8 Creative Reasons Why Every Prepper Needs PVC Pipe

by | Dec 7, 2018 | Headline News | 66 comments

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    This article was originally published by Jeremiah Johnson at Tess Pennington’s ReadyNutrition.com

    Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: How To Survive ANY Disaster

    PVC is actually some pretty versatile stuff. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and it can be found both in rigid or in flexible forms. There are also different uses as per the variance in capabilities.

    PVC pipe can have a heat-resistance ranging from about 212 degrees F all the way up to 500 degrees F. Just be on the safe side: take the product number, make, and model, and find out directly from the manufacturer what the temperature range/rating is. PVC can hold up to a pretty good beating from a slew of different chemicals, such as salt, acids, strong bases (alkaline, such as fertilizer), liquid fats, alcohol, and other strong solvents. For this reason, it is used in plumbing for sewage, as well as outflow transport for other noxious wastes and chemicals.

    Putting it to use will depend on you researching the types available in your local hardware stores and performing an accurate assessment of them for what you intend. Let’s explore some of those “thinking-outside-the-box” uses for PVC pipe.

    1. Cache tubes: Yes, PVC pipe (especially the type known as uPVC, or unplasticized PVC) resists solvents and things such as salts and alkaline substances that you find in the soil. You can find some “biggies,” believe me, if you go to a pipe or plumbing warehouse that specializes in large-diameter pipes.  You can cache all sorts of things, such as firearms, freeze-dried foods, or anything you wish to hide from the IHM (Incredible Human Mob) that will come “hunter-gathering” through your neighborhood when it hits the fan. Always good to have a surplus stashed away to fall back on, akin to the squirrel and his acorns. Ensure anything that has moving parts is properly coated with oil, grease, etc, and then packed away. There are “pop-on” end caps that you can place on the ends of sections you cut that will stay without needing threading. Here the only thing to limit you is your imagination. As mentioned in earlier caching articles, learn and remember your frost-line. Here in Montana, it’s about 5 feet. Unless you have one that’s about 1-2 feet, you may have to build an “in-ground” passage or aperture to get to your stashed supplies in the wintertime.
    2. Protective tubing: With end-caps, just as mentioned before. Squirrel away fishing rods, long poles for things such as chimney brushes or tent-frame poles in these guys…strong against impact, weather-resistant, and not too heavy to carry with you.
    3. For a frame/structure: with “corner-caps,” and “three-way” pieces for where the structure connects, you can make a portable shower point, or even a latrine-shield for yourself out of these, out of (8) 4’ pieces, (4) 6’ pieces, and (8) of those tri-attachments for the corners. Then you can cover/shield the structure with something as simple as some ponchos, small tarps, or (if push came to shove) dark trash bags that you slit open…attach these with either clamps or clothespins. The objective is to make it light and portable.
    4. Water transport: If you load about a dozen 8 footers (especially the plumbing types that have a sort of “funnel” end that permits them to be attached together), you can make a small sluice to channel water toward your camp…to fill up water cans, or even a small cistern that you can create by digging a “pond-shaped” depression and lining it to prevent water loss.
    5. Clothes Drying apparatus: can be built of its own using connection pieces, or just simply by lashing a horizontal pipe between a couple of trees. Hey, in “The Day After Doomsday,” your washing machine and dryer are no longer going to be used.
    6. Greenhouses: This will take some extra planning on your part, but it can be done. You will also need UV resistant rolls of plastic to cover this greenhouse frame. Once again, its main “selling point” will be that you can break down the greenhouse at a moment’s notice and set up shop somewhere else. You could even use it to create an aquaponics system. Use your imagination and experiment with models that can fit your needs. Here are some other ideas for using plastic sheeting.
    7. Field-Expedient Raft: If you have them thick enough (preferably a big pile of about 3 dozen, with a diameter of about 4 to 6 inches, and (2) end caps for each), you can make a raft by lashing them together after capping the ends. The air inside will make them buoyant. You probably won’t make it that far…but for a short distance, it may be just what you need…to feasibly tow a whole bunch of gear with you…while it’s tethered to your rowboat or kayak. If there’s no rowboat or kayak, it may be what you need to cross a river or small body of water.
    8. Miscellaneous Uses: Just to have a good supply of it around the house cannot hurt, and it certainly won’t break your bank to buy different sizes a little at a time. This is a visualize and construct type-of-thing. It may be that you just need it to make an emergency repair on some existing plumbing in your home, or to provide some measure of protection or insulation for an outdoor electrical cord, or such.

    We’d love to hear any of your suggestions as to what uses you have found to employ PVC pipe. It is inexpensive, sturdy, and can be put to a wide array of uses of which we have just scratched the surface here. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom who may wish to put a greenhouse together or a would-be Yanomamo blowgun champion, PVC pipe is very versatile stuff that may give you a few things that are more lightweight, portable, and durable than you may have considered with the standard fare at the big-box store. It is all a matter of imagination and inventiveness. Let us know what you’ve done with it in the past.  JJ out!

    About the Author

    Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

    Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

    Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her website at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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      1. You can make a very decent bow with PVC. If you can heat it, you can make a serviceable recurve. This is the easiest way to arm many folks quickly if the SHTF.

        • Lol ya pvc bows against drones and machine guns and God knows what else the elite have at their disposal.. no we need armed at the very least with semi automatic rifles , ied’s, and the wisdom to know how and when to use them

          • where did he say to engage an army in a shooting war with a plastic bow? He didnt.

            Open your mind just a crack. you will want to hunt silently, for example.

            Unless of course you plan on shooting rabbits with an AK leaving no meat and alerting the entire countryside (along with those gunshot-detecting drones).

            Not everything post-shtf plays like an 80’s action film.

          • Sounds great but highly implausible. Keep dreamin’. When you actually look at who is armed, while there seem to be a staggering number, they actually are concentrated. Kentuckians are heavily armed but that is uncommon.

            It’s back to history and zip guns and homemade shotgun with some guys who are machinists cranking out serviceable firearms like WW2 partisans. You use improvised weapons to acquire better weapons and using standardized ammunition from the enemy.

            It’s laughable to think you can take civies and go head to head with brute force and luck. That implies no tactics whatsoever. Instead it would be a guerilla insurgency and sabotage being the primary tactic ruining communications,utilities, and transportation.

        • I think I made this comment before pertaining to using pvc for a ammo cache, I had some pvc pipe years ago about 3 feet long and two or three inches in dia. with end caps, I filled it with 223 ammo and hauled it around in a black tool box in the back of my truck for a couple of years, and when I decided to use some of the ammo, probably 70 to 80% wouldn’t fire so I pulled the bullets and the powder was wet, what a waste of ammo. I don’t know if I would have had this problem if it had just been buried in the ground,I think the black tool box caused it to draw moisture just from heating and cooling in the sun. So be forewarned if you cache with pvc. Trekker Out

          • Yep, humidity. Wouldn’t do that nearly as bad underground. Of course, I wouldn’t put it underground unless I had to.

            Potato guns! LOL.

            Which reminds me, with all the gun bashing we need to develop some new weapons. I need to get a bow, or crossbow for starters.

            • Check out survivalarcherysystems dot com — S.A.S. manufactures high-quality longbows that break down for easy carry in survival packs. I believe the smallest one breaks down to around 21″. They also offer break-down arrows.

              There’s certainly a place for compound bows and crossbows, but they are bulky and any compound system is almost impossible to re-string without shop equipment. For a B.O.B. or similar last-ditch resource cache, I would want something compact and simple like one of the S.A.S. breakdown bows.

              • Look up slingbow and there is your answer to a do it yourself collapsable surgical tubing or strap powered bow that can be deadly to large mammals. And it easily fits inside a bug out bag. There are hunters using them now.

          • MT, I had the same issue with some that I buried. The reason was I glued one end on and used grease to seal the other end. The ones that were glued at each end were ok. It helps to glue the hell out of it then wrap duct tape around it too. I used 3 inch drain pipe which was probably too soft also. Rigid pipe, plenty of glue, duct tape has worked well for me.

            • Most any time you Cache with PVC, you also need to insert a Moisture absorber. Especially when putting money in a plastic zip lock also insert a Moisture absorber and double bag it. Ever see moldy money? Not good.

          • yep, leaving it out where the temp changes daily will cause condensation inside the pipe, especially if you sealed it in a humid environment. Dessicants may help a little, but heating them causes the moisture to evaporate back into the air.

            Best bet is a controlled temp. burying them below the frostline does this VERY well. Back of truck, not so much. why bother anyway??

            FWIW, all of my “non-cached” ammo and primers lives sealed in cans inside an old fridge that gets turned on in the summer. Its not so much about the overall temp in that case but about preventing spikes more than 5 or 10 degrees in a day. I have another that houses my powder, but never gets turned on

        • Lol ya fight the tyrants and criminals with primitive pvc bows that should go great

          • where did he say that?

            yer gonna starve right off, post shtf arent you? 😉

      2. You could also fill it with a heavy material, cap each side of an appropriately sized pipe, and proceed to beat your enemy to death with it.

          • My daughter is a cat and I don’t think she will be going to africa anytime soon.

          • As usual…blame it on the baby boomers….

            • Jim, I’d be willing to put a piece of PVS into that freak’s stupid mouth.

              • You can make a really cool cannon out of pvc too. Get about 4-5 feet of sch. 80 3 inch pipe and put an empty soup can or whatever fits the best in one end. drill a hole centered about 1/2 inch above the end of the can (through the pipe and can that is inserted flush). Put a piece of wire clothshanger wire all the way through then do the same 90 degrees off (make an X). have about 3 inches of wire sticking out of the ends and fold them upward (toward muzzle). Duct tape the hell out of the pipe including across the back of the can end. I mean use like 2 rolls of tape! Drill a fuse hole 3/8 inch above where the actual back of the can is. Start by inserting a piece of cannon fuse, using about 1/2 shotglass of 3f black powder and ram newspaper down it for a wad (pvc pipe is good for this). Use beer bottles or half beer cans with gravel, or tennis balls, or anything that fits but isn’t too heavy. You will probably have to rest the back of it against a solid object as it has a hell of a kick and will fly out of your hands if the projectile has much wieght. We used to use the bumper of the car. You can shoot a beer bottle 300+ yards. We would drive up by some big cliffs and shoot bottles into it. THAT WAS FUN! They were about 200 yards away and man those bottles just exploded all over! Using a half beer can with slits cut down the side full of gravel made a shotgun from HELL! You could make custom projectiles “ahem” to do other work too. I need to make another one lol, glad this article reminded me 😛

                • Reminder: Be very careful of your surroundings when doing this. The newspaper will be burning and can catch grass etc on fire. We would also use 5/8 thick laminated cardboard tubes to make them. We even had names for them painted on the sides lol.

                  • This message has been approved by JJ! (right? lol)

          • Eisenkreutz, you don’t think her murder had anything to do with her decision to go to Africa? Of course not, silly me. If it isn’t the Jews it’s those damn Boomers.

            Such is the state of Critical Thinking today.

      3. If you look on YouTube you can find people making bows and even crossbows from PVC. Maybe not the best of all possible bows, but they seem like they would be sufficient for small game survival hunting in a pinch, maybe even self defense as well if that was all you could get.

        FWIW, large diameter PVC pipes may be useful for all sorts of storage situations but they can be quite expensive and looking for a cheaper but still durable waterproof material might be the better idea. The larger diameters of PVC seem kinda rare to find in salvage and construction left overs.

        • It’s either a quickie way to take down game or a weapon to acquire a better weapon. Your pick.

        • Old school bowstrings can be made using animal hides and glue for the fletching can use melted hooves as the glue.

      4. Menzo, you could also take the right size of pipe to stick up someone’s stupid a$$, LOL.

        • I love pvc! Let’s see…
          1: Tater gun
          2: Things that go BOOM
          3: Natural airflow air cooling (underground)
          4: Overhead garden watering system
          5: Developing a spring for water supply
          6: Rollers for moving heavy stuff
          7: Making spacers
          8: Making pet play areas
          9: Making small animal traps
          10: Making furniture (in a pinch).

          • PVC pipe. Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, rip, wear, or tear. I’ve set a lot of equipment (HVAC) on customer’s property and used 6 inch pvc pipe to roll it across the yard without gouging the lawn.

        • DR, lol ya and give the gerbils an escape route out of Richard Gere’s ass!

          • Genius, LMAO! Good one!

          • . . .give a route INTO Mr. Gear’s wrecktum. . .with one-way valves. . .

      5. I use 10 foot sections of 1 inch pipe to make hoops for my raised beds! Gives me 3.5 seasons of growing!

        • That’s called a “cloche” in case greenhorns don’t know what you mean.

          • I recommend cloches as they greatly help lengthing the season but with the caveat that they can make your plants go to SEED if the temperature is too hot as the plant is fooled into thinking it’s full on summertime. You need to be able to aerate the cloche by removing the cover at times as there can be great variations in the temperature based upon your climate. Plus think about the foilage size and taking that into account.

            Plus think if the cloche will interfere with your other plants amount of sun.

      6. I suggest you stay away from, (or only use if you have no choice), the foam core PVC pipe. Mostly it is rated for DWV applications and can’t hold much pressure.

        Maybe that is being too picky in a SHTF situation, especially for the storage and caching applications.

        The NSF marking on the pipe is supposed to mean that it is OK for contact with food and water relative to leaching components or additives into the good stuff it comes in contact with.

        The CPVC pipe has a higher temp/pressure rating than the regular.

        I use Sched 40 PVC for various applications.


        • I think, it can withstand pressure, only when it is very new.

          It becomes brittle with age, no matter how it is kept.

          • Foam core as in ABS drain pipe? I just use sched. 40 solid pipe for most things. It’s easy to bend also, just heat it over a small fire/stove.

            • Most well drillers here in my area are using schedule 80 pvc for the well drive then connecting to ABS below the frost line and then into the crawlspace.

            • PVC, in general.

              I see that you were being specific.

            • An old trick for bending metal conduit is to fill it full of sand before you bend it to keep it from collapsing.

              Might work for heated PVC too.


              • Yes. It does work.

              • Take a 3 Ft long PVC pipe /2 inches wide cap one end fill with sand, and cap the other end. Its is a swinging stick weapon that would hurt getting hit by it.

        • Frame out a chicken coup and cover with chicken wire. Or frame over your garden and chicken wire to keep garden eating animals out of your garden area.

      7. Copper pipes are my choice for plumbing needs.

        The first thing I want is a good strong plumbing system inside my house ?. Lead is what most houses have nowadays, yuk.

        Fertilizer is being used for disposal of toxic chemicals. No wonder everybody is dying young. Keep rabbits and use the pellets emissions from them as your fertilizer directly on your plants. Goat is also good directly applied. Do not attempt to put chicken poop directly into your plants; it must be composted for a few months prior to application to your plants.

        PVC pipe can be used for non-food and water applications but I wouldn’t want to use it for anything edible.


        • ” Lead is what most houses have nowadays, yuk.”

          Which century are you posting from?

        • B, Most people around here have shitcanned copper plumbing in favor of plastic. Copper freezes easily and is a nightmare to fix and it’s expensive as hell. In the area where the cabin is EVERYONE uses plastic. It is freeze resistant and easy to fix. I have my cabin plumbing on the inside of the walls behind cabinets etc. Makes it super easy to add onto or block things off and no soldering just compression fittings. Easy to drain also. You couldn’t make me use copper!

          • Genius, PVC is the ONLY thing the family and I use for our properties for the same reasons you just mentioned. To hell with copper.

        • “. Lead is what most houses have nowadays, yuk.”
          No one uses lead. It is illegal for one thing and I don’t think they even sell it for that use. That would have to be one hell of an old house to even remotely have lead pipes.

          • Mebbe talking about water waste outflow, not influx.

          • A textbook example of Gov/Union/vendor corruption/incompetence is Chicago.

            Lead service lines (from the Street to the Home) were not banned until 1987.

            There are over 400,000 such connections in the City.

            The dangers of lead are well known but they continued to install those lines (even though the mains were no longer lead) for many years after this was common knowledge.

            Cost to replace: $10 – 20K 🙁


            • MEdical cost for lead induced diseases…. 100K+ The romans learned this by the millions.

        • PEX tubing is a good choice for plumbing.

        • B from CA,
          Copper kills bacteria and viruses. And the ancients used copper vessels to purify their water.

      8. Professional plumbers have a contract out on the inventor. Plastic pipe made many of the unskilled a passible plumber.

        • Not to mention reduced the amount of house fires and frozen pipes.

          • Genius:

            Thank you for responding.
            I guess PVC pipes are more useful than I thought.

            In California we don’t need to worry about pipes freezing. Copper is expensive but it is a good investment for Californians and for those who live in warm areas. It is durable, keeps out roots better than plastic and will last longer.


            • Copper pipe got destroyed by our municipal water which has been RO purified. The intent was to remove salt water which infiltrated the wells decades ago. The result was ultra pure water that chemically desired to “re-mineralize” via steel and iron piping. ultra pure water is corrosive.

      9. Don’t forget ABS or Driscoll pipe.
        For your BOL try PEX hose. Don’t use copper.
        They all have their advantages.
        I’m not a professional plumber although I did
        take the USAF correspondence plumbers
        I never hire a plumber for repairs or

        • Ya pex kinda sucks, it isn’t super flexible and sharkbite fittings arent real reliable. I use the poly pipe that comes on rolls at Ace hardware. I know a few people that had a lot of issues with pex. I just use what works best and is a proven performer. I DON”T HAVE ISSUES! Good enough for me!

          • I use the clamps.
            $100 for tools.
            No Sharkbite for PEX,
            I keep Sharkbite around for those midnight
            got to fix it now repairs for copper or PEX.
            Unfortunately Poly pipe is not
            “per code” inside the house as
            a supply here.
            There are some rules you should
            just follow.

            • I hear ya but… what is code? Those parasite idiots can fook off! Tell me how to do shit? I have never had a permit in my life! But then, I have always been a rebel…..

              • Did you get yer rebellion permit?

            • Code can often be bypassed without jeopardizing safety without ill effect UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO SELL THE HOME. Depending on the jurisdiction, improvements W/O permits can put up roadblocks to sale.

              On another note there are periodic discussions on what to have and how much for prepping. Not knowing the future nor the severity of the event(s) and their impact it’s wise to store knowledge. Books, papers that could reboot your civilization like how at the most basic level penicillin is made, petroleum refined, medicine, electricity and a host of others. Even if you’re incapable at least having the knowledge makes someone capable. I keep my old Stationary Engineering books both as nostalgia (I cut my eye teeth with a torch in hand and pneumatic controls or none at all). Steam engines, small turbines, duplex pumps may one day be back.

              • K2,
                I own two versions of Marks standard hand book for mechanical engineers, Horowitz and Hill “the art of electronics”, and Chapmans, I believe in redundancy.
                I don’t think my “Elementary Computability, Formal languages, and Automata” will be of much use but, hey, I have a good library.
                I have a hundred or so “useful” books and 50 or so “classics”,
                including some of the original Tarzan hardbacks.
                Problem with paper is age. I have a Baron Von Vega Logarithm book dating to the 1800’s and the paper is disintegrating.
                There is probably two of us on this site that know how to use a “Log” book as it is so old, but my point is the book is not infinite.

                • They only have to last long enough to restart “civilization”. A hundred years or so would be more than enough. The old Stationary Engineering stuff is at the cusp of modern society, the dawn of the Industrial Age, a vital and necessary stepping stone. I now cringe at the stuff that I seen thrown out and threw out myself over the years. “Obsolete” isn’t necessarily so.

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