Prepping tips: How to stay camouflaged in an urban environment
By Zoey Sky // Aug 09, 2022

Camouflage isn't always about wearing camo gear while hunting. After SHTF, you need to know how to stay camouflaged if you have to get around an urban environment like a crowded city. (h/t to


Camouflage is usually synonymous with natural environments like forests, jungles, deserts or mountains. But if you're in the city when SHTF, you will need to follow different rules for urban camouflage.

You don't need a "special" urban camo pattern

Don't waste money on off-the-shelf camo solutions if you want to stay in an urban location. While urban camo relies on the same principles of camouflage as any other environment, much of the implementation is specific to this unique environment.

The typical "urban camouflage" advertised by manufacturers of tactical gear and clothing is the type typically consisting of any common pattern of camouflage (digital, woodland, etc.) with the color palette swapped to some variety of black, white and gray.

This type of camo is often useless in cities since it can make you stand out more, not less. This is because these patterns are too bright and contrast far too much with both modern indoor and outdoor environments.

Minimize common signs of your presence

Camouflage will become useless if you don't try to hide your presence in its entirety.

Light is a major giveaway, especially in an area experiencing a power outage. Seeing lights on at night or within the dark interior of a building is a dead giveaway, along with noise often associated with humans.

Noises like talking, the clatter of equipment or the sound of cooking noise can betray your presence. (Related: Urban prepping: 10 Ways to prep in the city.)

The best color for urban environments

If you want to keep your presence hidden while in an urban setting, wear medium dusky tans and medium grays or "manatee" grays. Note that there are many exceptions to this rule depending on the city you're in. Also, earth tones and light colors (when compared to the color of the surrounding environment) are best for urban camouflage.

To figure out which color is best for the urban environment you're in, review your surroundings. Study various sectors during different times of day. Look at the color of the ground and pavement and the overarching color of the buildings.

Tips for effective urban concealment

There are many things to try if you need to conceal your presence in an urban environment. It might be hard if there are many people around, but if you're careful you can disappear into the background.

Follow these tips to conceal your presence in an urban environment:

  • After researching the color palette of an urban environment, get several cans of matching matte spray paint. Use the paint to better blend your equipment and fabrics.
  • If possible, use blackout curtains at night. Check the curtains ahead of time to make sure that no trace of light escapes. For doorways that open directly to the outside, make an "airlock" of two interior, spaced sets of blackout curtains that will allow people to enter and exit without light spilling out.
  • During the daytime, stretch a screen of cheesecloth across windows and other openings to conceal movement inside the room that is not backlit while remaining natural looking at extended distances. This method also gives you the advantage of being able to see out at the same time.
  • The best way to remain hidden in an urban environment is to stay where no one would look. Ideal options include maintenance tunnels, underground passages and heavily secured or fortified buildings with a hidden or hard-to-find entrance and exit.
  • Wear reversible clothing or layers so you have more camouflage options for changing conditions without carrying too much weight. Wear a dark green or black smock or top at night or inside a darkened interior and wear a mottled tan or gray side or inner layer when moving around outside in the daytime.
  • Check if your clothing and gear have parts that shine and may give away your position. Avoid shine and get rid of any object that has reflective properties. Things like the lenses of binoculars, rifle scopes and bright pieces of metal like a knife blade can shine so cover them.

Camouflaging your persona

Finally, you must "camouflage" your persona when trying to lay low in an urban environment, especially when surrounded by many people. While you can't truly camouflage your presence from detection, trying to camouflage your persona can make it easier to blend in.

This means adopting the "gray man" mindset or blending in with everyone else. Don't look like a prepper, but you also don't want to look like a meek, helpless civilian.

Maintain a look that's somewhere in between based on the baseline state of the people around you. Change your clothing, mannerisms, basic level of equipment and every outward factor about your appearance. If you do this right, you'll blend in. This will give you an advantage when SHTF and the situation is dangerous and uncertain.

It can be hard to stay camouflaged in urban environments, but it's not impossible. Wear clothes in muted colors and try to blend in so you can survive a post-SHTF world.

Watch the video below to know more about important urban survival concepts.

This video is from the TopGunsWorld channel on

More related stories:

Urban survival tips that can help you stay alive when you need to bug out.

Rural prepping: Why you should bug out to a small town.

Urban survival: 15 Items that you’ll need when SHTF.

Sources include:

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