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Hiding in Plain Sight – Innovative Ways to Discreetly Wear Survival Gear

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from S.S. Gregory. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Hiding in plain sight is a term everyone has heard at one point or another. What does it mean from a prepper’s perspective? How much can you really carry around while still looking like the average Joe/Johanna? In this article I list some of the most unusual ways that some basic survival gear, weapons, and defensive tools can be disguised in items you already wear every day.

This is not about concealing knives and firearms. It is a collection of ways hide small survival items hidden in plain sight. You will even be guided through how to create one of the most useful resources that most people never think to include in their gear!

Here are just some of the items that can easily be concealed or disguised:

Razor Blades:

Secret Compartment Money Belt

  • a simple sheath and these are easily stored in a wallet
  • Can be inserted into a slit in a leather belt
  • Under the insoles of your shoe
  • Sheathed and taped to the inside of a steel toe boot (helps with metal detectors and xray)
  • In a hollowed out sole or heel of a shoe
  • Encased in a faux gold plaque that are common for necklaces as engraved name plates
  • Behind a fancy belt buckle
  • Underside of a watch face
  • Part of a brooch or inside your name-tag

Razor Wire:

  • long “noodle beads” can be used to protect ones skin and turn this into a necklace
  • Hollowed out heel
  • Inside a hollow purse strap
  • In a special groove inside a man’s ring
  • In a belt
  • Fishing Hook
  • encased in tear drop earnings
  • In/Behind pennants
  • Backside of belt buckles
  • Made into a Broach
  • Embedded in the brim of a hat
  • Inside a hair scrunchy (caution, best if used loosely over a rubber band bun)
  • Hollowed out shoe heel

Small items like razor, wire or even maps can be hidden in special watches.

Fishing Line, Rope, Paracord:

  • Simply sew into various items of clothing as a contrast stitch.
  • Embroidery
  • Necklace
  • Bracelet
  • inside hollow watches
  • Woven into a beanie
  • Braided into a belt

Survival Hiking Boot Laces – Wilderness Survival Emergency Fire Starter – 550 Paracord Laces with Ferro Rod Tips and Serrated Steel Striker Tools – Black or Brown

Fire Starter Rods:

  • Hollow tips of shoelaces
  • Dangle earnings
  • Pendant
  • Bracelets
  • Inside a Hollowed belt
  • Belt buckle
  • Inside wallet
  • Hollowed out heels
  • Replacing sections of underwire in a bra.
  • Fastened to a barrette

Black Powder vials:

  • Worn as pendants
  • Inserted into hollow chap stick or lipstick tubes.
  • Inside the heel of a shoe
  • Attached to your key-chain
  • Inside empty travel sized hand lotion bottles
  • Inside empty travel sized toothpaste tubes
  • taped to the backside of a large belt buckle
  • Simply slipped into a pocket/purse
  • Disguised as ornaments on the outside of a purse

100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation

Blow Gun Darts:

  • Attached to barrettes and bobby pins
  • Dangle earrings
  • Pendants
  • Broaches
  • Inside belt-loops
  • Part of the belt buckle
  • Inside a hollow belt
  • Inside the straps of a purse
  • Replacing part of the underwire of a bra
  • In your wallet
  • On a key-chain
  • Under the insoles of your shoes
  • In a hollow shoe heel
  • Decorations on a purse

TIHK Handcuff Key

Handcuff Keys:

  • inside a slit on the back of your belt
  • On a Key-chain
  • Inside a hollow watch face
  • Inside a pendant
  • In a hollow belt buckle
  • Inside the hollow heel of your shoe

This list could go on and on. As you can see there are a variety of things that can have various survival uses that can be incorporated into items that you wear every day. By creating these clothing items now and stocking your supplies, you can guarantee that if SHTF you are wearing your basic supplies. If you cannot get to your Bug Out Bag and your EDC has been compromised in some way, you want to be sure you always have something, literally, On you.

So, where do you start?

Start with the items you wear the most. For most people this is their shoes. This is also the option that can possibly be the most difficult to alter, yet carry the most supplies. This is why I have chosen to help you through this process today.

Different style shoes have different alteration options and limitations. If you primarily wear tennis shoes with thin soles, you may want to start with replacing the shoelaces with paracord and fire starter laces. Depending on how thin the soles are, you may be able to still store some supplies in the sole (such as a razor blade) or under the insole, inside the tongue, and even secured to the inside.

If you wear boots with some heels, chances are these heels are already partially hollow. You can buy boots that already have this secret compartment, or you can take on the challenge of creating it yourself. If you are creating the hollow yourself, you will need to secure the opening of the compartment so it isn’t easily damaged, removed, or otherwise tampered with. Detach the insole of the shoe near the heel to carve it out yourself. You may want to find a solid container that can provide the heel some of the support that may be lost in the hollowing process. If you want easier access to your compartment you can leave the insole dislodged. If you are hiding items you intend to keep more secure, you will want to glue down your insole. take heed to also secure or resew the insoles before gluing so that it can stand up to more scrutinizing inspection. Depending on the width of the heel, and the quality and composition of your insole, you may need to find a thin but sturdy material, or extra rubber so that it doesn’t dip down later. We do, after all, want these shoes to remain comfortable.

The other option is to put the opening of the compartment on the bottom of the shoe for easier access. This can be accomplished by carving out a perfect circle or square and preserving it, then hollowing the sole enough to fit in the supplies you desire to hide, or the container to fit them. These must fit very snugly and be lightweight enough as to not put pressure on the plug. Take the preserved piece of sole and attach it to something a little larger than it is if you need to make it more like a cork. Simply plug the hole. If it needs help staying put, and you don’t care about how it looks you can use glue or staples. Of course if you are quite handy and looking for an even more accessible and sturdy option… You can cut the end of the sole clean off, replace the inside with a box with a circle opening, and fasten threads to the removed heel and screw it back on. This would work best on heels that were already hollowed, made of wood, or women’s high heels.

Final Tip: Pack the heel in a manner that is least likely to damage the supplies and add padding as needed so they don’t make strange noises while you walk.

Disclaimer:

Some of the items in the list could possibly be illegal to conceal in the manners suggested in your locality. Please use discretion when choosing the items to include in your EDC wear.

If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • GregChick

    My lips are sealed, oops, my name is posted, thats ok, I’m wearing a mask.

  • FRANK

    Where can the watch be purchased or what is the brand name so we can Google it. Thanks

  • BobW

    Survivalist or assassin?

  • RevIdahoSpud3

    I can’t relate to how any of these items would do me much good. The handcuffs indicate that a person has crossed a line and is in the early stages of incarceration. I wear a neck knife with fire starting and lighting accessories. Fits under a shirt and doesn’t show but if needed they become easily accessible and are more substantial than these hidden “micro” items described in this article not to mention my constant companion…a revolver. Different strokes for different folks I guess?

    • Priori_Tyes

      In a SHTF scenario, incarceration may not come at the hands of the law though. Looks as though this is geared to complete social breakdown and/or being totally stranded long term vs. natural disaster or basic civil unrest. My Harley Davidson boots have a hollow center in the heel. My insole started coming up after 10 years and I noticed it. I keep spare keys in them. Just house keys though. I want the belt.

  • Silent Earth

    Good handy tips, cheers, I like to give soome sensible attention to clothing for preppers, I wrote this about it.
    Modified clothing for EDC prepping
    More and more preppers I meet are doing some interesting stuff with their EDC clothing, Poorer preppers like myself tend to modify or tailor proprietary brands of clothing to suit our own needs, I’m always adding extra pockets, re-enforcement patches, Fastex webbing and hangers, kit hanging loops, elasticised draw cords etc to my clothing. Equally many preppers choose to buy and wear clothing primarily designed for soldiers or police officers such as Combat Jackets, SAS smocks, M65s, Concealed Carry Jackets, Specialist Vests etc. And not forgetting our passion for tactical cargo pants either. Some folks spend huge amounts on first rate specialist outdoor clothing and still end up messing on with a sewing machine to get the product they want.
    Also and very importantly in this ever more uncertain and violent world parents are also seeking specialist clothing for their children. GPS tagged clothing and shoes for the very young, GPS tagged phones for errant teens spring to mind but equally the enlightened urban families both prepper and ordinary types as well as the kids themselves have identified a need for even more specialist clothing.
    This includes slash proof and knife resistant vests, hoodies, smocks and jackets for kids !! (What a terrible indictment of today’s society until you realise that in London alone over 50 kids have been stabbed to death in recent years which makes teen prepping more important than ever it was before.)
    Slash resistant clothing is now very popular in places such as Washington DC, New York, London, Birmingham, Rome, Berlin and Tokyo for teens as well as adults. It is a newish product range some city preppers may wish to consider as well.
    There is also a trend among our teens and city dwellers to reduce the risk of becoming victims of muggings and street robberies by wearing clothing that allows them to conceal the inevitable collection of electronic gadgets they have these days. Firstly it helps them reduce the risk of being targeted as in many cases they can conceal their personal kit about their person instead of in bags and rucksacks.
    Jackets, Hoodies and Vests that look just like ordinary outdoor civilian fashion clothing but have huge numbers of concealed pockets and hidden routes within the clothing to route phone speaker / headphone wires etc, This again is a development that can in many cases be beneficial to the urban prepper community as you can very often carry a full EDC load in the pockets rather than in a bag.

    Which leads to Fit, Feel and Familiarity
    So you have done the research, bought the kit, developed your plans and stockpiled everything including the assault systems kitchen sink. Now what are you going to do? Wait for Armageddon?
    It’s no good at all having a great piece of kit if you are not totally familiar with its feel and fit, and you need to be very comfortable about using it. Why buy an all singing all dancing tactical folding knife then put it away until it is needed? Does it open and close smoothly, can you cut a rope, fillet a rabbit, defend yourself with it, sharpen it or is it too big or to lightweight for the task?
    Does it sit comfortably on your hip or in your pocket now? What about after 8 hours with your rucksack pressing it into your hip, can you unleash it, open it and use it with cold, wet, tired hands?
    Your expensive flashlight with its lifetime warranty, can you strip and replace the self-cleaning switch, Is it big enough powerful enough to do the job for a full evening in your blacked out camp site or retreat, or is it always getting in the way, pulling your belt down, and eating batteries faster than a kids toy?
    Be honest, if you were stressed out, scared stupid and fleeing for your life along with your family, Could you put your hand straight to your compass, flashlight, map, knife or whatever in your bug out vest or bag without having to unpack or rummage about for it. What about the vest / bag itself Is the vest up to the job? Is it comfortable? not going to slide up or down, ride up into a knot or disintegrate at the first time its put to use.
    It’s the same with the BOV’s super duper tyres you paid a premium rate for, and what about the PV unit or wind generator you have obtained, will the tyres give the traction you seek or are you going to end up with terminal wheel spin in the inevitable piece of swamp along the route to your destination. Or the PV and turbine working flat out simply don’t provide enough energy to stop your freezer from thawing out. What if for example the turbine produces so much noise it lets the residents of the next county home in on your secluded retreat?
    You have the will, you have the need, and now you have the kit to enable you to survive, so get familiar with it use it, get comfortable with it, reassure yourself that it will be up to the task, Why not for example wear your vest for a few days at a time partially loaded, so you get used to it, let it find its shape, find out the best way to load it with your kit. You don’t need to go into town looking like you are ready to start a war, but it will do you no harm at all to use your vest as a gillet carrying your knife, flashlight, compass, first aid kit, Para cord, wallet etc for a few days. Perhaps you could make it your car coat or your dog walking jacket. It’s the same care that is needed with the new boots you have recently invested in.
    Now you have realised that bugging out in a vehicle is going to be almost impossible and have purchased those 200 dollar boots, are they up to the job? To stiff? Poor fit? Not broken in? Not water resistant? Do they take forever to dry out etc?
    You need your bug out boots, clothes and kit to be snug, comfortable and familiar at hand, and up to the job.
    I got myself what I thought would be an ideal garment to use as a bug out vest, I bought it, loaded it up, then put it away whilst I waited for Armageddon. Then one day I thought I would take the mutt for a good long hard walk and decided to try out the vest…………………………. It is now into its third set of alterations and modifications to make it more comfortable and better suited to the task I designed it for.

    • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

      Couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said about actually USING your gear! Last count I’ve taken a boy scout troop worth of outdoor “stuff” to the Goodwill store. I wear my boots, GHB, and loaded tac vest during my daily 5 mile “constitutional” walk. It’s taken me many pairs of boots to be happy, and my favorites are actually branded field & stream. The best vest I found so far is a generic fly fishing vest. A bazillion pockets, does not look particularly tactical, and very comfortable to boot. The best thing about it is that the pocket location don’t interfere with the sternum and hip straps for any of my bags.
      In a nutshell – work with your stuff in all conceivable weather situations and be very sure it does what you need when far away from home base resources!

    • Priori_Tyes

      Stab resistant hoodies? Interesting. My leather jacket has been modified to have more internal pockets and molle type loops for attaching things. So I don’t have to rummage. Good stuff all around.

  • christopher

    it would be my luck with the survival hiking boot laces with the ferro rods & striker, is I would set my boots on fire running through the woods.. LMAO i would be like a roman candle shooting through the trees.. (had to make a funny this early in morning)
    although knowing how to cobble shoes wouldnt be a bad skill to have!

    • Priori_Tyes

      LOL, it’d be worse if you also had black powder in your boots

  • Priori_Tyes

    The comments are as good as the article lol. Good stuff if all hell breaks loose and you are captured by an enemy.

  • Mark

    After 2 years of wondering about ScotteVest.com coats (with many hidden pockets, up to 48). I finally broke down and bought their 8.0 winter jacket (I live in WI, where winter can last 8-9 months long (at least at night with cold Springs and Falls). It is actually 2 coats (and two vests, since the zippered sleeves are removable) in one outfit, with the inner 24-pocket coat being a zipper lining for the outer coat, for added warmth, but also fully wearable as a light coat). ScotteVest advertises that you can carry tablets in their pockets (and with wiring loops to ear-pieces), and a water bottle. Yes, you can.

    I wore it the first time in my son’s car because the driver door leaks air on highways. It was about 2-degrees F and wind chills at -15 F on a 6 hr interstate drive. Unbelievably to me I stayed warm from air-leak chills the whole trip. I got it 2 months ago. I really like it for protecting my 8+mo/year cold weather environment; and the BO pockets.

    I have a lot of BO gear (small items). A few years ago I was going to sew my own pockets into a winter coat (though I am a novice sewing). But there is a “profile” problem with carrying any loose gear in pockets…the pockets bulge (unless they are tiny pockets made to perfectly fit Altoid cans, etc.

    As much as I hate the Prepper “buy more, buy more”, when you can buy items that are multi-purposeful for BI or BO, that may justify getting a few more items. One item I got for survival carry-gear (and long term frozen or dried food storage) was a Food Saver (heavy duty plastic sealing device, that sucks out the air/moisture around items stored, and is waterproof). What this allows me to do in my ScotteVest is to, for e.g., take snare wire and gently wind it up a bit and seal it into an airless plastic sheet that fits perfectly (with no bulging) into large flat ScotteVest pockets. I can also air seal a variety of vitamins, dried foods, meds, etc into another large-flat sheet. I can add a piece of colored paper to distinguish category-ID purpose The plastic keeps moisture out (no rusting) and is “see thru” to inspect my inventory. The air seal increases rigidity and removes bulging. Everything is accessible with a knife to cut out whatever I may want. I do carry an Altoid can in a pocket, but it already has a profile showing abrasion marks on my blue jeans.

    I like going to the woods/fields, foraging, fishing, trapping, canoeing, exploring. The number of small items, protected from moisture, humidity, in handy see thru packets (instead of lidded metal containers), and that maintain rigidity so that they don’t crumple up and bulge my pockets is amazing. Like what? 550-cord, fish line/hooks/sinkers; all sorts of fire-kit items (including tinder, kindling, and a few first dry wood pieces for the emergency fire. Many 1st Aid, Vitamin, Rx’s, alcohol pad, bandaid, moleskin items all in one sheet. I have a pair of work gloves in a Food Saver packet (dry ones!!), and winter hat, scarf..all flat, non-bulging that also adds insulation value to coat. I also carry some empty sand-bags for on the trail kindling and berry gathering; leaves (for cushioning), many uses. I carry a police trauma kit (chest wound plastic, tourniquette, shears, Quick-Clot, on my ankle. I back-pocket carry stainless pint flasks, and could easily fit more pints in the jacket. When the inner-jacket that zips into position as a “liner” is in place, all of its 24 pockets of various sizes cannot be seen because they are in the liner (good for documents, maps, many very thin smalls (even duplicates of outer coat smalls), Various wired items that could get bent, broke, cut, abraded go into Food Saver packets and lay flat with no bulging. This set up allows me to be carrying on my person most of my emergency self-reliance “smalls”, leaving a BOB for wool blankets, clothes, and larger items. As much as “concealed-carry” refers to weapons; I expect to use tools and vital stuff far more than weapons (that I don’t want to use)–I would rather hide for self-defense x 48 hrs, than defend (if I can). But successful hiding requires supplies, easy access, and the ability to find what you need right now (not 10-minutes from now such as when you have to examine multiple containers and in multiple pockets, and then sort through every item, such as to find a sail or leather needle, or where you put your small compass, and all of this is more difficult in the dark; and when you don’t want to use up 10 minutes of flashlight battery time just to find where you put your aspirin, or your wet-fire pads). If I am going to BI during SHTF (I need a weapon); but if I BO I need a variety of supplies to hide+survive. I am not putting-down guns in these comments; but wearing a cold gun in a winter setting with insufficient blankets and warmth devices will do you in long before any enemy finds your frozen body. My context: a 35K town, winter-state, within <1 mile of rural farm fields, gentle hills, grasslands. Be Prepared