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Backpacking? Vacuum Pack for Better Food Storage

June 27, 2016
food storage
Ryan SmithSmart food storage, such as using a straw to vacuum pack your snacks, will save space and weight when backpacking.

Backpackers will go to great lengths to maximize every square inch of real estate in their packs. When it comes to food storage, taking the time to vacuum-seal those zip-locked bags not only saves space but also keeps food fresh over the long haul. But who wants to carry a vacuum sealer into the backcountry? Fortunately, a few practical and inexpensive methods exist. Here are two we’ve seen in practice.

Straw Sealer
Want to vacuum-seal that macaroni you’ve repackaged to save on weight and waste? This kid-pleasing method works on all sorts of bags, even larger ones, although it might take a few tries to master.

  1. With the bag open, squeeze out as much air as you can by pressing the bag against your stomach.
  2. With the bag still pressed against your stomach, seal it almost all the way, leaving a half-inch opening.
  3. Insert a straw into the opening and suck out the rest of the air from
    the bag (see photo).
  4. Remove the straw, sealing the bag shut as you go.

Water Whisperer

  1. Submerge an open bag into a sink or a bowl of water, leaving only the seal above the water’s surface.
  2. Once the pressure from the water pushes out all of the air, seal the bag shut.
  3. Dry off the bag, and you’re good to go.

Note: These methods are recommended for dry goods; avoid using them for raw meat and fish.


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Ryan Smith

Ryan is the managing editor of AMC Outdoors magazine and contributing professional photographer. He has worked for AMC as a backcountry caretaker, trail crew member, Mountain Classroom educator, and Teen Wilderness guide. His passions include hiking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and climbing.