X Marks the Spot: How to Covertly Stash Survival Gear

In this week’s mailbag, I’ll reveal how to store a secret cache of survival gear, which models to try if you’re looking for a shotgun with less recoil and how to create a simple Faraday cage using household items.

Plus, one of my readers offers a fantastic solution for protecting your data if you choose to use cloud storage. Remember to send your spy and survival questions and suggestions to SPYfeedback@LFB.org.

Here we go…

My question for you if you can and will tell me: What is the best way to store (bury) a weapon and ammo for a length of time in case it is needed in the future?

— Randy R. 

When it comes to survival situations, caching is a great way to store emergency items away from your home in case you need to leave your house. Now, when I say caching, I don’t necessarily mean burying something in the yard. While that is an option, you could also store survival gear in a small storage unit or a cabin in the woods.

However, if burying is your only option, I recommend making a PVC tube cache. If you do decide to bury a cache, below is a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • 4-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe (This pipe is 4 inches wide and 24 inches long. Home Depot sells this standard size.)
  • 4-inch PVC cap (to seal one end of the tube completely)
  • 4-inch DWV cleanout plug (a screw-on cap that allows you to access the other end of the tube)
  • 4-inch female adaptor (to screw the cleanout plug into)
  • Oatey Handy Pack (this is a combination of PVC purple primer and PVC cement).

These materials should run you about $20 at your local hardware store. Not bad for a fairly secure way to store survival gear. (If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this video for a demonstration on how to put your PVC cache together.)

In addition to storing weapons and ammo, I also recommend including things like a poncho, waterproof matches, dryer lint in a plastic bag (for starting fires), paracord, duct tape, disguise items, a light stick, a space blanket, a first-aid kit, water purification tablets, a collapsible cup to hold water, a multitool, food, cash (in small bills) and anything else you’d like to have handy in a crisis.

For a zip tie escape, how can one untie their shoelaces with their hands tied behind their back? I surely could not do it…

— Joseph M. 

Provided your shoes aren’t tightly tied, I suggest slipping one of them off using your other foot. Then you can pick up your shoe and unthread the laces to use them to escape.

If your shoes are too snug, or if you have boots that lace up too high to be slipped off, you will have to get creative. You could try squatting down or kicking up one leg behind you and grabbing your foot. Basically, in a life-or-death situation, you need to do whatever you can to get one of your shoes off and escape.

Now that I know the Remington 870 comes in something other than 12-gauge, I just might consider getting one. Even 20 gauge is a bit too much for me (I have one), so what gauge would you recommend for someone who is recoil-shy? I’m thinking .410. What do you think?

— Diane V. 

I recommend checking out .410 or 28-gauge shotguns. These models typically have the least amount of recoil.

However, the best thing you can do is visit your local gun range and ask if they rent shotguns. This way you can shoot .410 and 28-gauge (and any others you want to try) to see which one feels most comfortable to you.

Whichever model you choose, I also recommend training with it often so you get used to the recoil.

Regarding the SurvFilter: I didn’t find anywhere in the order form about how many gallons each filter can be safely utilized for.

— Ruel W. 

Each SurvFilter can purify up to 250 gallons of water before you need to replace the filter. Since the average person needs one gallon of water per day in an emergency situation, a family of four could use one SurvFilter for over 60 straight days.

Obviously, water is critical to survival — you can only go about three days without it. Which is why I’ve made sure to stock one of these filters in each of my bug-out bags. I recommend you do the same.

To see a video of me using the filter in the ultimate test (drinking out of a McDonald’s toilet) — and to get one of your own — click here.

After reading your book, I have a query: The author recommended storing devices such as cellphones in something sheathed in “tin” foil. Would aluminum foil suffice to prevent RF signal transmission/capture? 

— Mark H. 

Unless you’re shelling out for real tin foil (which costs upward of $100 for a 50-foot roll), most of what you can get your hands on at your local grocery is aluminum foil. It’s been that way since World War II, when aluminum became more widely available, and thus cheaper, than tin. Although, these days the terms are used interchangeably.

By itself, aluminum foil can disrupt RF signals, but there is no guarantee that it will completely block transmissions. I recommend building a Faraday cage to shield your electronic devices and protect them during an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) blast.

Start with a metal enclosure — a metal ammo can, for example — and line the can with cardboard. Remove the batteries from your devices and wrap them in newspaper. Then wrap them in aluminum foil and finally another layer of newspaper.

After each of your devices is wrapped, put them in a plastic bag inside the ammo can. Add another layer of newspaper to the top of the can and seal it shut. The last thing you’ll do is wrap the entire can in HVAC tape.

There is no guarantee this will work, but it gives your electronics the best chance of surviving an EMP.

As a guy in IT (i.e., super-nerd) for 20-plus years, I have gotten to the point where I put all of my sensitive data in the cloud (with some local versions here and there), but that in itself could be problematic.

If you remember the whole situation where the federal government was trying to get Apple to decrypt a phone for them, there were folks at Apple who were saying that they wished the guy had stored his stuff in their cloud because their restrictions on giving up those data are much fewer.

So cloud = good, but you still have to protect yourself. There are a lot of cloud encryption apps/services out there that protect you that much better. I use Boxcryptor because they don’t store the encryption key, so no amount of government summonses can get that information.

And all you have to do is delete the (single) encryption/decryption app off your phone and your data are just unreadable nonsense.

— Daniel S. 

That’s a great idea, Daniel. I’ve never used Boxcryptor myself, but I’ve heard positive reviews about their cloud storage. Thank you for sharing this information.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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