Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
A Michigan Militiaman doing survivalist training in northern Michigan. (Photo: Michael Samojeden/AFP/Getty Images)

As the world swirls ever-more-swiftly toward destruction, survivalists may become more popular than ever before. After all, it’s probably not a bad idea to stock up on some water and maybe some canned goods, in case Miami cracks off into the ocean or tornadoes become a daily occurrence. But “preppers” are way ahead of most of us, as they’ve been already doing this for years, stashing away food and water, as well as lots and lots of ammo. A surprisingly hot topic among these survivalists has to do with the answer to this question: What are they wearing?

In the detailed Racked article “The Prepper Obsession With Clothes,” writer Jennings Brown talks to the men who are determined to make it when the SHTF (shit hits the fan). They use a lot of acronyms, like when discerning between their BOB (bug-out), EDC (every day carry), GHB (get home bag), and INCH (I’m not coming home) bags. Brown discovers that there are primarily two camps: preppers and bushcrafters, who value wilderness skills over having the right gear. But even these disparate tribes, Brown finds, have a fashion focus in common: “Between the groups, I can’t say which is more obsessed with clothes,” says prepper Feature Kreep (not his given name). “They all talk about it a heck of a lot.”


For example, some simple everyday fabrics may be more deadly than you may realize when you’re in the thick of it. “Cotton kills,” reveals Damien, a Sprint sales rep who has been a prepper since he was a teenager. “It gets wet, stays wet, and drains body heat.” Wool is preferred for chilly nights spent sleeping outside. But the color and pattern of survivalist clothing also makes a difference, as well as practicality. Says Brown, “Without proper attire, you could die of hypothermia. You can’t run away from the living dead wearing sandals. If your jacket is too bright, you’ll be a target for cannibal anarchist militias. Of course, when it comes to preparing for fantasies like these, there’s also the matter of looking cool,” selecting just the perfect pattern of camouflage. In fact, one fashion choice all the preppers seem to agree with is dressing as the nondescript “gray man.” Another survivalist described:

If you’re in occupied territory and are trying to get out, best thing I can suggest is be the gray man. Blend in with the people and surroundings. For example, if you’re in an urban environment that is occupied and need to exit, dress how everyone else is dressing. [W]alking around in black utilities and a backpack, you’re going to stand out like dogs balls [sic].

Find more advice on planning your gray-shaded, wool-based survival wardrobe at Racked.

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