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18 Ways You Will Stand Out (and what to do about it)


As I was shaving I smiled a bit as it dawned on me that during a long term emergency situation I might not want to shave as it would be an obvious sign that I’m better preparedthan most. Obviously, most people would not have the means or supplies to care for themselves long term, including for their personal hygiene. I began to ponder what other activities might make me stand out in such a situation. So, in no particular order (except the last one), here are my thoughts:

18. Your face is shaved and hair is well trimmed / groomed (remedy: don’t shave at all or consider a fake beard).

17. You smell good or, at least, don’t smell bad from a lack of bathing and deodorant (remedy: don’t bathe for a few days prior to going out or make yourself smelly by working up a sweat and purposely getting dirty outside).

16. Your clothes appear washed and in good repair (remedy: purposely keep old, raggedy clothing around and don’t wash them… ever!).

15. Your nails are trimmed and hands are clean (remedy: don’t keep your nails meticulously trimmed post-disaster but I woldn’t go overboard).

14. Your glasses are in good repair, if applicable (reremedy: keep an old/broken pair that you would have thrown out for use specifically when interacting post-disaster and/or keep contacts and solution to hide the fact you normally wear glasses).

13. You have nice gear and tools (remedy: again, keep old, rusty, beat-up gear around that others may see and hide the good stuff, remembering to return it there after use).

12. You have a nice garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, etc (remedy: I would still want my garden, though you could practice container gardening and sprouting indoors).

11. Your neighborhood and house look like fort knox (remedy: consider less obvious security measures such as monitoring devices, upgrades to the house such as beefing up your doors and windows, internal obstacles, etc – my “home security and defense” eBook may prove useful here).

10. You still look healthy and well fed instead of anemic (remedy: hmmmm…. maybe learn a bit of acting and/or a few make-up artist skills to make yourself look “worse” off; don’t underestimate the power these skills can have).

9. Your house is lit up like a Christmas tree (remedy: practice OPSEC and light discipline with blackout curtains, subdued lights, walkarounds, etc).

8. Noise from power tools/machinery emanate from your property (remedy: some noise is unavoidable but you may consider hand tools in some instances, time of day you use tools, how long they’re used, intermittent use, and so on).

7. Smells from cooking drift for miles and attract nearby two-legged predators (remedy: avoid cooking over open fires, prepare foods that only need re-hydrated, use a solar oven, use ideas like the wonder box or thermos cooking to finish meals).

6. Trash is piling up in your yard (remedy: recycle, reuse, bury it, compost, feed scraps to pets, etc).

5. You have all your teeth (remedy: don’t have any advice for this one except maybe something to discolor them temporarily).

4. Smells from bathroom activities are obvious (remedy: bury it very well and often, use lime or something similar to mask the smell).

3. Smoke is billowing from your chimney indicating you’re toasty inside (remedy: learn passive heating techniques, bundle up first, huddle up with family, etc).

2. Your yard looks tidy and well-kept (remedy: don’t mow the lawn, clean anything outside, repair unnecessary structures; scatter useless supplies around the yard, break an unnecessary window, graffiti).

1. You’re still alive! (remedy: there’s only one that I’m aware of and I’m not taking that option).  :)

What did I miss?

21 comments to 18 Ways You Will Stand Out (and what to do about it)

  • Prepper Q

    12- You have a nice garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, etc …….. another remedy can be a survival garden. Plant stuff in the woods. If you have any extra seeds after you plant your garden they can be sprinkled in an unobserved place. I’ve got several things growing in my woods, down the road about 50ft from the road, nearby parks, friends, family, anywhere.

  • G.Scott Shepard

    My gethomebag contains, among the standard things, halloween make-up. In SHTF time, I plan to be one of the sick-est looking dudes still, barely, on his feet. “Please help me, someone, I am SO SICK (cough, cough) !!!”

  • AniOre

    Its so true that when you’re the only one with power~ you do stand out. Recently we had a power outage that lasted only 24 hrs, but it was a good test on using the RV. I noted I was the only one with lights on that could be seen. And was cooking/propane and moved crucial items to the fridge/propane and using the holding tank water as usual. Later I did hear someones generator kick in and then lights from across the field came on ~ which showed me / anyone …they have power now. So black out curtains and a noiseless generator are on the list ….

    • Opsec is so critical. I have my ideas and plans in place but I doubt it would be enough for any long term scenario. In reality, it only takes one small slip-up (or even just dumb bad luck) to spoil all your hard work.

  • Dawn

    I never thought about how I/family would ‘stand out’ so thank you for this post, gives me some MORE things to think about as if I didn’t have enough already ;-) I just started prepping last November and it has been slow going due to budget constraints but I can’t NOT do what I can. When SHTF I don’t want to get to the point of being one of the begging, stealing etc.. masses.

    • Just keep at it! It’s a lifelong process and lifestyle for sure. Spend some time reading the “how to” info I have and the videos here as well. You’ll learn a lot and maybe find plenty of ways to do things that don’t cost much if anything at all. Ask me questions too, if you like. I’m happy to help if I can.

  • Bev

    Luminous, you are sooooo right!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Old or new, let us just get on board for more self-reliance!

  • Luminous healing arts

    With the way the economy is headed, and the fact that many new TV shows are bringing to light the fact that people are preparing for bad situations to come. It’s no surprise that many new people are starting to become preppers, but just because someone hasn’t been doing it as long as you, doesn’t make them a poser. Nobody starts out with a world of knowledge, including OPSEC, or which battle rifle to choose. I feel we should just be happy more people are getting into prepping, that’s one less person to worry about trying to take what’s yours. Reading some of these comments, reminds me a lot of high school, with all the talk of posers. There is no reason to act elitist.

    • That’s a good point. We all had to start sometime.

    • RoyG

      have to agree with you here to a cerain exteant…. you have to understand we do have to deal with the pop culture attitude/mentality in almost everything within our society… its not about being an elitest or anything like that most preppers that i know are probable the most humble people i know.. always worried about other people and the way things are heading … south sort a speak… their neighbors and such…. hopefuly most of them/newbs will take it seriously and get into the movement because like it was posted here it’s a life long learning, doing and praticing experience… everybody has to start some where and we have all been there.. The posers im talking about are people that think its cool to get into the trend idea of prepping without really careing about what is really going on…

      case in point i meet a DR at walmart last week who had just bought Sig carbine 223…. (hadnt picked it up yet was still waiting the cooling off period) yep our walmart here in south FL, sells Sigs…. he got to talking about ammo with the clerk and the clerk couldnt answer his questions so i injected to help with his questions… long story short i told him that he got a very nice weapon and asked him about his shooting experience… he told me he never fired a gun befor but his dad had hunted when he was a kid,,, i asked him why he bought the Sig carbine and he told me he liked the way it looked and he is a prepper and need an assualt rifle… i said cool i understand that so i asked him how his food and water storage is coming along and he told me he’s not worried about that stuff he just wonted the assualt rifle….. ???

      Now either this guy is a poser or his idea of prepping is to buy guns and ammo so he can take what he needs from other people… i figure it’s the later…

      hope this clarafies what im talking about…

  • T.R.

    I guess my Confederate shell jacket and kepi are out :(

  • Bev

    Open a conversation with your neighbors. Any “in” will do, the current drought and potential for skyrocketing food prices is a good one. Being a long time homesteader–that IS a lifestyle!–it is simply “good housekeeping” to keep a minimum of 3 months of food on hand and preferrably a year. Share the aspect of buying only on sale and then buying for X time period, then you can basically just buy on sale and avoid paying the higher prices. Encourage them to save in ways that are meaningful for them. One gal, her kids always come to her for… Wouldn’t it be nice if they could come to you for food during price inflation? Another neighbor, wouldn’t you want to save money to go on a vacation, save by storing food… You get the idea. Casual conversations that get people thinking.

  • Bev

    Standing out can be a bad thing, but in a small community it may also bring you into a leadership position, whether or not you want it :)

    What you will not be able to hide is your garden. And the skill it takes to grow a fruitful garden. Food gardening is an incredibly challenging endeavor. No two gardens are alike, nor seasons, nor seed varieties! Teaching others in close proximity to you how to grow their own food, sharing seeds and knowledge will be an aspect of creating a community to get through the hard times better.

    Don’t believe that just because you are a prepper that you have all the answers and can stand alone. No man and no family is an island unto itself. Humans have survived because of community and the ability and willingness to work together.

    Creating a network of like minded neighbors and knowing each others skills can be the difference between surviving or not.

    • For years I’ve believed that the “lone wolf” approach was the best idea for my family. I have changed my mind on this topic for sure. The problem is finding the right people/group to be a part of. Even though I interact with preppers all day long online it feels like I’m the only one in my neighborhood (and probably am)! So, it seems I am a “lone wolf” whether I want to be or not. :(

  • RoyG

    one thing i do like about the poser or new trend preppers, they are the kind of people who cant keep their mouth shut… always have to brag about what they just bought… in the last few months since Nat Geo’s series iv run into a few of the guys at work and they are just running at the trough…. these people dont have a clue about OPSEC SO i figure if the SHTF maybe people will go looking for their stuff and not mine… might buy me some time anyways…

    i do know some people at work who have been prepping for a while and are serious about it and we do discuss the issues we are facing but we do it quietly while all the posers are running their mouth off…

    i had one guy approach me who i do consider a friend and said he was a prepper too… so i pulled him off to the side and explained to him the gravity of what he was doing… so now he is running around deneying anything about prepping and me … BUT we have brought him into the fold and he is moving along quite well….

    so i guess there is more than one benifet to the posers and trendies……

    • My view on prepping opsec has changed quite a bit; these day’s I’m much more open about prepping (heck, I’m running a website about it!) but I don’t divulged all my secrets. Anyway, the people I would consider the biggest threats are handout-expecting family members and neighbors… in that order.

  • RGR

    One problem the preparing community faces is the trend that prepping is now the new cool thing to do. This makes me think back to the mid 90′s when the cool thing to do or be was a R.U.B. or “Rich Urban Biker” Those who had to have the biggest hog and the thousands of dollars in gear and chrome so that one night a week and on Sunday’s they could role play. Now I’m not saying that those who prepare for the worst are “Posers” but for many there is more concerned about the biggest and best new survival something or another and letting everyone known that they have it. What is truly important is not how much high tech. gear you have or the new M4 you just bought and don’t no how to use, but the with those thing which will keep you and yours alive and under the radar. Be a prepper not a poser, stay under the radar, remember this (being prepared) is a life saving endevor not a passing fad. God Bless and keep your powder dry.

    • I try not to concern myself with those who do it just to be cool or buy a new battle rifle. Those who are truly interested will be interested in the “right” stuff and be in it for the long haul because they understand it’s a lifestyle not a fad.

    • T.R.

      LOL , yeah , the yuppie prepper . I wonder how prepared any of us really are considering how many directions there are to worry about . If somebody asked me if It was a good idea to start prepping , I would say yes . It would help with even a ” minor ” event such as job loss . If asked if I thought I was prepared , I would have to say no . I do my best , and hope the strategy I’m using is the right one ……..thats about all I can do . As far as weapons go , nothing fancy , I dont need a machine gun . My “battle ” rifle is a Ruger mini 30 , my hunting rifle is a Mosin Nagant . No tactical shotguns , just a standard one . a few pistols of different frame sizes , all the same caliber so I dont have to get different ammo . Several hand me downs that are antiques …….those dont count as they have been in the family for decades . More worried about how to keep what I got discrete rather than a firefight . Yuppie preppers or not , the way I look at those folks is at least they will be one less trog to deal with as whatever they are hoarding will keep them off the street for a little while .