We all know that Ziploc bags are unbeatable for packaging the individual parts of your lunch, but they are far more versatile than that. Except for needing scissors or a knife to open the package, vacuum-sealing is even better than Ziploc, though the process is expensive and good for only one use.

Ziplocs are watertight, so they can be used to carry liquids (carefully), or to keep water away from items you want to stay dry. Anything from prepared dry bannock mix to socks, underwear and medications fit into one of the clear plastic bags, which come in various sizes. It can rain for days and the canoe can overturn and the items in your Ziploc bags will still be dry.

Electronics including phones, cameras and GPS devices are easily-accessible, yet well-protected in the medium-sized bags. In a pinch Ziplocs containing reheatable meals can be immersed in gently boiling water until the food is hot enough to eat. Raw eggs can be cooked the same way.

Cut a piece of Ensolite sleeping pad a little smaller than the Ziploc and stick the hooks of fishing flies into one or both sides of the pad. Then slip the pad into the bag and seal the zip. There you have a very light, inexpensive and flexible fly pouch.

It is important to use only high-quality zip-seal bags as the cheaper ones are often of a lower quality and do not reseal very well.

Anything done with a Ziploc can be done with a vacuum sealer bag, but the latter is usually somewhat stronger and makes for a smaller package with all the air sucked out. As stated above, these are only good for a single use and are more expensive when you calculate the cost per bag and include the price of the vacuum sealer unit. These bags are tough though, so if the cost is acceptable, they work well.

Both Ziplocs and vacuum bags are excellent for packaging meat for freezing. Fish is better done in the vacuum bag, as all air is removed and the fish stays fresher longer. Whether packaging fish or meat, a second layer of freezer paper is necessary because, when frozen, the plastic in either bag becomes brittle and breaks easily when things are moved around in the freezer. This results in air getting in, drying out the product and causing “freezer burn” to ruin it.

Ziplocs and vacuum bags can be washed, rinsed and dried to be reused. This cuts down on waste and comes in handy for other purposes.