bag source for home dried??

Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
Based on many recommendations, and my favorable experiences with Hawk Vittles, I am starting to dry my own foods for camping.
The drying part is easy, but what about the bags?
Does anyone have a source for bag materials? I expect I'll need to buy a heat sealer to make my own bags from two sheets of plastic. I have a heat seam sealer at work, for sealing MIL spec storage bags, but that's overkill for home use. Besides, the MIL spec wrap is not 212 F rated.
So, what sort of plastic do I need? It needs to withstand the boiling water when rehydrating, and be capable of heat sealing, beyond that, what else do I need to look for?
I don't need to vacuum pack, I don't need to save the volume nor do I intend to keep these dried meals for years.
I assume there is a simple solution or source...(I hope)
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
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Western Adirondacks
I've been home dehydrating food for myself and for week-long scout treks for more than 20 years. Several times I almost took the leap to purchase a vacuum/heat sealer, but was always put off when I calculated the high expense of bags. So I simply use quality freezer weight zip top bags. I double bag the food, put a label with instructions between the two bags, and wrap with a rubber band. Store in the freezer to be safe when not needed for a while. The doubled bags will withstand boiling water rehydrating when supported in a pot or a fleece cozy bag. Works for me.
 
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Joined
Dec 1, 2012
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Altoona, Pennsylvania
I use a vacuum sealer and you can buy the bags for it premade or on a roll that allows you to size as needed. The sides are factory sealed so the width is fixed, and you just heat seal each end of the bag at any convenient length. I find these bags to be heavy duty and bomb proof. Cablelas sells them, but my wife picks them up at Sams/Walmart for me as needed. You could seal the ends at work and skip the vacuum part. I too have used the heavy freezer grade bags and they can take boiling water, but in the past I had a couple incidents where the bag failed. For some reason I recall that rice was a main ingredient when the bags failed.
 
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Raymond, ME
Zip Loc discontinued their vacuum bags. It might be worth a pass in the dollar store to see if they are there. They are tougher than their freezer bags. Walmart may have them too.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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I guess it's Ziploc freezer bags for the short term, and maybe the sheet stuff that Waterdog refers to in the long term.
Waterdog, do you know the material composition of those Sams bags?
The designer in me is curious to know which specific plastic and what thickness works well.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
Maybe I'm the odd one out here, but I use an old KoolAid jar to rehydrate my meals in, not the bag they come in. I made a cozy for it too. I can store a small bottle of soap, a cut down sponge/scrubber, spices, a lighter, and a pot chain inside as well, and the cozy fits inside my cook pot too. Clean up isn't as easy as burning a bag (if that's truly possible), but it's still pretty simple... a little water, a little sand, and a dab of soap if it really needs it... screw the lid on, shake, rinse, repeat.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
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Altoona, Pennsylvania
The food saver link yellowcanoe provided for Foodsaver is the brand I use. I just cut a piece off and it is "waffled" 2 ply on one side only. I can rip and tear it, but not easily. It has a good amount of stretch before tearing. Good for pasta if vacuum sealing. I need to use a lot more force than what would be expected from it as a food package to damage it. It is tougher than the freezer bag. I was able to poke my finger through more easily on the freezer bag. They are generic store brand though, not Ziploc. Hawk Vittles uses Foodsaver or similar type material. I think the freezer bags should suffice too over the short term. Sometimes my meals are in the freezer for 8 months to a year before they are rehydrated in the field so I prefer to vacuum seal them. No frost, freezer burn, color change, or off flavor. (I store them at the bottom of the freezer in a card board box left over from a large order from Hawk Vittles).

Barry
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Thank you Barry, YC, seeker, et al,

I haven't carried anything other than a Kelly Kettle for several years now. Also no cooking utensils, nor cooking containers. If I can't prepare a meal with boiling water alone, or eat it hard and cold, I don't bring it. Boil the water, burn the bag, I can't travel much lighter unless I'm eating foraged grubs!!
Foodsaver is the key word... Soon I'll try Hunan Chicken or maybe General Tsao's Kitten, some of my favorites.
Thanks again!!
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
One of my business partners and close personal friend is from Azerbajiin, another associate is from Iran. I had a good friend from Sri Lanka, we used to swap left overs for lunch, I've hired several mainland Chinese, traveled and dined worldwide...
I often joke that my taste in food was born on the other side of the world, more specifically in the middle east. But even so, I don't snack on those deep fried chicken toes!!
 
G

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Guest
I admire and envy your foodie miles travelled SG; I'm an untravelled newbie, relying on the guess and point method of exploration (guesses at menu item, points and orders). We've only just recorded several TV series covering the East, as well as the Med; we love that magical mix of armchair travel and stay at home cooking. Mixing our own scratch made curries is our next goal. Up till now we've relied on curry paste in a jar recipes.
Recently I read (and was bored by) an online discussion/argument about the authenticity of "ethnic" foods. Purist foodie snobs vs recipe experimenters. I wouldn't know an authentic recipe, if I spilled it all over my shirt, but I'd love to discover what I've been missing.
The idea of dehydrating some of these menus is a good one SG. Thanks for the inspiration. Our 1st night tripping is always a Thai chicken curry & noodles, night #4 is Indian veg curry & rice. The store shelves are filled with simplified Asian ingredients, ideal for the food barrel. Rather than bringing a pre-made curry paste etc, we should try scratch made recipes, and then dehydrating. Foodie snobs would shudder at our campsite concoctions. Whatever. I just try not to spill any on my shirt.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
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Alexandria, Minnesota
Hi everyone,
We have used an Excalibur Dehydrator to prepare meals and ingredients for our extended paddling trips. We have looked at bag sealers but find the cost and waste prohibitive. Our choice is for the ZipLoc Brand heavy duty freezer bags. They have worked well for us. The combined weight of these may be a factor for some longer trips of two weeks plus. Look for the big bulk boxes of the gallon and quart size. They get washed and reused for the next trip or home storage.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
160
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Central Illinois near Springfield
You can find vacuum food storage bags on eBay. I got some smaller re-sealable bags for camp food. They have a zipper seal near the closed end and you put the food in the opposite end, which is open. Once you cut the closed end off, you can use the zipper to reseal the package. It's good for jerky and dried fruit where you want to preserve it for a long while under vacuum, but be able to reseal after opening. For big bags, I usually just go to the store and get Foodsaver bags. You may see some bags that don't use a corrugated plastic, but come with a porous piece that goes in the open end of the bag for sealing. These bags are supposedly good for wet foods where some food might get sucked into the seal area and prevent a good heat seal. I've had this happen on regular bags and usually double seal each bag.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
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970
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Long island, ny
Foodsaver bags are good but.... you need to have a machine that you can press the seal button before it seals automatically. This is because the dried food with all its pointy parts will press against the plastic and cause pin holes. Even when double bagged or the hungryhammockhanger (he has a few good recipes on a YouTube channel) method of a wax paper pouch first then seal. My sucker-sealer draws down too tight and makes said holes. I quit burning bags and just dump the meal and water right in my pot, bring to boil, take off heat, place in coozie, and let it sit then eat. Yes cleanup isn't as easy but I don't have leaky bags dumping my hot water either.

My 2c

Jason
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
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Salt Lake City area
I am putting together the food for a 4 person, 7 day canoe trip. We use the vacuum sealer for most things, but I would like to package some dried eggs and (separately) some dry milk. Since they are so powdery, DH is a bit worried the powder will be sucked into the heating elements and really make a mess. Suggestions?
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
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Central Illinois near Springfield
Use a funnel or tube of some sort to fill the bag from the bottom. I use a canning funnel with an extension made of rolled paper. This keeps the powder off the sides of the bag. Allow plenty of space above the top of the powder and let the bag hang off the edge of the counter so that the powder has to rise vertically to get into the seal area. Food saver says to leave one inch, but more wouldn't hurt. I double seal my bags by pulling the bag out about a quarter inch and sealing again. I wait a day and check to see if the bags have leaked any air. if they have, I cut the seal off and seal again. I've prepackaged breakfasts this way. I hesitate to do this with things that contain baking powder, since it reacts with moisture and releases carbon dioxide. I try to leave the oils and reactive ingredients out of the mixes and add them at the time of use.
 
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