made of moisture wicking fabric and keep a long scarf, hat (Boonie hats are great), bandana, face mask, shemagh or something else to cover your head, face and neck. Choose neutral earth tone colors that will reduce your visibility and break your outline against the background and surroundings.
- Camouflage – Although camouflage can work against you in an urban setting (if this is a complete shtf scenario), it can do wonders in the wild. Make sure that you have the “proper” camo pattern to blend in with your surroundings. Example: If you are in the desert, you will require a different color and style of camo.
- Well made hiking or steel toe boots that give good foot and ankle support. Make sure you have enough room to add wool socks if you live in a cold environment.
- Heavy cotton cargo pants – they are easy to get and cheap. Keep an assortment of colors such as tan, OD, navy, etc. Check out Surplus stores regularly, they have everything you need. The three main things to keep in mind here are storage, durability, and color.
- Goggles or safety glasses – useful in both urban and wilderness settings. A twig or stick in the eye is a guarantee.
Hopefully some of the ideas above have helped you to get started and I’m sure that you will also be able to come up with many of your own which could work just as well.
Now we will go over some concealment and movement strategies for urban and wilderness environments. Remember that every survival or shtf scenario can and will be different and you will need to compensate, improvise and adapt these tactics to suit your current health condition, physical condition and the current situation at hand. One other thing that you must absolutely keep in mind is the potential for injury and how easy or hard it will be for others to come to your rescue.
Remember that moving objects are easy to spot especially against a background that has relatively little movement. Since our eyes and brain are more tuned into movement you will have to learn how to open your field of vision. An easy way to practice this, (and you do have to practice) is to look at the sky (clouds required) and try NOT to focus on one spot like we usually do. The key is to take in as much of the sky as possible and see all of the minute movements, then focus on what you really want to see. Your eyes are deceptive so be careful of what you think you see.
Additionally, if the enemy is nearby you should assume that somebody out there might have a FLIR device which could detect your body heat and give away your location. The evasion strategies which I outlined in my article “Concealing yourself and evading FLIR cameras” should be used along with these strategies below.
Concealment and movement strategies for an urban environment:
- Skirt open areas to keep a tree line or structure behind you to help blend in.
- Avoid isolated cover if possible such as a bunch of trees or bushes in the middle of an open area.
- Stay away from wide open areas if possible (fields, empty valleys, etc).
- Don’t stand anywhere where your silhouette will stand out, such as on the top of a hill with no trees or behind a window in a room that has a light on. Many people peek out their windows with the light on thinking that nobody will see them.
- Try and stay in the shadows of buildings and other objects.
- Never walk out from the corner of a building, always check to make sure the cost is clear.
- Cross roads and streets where they are the most narrow – stay in the shadows.
- If other people are in the vicinity, study their body language and movement patterns before moving to a different location. Planning your movements in between their movements will be key.
- Pay attention to where you are walking – avoid walking on broken glass, bottles, pop cans or other objects that can make noise
- Moving at night will be to your advantage but also remember that every movement you make in the dark (that is seen by others) may come across as being more suspicious.
Recommended reading: How to Avoid Thermal Imaging Devices
Concealment and movement strategies for a wilderness environment:
- You can move at night, but inherent dangers exist if you don’t know the area.
- Travel at a time that serves you and/or your group best for survival.
- You will want to avoid traveling out in the open areas such as crossing a wide open road or trekking across the top of a bare hill.
- Self heating MRE’s are excellent for providing a hot meal without a fire
- Use obstacles such as trees, rocks, cliffs, ditches and crevices.
- Never hide in a tree. If found you have no escape.
- Don’t over turn rocks or stir up the forest floor
- Try to avoid dry ground where the crunch of leaves or twigs can alert others
- Stay off well worn paths unless absolutely necessary.
- Campfires are a real giveaway with persistent pursuers.
- Stop watch and listen. If being pursued, it is important to stop in irregular intervals and remain silent. Listen for your pursuers…you will be able to use this information tactically or strategically.
- Don’t grab or hold on to small trees as you can damage the bark and leave your trace
- Cross roads and paths where the field of view is obstructed by shadows, curves in the road, etc
- Try to maintain whatever advantage you have. Higher terrain gives you a sight advantage, wooded valleys offer plentiful cover.
- Stay off main paths, trails and roadways.
- Try not to break or snap branches or allow them to whip back and forth as you traverse through thick growth.
- Wet or damp environments can help to reduce the amount of noise you create when walking about.
- Using local foliage to conceal yourself is good. Remember that foliage changes from area to area. Change your foliage and/or clothing to match your surroundings.
If you think that you are being pursued, stop and irregular intervals and be silent. Keep listening until you are satisfied that there are no noises that are out of place.
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