Welcome, this guide will be showing you how to pick the right stuff to wear including things like bags, webbing, shoes and other things. Enjoy!
At the end you'll be able to see my kit as an example!
Step 1: What Outward Appearance Will You Give?
This is crucial, in large cities people wearing uniforms especially that of the Military will draw more attention than that of your average Joe, but on the other hand wearing a business suit in a forest isn't very practical nor is very stealthy.
In a rural environment the only realistic chance you have of meeting people (Both hostile and friendly) is near roads, farms and towns/villages. This means that people not much of an issue and are fairly easy to avoid/hunt so you should wear practical dress for example Military gear, Hiking wear or builder's clothing.
On the other hand,
in an urban environment while the best thing to do is get out of there you will still have a fairly long journey especially if you're in large cities like New York, Los Angeles or London. During this time you may want to become what's known as a 'gray man', this is a person who looks very plain therefore is hard to remember. This is like urban camouflage and will allow you to get by many people without drawing any attention at all, the typical characteristics are blue jeans, trainers and a t-shirt along with a regular coat or jacket that usually has a small bag or briefcase that has nothing sticking out or hanging off it (keys, water bottle etc). Despite this it doesn't mean your attire cannot be functional so it does need some thought!
Step 2: Looking at the Environment:
Firstly, think about your environment. Is it rural or urban? Warm or Cold? Factors like these will influence your decision as walking around Alaska in shorts while in a survival situation isn't the smartest idea, listed below will be the factors you need to consider:
Climate (Hot/Cold, Rainy/Dry etc)
Flora (Grass, bushes, trees etc)?
How built up is the area?
Is there water such as the sea or a lake nearby?
When you consider the climate you must not wear clothes that are too hot or cold and will keep the elements out.
We will go through this in layer with the advantage being that you can strip clothes off and on when needed without losing too much body heat or letting the wet in, we will be starting with the base...
Base: Usually thermals or a vest. In some very hot cases, skip this! Essential for keeping heat in and reducing chaffing from rough clothes
Under layer: Generally a t-shirt. Keeps some heat in but mainly for comfort and sleeping.
Main layer: Tough trousers which can stand up to crawling, running and other things but still stay comfortable and a
long and thick t-shirt for keeping outer layer comfortable and keeping the heat in.
Outer layer: Tough jacket with lots of pockets, preferably waterproof. Keeps most of the heat in and the rain out.
Extra layer: Extra coats and gaiters. For things like monsoons or wading in rivers.
Step 3: Environment Continued
Even a city has plants, they're everywhere and are very useful for hiding in.
You should consider wearing clothes that don't stand out (White, Yellow etc) and preferably those that blend in;
military gear is designed for this but as stated before not always the best decision as it can draw unwanted attention on the event that you do get seen and trust me, you eventually will...
A dark suit, brown overalls, a 'Bag For Life' from the shops are just a few suggestions, be smart about it!
For camouflage clothing you will need to use a 'pattern' that is
suited to your environment, below are the most common patterns available and what they are for:
German Flecktarn, temperate woodland (Europe, Canada, Northern USA etc). Spots of earthen colors overlapping.
DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material), any woodland and grassy areas. Earthen colors smeared horizontally/diagonally.
MTP (Multi Terrain Pattern) / Multicam, works best in brush environments (Rural France, Afghanistan, Mexico) but can work in lighter colored grassland. Light earthen and sandy colors smeared horizontally.
Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), discontinued by the US Army due to poor performance. It is widely available however it should be avoided. Pixelated 'digital' pattern usually grey, white and black.
Also, a lot of military equipment has been treated with a mixture that reduces Infrared emissions making you harder to see on Thermal Imaging and with Night-vision, they're usually labeled as 'IRR'.
Three main things to consider are:
- Grass color
- Tree leave type
Surprisingly grass isn't always green, it can be yellowy, browny and rarely reddish. earthen colors for example would be better for green grass.
Trees, for the purpose of this guide have 3 leaf types: Needle, Broad Leaf and Small Leaf.
Needles are found on ones such as a Pine tree, dark clothes and DPM will blend in well.
Broad Leaves are found on Oak trees for example, lighter clothes and Flecktarn are good!
Small Leaves are found on Beech, Willow trees etc, since they're small they don't provide much cover but anything earthen will blend in to a degree.
Lastly if there are lots of bushes, shrubs and plants like Heather; you will need to take note. Most plants are darkly colored however there are many like Thistles that are brightly colored and in the Spring there's flowering plants. This means that you could find it marginally easier to wear more 'normal' clothes.
face paint can be of use as it reflects more light than any other part of your body. You can buy pots from
Military and dress-up stores, any color that's dark and non-reflective will work. Sunglasses can stop your eyes from shining (Think of Cats-eyes in the road!).
Step 4: Structures, Bodies of Water and Other Structures...
An important thing to consider is buildings not only serve as landmarks for navigation but also can provide cover.
A Ghille suit will stand out very well if you're walking down the street with one on, on the other hand Denim jeans can fit in. Most buildings are either White, Grey or Red(Brickwork). White and Red colors are found in more 'Residential' areas while Grey concrete will be found in 'Industrial'. If you plan to spend time near these places you will need to take into consideration how you'll look. Also, in any area you will come across a Tarmac road surface with the Black being easy to blend it with unless you have bright colors so think about that on your ambushes!
Water is common and a necessity in Post-Apocalyptic/On-The-Run situations due the lack of running water. While you would think less about the water itself but more of what is on the edges of it. A river bank can commonly have Reeds, Cat-Tails and other plants growing there that are very effective for hiding not only yourself but crates, weapons and even boats. Beaches will have Sand and ones close to towns and cities will have stones and boulders.
So unless you collect gallons of rainwater you will need to think about bodies of water, study one in your local park or in the countryside.
Step 5: What Jobs Will You Be Doing?
A very notable factor is what you'll actually be doing.
If you're in a group of 7 people and your role is to stay at base and do maintenance on guns, vehicles etc you won't want to wear bulky boots, many layers of clothing and face paint but you will be wearing some protective articles and lots of pockets etc. Similarly, if you're in an Urban area a massive backpack will prevent you from moving quickly and will get caught on things if you go through doorways, holes in walls and the like.
The next step will go more into Team Planning.
So here are a few essential points to consider:
Weight: If you'll be running a lot or walking long distances then pack light, Anoraks are good light coats for example.
Protection: Does your area flood regularly? Will you be working with dust, chemicals and other hazards? If you anticipate that factors such as these affect you then consider appropriate protection!
Space: How much you will be carrying and any unique equipment (Holsters, Radio sets, Hydration bladders etc) since you potentially may need to wear things like Webbing (Army, Look it up!) or holders for specialist tools.
Just a few, it has to be thought about on a case by case basis...
Step 6: How Many People Are With You and How This Will Influence Your Decision:
Wow, you can hide so well that nobody can see you? Well that isn't the best thing if you're in a team...
While items such as radios are good to have you still should try and consider others.
It's always good to have a first aid kit on everyone in the group, this means that there's immediate access to treatment. It should be kept on Webbing, attached to a rucksack or at the very least in your pockets.
Another useful tool is a reflective band known as Cat-eyes, in this sense it's attached to the back of your helmet and reflects enough light to allow someone who's looking out for them to see where you are. It's used by military's across the world when patrolling. They're very cheap and can be attached to other stuff. There are also things like Tritium valves which glow for a very long time without needing electricity.
If you're in a fairly large group (10ish+) then you might think about wearing a patch, badge or identical articles of clothing or even a uniform to easily distinguish yourselves. It also attracts positive attention (In most cases!) as people will want to join a group that looks organized and are wealthy but if you have a reputation or are all wearing some very strange things it can produce unexpected results...
Step 7: Bags, Boots and Accessories:
A good rucksack is essential as you'll be carrying all your loot, hanging any weapons off it as well as anything else.
I recommend a surplus backpack as they can be found in many colors but usually are Green, Olive and Grey along with the various camouflage patterns. This is because they are designed to carry very heavy loads for long periods of time which is what you'll most likely be doing, they last a very long time and most are compatible with webbing etc.
Qualities to look for are:
- Straps: A waist and/or sternum (chest) strap are effective at distributing weight reducing stress on your back
- Frame: Larger capacity bags often have metal built-in that helps retain shape, it's useful for bulky items
- Size: A larger bag doesn't always mean you can stuff more in due to internal dividers and padding. Also an over-sized bag will get caught on things!
- Pockets: It's common for there to be several main divisions and exterior pouches, study them carefully...
- Loops, holes and the like: If you plan on hanging stuff off your bag then look for one that has features such as MOLLE loops or skateboarding straps
- Weight: If it's heavy empty then it'll be even heavier once you've put stuff in it, the lighter the better
- Versatility: It's becoming more common to find bags that can be turned inside out, have straps to change it's size or have adjustable dividers, these can help but can potentially reduce the overall build quality
- Comfort: You need to look at it's length compared to your back length and how well the straps fit to your shoulders along with anything else that feels off
While you don't have to have a backpack especially for those who are disabled or for children, it's advisable to do so.
Boots, bulky but practical!
In most cases boots will be good, help your feet and they'll repay you kindly! However if you will be going long distances or have very bad issues with your feet then wear something like trainers...
I cannot go through all the accessories you may need I will brush over some more general ones.
Webbing, shop around as most places sell it at an extremely high price. It's good to have though especially if you plan on using guns and tools a lot.
Glasses etc, I'd recommend something along the line of the Revision Bullet-Ant as it provides lots of protection but safety goggles/glasses or at least sunglasses can help stop spray and dust getting into your eyes.
Respirators/Masks, if you can afford a decent one then buy an army(Preferably N.A.T.O) NBC respirator and stock on on genuine SEALED filters that are for your mask!
Body Armour, it can be heavy but if you have the money for it then get some but I wouldn't bother with having Plates installed as they're very heavy. A basic vest that has only a ballistic filling can protect from knives and most pistol rounds with a reasonable weight. Some vests have webbing integrated into them.
Helmets, very useful since falling debris would be a common sight and military grade helmets will protect from things like grenade shrapnel but while advertised as protecting from pistol rounds they stop it but the force can cause some nasty head injuries which are likely to be life threatening. Army helmets can be found surprisingly cheap, go for what's known as a 'Kevlar' helmet which is essentially plastic (Look up a MK6, MK7 or PASGT helmet) or find some old climbing helmets.
Gloves, protecting your hands will be difficult particularly if you have soft hands. Even some woolen fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm while proving some protection. Find gloves that are tough, warm and allow you to still use your fingers. Examples include shooter's gloves and some building gloves.
Step 8: What My Setup Is...
Here's an example of some of my kit to help you, most of it is army surplus:
I live in a temperate region so my pattern is DPM. Google the NSN codes!
Campri Sportslayer thermals, long sleeve and long pants
British Army Shirt, missing NSN :(
British Army Jacket, NSN: 8415-99130-5884
British Army Light Combats, NSN: 8415-99-820-3539
Highlander black leather boots
British Army MK6 Helmet
British Army Ballistic vest (Don't know the codes but it's passed my tests)
Revision Bullet-Ant goggles, UV ballistic lenses
British Army Northern Ireland pack, 45lr. NSN: 8465-99-869-3875
HVI Tactical Hard Knuckle full finger gloves
British Army M.V.P Gaiters, Again missing NSN tag
Finnish Army Respirator bag, I use this as a lightweight option if I need to carry something specific
Step 9: To Finish Off...
Don't mindlessly follow this guide (and many others), you need to think for yourself if you want to survive in the long run but feel free to find inspiration from others...
Finally, SHOP AROUND as many places especially those that cater to Airsoft players and tourists will charge a lot of money for under-par goods. That being said, you get what you pay for so do put a reasonable amount of money into it and if you can use these things in your daily life as then they'll be worn-in and will keep costs down. After all there may never be need for survival gear any time soon!
I apologize for the lack of images but Instructables hates me uploading them..
Thanks for reading and stay safe guys!