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In the blog and video Vacuum Sealer Projects: FIRESTARTER kit parts were mentioned but not focused on. The items are worthy of a separate blog/video with more detail but was too much at once. Seems like separate topics.
The vacuum sealer technology that impressed me so much back in the 70’s still does today. It’s not very complicated or all that special on the average day but when put into use is worth every penny spent. It seems it gets used as much for packing supplies and equipment as it does food stuff.
Presently the Vacuum Sealer Project(VSP) uses a FoodSaver FM2100 purchased from Costco in 2016.
They’re available in black and white. The kit has a port and hose attachment that will allow the user to vacuum seal reusable zipper pouches and canning jars. Canning jars will require a Canning Sealer Kit, it includes options for vacuum sealing large and small mouth canning jars. Ours has successfully sealed nuts, rice, beans, matches, snacks, tea, sugar, salt and other items one might store in a canning jar.
A note about liquids and countertop sealers like these. It will not seal any liquids without risking the appliance. To properly seal liquids or items that require a small amount to be present will need a vacuum chamber sealer. That is another topic for the distant future at this point so I’ll stick to the present.
Experience has shown that it is easier to load pouches and seal wet items like lasagna, juicy meats, precooked dishes when they’re very cold or nearly frozen. That reduces the chance of vacuuming up liquids into the sealer. It also helps to fold the end to be sealed over so that nothing can contaminate the sealing surface. If there is anything on that area of the pouch it will not seal properly.
The FoodSaver is not the only vacuum sealer on the market this is the one the VSP is familiar with. Shop around there are many options.
Now comes the most important part of using vacuum sealer pouches for emergency supplies. Opening the package when it is needed. Anyone who has ever tried to open a vacuum pouch packed item that does not have a tear-notch will understand how difficult to impossible it can be. The pouch wants to give and stretch.
The worst case scenario would be not having use of all limbs, that said the next worst by VSP standards is where one is reduced to use of one hand, one foot. One hand and foot could open a package with tear-notches. There are various ways to manipulate the package, body, foot and/or hand and make it work.
The simple single cut and vee shape notch work well and are easy to make with scissors. An edged tool on a cutting surface would also get the job done. There is an issue with the vee shape. If the point part of the vee is over-cut it may drive the tear in a lateral direction making it difficult to open. Another reason to put two or more notches on each pouch.
Experience in commercial sewing rooms led VSP to purchase a 1/16″ x 1/4″ 45 N pattern punch for the purpose of making tear notches. Visible in the photo above are samples. The consistency, ease, quality and peace of mind when a situation calls for every advantage are worth the cost of the tool. Tools like it are an investment. The tool would be worth its weight in gold if the simple cut it created help open a package with life saving contents.
The last item added to the kit was added only by chance. If a friend of the VSP hadn’t given the drawstring tote-backpack to the project we most likely would not have seen them at all. The quality of the materials is not up to any regular or heavy duty use. However all the tote-backpacks have to do is work well once during an emergency.
It would be a great place to gather fire making materials and/or carry other useful items if it was the only bag one had. Plus, folded, it fits the kit so well. Got to have it! VSP has accumulated several of these for use in our fire kits. Having a few on hand might also be a good idea if one is considering making kits in the future. For this purpose there is confidence it would last long enough until help arrived.
That’s all for part one, a clean, dry place to put all the good stuff in and an easy way to get it out. Next time the What? Why? Where? blog will be the components for making fire. -13