I was 30,000 feet in the air on my way overseas. I was going over my mental checklist to make sure I had all of my gear and that it was properly concealed.
The truth is it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve traveled overseas — I never let my guard down. To this day, I obsessively double-check everything.
For instance, as I was sitting on the plane that day, I was wearing my Escape & Evasion Gun Belt. This is a solid leather belt that has three hidden zippered pockets on the inside.
In the first pocket, I had $40 in cash because it’s always a good idea to have extra cash when traveling.
In the second pocket, I had a small lock pick set. If you don’t know how to pick locks, it’s something you can learn very easily.
In the third pocket, I had a bobby pin, hair barrette and a handcuff key. Overseas, you’re more likely to run into corrupt police who will use handcuffs to restrain you. The bobby pin and hair barrette would allow me to escape if that situation arose — as would the universal handcuff key I was carrying.
If you’re traveling to more dangerous areas of the world, having escape gear on your belt is just the beginning of your preparations…
There are additional steps you should take once you’ve arrived to keep you safe as you travel around. Here are five options for concealing gear in plain sight.
- Make it stick. One effective (yet painful) way to conceal items on your body is by using a piece of Gorilla Tape. This is a great way to carry small items that could come in handy, such as a razor blade, a handcuff key or lock picks. Simply place the items in the middle of the Gorilla Tape and stick it somewhere on your leg.If you’re wearing shorts, put the tape lower on your leg. That way, you can just lift up the bottom of your shorts to tear it off. If you’re wearing pants, fasten the tape up higher around the waistline so you can easily access it. Ripping the tape off your skin might be uncomfortable, but in a life-or-death situation you won’t think twice about doing it to get to the tools you need to keep you alive.
- Fake an injury. A pain-free version of the tactic above is to wrap your arm or leg in a bandage to make it look as if you’ve been injured. You can keep your escape gear underneath the bandage, essentially allowing you to hide these items in plain sight.
- Keep it in your pants. If you wear pants with a button closure, you can hang survival items on the button. Simply take a piece of string and loop it around the button with the string hanging down inside your pants. On the end of the string, you can tape a handcuff key, hair barrette or bobby pin. I wouldn’t use this method to hang a razor blade or anything sharp because you could cut yourself.
- Bag it. One of my favorite ways to conceal gear on my body is by using a safety pin and a small plastic bag. First, take the small plastic bag and fill it with whatever items you wish — cash, handcuff key, copy of your passport — and then fasten the bag to the inside of your pants using the safety pin. You can even clip one set of gear to your front and one to your back since you don’t know if you’ll end up restrained with your hands in front of you or behind your back.
- Use your shoes. One final way to conceal gear is by using your shoes. On the tip of my shoelaces I’ve secured a small handcuff key. Unless someone knows what they’re looking for, they’ll never see it. You can also tape items to the inside of your shoes or under the tongue.
These are just a few of my favorite ways to conceal my escape and evasion gear. Your chosen method will likely vary depending on the threat level of the country to which you’re traveling. If you’re going to Bora Bora, you probably don’t need to be decked out head to toe in evasion gear, but if you’re going to Iraq, you better be well equipped.