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Vacuum Sealers – What You Need to Know Before You Buy

small, black FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer machine sealing a package of dried cranberries

A vacuum sealer is one of those kitchen machines you don’t realize how much you’ll use – until you buy one. We use our vacuum sealer for food storage, sealing jars and bottles, corrosion protection, resealing bags and emergency preparedness. You can also use your vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking. In this post, we’ll discuss ways to use your sealer, do a comparison of Foodsaver models and their features, and share some tips on Foodsaver bags.

How does a vacuum sealer machine work?

Vacuum sealer machines sucks the air out of a plastic bag or container and seals it so no air can get back in. When sealing soft or juicy items in plastic bags for freezer storage, it’s best to freeze the items for a few hours before vacuum sealing them. This prevents the food from being crushed or losing its juice during the vacuum process. Vacuum sealing protects the contents from oxygen, liquids and bugs.

Here's a quick demonstration of how to use a vacuum sealer.

Why Get a Vacuum Sealer?

I've put together a list of different ways to use a home vacuum sealer to demonstrate how a vacuum sealer can help in your kitchen and home.

My top choices for vacuum sealers are:

FoodSaver FM2000-FFP Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Bag/Roll Set – for bag sealing only, on a budget. Fits in a small storage area, bags stored separately.

FoodSaver FM2435-ECR Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Handheld Sealer and Starter Kit – Mid-level machine, includes bag storage and handheld sealer.

Foodsaver V2866 Vacuum Sealer Bonus 100 Qt Bags Included – Mid-level machine, includes bag storage and hose. Stores upright for smaller footprint.

FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer & Starter Kit – for fully automatic sealing

#1 – Food Storage

I use my vacuum sealer for food storage more than any other use. Vacuum sealing dramatically extends the shelf life of food in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.

In the Freezer

Have you ever tossed a bag of produce into the fridge or freezer, thinking that you’ll use it up quickly so you don’t need to do anything special with packaging, only to find it later, freezer burned or moldy? It takes just seconds to vacuum seal food, and vacuum sealing extends the shelf life of foods to years instead of months. Vacuum sealed meats don’t oxidize and turn brown. We always get our bulk beef purchase vacuum sealed.

Produce Keeps for Years Instead of Months

I use my vacuum sealer for fresh frozen produce such as peas, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, blueberries, kale, chard, green beans and pretty much anything else that is not a puree. I like to freeze the produce on sheet pans, and then pack into meal/recipe size bags and seal. That way, when I open the bags, the peas or berries aren't all clumped in one big frozen block, and I can pour out at little or as much as I need at one time. Pre-freezing soft or high liquid items keeps them being crushed and juiced by the pull of the vacuum.

You can see my original vacuum sealer in action in this post about how to freeze peas, and the FM2000 in the post about freezing beans. The vacuum sealed bags can stack like books on a shelf in the freezer and take up little space. If you cut the vacuum sealer bags open neatly, you can also reseal and reuse the bags at least once, sometimes more.

I can easily store food for a year or more, which is great if we have a bumper crop of something one year and a crop failure the next. Two year old vacuum sealed berries look like they were picked and frozen the day before. Try that with produce in a regular zipper bag, and you'll end up with a block of ice.

Below is a comparison of two packages of broccoli, one vacuum sealed, one not. I thought I'd use the second package up quickly, so I didn't take the time to vacuum seal. Big mistake.

Comparison of frozen broccoli. Left side was vacuum sealed, right side was not and got freezer burned

How to Vacuum Seal Liquids and Single Servings for Freezing

One of our readers, Cheryl L., shared how she prepares high liquid foods and single servings for vacuum sealing on the Common Sense Home Facebook page:

I pre-freeze food with liquid, such as: soup, sweetened berries, tomato sauce, etc. in plastic bowls. When frozen solid, pop out the food, slip it into a bag and vacuum seal.

I also put individual servings such as enchilada's with sauce into an open sandwich bag and freeze. When frozen, I pop the unsealed sandwich bags of frozen enchiladas into a a vacuum sealer bag and then vacuum and freeze. Placing the open sandwich bags into the vacuum bag allows the vacuum sealer to take out all the air, keeps the sealing area of the bag clean for sealing, and it makes removing individual servings very simple.

Portioning liquids and purees into ice cube trays is another option. Simply fill the trays and freeze, then pop the cubes out and vacuum seal. When you open the vacuum sealed bags or containers, you can use a little or a lot, and reseal if needed. You can also seal up leftovers in meal size portions for a quick to fix meal on busy weeknights.

In the Refrigerator

In the refrigerator, vacuum sealing helps food to last for weeks instead of days. Once you break the seal, the shelf life on many liquids drops dramatically. Now you can use your vacuum sealer to reseal wine, oil or vinegar with Foodsaver bottle stoppers. Simply stick in the stopper, hook up the attachment hose, and seal. They sell the Foodsaver® bottle stoppers in a 3 pack, so you can seal more than one jar at a time. This would also be a nice option for sealing jars of herb infused vinegar or oil.

In the Pantry

Vacuum sealers are also great for extending the shelf life of bulk dry goods, such as dried fruit, herbs and spices, or even flour and sugar. For non-powdery dry foods, like fruit, peppercorns or rice, I place the items in a mason jar and use the jar sealer attachment. This is also known as dry canning. This is especially helpful when you have a bumper crop that will be in storage longer because there’s so much to use.

comparison of dehydrated corn stored with or without vacuum sealing

For powdery items such as flour and sugar, I leave them inside their paper storage bags, and vacuum seal the entire package inside a vacuum bag cut to size. If you want to try sealing powdery material in a mason jar, make sure to form a hole in the center of the contents to increase airflow, and place a coffee filter over the contents to reduce the amount of dust being sucked into the seal and sealer.

#2 – Sealing (or Resealing) Non-FoodSaver Bags

Chip clips and clothespins might keep bag contents from spilling all over the pantry, but they don't work very well to keep the bag contents fresh, especially under humid conditions.

To keep the crunch in your crackers, simply use the Seal Only function on your vacuum sealer. I buy a lot of herbs, spices and baking supplies in bulk Mylar bags, so this is a great way to keep them from going stale before I use them up.

Can I vacuum seal Mylar bags?

You can’t vacuum seal Mylar bags without using an extra step, like putting an inch wide strip of textured FoodSaver bag plastic near the opening of the Mylar bag. Vacuum sealing a bag requires a textured area of the bag in the vacuum sealing channel. The textured area provides space for the air to get sucked out. Without the texture, the sealer clamps tightly shut, and seals before it vacuums.

#3 – Sous Vide Cooking

Sous vide cooking is a hot trend in some circles, and a vacuum sealer can help you prep your sous vide dishes. Foodsaver bags are sturdy, and hold up well to extended heating and liquid exposure. Removing the air from your sous vide bag prevents the food from floating. (Floating leads to uneven cooking.)

 FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer

#4 – Protect from Corrosion

From ammunition to fine silver, air and moisture exposure tarnish and corrode metals over time. You can use your vacuum sealer to protect the shine on your silver cutlery and save yourself a lot of time polishing. Just make sure to wrap the cutlery in a cloth or thick paper before sealing, so that the fork tines or sharp knife edges don't puncture the vacuum bag.

If you want to protect ammunition, make sure to use the seal only function, not the vacuum and seal. Vacuum sealing bullets may cause the slug to “pop” out of the cartridge. You can add oxygen absorbers for extra protection.

For the welders out there, one of the members of notes that they vacuum seal their Broco exothermic cutting rods and underwater welding electrodes to keep them fresh, which reduces waste from boxes being open and rods being exposed to the elements.

#5 – Emergency Preparedness

I like keep a stockpile of items we use regularly. When the boys were younger, we went through a ton of band-aids – because boys will be boys. I bought a LOT of band-aids. Most were used quickly, but one box got shoved to the back of the linen closet. By the time I found it, the adhesive was starting to break down, and they were basically useless. (Note to self – clean linen closet more than once a year.)

Now when there’s a sale on band-aids, I unfold and flatten the boxes with the bandages inside, and vacuum seal the whole thing. When it's time to use them, I snip open the bag, unfold the box, and it's ready to go. They last for years.

vacuum sealed band-aids

You can use your vacuum sealer to:

  • make your own premade meals
  • preserve important documents and computer backups
  • protect matches, clothing or emergency kits
  • and probably one of the coolest options I read about – keep candles from melting into unusable blobs

Here's another tip from

If you place your candles into a fridge/freezer first, then vacuum seal them, they hold their shape, regardless of the temperatures. They can be cooled down before opening, and used normally. I had tested a few, due to candles melting in my BOB's (Bug Out Bags), in their cardboard boxes, which made a real disaster! Now, it doesn't matter as they are in a predetermined cylindrical shape, and stay that way even if melted!

Please avoid vacuum sealing lighters, compasses and anything with sharp edges.

Features to Look for in a Vacuum Sealer

Fully Automatic or Partial Automatic Sealing

Some units, like the FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System, are fully automatic. You stuff the edge of the bag in the slot and the machine takes over. The air is removed and the bag sealed, and you do nothing except insert the bag into the sealer. This is handy if you want the machine to do everything for you, but you need extra empty bag space to insert in the machine.

The FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer is partially automatic. It has a clamshell design, so you open the unit and line up the edge of the bag in the vacuum channel. Once the bag is in place, you lock the unit in the “operate” position and push the “Vac/Seal” button. The air is vacuumed out and the bag is sealed. The unit stops automatically when the seal is complete. I prefer the partially automatic units over the fully automatic, because you waste a lot less bag material.

Accessory Hose Included

Some basic units have an port for an accessory hose (for sealing containers and vacuum seal zipper bags), but don’t include the house. The Foodsaver FM2000 is like this. I ordered a hose to go with my FM2000 (actually, I tried both types of hoses that Foodsaver carries), and neither one fit. It’s possible I got a lemon, but if you want to use an accessory hose with your vacuum sealer, I’d suggest buying a unit that comes with a hose.

Detached Accessory Hose or Retractable Accessory Hose

I had a Foodsaver Vertical V3840 vacuum sealer with a retractable accessory hose, which was really handy – until the boys pulled the hose out a little too far one time and it never went in again.

The Foodsaver V2866 has a neat holder for the accessory hose on the rear of the vacuum sealer machine, but it’s been discontinued. (You may still be able to find it from third party sellers.) The Foodsaver FM235-ECR has a clip that allows you to attach the accessory hose to the side of the unit. Both options help you to keep the hose close at hand without the risk of a retractable hose.

Bag Storage Built Into the Unit

Some of the larger vacuum sealers have room for a roll of vacuum sealer bags right inside the machine. These normally come with a built in cutter, making it easy to cut bags to size. If you don’t mind the slightly larger footprint, this is a handy option. Most smaller, less expensive vacuum sealers do not include roll storage or bag cutters.

bag roll storage and cutter in FoodSaver vacuum sealer

Handheld Sealer Included

Many units with an accessory hose also include a handheld sealer, which seals Foodsaver zipper bags, canisters and containers. Basic units usually don’t include an accessory hose or handheld sealer.

Removable Drip Tray

You want a unit with a removable, washable drip tray. The first Foodsaver vacuum sealer I purchased many years ago didn’t have one, and it was a bear to clean up any liquid that got sucked into the vacuum sealing channel.

removable drip tray and sealing strip inside a FoodSaver vacuum sealer

Seal Only Button

The Seal Only button is needed to make your own bags from a roll. It also lets you reseal non-Foodsaver bags, including Mylar, without vacuum sealing.

Notes on FoodSaver Bags

I prefer to buy the rolls of bags and cut them to size. For me, there are fewer seal failures with genuine Foodsaver® brand rolls. I watch for sales online or locally, and stock up. The bags last a long time in storage.

When I tried a “bargain” brand, I had more failures and could not reuse the bags because they would not hold a seal a second time. Not much of a bargain.
If you choose to use a non-FoodSaver brand bag, look for bags that are completely textured. This allows you to cut off an end or a side and still vacuum seal the bag. Some bargain vacuum sealer bags I tried only had a textured strip up the middle of the bags. This is functional for sealing the bag, but you if want to cut off a side and reseal the bag, it won’t work.

How much longer will vacuum sealed food last?

FoodSaver offers the following food storage guidelines:

Chart comparing storage times for foods vacuum sealed or not vacuum sealed

Food Storage and More

I hope you've found this post helpful if you're considering buyer a vacuum sealer, or that it's given you some ideas for using your current machine. Questions or comment? Just leave a note below and I'll do my best to help.

You may also find some of our other posts useful, such as:

NOTE – When originally posted in 2014, this review included a giveaway, which has concluded. Congratulations to our winner, Terri H.!

FoodSaver vacuum sealer with text "Vacuum sealers - What you need to know before you buy"

Originally posted in 2014, updated in 2018.

The post Vacuum Sealers – What You Need to Know Before You Buy appeared first on Common Sense Home.

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.


  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.


  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.


  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)


  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.


  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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