Knowing how to walk silently and move undetected is a skill that many people have failed to take the time to learn. Whether you are trying to move silently through the woods or you have got home late and trying not to wake your partner. If you’re not careful then the more you try to be quiet, the more noise you end up making.
The thing is, you don’t need to be some kind of ninja to master this skill and it is probably easier than you may think. Following a SHTF situation, this may end up being the skill that keeps you alive. We are going to look at some tricks that you can easily learn and practice for moving in silence and keeping you safe.
Study the following tips and practice what you read. The more time that you can put into practice the quicker you will learn. It is also a good idea to practice this with a friend and turn it into some kind of game. The final thing I want to say before we start is that you should also not just practice these tips during the day but also at night as everything changes when it’s dark out.
Slow it Down
Probably the most important tip that I can give is to simply slow your pace down. This is actually harder to do than you think when we live in a world that rushes everywhere. Our normal pace, when used in the woods, will make a whole lot of noise and you will be detected by everything that can hear.
It may sound strange but you want to slow it down by at least 50% your usual pace to begin with although the more you can slow it down, the better.
The great thing about slowing it down is that you will start to notice that you are actually hearing a lot more from your surroundings. If you are trying to evade capture, you will hear them before they hear you.
Another thing that we need to start getting used to is looking at the path ahead of us when we walk and not just looking at our feet. In order to move undetected, we need to know what kind of ground we are to expect walking on or find another route before we actually get to that point.
When you start practicing to move silently, you will feel your eyes being pulled to the ground so that you can ‘see‘ what you’re about to step on but you need to avoid doing this. If you are looking down, you can’t see the danger ahead. If you must look down then stop first but you really should learn to ‘feel‘ the ground beneath you.
Don’t just expect that the ground a few yards ahead is going to be exactly the same as what is beneath your feet now. There could be broken glass, dry leaves or twigs or any number of things that need to be avoided where possible. If it can’t be avoided then you need to select the path with the least amount of that debris.
Never make your move until you are completely sure of your path. This will help you to pick the quietest and safest route to take. If you are traveling over a great distance then it is a good idea to choose safe and concealed areas where you can stop to rest and give yourself some time to scope out the area ahead.
Be Aware of What You’re Carrying
What you are carrying in your pockets or rucksack could be the thing that gets you detected. You might think that a zipper makes the tiniest of noise in the city but in woodland, it is a completely different story. Before setting out, you need to go through everything you have thoroughly and get rid of everything that makes even the slightest of noise or find a way to stop the noise.
If everything is silent around you then you too must be silent.
What is on Your Feet?
I am sure that you have heard of Cody Lundin and if you have seen him on the TV then you will know that he often goes barefoot. Over on his website, he answers the question as to why which you can read below. I have made some of the text bold that I believe helps us also in this subject.
As you can see from the quote above, Cody won’t just take a step forward without being fully aware of what he is going to be stepping on.
Now, you can, of course, move fairly quietly in footwear too but nowhere near as silent. Going barefoot makes you slow down and assess your path which in turn reduces the level of noise that you are making. While a stick may snap under the weight of your boots, your feet will actually softly absorb the impact. We were not designed to wear shoes, it was humans that told other humans that it was normal to wear shoes and so the senses in our feet have become very underdeveloped.
When you first start it is not easy and there is a good chance that it’s going to hurt but over time your feet toughen up because you allow them to. Start off slow and practice on soft ground such as grass or sand and then build it up from there.
Be Aware of the Birds
A big giveaway that not only is somebody in the woods but also their location, is the birds. They know the woods better than anything else and are watching everything. Once one bird is spooked, they’re all spooked. All it takes is for you to learn to pay attention and know the different types of birds in the area.
If you hear a bird up ahead then stop moving and try to spot it. Once you have the bird in your sights take a few minutes to stay still and wait for the bird to move on and let you continue. If you don’t appear to be a threat, it won’t alert every other bird in the trees so stand still and don’t make any sudden moves.
Take Advantage of Wind and Sound
There may be times when you don’t actually need to be completely silent in order to move undetected through an area. Take a moment to take in the sounds that are already present such as the wind, the rain, and the birds. All of these can be used to mask your own noise. If the sound is intermittent then try to only make your movements to the sound and stay still when all goes quiet.
When Walking at Night
You need to slow your movements right down when moving in the dark. If you see someone up ahead then you need to immediately stop moving. Try to blend in with the silhouettes of the environment such as the trees and large rocks. As the other person uses his eyes to scan the area, providing it’s dark, he won’t notice you because he isn’t expecting you. You are essentially fooling his eyes. Choose the darkest areas to hide and crouch to keep yourself as small as possible. You also need to be aware of all light sources. You do not want to stand in front of a lamp and show your moving shadow. Remember! the eyes see movement first.
Know Your Escape
We need to remember that things don’t always go to plan which is why we must always have a plan B in mind. Your escape plan will constantly change as your path changes but is needed in case you are detected and need to make a hasty escape. You need to know where you’re going and which way you’re going to get there. You may encounter moments where escape is not possible and you have to defend yourself and deal with the person that detected you. Learn some non-lethal forms of defense before setting foot on the trail.
Learn the Fox Walk
The fox walk is a basic technique, consisting of three main parts, that can help you to walk silently when in the wilderness. The idea is that you feel the surface you’re walking on and slowly compress, leaves, sticks etc. to minimize noise. The three parts that make up the fox walk are:
- Lower your foot and land on the outside of the ball (closest to your little toe) with light pressure
- Then roll your foot laterally until the outside ball and inside ball of your foot are both making contact with the earth.
- Lower the heel so your full weight is on the foot
As you fox walk forward, your feet should be placed directly in line with each other. This creates maximum balance, silence, and the least disturbance possible.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You can’t expect to be able to walk silently in the wilderness unless you are willing to put the time in and practice what you read. The good news is that the information above can be practiced pretty much anywhere. You could even try silently walking past your sleeping pet as a trial.
Practice with a friend and see if you can move through an area without them detecting you. If they do, find out where you went wrong and take more time to study it and see what you could have done differently. The more you practice, the more progress you will make.