Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
PVC pipe (polyvinyl chloride) is perhaps the most popular plastic piping on the market – and one that is highly utilized by preppers and homesteaders. PVC pipe is relatively cheap when compared to other building materials, it’s easily connected or joined together, and it comes in a vast array of different diameters, from tiny to exceptionally large.
One of the best advantages of PVC pipe is its long shelf-life. Polyvinyl chloride does not decay over time like wood or even rubber when exposed to extreme heat. It also is impervious to both dampness and even high pressure water. The end caps on PVC pipe are joined together with “Ts’ ‘ or elbow pipe made out of the same material by threading them into place or using an inexpensive solvent – or both.
The process of using a solvent to clean and soften the PVC pipe before connecting is often referred to as using a “solvent weld.” The solvent basically “melts” or melds together to make a waterproof and permanent seal – which is highly important if using the PVC to store vital survival gear, especially food and firearms.
PVC pipe comes in copious amounts of both diameters and thicknesses. This versatile type of survival material is graded and referred to by the term “schedule” and followed by a number. Generally, “Schedule 40” PVC pipe is typically used for common household projects and is also highly suitable for all the survival projects on this list.
Schedule 40 PVC pipe is used for many types of low pressure water flow projects and is designed to be able to handle exposure to up to 140 degree temperatures. This type of PVC pipe is also often used when working with or around corrosive materials and industrial chemicals.
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Here are 21 ways to use PVC pipe for emergency preparedness and survival:
1. Survival Cache
Burying a survival cache on your property, route to work, or even submerging it in your pond is entirely (and inexpensively) possible using PVC pipe. You can build a small cache to hold emergency food rations, bottles of water, first aid items, matches, emergency blankets, flashlights and batteries, etc.
Using a larger diameter of PVC pipe opens up a whole new level of survival gear that can be safely stored inside. A large survival cache built out of PVC pipe could house a rifle, multiple handguns, filled or empty magazines, and boxes of ammunition.
Check out the video below to learn more about building a survival cache out of PVC pipe and what can be stored inside.
For less than $5 you can build a blow gun out of PVC pipe. This sturdy and easily portable weapon can be made out of a small diameter piece of PVC pipe. You can also make a PVC blowgun revolver that allows you to immediately have access to more homemade or commercially produced blowgun darts.
Watch the video below to see how to make a simple PVC blowgun.
In this video, you can learn how to make a PVC blowgun revolver.
A simple and cheap PVC quiver will hold your arrows and prevent them from getting damaged when you add PVC cap to the top. If you get a little bit crafty, then simply cut a piece of PVC pipe to the right length and add a cap, then you can cut a piece of PVC pipe to make an awesome quick release quiver.
Watch the video below to learn how to make a quick release quiver from PVC pipe.
4. Storing Water
Water is a crucial survival resource. Traditional water storage containers can not only be pricey, they can also take up a lot of space in your trunk or bugout vehicle. Using PVC pipes to store water allows you to essentially create a “floor” in the bed of your truck that with the water-filled pipes. You could access the water by removing the cap from the cache without needing to unpack the items stored on top of them.
PVC pipes can also be used for pressurized water storage and if elbows are used, be turned into a small container that is quite portable. Since around 1977, PVC pipe has been manufactured in a manner that is generally deemed safe to drink out of without concern about chemicals from the plastic leaching into the water.
Check out the video below to see some of the ways PVC pipe can be used for water storage and transportation.
You can easily pour water into a large piece of PVC pipe and cap it shut for long trips. When you get thirsty, it’s a great storage tool to have with you. You can also attach paracord to the top and use the pipe to make a bucket.
5. Water Dipper or Bucket
PVC pipe can be capped on only one end and used to make either a bucket or water dipper. These inexpensive and lightweight water dippers are perfect for folks with a well that is powered by electricity. During a grid-down scenario, the water dipper could be used to garner water from the well manually.
By drilling holes near the end of the PVC pipe that is not going to be capped, you can use a bungee cord, wire, or rope to make a handle.
6. Emergency Gardening Tools
With a large diameter piece of PVC pipe, cut it to an angled and sharp point on one end to make a shovel, spade, or similar gardening tool.
A PVC pipe can also be used to make a scoop or a scoop with kitchen strainer type holes to allow big particles or water to be removed during use.
The scoop could be used to catch minnows for fishing bait, to feed grain to livestock, and to sift any number of food or gardening materials.
8. Angler Storage
PVC pipe can be used to make a wonderfully cheap storing case for fishing gear. You can permanently cap one end with solvent and then place a rod, hooks, bait, etc. inside the pipe and place another cap on the end that can be unscrewed to garner easy access.
Drilling a few holes near the top of the removable cap allows you the ability to add leather straps or rope to use as a carry handle.
9. Fishing Trap
Build a simple yet effective fishing trap that can be used in just about any body of water to catch fish 24/7 during a survival situation – or simply to stock up on healthy protein that you can preserve for later use.
See how a PVC pipe fishing trap is made watching the video below.
Use PVC pipe with a sturdy long chain attached to make a sturdy and dependable anchor. If you fill the pipe approximately two thirds of the way after attaching a cap on one end, allow it to dry completely. Do not overfill the pipe or it will burst and you will not have enough room to drill holes near the top to attach the chain and another cap.
Check out this detailed step-by-step PVC pipe anchor video to learn how to create one yourself.
11. Firewood Cart or Lightweight Hauler
Make a firewood hauling cart of lightweight hauler for a canoe, kayak, or similar “too heavy to carry” items(s) using PVC pipe. A little bit of standard hardware and some small push mower style wheels are about all that is required to create a super cheap way to haul heavy and vital materials during a survival situation or around your survival homestead.
Learn one style of PVC pipe hauler making by watching the video below.
Use several pieces of small diameter straight PVC pipe and a T connector to make replacement hinges for windows, shutters, livestock stalls, or even greenhouse doors.
The video below can help guide you through a PVC pipe hinge project.
13. Livestock Feeder
PVC pipe can be used to create feeder for small livestock like chickens (especially chicks) or even large livestock. Simply drill holes the desired size into one side for the animals to snag food from. You can also choose to remove the top half of the PVC pipe (stop a few inches before each end to allow space for cap placement) and have a canoe shaped trough style feeder to increase easy access for livestock during feeding. Place caps on both ends so the feed does not fall out and you are done.
Check out this video to see three different ways to make a livestock feeder out of PVC pipe.
14. Livestock Waterer
You can follow the trough format as noted above to make an open livestock waterer out of PVC pipe or create a reverse periscope style waterer that will prevent this survival basic from getting debris in it before the animals get a chance to drink it.
Learn how to make a PVC pipe livestock waterer by watching the video below.
15. Poultry Bird Tractor
Building a PVC pipe poultry bird tractor will allow you to safely free range your chicken, duck, or turkey flocks without worrying about losing them to predators. Your meat and egg birds can be sustainably kept while allowing them to naturally feed themselves for free both now on the survival homestead and during a long-term disaster.
This chicken tractor building video can help guide you before launching into a similar project yourself. In the video below, you can see not only how to make a PVC pipe chicken tractor but also how it is used.
Create a simple yet effective PVC pipe periscope using an elbow shaped piece of pipe that a tiny mirror is placed inside at an angle. You will then insert a long straight piece of PVC pipe into the bottom of the elbow piece so you can use this inexpensive device to “spy” on your surroundings.
This video will show you how a PVC pipe periscope is made and used.
17. Rainwater Collection
Attach a PVC pipe to the corner of any structure on your survival retreat and to use as a channel to collect rainwater from eaves. This is the first step in creating a collection mechanism that then flows into a plastic barrel or trough. You can use a large diameter PVC pipe to make the trough, as well.
By viewing the video below, you can watch a step-by-step PVC pipe rainwater collection system build.
18. Livestock or Greenhouse Shelter Framing
PVC pipe can be used as framing to build a simple structure for housing livestock, storing survival supplies, or when building a greenhouse. Filling the bottom pieces of the PVC pipe framing with sand or dirt or anchoring them down will prevent this durable yet lightweight style of shelter from being disturbed by high winds or storms.
The following video will show you how to build a hoop house style greenhouse or a home shaped style shelter using only PVC pipe and PVC pipe fittings.
19. Long Bow
Make one (or many more) long bows that can be used for both hunting and self-defense using PVC pipe – and little else. These durable bows are both inexpensive and fairly quick to build.
Check out the video below to learn how to make a long bow out of PVC pipe.
There are several types of guns that you can make using PVC pipe. No, none will fire real bullets, but they can still be used for self-defense in one way or another – some of which might be able to kill small game.
You can make a PVC pipe gun that is fueled by alcohol.
Another version of a PVC pipe gun fires marbles or similar objects.
This slingshot style PVC pipe gun is also simple and inexpensive to make.
You can make large sets of powerful slingshots out of PVC pipe for next to nothing. These effective slingshots require only a few minutes of time and common garage tools and supplies to build.
Check out the video below to learn how to make a high-powered slingshot out of PVC pipe.
PVC pipe has a lot to offer preppers and survival homesteaders who want to stockpile supplies and create necessary items without spending a small fortune. The piple can be stored without worry that it will become susceptible to moisture or bowing – as occurs with multiple other types of common building materials.
PVC pipe can be cut with a hacksaw during a survival situation when using power tools isn’t an option. Spray painting the PVC pipe black or camo colors so the white shade does not draw unwanted attention is highly recommended.
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