I’ve only been using my vacuum sealer for a couple of days and I’ve already decided that this is a “must have” item. My wife picked up a FoodSaver V3840 Upright Vacuum at Costco last month and I unpacked it this week during my latest food drying marathon. The sealer was selling for around $140 at Costco and lists for $173.97 on the company website. The FoodSaver, produced by Sun Beam, is a very sturdy appliance and I must say that it looks like it was built to last. Operation is extremely simple. Turn the unit on, fill a bag with food, and insert the open bag into the machine. The FoodSaver does the rest, automatically sensing the bag, running through the vacuum cycle and heat sealing the bag. When the lights on the console go out you are done. Easy.
This model has a couple of nice features. First, there are two pump speeds so you don’t crush fragile foods. It also has a pulse mode so you can control the suction and stop it when you want. Other features, such as the marinate mode, canister mode, and moist food modes are no doubt useful in the kitchen but beyond my needs for sealing dry backpacking foods. Finally, the machine has a holder and cutter for rolls of bag material. The rolls are already sealed on the sides and can be cut to the desired length and then sealed at the ends. I found that if you cut this lengthwise you can make smaller bags that are perfect for individual servings of salads, oatmeal, and the like.
The bags are about as thick as freezer bags but somewhat stiffer. I have been cutting them a little large so I can rehydrate and eat the food directly from the bag. These bags are not cheap! The order form that came in the box offers 48 quart bags at $20.99 and 32 pint bags for $10.99. (Some of the bags are cheaper on Amazon!) The rolls are probably cheaper, but this is going to cost you way more than ziplock freezer bags! Still, if you like to prepare a lot of food in advance and keep it on the shelf, then the FoodSaver is worth it as food will stay fresh far longer in the vacuum bag. Meats and other perishables should still be refrigerated until your trip!
I highly recommend this device. When combined with a food dehydrator you are able to package quality meals in a very compact package. I made four servings of spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, onions, hamburger, and spices for around $3.00 per serving. Compare that to $8-12 per serving for a freeze-dried meal. The test of course will be when I eat the meal. I expect my spaghetti sauce will take a fair amount of time to reconstitute, but I don’t mind a little down time after I set up camp. I plan to sacrifice one of my old foam sleeping pads for a dog bed and cozies, so I’ll rig up something for the food bags so I can speed up the process with hot water. These bags are not field resealable, so take along a couple of clips to keep the bag closed while the food is soaking.
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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!