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Hands On: ZipVac Portable Vacuum Sealing

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Years ago we purchased a vacuum sealer to keep food fresh and prevent freezer burn. The system uses plastic bags that are sealed after the food is loaded. Then the air is sucked out of the bag. While the system works great, it’s pretty bulky for use in a motorhome. Using the same concept, but employing specially designed plastic bags and valves, ZipVac offers a system that’s perfectly at home inside a motorhome.

“Portability” is the operative word here. Rather than storing a base unit that requires 120-volt AC power, the ZipVac system uses a rechargeable hand-held pump to suck the air out of the bags. Once charged, the pump is said to evacuate the air out of 150 bags. While that might be a little optimistic, our testing showed that the charge lasted long enough to handle our needs while on the road. To recharge, the plug retracts from the pump handle and is inserted into a standard wall socket. A manual pump that comes with the system can be used if necessary.

The process for storing food can’t get any easier. Simply load the appropriate bag with the food, seal the bag by pinching the corner and running your fingers over the mated closure tracks – similar to the way popular food-storage bags work. Once sealed, the round valve molded into the bag is twisted to the open position and the pump is placed over the valve. A push of a button starts the vacuum pump that quickly sucks the air out of the bag. You can easily see that the bag conforms to the food and the pump makes a different sound when the job is done. The valve is then twisted to the closed position and the food is ready for storage.

Most of our food fit in the quart- or gallon-size bags. A jumbo bag is designed to handle larger cuts of meats, and there’s even a bag configured for fresh caught (or bought) fish. Prices range from $9.99 for 15 quart-size bags to $19.99 for 20 of the jumbo or fillet bags. The bags, which are three layers thick, are cleanable and reusable. They are also puncture resistant.

We found almost unlimited uses for the bags. The obvious one is to store leftovers – whether in the refrigerator or freezer – but meals can also be prepared at home and stored in the bags, freeing up valuable storage space. When ready for use, we simply defrosted the food and popped the bags in the microwave. The bags are also boilable.

Thinking out of the box, the ZipVac bags can be used to waterproof valuables when on the water, protect gear that’s tossed in a day pack, or even seal unused adhesives that tend to be messy and harden quickly when exposed to the air. The possibilities are limitless.

A starter kit comes with the rechargeable pump, a lightweight manual pump, three quart-size bags and two gallon-size bags. It retails for $40, but can be found online for around $35. ZipVac is made in the United States.

This easy-to-handle, vacuum-sealing system is fun and practical to use, and will easily pay for itself in a very short time.

CTI Industries Corp., 866-382-1707, www.zipvac.net

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