Building Survival Food Storage on a Fixed Income

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Welcome to the first Weekly Drop of the new year! As I mentioned on New Year’s Day, my goal for 2018 is to help make both your family and mine even safer in 2018.

But I can’t do it alone — so keep those questions coming! Send your safety and survival inquires to

Now let’s get started.

I get a LOT of emails from preppers offering a year’s amount of survival food and other “free with order” extras. The issue is I, like many, make low wage and even those “normally 5k, but I’m offering all this at only $1,999.00” deals just aren’t doable at all. What should low-wage earners do to ensure they can afford to make their own 25-year shelf life food storage? I mean, we are human also and deserve the chance to survive. What is your advice?

— Sarra R.

Storing enough food for 30 days may sound daunting, but it’s not a difficult task at all — and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

The truth is you don’t necessarily have to buy your survival food storage all at once. You can slowly build up your long-term food storage for as little as $5 a week. Here is a link to a plan I have used that shows you how to build up a year’s supply of food without spending a ton of money.

You can store canned items as they are (although that could take up more space than you’d like). I recommend storing large quantities of dry goods (wheat, rice, sugar, etc.) in food-grade buckets. I use Uline brand buckets, but you can also just get painters buckets from your local hardware store. If you go that route, you must store your food in Mylar bags.

I recently purchased your Training Lock and Lock Pick Set and also received the 10-piece set of jiggler keys. Now I have no idea how to use these tools. Can you help? Thanks.

— Connie A.

As easy as it is to pick a lock (click here to learn how to do it in 30 seconds or less), using jiggler keys is even easier. Basically, jiggler keys are sets of common key patterns (with a little wiggle room for versatility).

Simply insert one of the keys into the lock like a normal key and rock the key back and forth (jiggle it) while turning. If there’s no movement after 10 seconds, try a different key in the set. This should unlock almost any wafer lock in moments.

If our country is attacked by North Korea or another country with nuclear bombs, what type of clothing do you suggest people wear? I assume that people will have to wear gas masks of some sort. What do you suggest? And of course where can these items be purchased and what is the approximate cost? 

— Rob B.

When it comes to gas masks, I recommend the Israeli gas mask. Many Israeli civilians of all ages have these because of threats from unstable neighboring countries. These high-quality masks made of professional-grade materials sell for only $30 on Amazon. Be sure to purchase some extra filters as well.

As for clothing… Unfortunately, regular clothing will not stop any type of fallout from reaching your skin. Instead, you should invest in well-made wet-weather gear that will keep any moisture out.

So if you absolutely must leave your home after an attack, you should be wearing an Israeli gas mask and waterproof gear. But remember, the key to surviving a nuclear attack is to limit your exposure, shield yourself and wait for the fallout to decay.

Now, the reality is fallout can be carried hundreds of miles from the blast site, so even if you aren’t near ground zero, you are still in danger — it all depends on where the blast happened and how close you are to it.

Can’t remember if you’ve touched on this before, but is a fireproof gun cabinet sufficient to work as a Faraday cage?

— Steve Y.

Depending on the specific fireproof safe, there is a chance it could work, but I wouldn’t count on it. You see, many fireproof safes are actually designed with seals that expand when heated.

In other words, these seals aren’t as tight as they would have to be to protect your electronic devices from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Another problem is that if your safe has an electronic lock, it will probably be damaged by the blast and you won’t be able to open your safe after the attack.

Quick question: How do I find out if a specific VPN (virtual private network) will store any customer information?

— Lawrence M.

The best thing to do is to contact the provider of the specific VPN you are considering and ask for the customer privacy policy. For example, here is the privacy policy for TunnelBear, which is the VPN I’ve used for many years. As you can see, they store a minimal amount of personal information.

Basically, they only retain enough information to identify you as a user. That’s it. You can even make your payments in bitcoin if you don’t want them to have any of your financial information (although TunnelBear NEVER stores complete credit card numbers).

The other thing I like about TunnelBear is that it doesn’t store your browsing history like some VPNs do, which it critical to protecting your privacy.

The best part about TunnelBear? You don’t just have to take my word for it. See for yourself if TunnelBear is the right VPN for you. Click here for a free seven-day trial.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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