Simple changes to stop looking like a prepper

Simple changes to stop looking like a prepper

Until the pandemic hit in full force, people have always poked fun at the survival movement. It attracts people from all walks of life, but it does seem the majority of us fit a certain type. If I asked you to describe a prepper to me, I don’t doubt you’ve probably already started forming an image in your mind. Decked out in military-surplus camo gear, with a big off-road truck, certain political ideologies, and an affinity for shooting and hunting.

How’d I do? In most instances I’d be pretty spot on, and that’s putting you in danger. Not right now, while there’s law and order (for the most part). But when the SHTF you can bet people will be getting desperate, and everyone knows the survivalists are the ones who prepared. And if you fit the image, this particular stereotype, you’ve already hung a target around your neck. One of the core principles of survival is adaptability, and I challenge you to make a few careful considerations about yourself, to see how you can stop looking like a prepper. I’ve done this myself, and it’s tough – but it’s a key lesson in OPSEC. 

Think about your clothes

One of the most obvious and easy things to change is how you dress. I made this mistake for years, as I never really put much thought into the image I projected, I was more concerned with the practical nature of my clothes. Which meant the rugged cargo pants, button down shirt, and the camo print that seemed to sneak its way into everything I bought labelled me as a prepper. In fact, I used to get asked all the time where I served, because it was so obvious I was ex-military. Since updating my wardrobe with functional clothes that are a little more business-casual, it’s been amazing the change I’ve seen in how I’m treated. Same levels of respect, but I’m no longer screaming to people that I’m a full-on survivalist. 

Think about your shoes

Making this change hurt me. For years I’ve only ever worn tough hiking boots. Military-issue, I’ve got these in black for formal events like my sister’s wedding, and brown for everything else. They’re comfortable, functional, and last for years, but they are also easy to spot a mile away. Turning you into a walking advertisement. Because if you’ve been forward-thinking enough to purchase decent boots, it’s not a stretch to imagine you’ve made a few other thoughtful buys as well. And it may make you a target in desperate times. I’ve since stopped wearing my boots around, choosing what my kids refer to now as “dad” sneakers, which are just as comfortable – without being too impractical as well.  

Think about your vehicle

Nothing screams prepper more than a lifted truck filled with bumper stickers proudly boasting your every political view, religious stance and the groups you belong to. It’s not subtle, and again, driving a vehicle like this is only going to have you stick out like a sore thumb. That’s not to say I don’t have an old diesel truck on my property that will probably outlive us all, but it’s not my daily driver. In fact, at first glance my truck wouldn’t look out of place in a carpark full of soccer moms, and that’s a conscious decision. I don’t want to stick out when I’m driving it, and I certainly don’t want to be targeted. It’s completely factory-standard, though I’ve added dark tints to the windows so it’s harder to see into the inside. 

Think about your gun

Carrying a firearm on you is a tough call. It’s one of the best ways to protect yourself in any situation, because you’ve got a gun on your person. But it’s also painfully obvious to anyone who is paying attention that you’re packing heat. And that brings up the question as to why. What is it that you’re trying to protect? What is it you feel you have that warrants the use of deadly force? To me, open carrying a weapon is too much. I’ve had my concealed carry permit for the longest time, and while I’ve generally got a gun on my person, unless you were paying really close attention to my legs, you’d probably never notice my holster. And that’s the way I like it, because it’s the best of both worlds. I’ve got my weapon if I need it, but I’m not drawing any attention to the fact I’m carrying a firearm with me as well. 

Think about your EDC

Finally, and this is important too. It’s your everyday carry. If you’re like the rest of us you don’t go far without a handful of key items on your person. In addition to a small handgun, I’ve got everything from a strikepen to a flashlight, an emergency blanket and a small fishing kit, a lighter, a charger and a battery pack and couple of energy bars thrown in for good measure. It’s essentially enough to “get me home” if I had to be on the road for up to about 24 hours, but I realized long ago it wasn’t practical to be carrying this everywhere. So what I did, was create a couple of stashes so no matter where I am there’s always gear in easy reach. One pouch is in the back of a drawer at work, rolled up in a light jacket. The other is in the glove box in my car. So I’ve got the gear “with” me, but I don’t look out of place carrying it on my person every minute of the day. To me, it’s a better balance.

 The last thing you want when the SHTF is to get outed as a prepper and have your entire stockpile of supplies raided by the people who never thought ahead. And the best way to fly under the radar is to not look like a prepper. Make these simple changes, and don’t raise the suspicions of the people in your life. You’ll thank me when a real disaster strikes.


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