A vacuum sealer is a great tool for prepping. If you make your own jerky, dehydrate fruit or buy goods in bulk then break them down into portion sizes, being able to store them in safe, sealed packaging is a real advantage.
What else is a vacuum sealer good for, though? Have you ever found yourself holding a vacuum bag and giving something a speculative look? If so, that’s fine; a vacuum sealer, combined with some creativity, can become an extremely powerful prepping tool. It can do a lot more than just store portions of food.
Here are a few less conventional uses for your handy kitchen appliance:
Why spend money on an expensive seed vault when you can collect your own seeds from the garden and vacuum-pack them? Just write the details of the seeds on a card – what they are, the date they were harvested and some planting tips – and seal that in the bag with the seeds.
If you’re packing small seeds there’s a chance the vacuum could suck them out of the bag. To avoid that, put the seeds in a coffee filter (make sure it’s unbleached paper) then seal that in the bag.
Weatherproof Medical Supplies
It’s vital that medical supplies are kept as clean as possible, but many of them come in flimsy paper packaging that won’t stand up to any abuse at all. Bandages are a common victim of this, which is unfortunate, because bandages are one of the most useful and versatile items in any first aid kit.
Bandages can be sealed in a waterproof pack. You can also break bulk packages of items like gauze down into single-use sizes and seal these individually. Make up packs of all the items you need to treat likely injuries, too – major wound packs with sutures, gauze and bandages, for example. That way, if you have multiple casualties, you can just hand whoever’s treating each one the pack they need.
Protect Important Documents
Collect any paperwork that you don’t use regularly, but that’s important enough you’d take it with you in an emergency. Sort the pile into related stacks, for example:
- Insurance documents
- Share and bond certificates
- Treasured photographs
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Educational diplomas
- Paper maps
Now seal each stack in a separate bag. This will protect them from damp, insects and general wear and tear. If you need to grab them and bug out, there won’t be any last-minute rush to pack them in something that can stand up to the weather. Some documents are worth sealing separately, so you can read them without having to open a bag and sort through a stack.
Safely Stash Valuables
Many preppers put their faith in precious metals as post-collapse currency. If a crisis is major enough that modern fiat currencies collapse – or governments aren’t around to issue them anymore – precious metals might become the money of choice again.
The problem is, governments might think that too, and we don’t even need to guess their reaction – we know what they’ll do, because they’ve done it before. In 1933, Executive Order 6102 made it illegal to “hoard” gold, and authorized the US government to confiscate most of it. Owners were compensated in paper money at an artificially low price set by the government. If the currency moved back to gold in the future you can bet the government would want to have as much of it in their hands as possible
Protect your gold and silver by concealing it in hidden caches. Seal bullion or coins in bags, then bury them around your property. The bags will keep it clean, and stop silver from tarnishing.
Prepare to Survive Gun Confiscation
Confiscating all the guns in the USA is impossible, but what if the government is dumb enough to try? Make sure you’re not left weaponless by burying a handgun (or two) and a few boxes of ammunition. Lightly oil the gun and put it in a bag with a cylinder or magazine’s worth of ammo (don’t store loaded magazines) and a silica desiccant packet, then seal it. Split extra ammunition between a few bags; don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If the gun is a semiauto add a spare magazine to each bag. Ammunition needs to be protected with a silica packet, too.
Organize Your Bugout Bag
When did you last check the contents of your bugout bag? Probably you don’t like to mess with it, because everything’s packed in pretty tightly. Or (worse) you occasionally “borrow” things from it when you need them around the house, and they don’t always get replaced.
A lot of the stuff in your bugout bag can be sealed, which has a couple of advantages. If you have to grab the bag and head out into bad weather, its contents will be waterproof. You’ll be less tempted to borrow things if that means cutting open the bad. You’ll also save space; vacuum-packing your spare socks, underwear and warm clothing will make it a lot more compact.
Make Custom Survival Rations
Mix ramen noodles, dehydrated vegetables, bouillon powder and seasonings in a bag, add a plastic spoon, then seal it. To prepare the meal open the bag, take out the spoon and add boiling water; let it stand for five minutes and you have a tasty meal. Dehydrated meals like this are lighter than MREs and you can tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes. They’re better for you than MREs, too.
You can save money on snacks, too. Nuts, trail mix, raisins, rice crackers and other snacks are all a lot cheaper if you buy them in large packs, but large packs aren’t convenient as outdoor rations. Divide them into the portion size you want and seal them yourself. The great thing about doing it yourself is you can make up your own mixes, too. Raisins, dried cranberries, peanuts, chocolate chips – whatever you want.
There’s plenty other stuff you can do with a vacuum sealer. Make ice packs with a 2:1 mix of water and rubbing alcohol. Save potato chips (and your waistline) by resealing half-eaten bags instead of finishing them off. Seal fresh herbs and store them in the freezer. Basically, anything that lasts longer if air and damp are kept away from it can be vacuum-packed.
If you have any great vacuum-packing ideas of your own we’d love to hear about them!
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