Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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Can survival water filters be used in saltwater?

-From Sammy S.

Answer: Almost all water filters won’t be able to remove salt from water. If you tried, the salt would end up clogging the filter.

Unfortunately, during a survival situation one of the only ways to desalinate water would be through distillation. There are survival distillation systems you can buy and they operate using a heat source such as a stove.

The problem with these is that the process is very slow and probably wouldn’t provide enough water for a family. For example, one survival distillation system produces about 1 quart of drinkable water each hour.

So, for a family of four you would need to distill water for about 16 hours each day to provide each family member with 1 gallon per a day. In other words, it wouldn’t be an easy process.


When it comes to home defense at night what is the best method for using a flashlight? Do you mount them to your gun?

-From Xavier W.

Answer: I personally use a handgun for home defense and I attach a laser/light combination to it. The one I use is made by Viridian.

With that being said, I switch out my home defense guns periodically. I don’t have a weapon-mounted light for every different gun.

This is why I have a flashlight on my nightstand and train to use it. Next time you go to the gun range I would practice shooting with a flashlight.

If you use a shotgun or rifle, consider a light attachment made by Surefire. (This is what I have on my Remington 870.)

When it comes to gun accessories never go cheap on them, as you want to make sure they will work when you need them most.


Can I travel on an airplane with a knife in my checked luggage bag? It’s been years since I’ve flown.

-From Sean M.

Answer: Yes, as long as it’s in a checked bag, you can fly with a knife.

Remember that it may be legal to put the knife in your checked luggage, and it may be legal to carry the knife in your home state. But, as soon as you collect your luggage at the destination you could be carrying an illegal knife depending on the location.

Also, if you are traveling internationally check the knife laws in your destination country. Many countries around the world are not as relaxed about carrying knives as the U.S.

Lastly, in the U.S. you don’t need to declare a knife that you have in checked luggage. The rules are different for firearms, which always need to be declared.


Thanks to your great advice I have a stockpile of emergency food and supplies. I also have a gas generator to run basic things in my home. Should I store gas at my home for the generator and my cars? Do I take gas with me if I bug out?

-From Josh L.

Answer: Storing gasoline is a great idea if you plan to bug out or even to run a generator. The thing about storing gas is that you need to rotate it out.

If you’re going to let the gas sit for 6-12 months make sure and add a fuel stabilizer.

If you take the gas with you, try to secure it to the outside of your vehicle so you don’t have to breathe the fumes.

Also, make sure the gas is stored in an approved container and that it is secured upright.

(I store my gas in a shed in my backyard.)


Jason, if my family is ever forced to bug out, we plan to go to a remote cabin. Lately, the river that runs nearby has been contaminated with algae. In an emergency situation should we drink the water if we have no other choice?

-From Anthony T.

Answer: If you know the water isn’t safe to drink then definitely don’t risk it. What I mean is, if you drink water that makes you sick you will become more dehydrated. In other words, the water does more harm than good.

This is why I always recommend taking a survival water filter with you even if you are going for a short hike. I use a water filter that is small enough to fit into my hiking backpack or bug out gear.

Humans can only survive about three days without water. Anytime you are going to your cabin take plenty of water with you and have a water filter for backup.

It’s not a bad idea to build up water storage at your cabin in case the river water is unsafe and you don’t have a filter with you.


My wife is from Latin America. We are moving there to be closer to her aging parents. I’m a Caucasian male and I stick out in the city we are moving to. How do I look more like a local?

-From Ronnie P.

Answer: The key is to blend in as much as possible to make it appear that you have lived there for years.

For instance, when you arrive to a new place, the first thing you should do is go shopping at a local store and buy clothes from a local shop.

Another thing is, avoid wearing sneakers, especially white sneakers as this isn’t as common in other countries as it is in the U.S.

Lastly, avoid wearing anything flashy, such as an expensive watch or anything that will draw attention that you may be an American.

Also, let your wife do all the talking and keep your mouth shut as much as possible.

I know that might sound funny, but it works, especially when you are negotiating with locals. (They will try and rip you off.)

Of course, also learn the language if you don’t speak it yet.

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