A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Your New SurvFilter​

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Lately, I’ve received a couple of questions about the SurvFilter. This incredible device saved my life overseas, and I’ve heard it’s come in very handy for the folks who have one in hurricane-stricken parts of the U.S.

(If you don’t have one of these amazing water filters, click here.)

So I decided to kick off this week’s mailbag with some useful information to ensure you’re using your device properly. Take a look.

I received the SurvFilter, but it didn’t come with instructions. I have:

  • White filter
  • Blue squeeze bottle with short piece of tubing
  • Tubing with big, removable black cap
  • Tubing with a blue piece of hard plastic at both ends.

What is each of these for? Exactly how do I put them together? Do you have a diagram/image? How do I use it?

— Joanna F.

I apologize for the oversight, Joanne. Fortunately, the SurvFilter is remarkably easy to put together. Simply attach the tubing to the white filter and drink just like you would from a regular straw. There is more than one tube, so you can adjust the length of your straw. Here is a quick step-by-step guide to assembling and extending the straw:

  1. Remove the filter from the protective wrapping.
  2. Attach the tubing with the mouthpiece on one end to the top of the filter by pressing the quick connect onto the connection on top the filter. It will click when it is securely in place.
  3. To use the extension tubing, connect the quick connect fitting to the top of the filter and then connect the mouthpiece section of tubing to the extension tubing.
  4. To drink through the mouthpiece, open the mouthpiece valve by holding the bottom part of the mouthpiece with one hand while lifting up the top section of the mouthpiece.

The blue squeeze bottle is a hand pump that attaches to the filter the same way and can be used to wash your hands, clean wounds or fill other containers. Basically, just clip whatever piece you would like to use to the white filter and start drinking.

I received my order for two SurvFilter devices. I tried to go to www.servfilter.com as shown on the label and received the response “no website found.” What is the shelf life of the filter?

— Charles E.

I think you simply need to double-check the spelling when you enter the web address into your browser. The website is www.SurvFilter.com.

As for the shelf life, since the SurvFilter is designed with surgical-grade tubing and a nanotechnology filter, it won’t expire if it’s not used. The filter is designed to purify up to 250 gallons of water before needing to be replaced.

Also, you should note that (since winter is coming) it doesn’t matter if the SurvFilter freezes in your car. It will still work because it’s not made of hollow fiber membranes that will crack when frozen.

Many thanks for your wise counsels. I’ve purchased several items from you and am well satisfied. As I was signing up for the TunnelBear app, I researched the company. Several of the developer’s names appear to be Russian. And at least one biography on the website says the employee grew up in Russia. Given all the concern about groups like Kaspersky and products like Fancy Bear, are we still safe?

— Mike C.

In my opinion, Mike, TunnelBear is a secure VPN (virtual private network). I use it regularly when working online and have trusted it for years.

The most important feature of TunnelBear’s VPN is twofold: It employs a strong encryption standard and does not keep logs of your online activity.

Plus, TunnelBear has a so-called “internet kill switch.” Essentially, this means if it loses its secure connection, it will block unsecured traffic until it can properly reconnect to the internet.

I wouldn’t worry about someone having a Russian-sounding last name. There are plenty of honest, hardworking Americans and others (TunnelBear is a Canadian firm) whose family names originate from where their ancestors hail.

You’ve done some marketing of the Patriot Power Supply, i.e. using solar power when disaster strikes — including EMPs. However, isn’t there potential for an EMP to fry the electronics and wiring on a solar generator too?

— Jennie W.

The thing about an EMP attack, Jennie, is that no one can say for sure which electronics will be safe and which will be completely destroyed.

When it comes to solar-powered generators, the solar panels themselves most likely would not be damaged, but the wiring of the generator might be affected. Basically, there’s no guarantee any generator would survive an EMP attack.

That being said, I think a solar-powered generator is a great way to go in preparation for any disaster — and it gives you the best chance of generating power after an EMP blast.

Jason, please include Innovis in the list of credit reporting agencies. I put security freezes on the three major credit-reporting agencies as you recommended, and then I learned about Innovis. It’s a minor agency, but still in the business of credit reporting. 

— Ron P.

You’re right, Ron. Most people are familiar with the big three credit-reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and if I were going to add a fourth agency to the list, it would be Innovis. The difference with Innovis is that it doesn’t keep track of all your credit information — it sometimes excludes certain credit cards like American Express.

However, Innovis does have most of your personal information on file, so it wouldn’t hurt to add a security freeze with them as well.

I went to the link you provided in your email regarding CombiBars and it was a website located in Germany that would only deliver product in Germany. How do we buy these in the USA?Love your emails.

— Charlie J.

When you go to the CombiBar website, click on “Sale” in the menu bar across the top and select the “Retail-Sale” option.

Below the picture, there is a list of international retailers with country designations in parentheses. Currently, there are seven retailers listed that sell to folks in the U.S.

I hope this helps. I’m glad you’re taking the time to prepare, Charlie. Well done.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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