Blending In, Insertion and Extraction Are Critical Skills Needed

Blending In SHTF

Insertion and extraction, terms used by the military, but applicable in certain SHTF scenarios. Typically, insertion and extraction are done without notice. Stealth is important, but acting sneaky can also have a downside, because in an urban area, for example, regardless of the situation someone is always around, so going without notice can be difficult, so, in this case, you would blend in to avoid detection, and this means letting people see you, but see you as someone that belongs there.

You have to present yourself as someone that belongs there, so you are not given a second glance. You have to assume that in an urban environment, someone will see you, so what will he or she see, what will they remember about you, are you such that you are forgotten as soon as you are out of sight.   

Instead of wearing camouflage when everyone else looks like a tourist, you would want to also look like a tourist. Acting sneaky or looking out of place can send up red flags in some people’s minds.

You may be in a wilderness environment and need to avoid detection or inside the city limits and need to do a Reconnaissance mission. In either case, you would likely have to insert yourself into an area in which you may not be familiar to gather Intel and then extract yourself once you have completed the Recon. 

In A Wilderness Environment, You Want To Blend Into the Background

Shape: You have to be aware of your shape, humans have a distinct shape and face that all mammals instinctively recognize. Humans subconsciously look for faces in virtually anything they look at. Break up your shape and the outline of your face by using colors that mimic the background, use Camo sticks, leaves, branches, and natural cover.

Shine: It is self-explanatory, shiny gets spotted. Binocular lenses, eyeglasses, cheekbones, chins and hands, gunmetal, stainless steel canteens, and cups, stainless steel knife blades and watch crystals will reflect light.

Silhouette: Cresting a ridgeline standing, walking along a river or lakeshore with water at your back, and walking against a darker or lighter rock outcropping all outlines the human shape. Be aware of your silhouette as you move about.

Shadow: You may think you’re concealed behind a tree or some other vegetation but is your shadow concealed. Know where your shadow is cast. Ariel surveillance is not out of the question during a crisis, drones and other aircraft may be out doing surveillance, and your shadow can be spotted from the air even if your body cannot be.

Stillness: You cannot walk at 3mph through the woods. In stealth mode, it may take you an hour to cover 100 yards to avoid detection. If your body is camouflaged and the grasses and branches are swaying in the wind and you are not swaying, you stand out. Sway with the vegetation, move as it moves. If there is no breeze, you do have to stop, look, and listen by not moving your head, just your eyes.

Night Camp

Regardless of your situation, you will need fire. A Dakota Fire Hole or Pit is one option that can be used to hide your fire, in particular, to hide the flames at night. Smoke is easily detected against the skyline during the day, while flames are hard to spot during the day unless just a few yards away. Smoke can be seen during the day and smelled at any time.

As most of you know, a Dakota Fire Hole is a fire chamber dug straight down in the ground, and then a vent is dug at a slant, dug so air can flow into the fire chamber. This design is extremely efficient because it burns hot and to some extent burns off wood gasses that create the smoke. A hot fire reduces smoke and is fuel-efficient. It takes time and some effort to dig a fire pit, and it may not be practical for those that have to move quickly.

Other ways to mask your smoke is to build a small fire under heavy foliage so the smoke dissipates among the leaves and branches making it harder to spot during daylight hours. Options for heating food and water include heat tablets that do not produce a significant flame or smoke. The tabs do not provide any heat to warm your body to speak of, but you can boil water, warm up beverages and cook small meals using heat tabs.

Dark Silent Camp

A dark camp is no fire and no light and all provisions are laid out before complete darkness so you do not have to dig through a pack, thus reducing movement that creates noise. The best time to make camp is at twilight. You can still see to set up but the light is low enough to make it more difficult for others to spot you from a distance.

Ideally, you have scouted your camp location during daylight and would come back to it using the cover of darkness. Eat during daylight hours if possible and then move some distance away to set up a dark camp for sleeping and to set up listening posts.

If you are evading capture or simply want to move or camp undetected then do not use tents, tarps or other materials not natural to the area. Do not cut or trample any vegetation, because once you move out you do not want to leave any traces behind or any traces that could indicate who you are. Food wrappers, cans and so forth can be carried with your or buried in such a way as that there is not any indication of such.

Human waste can be buried under rocks if you can move and replace the rocks without disturbing the soil or area around the rocks. Never burn your trash.

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