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Vacuum Sealers are Great for the Trail and at Home

About 30-40 percent of all food in the United States is wasted. The primary reason for the wasted food is spoilage. You can reduce food spoilage by using a vacuum sealer because it will extend the life of the food and preserve it. Vacuum sealers are also great for preparing backpacking snacks and meals for on trail.

Paul Bodnar       Educational       8/24/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
8/24/2021
cutting the vacuum sealer plastic

1. Save Money by Creating Smaller Packages

You can save a lot of money by purchasing food in bulk and then creating your own smaller packages. You can easily save up to 50% on food costs by buying in larger quantities and repacking it yourself in smaller vacuum sealed bags.

A vacuum sealer sealing a bag of rice

2.  Boil Food Right in the Bag

Some sealable bags are safe to add boiling water to. This means you can cook your food in the bag without getting your cooking pot dirty. It’s easy to cook things like instant rice, make sauces, etc. in the bag, however cooking spaghetti would be a bit more difficult.

If you plan on boiling in the bag, remember to leave plenty of space for the water inside the bag.

a pile of multiple different vacuum sealed foods

3. Organize with Ease

By organizing your backpacking food into smaller bags it makes it easier to plan out your meals. This increases the chances you will not run out of food and will help you to keep track of the different meals you have left. It’s very important to label the bag if it isn’t obvious what it is when you transfer it over.

A vacuum sealer sealing up a block of cheese

4. Extend the Life of Food at Home

If you buy in bulk you can typically save 50% or more. By using a vacuum sealer you can extend the life of your food by weeks. Not only can you use the vacuum sealer to prepare backpacking food, but you can also use it to preserve food at home.

A good vacuum sealer has these features:

  • Dry/moist settings for automatic vacuum
  • Manual setting for vacuum
  • Large seal bar that crates a wide seal (about 5 mm)
  • Strong vacuum
  • Easily seals thick vacuum seal bags
  • Easy to use

Summary

A vacuum sealer makes it easy to buy food in bulk and repackage the food into smaller amounts. This makes the food last longer and makes it easier to portion out for individual meals. A vacuum sealer is great for preparing backpacking meals and can also be used to preserve food at home.

For a long-distance hike, a vacuum sealer can easily prepare the first few weeks of food. However, I don’t recommend packaging meals for an entire 5 to 6 month hike. Chances are you will get tired of the food. I recommend up to 30 days of prepackaged food for any hike.


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Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

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As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 90 guides for trails around the world.