As I live and work in a small city, and do not have a survival retreat to bail out to, over the years I have been giving much thought into how I would get home should an EMP or CME strand me away from home. I have looked at others suggestions such as small backpacks or laptop cases. I have read the debates as to what to wear to blend in while making your way home. I have had a few get home bags (GHBs) that held the things I needed, but I felt that they would look out of place with some of the areas I would have to go through while making my way home, and the clothes that would be invisible in one neighborhood would get noticed in another. What to do?
Then last weekend, while browsing yard sales, I saw something that gave me the best idea yet. The woman was selling off some of her son’s old stuff. A set of motorcycle street leathers, some ice hockey gear, a few karate gis, all in one size larger than I wear. But the things that got my attention, and gave me my idea, were the baseball things. You see, I live in Florida where most outdoor sports are played all year round. I asked the woman why she was selling her sons stuff and she told me that he had moved out of state. After a little haggling, I purchased two button up team jerseys (a company logo that he worked for while in college), a matching warm-up jacket, two hats, a bat, a batting helmet, a glove and an equipment bag, all of which were well broken in. In actuality, the only items I was interested in were the jerseys, the hats and the equipment bag. What could I do with these you ask? Read on.
Picture this, you are a bad guy. The electricity has gone out, your vehicle won’t run, it’s the middle of the afternoon and it’s starting to get hot. You see three separate, middle-aged, slightly overweight guys walking through your territory. The first guy is wearing a polo shirt (untucked) and khakis carrying a laptop case, obviously a business type trying to get home. The second guy is wearing an earthy green shirt (also untucked), dark tan pants and boots carrying a backpack, maybe an older student type? The third guy is wearing a baseball shirt (untucked and unbuttoned) and hat, red clay stained jeans, sneakers and carrying a well used baseball equipment bag slung across his shoulder, obviously he’s been playing/practicing with his company team and is just trying to get home. Now, as the bad guy, what are your thoughts about the three trespassers in your territory? Remember, the power has only been out a short period of time and your do not yet realize that the SHTF. Maybe you think something along these lines.
The first guy appears to be a businessman. Businessmen usually carry plenty of money/credit cards. He’s carrying a laptop case. A laptop case holds a laptop. Laptops are worth money. Businessmen also have expensive cell phones. Beat up the out of shape business man, steal and sell the laptop and cell phone. Buy drugs and/or booze with the money and/or credit cards.
The second guy is possibly an older student. Students usually laptops, textbooks and cell phones. Laptops, textbooks and cell phones are worth money. Beat up the overweight student, steal his stuff, sell the laptop, books and cell phone. Buy drugs and/or booze.
The third guy has obviously been playing baseball. Even though he is overweight, he plays baseball and may be able to put up a fight. Baseball equipment bags usually hold baseball bats, so he probably has a weapon to fight back with. Baseball equipment bags usually contain a glove, some socks, maybe a helmet and maybe a water bottle. No laptop. Maybe he has a cell phone. Maybe he has a few bucks I his pocket. Is the chance that he may have a cell phone or a few dollars worth the risk that he could injure me seriously? No, let’s go get the other two and leave this one alone, it’s just not worth the risk.
Now as someone that is a regular reader here now from the descriptions given, things are not as easy for the bad guy as they first appear. In each case, I have given a description of the three most popular versions of urban camo. Now, let’s take a look at the mistake the bad guy made by trying to tackle each of the “victims.”
“The Businessman.” Of course the biggest clue to the bad guy’s mistake is the untucked polo. This version of urban camo has the “victim” carrying a Glock 23 under the shirt. His get home bag (GHB) contains a folded Kel-Tec Sub-2000 set up for Glock 22 magazines, along with several spare mags, in addition to other survival supplies. He is an Army vet, has attended some firearms training classes. As an easy victim, the bad guy will be in for a rude awakening when he chooses to attack this “soft” target. As for the camo doing its job of making the person blend in, I feel that it would actually make him a more inviting target in certain neighborhoods.
“The Student.” Once again, the untucked shirt is the give-away. In this case, he is carrying the same sidearm. In the backpack, the same Kel-Tec Sub-2000 along with a few more extra mags. There are also a few more survival items. He is the same guy as the businessman, just a different approach to urban camouflage. I feel that this “student” approach is also not the best approach to urban camo but that it is at least a little bit better.
The biggest difference between the “student” and the “businessman,” is that the “student” appearance is more likely to elicit a “he possibly has” train of thought amongst bad guys, where the “businessman” approach gives the bad guys a “he has” thought process. In either case, the bad guys will more than likely attack the “victims” to obtain what they think will bring them money.
Herein lies the beauty of the “baseball player” camouflage that I have set up.
“The Baseball Player.” Again the clue is the untucked shirt. But in this case, the shirt is also unbuttoned, with the strap from the equipment bag holding the shirt closed against his chest. By having the shirt unbuttoned, it makes it a little bit easier to clear it to draw a weapon, also in this case a Glock 23. The biggest difference is what the GHB contains. In addition to the standard items one would find in a GHB, I have placed a surplus Infantry Fighting Vest, complete with six 30-round PMags, two empty one quart canteens, four Glock 22 mags, and 20 rounds of 12 gauge shells. I also have my AR-15 laid on top of the vest in the main compartment with a full magazine in the mag well. In the compartment where people normally keep their bats, I have a Remington 870 riot gun with a top folding stock and extended mag tube. To keep the pistol grip right up against the zipper, I have placed a small bag with extra socks and t-shirts in it tucked down at the bottom. I have placed padding on the bag carry strap to make it easier to carry long distances, and cut the strap at the middle of my chest and installed a quick release buckle in case I need to drop it quickly. You may be thinking that I do not really need to carry the shotgun with me, but it doesn’t really add that much weight compared to the psychological intimidation it would bring if I were to ever pull it out. My thinking is that during the first few hours of a major of a major catastrophe, most bad guys would not bother the “baseball player” just trying to get home as he would not have much worthwhile on him.
As I write this, this bag is sitting in the trunk of my car, along with a case of water to fill the canteens before abandoning it. Sitting on top of the bag is a pair of “dirty” sneakers, “dirty” jeans, “dirty” button up jersey, three quarter sleeve Under Armor t-shirt, the warm-up jacket and well worn baseball cap. In order to make everything “dirty,” I took the clean items to a baseball field after a rainstorm and dragged them on the ground a little bit, then hung them up to dry. Once they were dry, I gave them a good whack to knock off the clumps of dirt, the result looks like they were recently played in.
You may wonder how well this would work in real life. Well, let me tell you, it works great. I tested the setup this weekend by having a friend drop me off at work then walking home dressed as described. I used the shortest route possible, which I would not use in a real situation, as it took me through a rough section of town. With two exceptions, I made it home without even speaking to anyone. Both exceptions occurred in the rough section of town. The first was when a police officer stopped and asked if I needed any help. I thanked him and told him I was just getting my exercise on the way home. He said okay and went about his work. The second occasion was when I was passing a house with the owner working out front in her yard. She stopped me and asked if I would like a cold glass of tea, I thanked her and said that I was trying to catch the bus at the stop just down the street, and moved on. It took me a little longer to get home than I thought it would, but nothing happened to speak of. Even the officer did not seem to notice that I was carrying, and I do have a permit. I am glad that I put the padding on the strap before I made this trial run, as I think it would have started bothering me before I made it home.
Is my setup the best possible way to go? It is for me but maybe not for your situation. Are there better ways of setting up this rig? Probably, and I will continue to play with this to see if I can work it better. Mostly I just wanted to get this out there to give others an idea as to how to take something not readily thought of, and turn it into something useful.