7 Unusual Ways To Use Your Vacuum Sealer

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason November 30, 2017 14:53

7 Unusual Ways To Use Your Vacuum Sealer

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:

Store seeds

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.

Related: Top 30 Over-the-Counter Meds to Stockpile

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.

Related: What To Do When Gun Control Gets Really Bad

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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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason November 30, 2017 14:53
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  1. Jerry November 30, 18:33

    Some vacuum sealer models, like the Food Preserver model I have, have a hose attachment and white caps for both regular and wide mouth canning jars. We store dry beans, herbs, grains, etc in half gallon jars. You put the cap on top, hit the vacuum button and it suck out much of the air in the jar and seals it. Then you put the metal ring on top. This extends the useful life of what you put in the jar. Also if your electricity goes out, you can use a hand brake bleeder tool to hook up to the vacuum hose and put a seal on a jar of food by hand.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dusty December 2, 09:37

      How do you use the bleeder tool to vacuum seal jars?

      Reply to this comment
      • Tnandy December 4, 23:39

        You plug one end of the hose in a vacuum port, the other end goes to a ‘bell’ shaped lid holder you stick a lid in, then put over the jar. Turn on the machine, the lid raises up in the ‘bell’ attachment, also drawing a vacuum in the jar.

        When the machine hits it’s seal point and stops sucking vacuum, the lid is drawn down on the jar top, sealing the vacuum inside. Take the bell off, screw a ring on the jar so you don’t loosen the lid accidentally, and you’re done.

        Reply to this comment
        • drscot February 19, 16:44

          I have found that only the wide-mouth jars/lids seal reliably.The regular sized lids are problematic. Food Saver sent me several replacement jar attachments including a canister set to put the jars into for another way to assure sealing, and no matter what, it is a hit or miss process. Have read other user reviews with similar complaints. Unless you want to fiddle with them to get an occasional success, it is best just to stick with the wide mouth jars which work every time.

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          • CJ April 17, 01:02

            I use mine daily. The only problem I had was with the lids, not the machine. Lids that come with jars often got overheated and don’t hold a seal. I always replace those lids. Don’t discard them though as they can be used for things that you don’t need to vaccum.

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          • Patches January 25, 19:51

            Go to Amazon and read the comments from buyers of the jar sealers. If you have a problem with a lid sealing, some have posted that if you use two lids at a time that is solves the problem. Somehow the second lid helps to keep the bottom lid down on the jar rim and it seals properly and the spare/second lid can be used on another jar.

            Reply to this comment
          • la January 26, 00:18

            Several years ago I had same problem until someone told me to put a lid upside down in the attachment then place over the jar with the lid that is to be seal. This works for me every time now. I keep an upside down lid in attachment all the time. I hope this helps you.

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  2. Bill_in_STL November 30, 18:41

    Dry underwear and socks – especially in the winter! The vacuum seal keeps the space really small and I know that I’ll have a clean, dry base layer if I ever needed it.

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  3. Andy November 30, 18:46

    Books can also be shrunk and sealed, though I wrap them first with tissue paper to prevent sticking to the plastic, and then I add a 3×5 card with a note indicating the book title, etc. The book when tapped with the knuckle will sound like a board since the air has been removed. Be very careful not to vacuum seal wood stocks with a gun, as the vacuum process may draw the excess oil into the wood, weakening and ruining it. Seal one separate from the other, then put both pieces, stock and metal, into a single bag.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Louie November 30, 19:25

    Might think twice about vacuum packing seeds if you plan on planting them. Seeds are living things, take away the oxygen and you will kill them. Unless your packing them for comsumption .

    Reply to this comment
    • drscot February 19, 16:53

      I’m not sure about that. I haven’t done this myself, but I have a food freeze dryer unit and I read about someone who experimented by freeze drying seed for longterm preservation. While this of course is not “long term” he did reconstitute them after one year and the seeds germinated successfully, or so he said, so there may be a number of variables involved there. I have several commercially vacuum-packed (in Mylar) tomato seed packs and I will be using one of them soon just to see. You pose an interesting question though. Let’s explore because it is an important and interesting topic.

      Reply to this comment
    • GreatNorthernPrepper April 16, 16:11

      Oxygen is not necessary for the seeds to survive. In fact, plants breathe CO2 and give off oxygen. They are our opposites. So no. They don’t require oxygen to survive.

      Each seed, after the drying process, is effectively dead. What makes them special is that inside, they contain the exact recipe required to produce a new plant. But that recipe is only unlocked after introduction to moisture, heat and sunlight. So if you vacuum seal your seeds, they should last much longer, especially if you store them in a cool, dark area.

      Reply to this comment
  5. DDP45/70 November 30, 20:18

    Pigs raided us as preppers a couple of years ago. Took about 28 old guns and parts I had stored for a rainy day.
    The one thing I had done was split stores into 3 areas and two of these were over 30 kms from where we live and so could not be found. They went on about ground penetrating radar they and all this other crap. But of course it really does not work. A mate and others had gear stored in old fridges just covered with tarps and camp nets and none of that was located either. All gone now of course, but the lesson is always have most of your stores cached off property in a remoter location.

    Reply to this comment
    • drscot February 19, 16:56

      Wow! You know pigs make delicious bacon! Roughly where did this occur? Roughly.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 25, 19:37

        drscot: Get with it, man. Pigs is vernacular for law enforcement officers. Why would wild boar be using metal detectors and ground radar?

        I have never heard of using long pig to make bacon. I suppose if there is enough belly fat it would be possible.

        That said, except for a few severely disturbed individual, long pig is off the market in this country. After the EOTW, the topic will certainly be open for discussion if not actual usage.

        Reply to this comment
  6. old guy December 1, 08:06

    Add an oxygen absorber to each bagged metal item. learned this from past experience. Also pack spare parts with each gun and 2 extra mag’s. wrap in clean cloth or a silicon gun bag. double bag

    Reply to this comment
    • drscot February 19, 16:38

      I use an oxygen absorber with all food items, but a desiccant with things like ammunition and other inedible items. How do you handle such items?

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 25, 19:41

        One can now buy anti-rust material for storing firearms which I think is more effective than an oxygen absorber or two for an item as large as a firearm. They are reasonably priced and will protect your firearm by emitting a vapor inside the bag that actually inhibits the formation of rust.

        MidwayUSA sells them as I am sure other shooting supply
        sites. Your local store that carries shooting supplies might even carry them.

        Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 25, 19:49

        See my reply about special bags for storing firearms. They would also work for such things as knives and machetes.

        If I am storing a machete for immediate use, I coat the blade with Vasoline and then wrap the blade in Saran film wrap. That way it is preserved but ready for immediate use.

        One needn’t remove the plastic wrap in order to deploy the machete. Striking your target with the blade will drive the blade through the plastic film wrap as if it were not there.

        Continuing to employ the machete will continue to remove the plastic film wrap and have no effect on the efficacy of the instrument. It may limit the depth of the slash by a millimeter, but your target won’t notice the difference between a slash that is 30 mm deep and one that is 29 mm deep. It may mean that instead of completely severing an artery you only cut it to the opposite wall. It will still bleed just a vigorously as if slashed all the way through.

        May even bleed more vigorously as arteries have a tendency to pull back into the artery channel once severed. A defensive mechanism designed to partially slow the loss of blood.

        In any event, the target will not notice the difference.

        Reply to this comment
  7. Vlad the Impala December 1, 13:23

    Take out the core of a roll of toilet paper and vacuum seal it. Takes up a lot less space.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Rick Fortune December 1, 16:00

    When you seal stuff for your BOB (especially snacks and food), cut a short “nick” in the edge of the bag just up to the seal. When you go to use them it will be easy to tear open, rather than having to use a knife or scissors.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Chris Brown December 1, 16:37

    Wrap firearms with cloth before vacuum sealing. This will soften all the edges and lessen the chance of your bag splitting. Place labels inside the bag, don’t write on the outside of the bag.

    Reply to this comment
  10. ABCOLL December 1, 18:52

    Personal care items are a lifesaver. 1 bar of soap, cut in to 10 pieces, each vacuum packed. Cheap wash-rags cut in strips, soaked in rubbing alcohol, and sealed will last much longer than pre-packaged wipes.
    Dryer lint by itself is great for starting a fire, adding a gob of Vaseline makes it better. Cut vacuum bags into 2″ squares and seal.

    Reply to this comment
  11. TheSouthernNationalist December 1, 21:06

    PVC pipe works great for guns, oil them then add some desiccant, seal them up and bury them.
    Also works great for ammo minus the oil.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Adam Timbermann December 2, 03:10

    Do not vaccum seal ammunition. It will try to suck the air out of the cartridge potentially loosening the bullet from the brass.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe December 2, 19:15

      Have you experienced this? If bullet is properly seated it is verrrry difficult to even use players to get the out of the case. Gotta be an awfully powerful vacuum.

      Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe December 2, 19:16

        To get the bullet out of the case

        Reply to this comment
      • Red Ant Klan December 15, 20:29

        Man, no shit what a bad ass vacuum. were can I get one. LOL…. Don’t be leave all that you hear. God did give us a brain, hell use it. (I hope he gave a brain to every one…) keep up the prepping.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck February 8, 05:32

          If you have ever used a bullet puller to pull bullets you would quickly realize that a vacuum sealer will in no way unseat a properly seated bullet. If a vacuum seal pulls the bullets from the cartridge, then the first time you fire a round, all the bullets in your magazine or cylinder will be pulled forward and the next one fed will jam your weapon up quite nicely. This is a problem with .357 magnums in ultra-light, snubbie frames. In addition to really jolting recoil — I mean really jolting. Most experienced shooters do not look forward to firing full strength rounds from said gun due to the painful recoil. But, in addition to painful recoil, it sometimes will pull the bullet partially out of the cartridge, especially the last couple of cartridges in the cylinder. Most experts recommend after shooting such a gun and not using all the rounds to remove them from the gun and load it with new cartridges that have not been in the cycle yet. If a bullet moves past the forcing cone you have to the the gun to a gunsmith in order to get it to work again. You can use those cartridges after checking the seating depth and the crimp of the case.

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck February 8, 05:43

            An amusing anecdote about super light snubbies. every year Rahaage’s Shooting Center here in SoCal hosts a shooting expo. Various firearms vendors bring their wares and for a nominal fee one can try out that S&W .500 without spending big bucks. My brother was at the S&W booth and they were exhibiting their scandium .357 snubbie. My brother plunked down his money and proceeded to fire off a cylinder full of .357 rounds in it. The Smith guy said, “Congratulations. You are the first one today to fire a whole cylinder full in that gun.”

            My brother said he could hardly feel his hand and it was numb the rest of the day. He thinks part of his problem with arthritis today might be due to his foolhardiness some years ago with that particular gun. It certainly didn’t help his arthritis any. If someone were to gift me that gun the stoutest load I would shoot in it would be +P .38sp. and if I were shooting at a range, I would wear a padded glove while doing so. Yeah, call me a sissy.That’s okay. I can still bend my fingers.

            Reply to this comment
  13. DIM TIM December 2, 21:55

    Dusty, to use it you just attach the tool’s line to the jar attachment’s port. If still in doubt there is a video on YouTube that gives you the know-how.

    Reply to this comment
    • Red Ant Klan December 15, 20:37

      It dose work. I done it on all kind of crap. I have vacuum down food, ammo, rice, nut and bolts, ETC: if you have some thing sharp or rough you can put it in any thing that will protect it and then vacuum it down. Have to try it.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Lucy December 5, 00:22

    What a lot of excellent ideas here! Good job, Fergus, and all those who added to it!

    Reply to this comment
  15. Old timer December 5, 20:53

    don’t try to vaccu seal cereal like cherrios, life etc because it will crush it to crumbs. and pasta noodles also

    Reply to this comment
  16. Lorie December 9, 05:16

    If you take a long roll and seal one end then re-roll it back up again and store it in your BOB when the time comes that you need to sterilize water, you can fill the tube, roll the open end down and duct tape it shut good and lie it out on any flat surface for the day. The sun will kill anything in the water and make it potable after about 8 hours. You can cut that time in half by backing the water tube with something reflective like aluminum foil to increase the suns intensity. You can make a LOT of water drinkable with very little effort this way.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lorie December 9, 05:17

      Naturally I am talking about a long roll of vacuum seal bag material.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck January 25, 20:01

        Good tip, Lorie. That is called the SODIS method of purifying contaminated water. It has been introduced quite successfully in third world countries where clean drinking water is a scarce commodity. It won’t remove other contaminants such as hydrocarbons or organophospates or heavy metals, but it will take out parasites and bacteria and I suppose viruses too as they are susceptible to UV rays. There are some parasites that are in cystic form in water and don’t emerge from their cysts until inside a living being. SODIS doesn’t work with them, but they are rarer than bacteria, protozoa and other inhabitants of polluted water.

        If my memory serves me correctly, sheep liver flukes may be one of those that survive in cyst form. If you are in an area that was grazed by flocks of sheep, you may have to boil the water to kill the sheep liver flukes. If that is the million dollar question, don’t call me as your expert, call some other dude. I only know that sheep liver flukes infest a lot of high country water that otherwise looks great. Not just domestic sheep either. Mountain sheep also carry the flukes.

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  17. ed December 9, 15:59

    don’t forget the matches, great way to make use of the ends of bag rolls.

    Reply to this comment
  18. left coast chuck January 25, 20:04

    For just plain sealing without vacuum, your vacuum sealer bags and rolls can be sealed with a warm iron. Start out with a very short time. If you don’t want to get plastic on you iron sole, put waxed paper or parchment paper between the iron and the plastic. Parchment paper works better because it won’t leave was residue on your iron sole.

    Reply to this comment
  19. red January 25, 22:25

    Cool, very cool. Thank you!

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