Electronics are everywhere. You are probably reading this guide on an electronic device. There are processors, chips, and circuit boards surrounding us every day of our lives and we have grown to heavily rely on them.
Electronics have two very different vulnerabilities. The first vulnerability is security. The second vulnerability is loss. We trust electronics to handle data securely and function properly. When either of those is taken away, it can spell trouble quickly.
Electronics can be fickle and fragile. Both hardware and software are vulnerable to attacks and accidents.
One of the best ways to protect from these vulnerabilities is with a Faraday bag.
The Research and Results
- The Best Faraday Bag
- EDC Faraday Bag
- Budget Faraday Bag
- DIY Faraday Bag
- What is a Faraday Bag?
- Who is Michael Faraday?
- What is the Difference Between a Faraday Cage and a Faraday Bag?
- How to Use a Faraday Bag
- Who Needs a Faraday Bag?
Mission Darkness has been putting out EMP-shielded, signal-dampening accessories for a long time, and have built a reputation for themselves. The military, law enforcement officers, and executives with the need for digital security prefer this laptop bag.
The bag completely blocks wireless signals, which is how it performs so well for security and EMP protection. The bag itself has an outer layer constructed of ballistic nylon to make it extremely durable. It is tested and certified to MIL STD 188-125 specs, has an 18” x 14.5” storage area secured with a Velcro closure, and only adds 10.4 ounces. If you want the best EMP and signal protection, the Mission Darkness Laptop Faraday bag will get the job done better than the rest.
Silent Pocket creates stylish Faraday bags that could easily be confused for common phone sleeves. This makes them exceptional for everyday carry since you get world-class EMP and signal protection without additional attention.
Cell phones are an important EDC item to protect. Besides protecting the phone and hardware physically with a case, signal protection is just as important. Remote attacks and magnetic pulses can disrupt, corrupt, and permanently disable your phone. Silent Pocket makes various sizes with durable materials and a magnetic closure. The medium has an internal compartment 7.5” x 5” and weighs only 3.4 ounces. The Silent Pocket Faraday bag is a great way to discretely protect your mobile device from electronic interference.
The Onever Signal Blocking Bag is not going to surprise anyone with its price tag, but it is the cheapest Faraday bag on the market that you can trust. This low price is for two bags as well, so you get even more value.
The bags are lightweight 3.7 ounces and have an 8” x 4” opening. The Velcro closure does not complete the Faraday wrap, so you would want to keep Faraday tape on hand to close the bag for electromagnetic resistance. Without additional tape, the bag will handle signal dampening and prevent electronic signal transfer. These bags are about as cheap as you can get and are much better than not having a Faraday bag at all.
DIY Faraday Bag
Build Your Own Faraday Bag
Resourcefulness = Versatility.
Make a tailored bag to fit the equipment you need.
*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.
There are many types of electronics that would be worth protecting in an emergency or survival scenario. We have hunted down the best for phones and laptops above- but what about the rest? Make your own Faraday bag!
Building your own Faraday bag is not that hard. Materials to get it done are available online. Just like making your own Faraday cage, resourcefulness is what it is all about. Even in an emergency situation, tin foil and conductive tape can get the job done even though they are less durable. Once you have materials just follow three steps:
- Cut Faraday fabric in a large enough size to wrap the electronic device
- Wrap electronic device as you would a present
- Use conductive tape to completely seal the wrapped device.
Planning how to wrap the device so it can be opened and removed without damaging the makeshift Faraday bag is important, so consider this before you start. Your limit is your imagination when you have your own materials to construct a Faraday bag.
What is a Faraday Bag?
A Faraday bag is a fabric or foil pouch that dampens electronic signals. This protects the device inside from sending and receiving signals, which can protect it from hacking attempts and electromagnetic discharge. These two very different threats can be blocked using a very simple concept.
Faraday bags have largely been adopted by militaries and law enforcement agencies looking for both signal and hardware protection. Faraday cages may be the protection of choice for installed and stationary equipment, but bags are much better suited for equipment on the go.
Faraday bags work in the same way that Faraday cages do. As long as the covering is made out of continuous conductive material, including metallic mesh, electromagnetic fields can be blocked or impeded. Faraday bags can struggle with complete closure since the bags are made out of a conductive fabric rather than wire mesh. Bags typically need the closure to be reinforced with a conductive material and close as tightly as possible.
One misconception is that a Faraday bag can block all transmissions. The attenuation of the bag is important for this since this can vary depending on materials and bag construction. High-powered frequency transmissions like RFID can penetrate low-attenuation Faraday bags and mesh Faraday cages. Solid Faraday cages and Faraday bags attenuated over a broad range of frequencies are much less likely to be penetrated.
Who is Michael Faraday?
Michael Faraday was a scientist that studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He is credited with discovering electromagnetic induction, electrolysis, and diamagnetism.
In 1836 Faraday observed that a charged conductor held charge only on its exterior and did not affect anything enclosed inside. He demonstrated this by building a foil room and then discharging high voltage on the outside of the room with no activity on an electroscope inside the room.
Benjamin Franklin observed in 1755 that a cork ball lowered inside a charged metal can was unaffected, unlike when it was outside the charged metal can. Franklin actually discovered the effect that Michael Faraday replicated in his experiments almost a century later.
Michael Faraday went on to make several other discoveries, win several awards of distinction, and live a long life. He died at age 75 at his home in England in 1867. His studies have provided us with a key principle of electronic protection in an era where electronics are more important than ever.
What is the Difference Between a Faraday Cage and Faraday Bag?
Sometimes the two terms can be confused with each other, but their goal is very similar.
A Faraday cage is a structure, either solid or mesh, of rigid conductive material meant for protecting stationary electronic equipment.
A Faraday bag is a pouch or small bag made of conductive textiles meant for protecting portable electronic equipment.
Faraday cages have been around for a long time since Michael Faraday built a room completely out of foil to prove his hypothesis. Faraday bags, being made of state-of-the-art conductive textiles, are relatively new by comparison.
A Faraday shield is another term that is sometimes used, usually in place of a cage. The term shield usually implies that a solid conductive material is used, whereas cage could mean either solid or mesh.
Faraday mesh, Faraday fabric, and Faraday tape are sometimes referenced, usually as materials to construct or reinforce a Faraday cage or bag.
How to Use a Faraday Bag
Using a Faraday bag is simple: place the electronic device inside the bag and seal the bag.
You can check the attenuation of the bag by attempting to signal the device:
- Attempt to call an enclosed cell phone
- Attempt to connect a Bluetooth device to an enclosed device
- Attempt to key an enclosed two-way radio
Once you have completed a confirmation check, you would want to power down the device inside of the bag for short-term storage.
One of the main issues with a Faraday bag is that protection is only afforded when the electronic device is inside of the bag. We usually need to remove the device to operate it since the device will need a signal. Returning the electronic device to the bag as quickly as possible is important since signal threats are difficult to predict.
Creating a habit of storing your sensitive electronic devices in Faraday bags during everyday use is the best strategy. Forgetting to replace the device inside of the bag could be a costly mistake, and is counter to the purpose of the bag, to begin with.
Who Needs a Faraday Bag?
If you have sensitive information on a portable electronic device, or heavily rely on the use of an electronic device for communication, navigation, and information gathering- then a Faraday bag is a sound investment.
Signal disruption events are improbable but not uncommon.
Nuclear events, such as attack detonations and EMPs are wide-scale disaster situations that cause electromagnetic interference. Space weather, such as CMEs, can also cause widespread damage to electronics.
Localized events, such as RFID hacking and signal tampering, can be more probable for high-risk individuals. Military, law enforcement, and high-profile businesspersons can be targets for these attacks given the sensitive nature of their work.
The combination of the importance of portable electronic equipment to both our security and survival makes a Faraday bag a good opportunity to strengthen your preparedness against these threats.
Luckily, advancements in textile science have reduced the bulk of Faraday cages but kept the functionality of portable Faraday bags. This means that they can be included in many types of portable kits, including:
This last bullet point has some exciting options, as we pointed out earlier with our portable EDC pick.
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We research products thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We conduct thorough research, where we consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in practical conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item.
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Sources and References
An objective look at the best faraday bag is useless without sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our practical military experience and prepping projects.
Einstein, Albert. (1905). On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. Louisiana State University. Available from (Source).
Faraday, Michael. (2004). Experimental Researches in Electricity. Dover Publications. Retrieved from (Source).
Forbes, Nancy. (2014). Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics. Prometheus. Retrieved from (Source).
The Final Word
Faraday cages have been around for over 180 years at this point, and survivalists and preppers are thankful to Michael Faraday for taking the time to discover it. The more recently invented Faraday bag is even more useful, allowing us to take electromagnetic protection on the go.
We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing settled on the Mission Darkness Laptop Faraday bag as the best option given its functionality, durability, versatility, and value. We also gave a shout-out to a few others as potential EDC, budget, or DIY options.
Your specific situation may call for a different solution.
Take care of your gear and it will take care of you. Don’t stash it away, but get it out to get familiar with it if you are not using it every day.
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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