It's the middle of the night and your entire home begins to shake. Depending on where you live, this could signal a hurricane, earthquake, mudslide or tornado. Whatever the cause, as you inspect the aftermath one thing becomes clear: You need to escape the damage, and do so without the advantages of electricity, water service or passable roads.
Thankfully, you have a "bug-out" bag on hand and grab it on your way out the door (or the opening where the door used to be). This mobile bag, usually in backpack form, contains three or four days' worth of basic survival gear, like nonperishable food, water, matches and first-aid kit. Although you could buy a commercial version, many survivalists opt to make a customized bug-out bag -- right down to the frame.
You can make your own custom frame using inexpensive PVC pipe. Of course, you'll need some basic tools to get this done, including a saw, PVC connector pieces, PVC primer, PVC glue (also called "cement"), safety goggles and gloves.
Using 1/2-inch (12.7-millimeter) diameter PVC pipe, cut two vertical side supports that measure the length of your shoulders to your waist, as well as three horizontal supports roughly the width of your torso. Join them with PVC connectors to create a backpack frame. Add a shelf to the bottom of the frame by connecting a U-shaped series of PVC pipes and connectors horizontally. Add a waist belt and shoulder straps -- voila! -- a frame perfect for holding your bug-out supplies.
If you're really serious about a custom fit, use a heat gun to heat and bend the pipe so the cooled pipe will contour to your body. Then cinch on a sleeping bag, first-aid kit and emergency rations bag, and you'll be all set [source: Cantebury].
As a backup to your bug-out bag, consider underground storage for additional survival items. PVC pipes, when properly sealed, act as a waterproof cache that can be buried in your backyard or at a remote location. To store survival gear or helpful Armageddon-related items, such as gold coins or medicines, select a PVC pipe with a diameter large enough for the items to easily fit into. Then, place the items in sealed plastic bags, put them inside the pipe and seal the pipe by gluing end caps to each opening. You can purchase specially made PVC glue, similar to that used for plumbing, to seal the end caps and make the PVC pipe-turned-storage-container waterproof. Once sealed, the pipe can withstand underground burial and is likely to last for several years [source: McClarin].