Bad choices, Hillary, vacuum sealed blankets

I don’t feel too compelled to say anything about the fella that got lost and stuck while driving his family through Oregon. Suffice to say that if youre reading this, you already know the mistakes this guy made and what would have prevented them.

The experience does point out that in winter you have to know your limitations, know what youre doing and, above all, be prepared for problems. So, your homework assignment is to think about what things would be needed to if you were stranded in your car for a week in the snow Middle O’ Nowhere….and then make sure that gear is in your vehicle.

Here endeth the lecture.
So, to the surprise of pretty much no one, Hillary Clinton has said that, gosh, maybe she does want to take a shot at the big time in 2008. Is there anyone on this planet who hasn’t seen this coming? I welcome it. I embrace it. I encourage it. Why? Because Bush has left such a bad taste in so many peoples mouths that the only way a Republican is going to get elected in 2008 is for the Democrats to run someone so polarizing, someone so dividing, someone so you-either-love-her-or-you-hate-her, that voters will say “I’d rather vote for the Republican than that Clinton.”

And, even then, that might not be enough. So, dear friends, if you don’t spend 2007 socking away magazines and AR receivers youre not nearly as smart and cautious as I’d hoped my readership to be.
Another fun use for my vacuum sealer, other than preserving bargain food for the big cryo-nap, has been to compact and protect surplus military wool blankets. One of the big hassles of keeping a blanket in the truck has been that they are bulky, get unfolded and wind up in a wad, get wet and dirty, and generally make their presence so annoying that youre more likely to just yank the damn thing from the truck and leave it behind which, if you ask any San Francisco Korean widow, might be a bad idea.

Thus, the benefit of the vacuum sealer. I roll up the blanket into a nice tight roll, stuff it in the bag, pull all the air out, seal it up and its now protected from dirt, moisture and all the other nasties. To be on the safe side I then wrap some duct tape around it from all sides. This helps to protect the plastic and if the plastic does lose its integrity from a puncture or other damage the rolled blanket will still stay in its compressed form. The truly clever will take this rolled and sealed blanket and put it into some sort of hardside container (even a stiff cardboard tube will work) to protect the plastic from punctures.

A buddy of mine uses a simpler, low-tech method. He finds a blanket he can fold small enough and stuffs it into a couple of the large Tyvek envelopes provided free at post offices for Priority and Express mail. Its worth pointing out they also provide cardboard boxes that are pretty close to the perfect size for a folded blanket.

17 thoughts on “Bad choices, Hillary, vacuum sealed blankets

  1. hoho

    with a vacuum cleaner hose, stuff the folded blanket into a heavy duty plastic trash bag, twisted about the end of the hose and vaxcuum the air out; then twist shut the bag and rubber band the the twisted bag end tight. meanwhile merry xmas to you and your clan. Wildflower 06

  2. I agree with your sentiments on Hillary, but don’t forget that you also have all of 2008 to gear up. Even if she *doesn’t* win… you have the very real possibility that we could get someone like McCain in there who isn’t really a friend to firearms owners… or someone like Rudy who is consistently bad on it.

    Definite food for thought.

  3. have you found that some surplus blankets smell so badly of naphtha that they are nearly unusable? my last batch was such. i aired them out for weeks with little improvement.

    (i think the first order of preparedness is judgment so as not to get stuck for a week. little things like route planning, driving on the top of the tank, turning back when conditions suggest prudence. the last one especially so — i go off-roading a fair bit and i’ve backed up or turned around in the sierras at elevation in april due to too much snow on backroads, despite daytime temps of 50-60F. i’ve got a hi-lift jack on the truck and i know how to get myself out of a fix, but i’d rather not go there.)

  4. Another suggestion: A duffle-style dry bag, like the type used for kayaking. It keeps it dry, the bags are pretty tough and don’t puncture easily, and you can use the straps to anchor it if rolling around in the truck is a problem.

    I carry a couple of sleeping bags in the truck. If I’m in a situation where I have to keep a bag dry, I usually stuff it in a wide-mouth, 1-gallon Nalgene bottle (which takes some serious stuffing, but it can usually be done). I’ve swam 600 yards of underground river with my clothing in a dry bag and my sleeping bag stuffed in a Nalgene bottle, and everything stayed bone dry.

  5. I bought some of those when they first came out. My local Albertsons was selling them at an introductory price so I figured I’d give them a shot. Theyrepretty interesting but not sure about their usefulness. They are, however, rather spendy. I wound up ‘enveloping’ one in cardboard to protect it and keep it in the range bag so if bad weather comes up while shooting the whole range bag can be protected from the weather.

  6. I’ve just the run-of-the-mill Foodsaver you pick up at Costco for about $150~. Been pleased with it. The trick to efficient usage is understand that nothing with sharp corners or protrusions can be sealed up….round of corners on ammo boxes by thumping ’em on the desk, etc, etc. Extremely useful device for saving bulk food purchases. Additionally, I use them to store/protect:
    complete change of clothes
    firestarting materials
    bulky items that compress well (down vests, etc)
    creating ‘kits’ of clothing – i.e. gloves,scarf,hat,mittens, gaiter as one package to keep in my bag
    etc, etc.

    Worth the money. And, yes, you can seal up guns nicely.

  7. From a calendarical(???) standpoint, youre right..I would have all of 2008. BUT, the demand for those items will skyrocket and prices will adjust accordingly. Makes sense, to me, to shop early and avoid the rush, y’know?

  8. They do indeed smell a bit naptha-y…”The smell lets you know its working!”… couple trips through a dryer on ‘cold/warm’ with a dryer sheet or two helps as does just airing ’em out on a line for a few days. Its never been strong enough to really bother me and I would imagine I wont care about the smell if I really need a blanket badly enough.

    Hi-lift jacks rock. Extremely versatile and useful tool.

  9. Havent tried the gallon Nalgene but I have used 5-gallon buckets with GammaSeal lids. They work ideally for sleeping bags. Matter of fact, Sportsmans Warehouse sells some sleeping bags that come in 5-gallon buckets. For uber toughness I sometimes use surplus steel rocket cases.

    Theyre overkill but you could throw it out the back of the truck at 70 mph and all your gear would be juuuuuust fine.

  10. Anyone have a good (cheap, but in good condition) source for 5-gallon buckets, preferably with sealing lids? I’ve been using empty 40-lb. kitty litter containers for similar purposes that don’t require a sealed container, but I’d like a larger, more durable, and sealable alternative. In a similar vein, what about ammo containers? I see some good deals every now and then, but does anyone have a source that is consistantly good?

    Keep your powder (and everything else) dry,

  11. Oh yeah, I’m about to purchase one of those nifty Foodsaver-type-appliances, spurred by our recent purchase and pending receipt of a quarter of a cow. Is the standard Foodsaver the recommended choice? I plan to use it for storing everything under the sun, as I figure most on this thread do.

    Thanks for your valued input,

  12. Although, I’m not sure that 2007 will be *better* than 2008. The 2008 Campaign has pretty much *already* started… and the moment that Hillary announces her campaign and looks to have *any* momentum the prices for AR’s will skyrocket… Although, the democrats might seize on what happened here in Ohio. They ran someone left wing, but pro-gun with the paperwork to prove it… and he won.

    Not only that, in 2006… who would have thought that John Kerry would have been their nominee? I was figuring that it would be Howard Dean for sure. There’s a lot of election between now and the first in the nation primary in early 2008 when things get kicked off. Today’s frontrunners could be tomorrow’s has been’s… and you could get raped next year on the anti-hillary bandwagon… especially if a more conservative nominee comes along.

  13. Bakeries

    If you go talk to your local baker you can get tons for free. All the frosting comes in them. Which means nice food grade. It is a little bit of a pain to clean them but worth it.

  14. What are your thoughts on food storage containers for putting dried bulk goods into? Things like sugar, flour, salt, oat meal, etc. I’d like to get something that’s robust that vermin cannot get into and I’m starting to lean towards cleaned out .50 or 20mm ammo cans. Perhaps 40mm ammo cans. Obviously in those cases the food would be in another container within the can. But I have a virtually unlimited supply of desiccant pouches that I get from work from servers we unpack.

  15. My usual method is to go for mylar bags inside of GammaSealed 5-gallon buckets. However, that does nothing to deter rodents that gnaw through pretty much anything. You could find some large metal container and store the 5-gallon buckets within that container but thats a bit much. Metal cans lined with the mylar bags might be the way to go. I suppose if you were creative enough you could run up to Home Depot and get some sheets of galvanized metal and wrap it around a large wooden storage cabinet. I’ve used Mylar bags in ammo cans before but the only drawback is the relatively small size of most ammo cans… something the size of a footlocker would be nice.

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