Remember when I said that everyone has their own ideas about what they need to prepare against? Well, to the list of usual suspects add Xenu.
Tom Cruise building bunker against alien attack?
Roosevelt (the cowboy Rough Rider one, not the New Deal-ing socialist one) said “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have”. Today we call ’em ‘MacGyverisms’. If you’re gonna be prepared, a ceratin amount of thinking on your feet and improvising is required. However, it also helps to have a few goodies stuffed in your pockets. Alton Brown, TV cooking geek extraordinaire, calls devices with multiple uses ‘multitaskers’. One of the coolest multitaskers around is the Ziploc freezer bag. Some of the uses Ive read about, others I actually practice…heres an incomplete list:
Camp pillow – half fill with air and stuff inside a shirt or jacket to create a pillow
Leak prevention – I use this one religiously. If you have a container of liquid that would cause problems if accidentally opened, put the container in a Ziploc baggie, evacuate the air, and seal. If the container leaks or breaks the bag will afford protection for the rest of the stuff in your gear. (This is especially true if you’re packing shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and that sorta thing in your checked luggage.)
Document case – Maps or notes can be tucked into them and read through the plastic while keeping the paper dry and clean. Not a substitute for a real mapsafe but a good deal better than nothing.
Revolver protection – Some bigcity policewomen used to carry their revolvers in their purses. The guns were susceptible to getting all sorts of crud in them and not be reliable when needed. So, they would carry the pistols in plastic bags. When needed, fingers could easily be poked through the plastic and the guns could be fired through the bags.
‘Freezer bag cooking’ – theres a whole website on this and its worth looking at.
Protecting spare clothing – No secret, when you’re out in the boonies a pair of dry socks or a dry shirt can be a Very Big Deal. Stuffing your extra clothing into one of these things keeps it dry, in one place, and dirt free.
Organization – biggest plus is when its time to organize your gear. This is especially true for larger first aid kits. The bags lend themselves nicely to sorting things out…just grab the bag with the [whatever you need] and leave the rest. For example, keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc in there.
Wet stuff – these things are the perfect solution to carrying wet bating suits, washcloths, etc. Just don’t forget about them in your gear or you’re in for a fungal surprise in a few days.
Ice Packs – Fill with ice. Duh.
IPod case – I use a tiny Ziploc to protect my iPod nano. Keeps my filthy hands from getting the thing dirty and the controls work fine through the plastic.
Bulk grain storage – Break down your fifty pound bag of wheat into a few dozen of the large gallon Ziplocs. Each bag can be frozen individually in the freezer for a few days to ensure that theres no live pests in it and if some pests survive they’ll only contaminate that one bag and not the entire supply of grain.
Theres no shortage of uses, Im just kinda hitting the highlights here….
A newer product is Ziploc bags designed for storing gear. These bags come in sizes large enough to hold sleeping bags and larger items. I keep one of the largest ones folded up as compactly as possible and enveloped in cardboard to protect it from damage. I carry it as a gear cover for really foul weather. For example, if Im at the range and it starts to rain I can slide the whole range bag into the bag to keep it dry and still have access to my shooting stuff. Those larger bags aren’t cheap but they are extremely handy. They are great for protecting things form casual wetness…I wouldn’t trust them for waterproof but Id trust ‘em for water resistant (such as keeping gear safe in rain and snow). They really shine for keeping gear protected in storage from dust, mildew, dirt and the like. Definitely good for blankets and sleeping bags.