Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Urban Survival - Blending In

There are times when you will find yourself outside your normal surroundings. As a result, your comfort zone can become altered due to these surroundings. The easiest way to restore that comfort zone is by blending in with the locals.

Now it’s pretty difficult for a country boy to survive a trip to the mall in a big city. You always wonder if all the blades you normally pack will set off those detector things they have at the entrance and exit doors. No worry there as they are just for the in-store merchandise. The main problem is that you don’t want to look like a tree rat on steroids if you fill your pockets with everything you feel necessary to carry with you. Solving this problem is pretty easy.

One of the most inconspicuous things you can carry is a camera case. It’s one of the few things that a guy can carry without getting a lot of funny looks from everyone. Small and extremely portable, a small camera case will allow you to carry those essential items discretely and securely. Knowing you have your essentials for survival will restore your comfort zone.

You can even throw in a small digital camera (it won’t take up much room) along with your other gear. They also come in different sizes in case you want to carry your gear a little more discreetly or feel the need for something additional just in case. The camera case in the picture is approximately 6 inches wide, 6 inches high and 9 inches in length. It will hold a decent amount of gear and can be carried quite easily. You can usually find them in a basic black but since you will probably spend most of your time in the sporting goods section, your basic camouflage works also when you need to blend in with the locals. Besides, no one gives a guy a second look if he’s carrying a camo camera case.

A few suggested carry items is a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a short piece of orange surveyor's tape to mark your antenna and a really good local map in case you get lost. A small first aid kit will probably be a good idea as well.

There are a couple of other things you might want to do also if you’re headed to the big city. Depending upon where you will be traveling in the big city, the first thing that you will probably need is a local native to guide you. It will be a lot easier to find your way if you have someone that is familiar with the concrete and asphalt trails in the big city. Next try to find a one of those big light poles in the parking lot (the kind with a number on it) to park next to when you get there. Otherwise, you’ll need to tie a colorful marker on your antenna so you can find your vehicle when you get ready to leave due to a lack of distinctive landmarks in the parking lot. You can also forget about shade on a sunny day. The few trees you may find aren’t big enough to furnish shade for even a small dog.

Do you blend?

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

I never thought of the camera case for that - good idea! Some stores may worry you are a shop lifter though and have someone follow you around - no problem. Just take care if you have to put it down (in a restaurant for example) - some shifty eyed character may find a need for it.

Thanks again RiverWalker.

idahobob said...

A camera case. Never thought of that. It would help you blend in better than the ol' fanny pack. Especially that those in the know realize your packin' of ya got a fanny pack on.



riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:08

I have a smaller one that I carry a few "extras" in when I'm out and about in the city and just use the shoulder strap to keep from losing it. The one pictured is slightly larger and will give me the opportunity to carry a couple of "extras".

Works great as a "stealth survival kit"!

Thanks anon.


riverwalker said...

To: idahobob

Carrying a small survival kit that's not readily obvious is easy to do by using something like a camera case. You could even use a larger video camera bag if you really needed to carry a lot of "extras".

Some people may be more comfortable carrying a small camera bag instead of a fanny pack.

The main thing is to have a few of those "extras" handy if you need them.

Thanks bob!


Anonymous said...

I tend to shy away from camo in the city. It won't blend in with anything,and you look like a redneck! Stick with gray or black to blend in. Also,old cellphone cases work for smaller items.

Josh said...

I sometimes carry a camera bag. However, it's always packed full of camera bodies and lenses. Not a bad idea though. Although I wouldn't get one in camo. I don't think people will think you're a photographer if your camera bag is camo! Sure, some people might carry cameras in a camo bag, but you're not really going to blend in.

Riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 9:53

Camo shirts and caps etc. are pretty common attire in my area...big city or not, especially during hunting season.

Unfortunately, camo or not they'd still probably consider me a redneck.lol

Good idea about using old cell phone cases...small and very discrete. Great idea!

Thanks anon.


Riverwalker said...

To: Josh

I've got a small black camera bag that I intend to try and fix up with some items...but I've been carrying a small camo camera bag and I haven't drawn any extra attention that I've noticed.

In my area, camo is pretty common...

Great idea! Putting a camera in a camera case! lol

All kidding aside, I've got a small digital unit that still leaves a little room in the bag...nothing professional, strictly amateur stuff.

Thanks Josh.


Josh said...

Well, I guess if camo is blends in in your urban areas, go for it. But, why not just get a messenger bag – the type that people carry laptops in? I think you could still carry quite a bit of stuff in one, and it’d less awkward to carry around than a more bulky camera bag (like the one shown). Plus, a lot more people carry around laptops than the professional-style camera gear that usually goes in a camera bag like that. I would think that a laptop/messenger bag would blend in much better than the camera bag. Most of those bags also have handles so that you could switch and carry it like a briefcase, which might make you less noticeable also, depending on where you were at the moment.

riverwalker said...

To: Josh

That's a great idea!

Now that you mention it, I do see a lot of people carrying those laptop computer cases around. Sounds like a good way to blend in!

Got any more good tips? If so, feel free to sound off or comment anytime!

Thanks Josh!


Kelekona said...

That's actually slightly funny, because some professional photographers prefer a diaper bag for low-key equipment carrying. Hmmm, be weird and pretend to have camera equipment in your diaper-bag?

I would advise to just learn the art of remembering where you left the car instead of doing anything to make it more recognizable. Supercenters are a good level of crowded to practice with.

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