JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. This week the focus is on FoodSaver vacuum packing machines. (See the Gear & Grub section.)


Recommended by SurvivalBlog reader S.H. in Texas: Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. S.H. writes: “The hardships she faced in early 20th Century Wyoming would make many of us lie down and die today (after rifling through a bottle of Prozac!), but through it all, the joy that she experienced from her life is evident. It’s a good, short, read, that reminded me that love of life is not necessarily connected to property and leisure!”

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The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Drying Food, Plus 398 Recipes, Including Making Jerky, Fruit Leather & Just-Add-Water Meals

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Gunsmithing Made Easy: Projects for the Home Gunsmith. Here is a description of the book: “One of America’s foremost experts on gunsmithing, Bryce Towsley here provides the definitive guide for anyone interested in building or maintaining guns. He gives detailed explanations and color illustrations for just about every aspect of gun repair. Featured tutorials include: stock modifications, accuracy enhancement, weather preparation, a total rifle makeover, and much more. Beginning with shop design and maintenance, Towsley builds on the knowledge he provides until ending with directions on rifle building from scratch. For anyone interested in fixing or building guns, Towsley’s book is a complete education from A to Z.

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Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity


UFO. JWR’s Comments: This movie, is about college mathematics undergraduate student, who hears about a UFO incident at a nearby regional airport. This is an en exceptional film, made on a modest budget. I really enjoyed watching it.

It is available on Blu-Ray or DVD. Also available for free streaming to those with Amazon Prime.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. This is based on a play by Tom Stoppard that I saw performed back in the 1970s. Available on Blu-Ray or DVD. Also available for free streaming to those with Amazon Prime.

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Süskind. Available on Blu-Ray or DVD. Also available for free streaming to those with Amazon Prime

Instructional Videos:

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Under $15!  JWR’s Comment: For longevity, don’t use pine!  Cedar lasts much longer!

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Building a Native American Longhouse with Hand Tools – The Best Natural Bushcraft Shelter

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Video from the recent NRA Convention: The 2019 The Gun Collective (TGC) Panel Discussion. Note: Don’t miss the discussion of first aid Everyday Carry (EDC) gear, starting at the 34:18 mark.

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Selby Bed Hardware & Project Build with Woodcraft’s George Snyder

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Spring Turkey Hunting 101 with Knight & Hale Game Calls


Art of Manliness Podcast #48: Surviving and Prepping – The Art of Manliness

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What Is Body Armor? AR500 Armor – Steel Plates, Plate Carriers & MORE!

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Green Beret’s Bug out Bag | Survival Prepper – Tactical Rifleman

Gear & Grub

Rada Cutlery Knife Set – 7 Stainless Steel Culinary Knives Starter Gift Set Made in USA

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I’ve been using the same FoodSaver for 24+ years, and I still haven’t worn it out!  Here is an updated model, from the same company: FoodSaver V4440 2-in-1 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer &  Starter Kit, Black Finish

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FoodSaver Fresh 6-Piece Container Set.

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Power Up Trail Mix. JWR’s Comment:  I “ruin” this wonderfully healthy snack by adding some chocolate M&M’s. Go ahead and bash on me, but I love modifying the blend that way. This makes it the perfect trail mix!

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My long-time favorite backpacking food: Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.

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And this is one is a close second favorite: Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice

Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!



  1. Re: FoodSavers… Sadly, my model Compact II didn’t last 50 uses before the heat sealer burned out(?), anyways, the cost of a new part was over $50 (with S/H) so I stopped using it for a few years, but now… every time I see one at a thrift store, I test it (most stores have a ‘plug-in’ station to test electrical appliances) and then I’ll buy it, usually around $5 +/- Now I have 3 that all work. When they work… they work good!

  2. Very mixed results with Food Saver so I would suggest as above, if you see one for $5, buy a backup. I do love the jar lid attachment too. It is very, very useful.

  3. Thanks for the heads up regarding the movie UFO. It was an excellent flick and does make you think in light of all the current sighting. The Air Force out of San Diego had multiple pilots reporting on this and at the same time I was sailing from Hawaii to Morro Bay. We saw the same thing and took videos as it hovered over us then….disappeared. The video was over 5 minutes long.

  4. I, too love m & m’s in trail mix, however, now I will go back to the organic style m&ms…not called m&ms of course (forgot the name brand), due to the fact that I just read on my m&m’s bag that they are now made with gmos….ugh.

  5. Costco sells a premium no salt nut blend of almonds, pecans, cashews and pistachios. Great combination. Adding dried fruit and chocolate would make it perfect.

  6. I highly recommend the dehydrating book referred to above. Tammy Gangloff also has a YouTube channel; it’s called dehydratetostore. Most of the videos are pretty old and not high definition, but they’re still very informative. I learned a lot from watching them, including how to build the great-looking storage shelves she uses.

    Regarding the FoodSaver, we have one and use it a lot. But for sealing jars of grains and things for short to mid-term storage I use a brake bleeder. 50 pumps, and I have just over 15 PSI. This is, of course, not for canning use, just for putting a good seal on things to store dry.

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