The Most Important Element of Survival

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Considering how vital water is to our everyday survival (not just in a crisis situation) it makes sense that I receive so many questions about how to procure, treat and store it.

In this edition of the Weekly Drop, I address several of your aquatic queries, plus issues of home and cybersecurity.

Let’s get started.

I heard about “drinking water from the atmosphere” being used by Israeli soldiers — in an individualized “backpack” design. It uses atmospheric moisture. How can I get it?

— Akio H.

It sounds like you are talking about a product made by the Israeli company Water-Gen. This company builds generators that basically take in air and produce drinkable water.

Now, these machines run on electricity, and as far as I’m aware, they don’t sell a backpack version. At least they don’t sell one to civilians. However, as this technology improves and becomes more portable, I imagine they will make more devices like this available to everyone.

First, I want to thank you for your service to our country and all of your very well done emails, videos and the Spy & Survival Briefing. Perhaps the most impressive, to me, was the one where you drink from a McDonald’s toilet! My idea is that we should never waste our urine (90% water) but always treat it with a device such as your SurvFilter, turning it into potable water. Imagine the savings in fresh water by not using the toilet and recovering the water from your urine. If this could be accomplished, the potential benefits would be tremendous and apply to the entire world. Please let me have your thoughts on this.

— Bruce C.

While you bring up a good point, Bruce, I think most people would probably be hesitant to drink urine even if it’s filtered simply because they find it gross.

You’re right in that an enormous amount of water could be saved by doing so. But I think we are a long way away from people willingly filtering their urine just to save water.

Of course, people would be willing to do this in an emergency, especially if drinking filtered urine might be their only option for survival. This is why I recommend everyone has at least one SurvFilter in with their emergency supplies — because it could literally save your life.

I read with interest your article on creating passwords. Unfortunately, a lot of websites are still requiring passwords that consist of at least eight digits consisting of uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and special characters. So will your recommendation of using four words work on these websites?

— Frank F.

Yes, password requirements for each website may be different, and you will have to adjust your password accordingly. If, as you mentioned, a website requires you to use letters, numbers and special characters, then you will need to do so.

However, I imagine that as more companies update their website security, they will begin to allow more options for creating passwords — especially since we know that the old standards don’t create the most secure passwords. In the meantime, you can still create a password like BlueGoatsRunFast74$ to satisfy the necessary conditions.

Hey, Jason. Here’s a home security tip:

Shoe against door

This shoe shows if someone has entered the room. But it does not prevent violence…

— Mario N.

Thanks for the tip, Mario. This picture demonstrates a great way to tell if someone has entered your room. However, as you mentioned, it doesn’t provide any ACTUAL security and only lets you know someone opened the door. I prefer to have a robust security plan in place.

If you’re looking specifically for door security, check out the products made by Nightlock, which use the strength of the floor to prevent your door from being kicked in. There are options for all types of doors, and they’re easy to install.

Or if you’re in the market for an early warning system, consider investing in magnetic door alarms. These compact devices emit a loud sound when the door is opened so you have time to grab your home-defense weapon. (I strongly recommend having one of these — preferably a gun.)

I have a food-grade 30-gallon water barrel. What do I need to make the water stay fresh longer? Thanks for your help.

— Lee D.

One of the biggest keys to keeping water fresh is to store it in a cool, dry place. If you store your water barrel in a garage where temperatures regularly reach triple digits, then the water won’t stay fresh as long.

In addition, I recommend storing the barrel off the ground on top of two two-by-fours. This reduces the chances of chemicals leaching into the water through the floor.

Finally, some people might suggest treating the water with chemicals. However, this isn’t something I think is a must. If you are filling the barrel with tap water (but not well water), it has already been treated by the municipality that supplies the water to your home.

It was an honor to watch your Shark Tank demonstration. Your mastery of the craft is excellent and your ability to impart knowledge is outstanding. I am proud of our country that taught you those skills and grateful to you for being an excellent student. You’ll surely have me as a student and some of my colleagues at one of your training courses.

— Jacob A.

Thank you, Jacob — I appreciate your kind words. Shark Tank went very well for me, and it’s certainly been a fun ride being able to do what I love and help people along the way.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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