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Let's Discuss Vacuum Bags [MERGED TOPIC]

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I've gotten spousal go-ahead to get a vacuum chamber, and I want to act before she comes to her senses :) Due to comments on eGullet and space, I've decided on a VP112, so that part of the decision is covered. I'd also like to order a bunch of bags at the same time, and I'm hoping to tap into your experience on the most useful sizes. After doing SV for over a year, I find that I'm usually doing single or double portions per bag. I'd also like to get into infusions/compression/etc that just isn't possible with a food saver.

I'm hoping that oversizing bags doesn't matter in a chamber and that I can just buy a bunch of bags in a single size -- something near the size of the chamber itself. Is that a fair assumption?

If so, then what size bag should I buy for a VP112 with a chamber size of 12x11 (and the seal bar being the 12" side)? Is there required bag headspace that isn't counted in the chamber size so I could really use a 10x15 bag (using the 4" extra for seal)? Or is the chamber size include the seal bar area and therefore is the size of the bag itself too?

thanks for any help -- I'm hoping to hit the buy button soon :)

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I am extremely happy with the 3 mil VacMaster bags I got on Amazon. The two sizes I have are 6-12" and 10-13". I don't know whether the 10-15" bags would fit (I think it'd be too close for comfort), though I can't really imagine doing anything bigger than the 10-13" bags. Meanwhile, the 6-12" bags are long enough for four cups of stock but can be easily trimmed for smaller amounts. Happy to answer more specific questions.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 months later...

Hello all,

I am looking for a little help determining the correct type of bag to use for sous vide using a Vac Master 215c. I am buying one today and would like to know exactly what types of bag to buy. Many thanks.


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I buy mine from www.dougcare.com, and I have and use nearly all sizes, from 6"x8" to 8"x10" (the most frequently used size), 8"x10" with a ziplock feature, to 10"x12", and I just ordered a package of 12"x18" for large items, like a brisket.

12"x18" is too big for my MV-35XP, but the cost and weight of 500 of those vs. 1000 of the 12"x14" made the difference. I can just tuck the excess behind the seal bar, and the cut and seal bar makes it easy to tear off the excess.

For really big items, you can use a roll of FoodSaver bags and cut them to size, the use them on the outside of the chamber vacuum, like a FoodSaver. Just remember to turn the cut-and-seal bar around, first, if you have one.

All of these are the 3 mil boilable bags. I also have a few retort pouches that are way too long, but I haven't used them yet. They would be good for canning at higher temperatures (250F).


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In keeping with trying to keep it simple, I ended up with a 1000 count box of 8x12 boilable 3 mil bags, and they've been ok for all applications so far. I'm about to make some pastrami, so we'll see if the cut of brisket will fit...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I purchased a simple FoodSaver from Costco this past week. It has done a good job so far sucking most of the air out of bags of stuffed shells, meatballs, etc... I will eventually need to replenish my supply of vacuum bags. What are my options? Their proprietary bags a quite expensive (and probably where they make the most money). Can I use zip top (minus the zipper) in the machine? Are there third party manufacturers who make bags and rolls at a much cheaper price? What other bags do you use?

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Even the "off" brands are pretty much the same prices in my experience, though if you live near a Gander Mountain (big outdoors store) they used to put all their meat processing/preserving gear on sale early every year, like 20% off. When I lived near one, that's when I stocked up on food saver bag rolls (and sausage casings).

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith


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The FoodSaver bags need to be quilted on one side in order to work, so be sure whatever you get also has this. The quilting keeps the bag from collapsing entirely and therefore stopping any further vacuuming.

You can seal a zip loc type bag with a FoodSaver, but you can't pull a good vacuum.

There are less expensive bags and rolls out there - I haven't bought any because I am happy with the cost of the "bag/roll pack" that Costco sells, and I got a deal on rolls directly from FoodSaver when I bought replacement gaskets from them, but I am sure someone will chime in. ScottyBoy told me of a good source but I can't remember what he told me!

Edited by mgaretz (log)


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Oddly i figured this out for the Weston bags, from Weston and elsewhere:

the individual bags were sl cheaper. by foot. I have two rolls and have not used them yet.

but if you have 'solid' stuff for SV and do not need to worry about Liquid-Creeep


and trim the rolls 'just right' you will probably get more bags from the rolls that way.


i got the rolls for saving green coffee which keeps better for a year that way:

I make the bags long enough so that each time i open them and take out an amount of coffee I can re-seal and use one bag for the lot.

Cheeeeeeeeeep I am!

(saving up for a Japanese knife i do not need but covet!)

(it will take 10 years on the bag savings)


Edited by rotuts (log)
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By the way I don't think you said if you cooked in the bags and if you did, at what temperature? That might effect what has been said here. Note, I suspect you could fake the quilt effect with a single layer of cheese cloth...

Edited by sculptor (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Slow cook under vacuum gives the right control on cooking but whether there is or not migration of harmful substances on food is not clear, further more the bags are mainly sold as vacuum bags or sous vide....no further information is given on how they are produced or how safe they are.

I bought some bags (the only easly available) that are a made from magic vac italy (PA/PE). on the site their site is told to use them for 1hour max at 100ºc...which cannot be translated directily in 60ºC x n time.

You read that PA/PE is safe and PE pure without plasticizers is absolutely safe...I tend to find alot of cheaper PE only bags but even with the more expensive (sometimes equal to the cheaper re branded) the worry still persists on how safe are the bags available on a 80º 8h cooking for a ducks legs or 32h recipes?

How do you choose your bags? Are there any confirmed safe brands?

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See my earlier post on MagicVac bags: they are multilayer PA/PE (polyamide as an oxygen and aroma barrier and polyethylene as a water vapor barrier and sealing layer). PA has a melting point around 240°C or higher, PE melts at 130-145°C. PA/PE is safe for boiling at 100°C, but not for sterilization at 121°C (bags for sterilizing are made of PA/PP or PET/PP). I have been using the MagicVac bags at 80°C for up to 5 hours and at 55-59°C for up to 72 hours without any problem.

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

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  • 11 months later...

I'm looking for the best thickness -3.5 mil vs.5 mil for vacuum sealer bags to be used to freeze food, not sous vide.

Links to recommended bulk bags would be appreciated, as well.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I am no expert, but I would assume the thicker the better. I use rolls from La.va, which I cut to desired length and seal in each end. I don't know how thick they are, the lable doesn't say, and I have never given it any thought, but they are pretty sturdy and take high cooking temperatures without leaking. I buy them from a hunter's shop here in Norway. Hunters know what they are talking about when it comes to prerservation of meat, so I trust them when they say La.va is the shit.

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