In this week’s mailbag, I’ll reveal my favorite way to store emergency water, the best way to communicate across the country (or the globe) after a disaster, what you need for covert cooking during a crisis and more.
Take a look.
Where can I order water containers? I need both portable ones and large drums. Thank you for your help.
— Pat Y.
One of my favorite ways to store water you can take with you is with WaterBricks water storage system. Each container holds 3.5 gallons of water and has a comfortable easy-grip handle. In addition, they’re easily stackable — you can use them to build a flood barrier, Trombe wall, hunting blind, even a fort for your kids to play in.
In other words, WaterBricks are great for saving space and small enough that you can grab them and go in an emergency. You can also use them to store food. To stock up on WaterBricks for your family, click here now.
As for where to get larger 55-gallon water drums, you can find these at Costco, Home Depot or many places online. They will run you anywhere from $60–100. Personally, though, I prefer WaterBricks because they’re easy to store and transport.
I received my flashlight order. Not sure what size batteries it takes. Doesn’t look like AA or AAA. Help?
— Roy R.
Actually, the SEAL Torch 2000 tactical flashlight can take either three AAA batteries (inserted into the battery holder circled in the picture below) or one 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery (inserted directly into the flashlight).
If you remember, in last week’s mailbag I recommended Panasonic eneloop batteries, which you can purchase on Amazon. These alkaline batteries can be recharged up to 2,100 times — so they’re a much better investment than disposable AAA batteries.
I know you addressed this problem before, but I did not quite understand the solution. Is there a way to communicate with someone located on the other side of the country or in another state when there is no telephone or cellphone service? Is it with a radio that requires a license? What kind of radio?
— Tony L.
In my experience, the No. 1 method for communicating over long distances during a disaster is with a satellite phone. I’ve used a sat phone in remote parts of the world many times, and I can tell you that this is the best way to stay in touch.
A ham radio is another great option, but if you plan on using a ham radio, you do need a license. With a repeater, you can easily reach across the country. That being said, you would need to carry a repeater guide for your area with you at all times. Ham radios do not come with preprogrammed frequencies like a typical radio does.
You would also need to work out a communication plan with your family in advance. Be sure to establish what frequencies you can be reached on and what times you will be listening, such as every hour on the hour or every quarter hour.
For two-way radio communication, I recommend Baofeng radios. I use the UV-5R, which you can purchase on Amazon for around $25. However, the company has produced updated versions such as the UV-5R+, UV-5R V2+ and the third-generation model, the BF-F8HP.
In a survival situation how can you cook food without the cooking odors inviting unwanted guests? Is there such a thing as odorless cooking?
— Paula W.
Depending on the situation and where you are, you should try to cook indoors if at all possible. This will reduce the chances of someone (or something) smelling the food.
If you are forced to cook outdoors, try to do it in the very early morning or late evening hours. Ideally, you want to cook when most people are sleeping to avoid unwanted attention.
That’s why I recommend keeping a small gas stove with your bug-out gear. If your life is in danger, the last thing you want to do is build a fire, as this will give away your location.
One portable stove I recommend is the Coleman single-burner propane stove. This stove is easy to use, clean and store. There are several other reliable brands to choose from — I also suggest checking out the portable stoves made by Camp Chef.
Due to the potential stress of survival situations, I would like to purchase a gadget that supplies oxygen. It can help my body come down to a calm state after the stress. The companies I find tell me that they require a prescription. Are you aware of any that do not?
— Bill P.
Unfortunately, a physician's prescription is mandatory. It's federally illegal for anyone to buy medical-grade oxygen without one. I'm not aware of any place that will sell oxygen without a prescription.
You may see some websites that claim to be selling oxygen, but it isn’t pure, medical-grade oxygen, so I wouldn’t waste your money on it.