How can a PVC pipe help you survive?

PVC Pipe and Your Food Supply

People around the world love their PVC pipe.  Here, some North Solomon Islanders play an array of PVC pipes while rehearsing for independence day celebrations in Port Moresby, 2005.
People around the world love their PVC pipe. Here, some North Solomon Islanders play an array of PVC pipes while rehearsing for independence day celebrations in Port Moresby, 2005.

Things are lookin' up. You've survived the first harried post-disaster days and munched the emergency rations stockpiled in your PVC bug-out bag. You are ready to begin life anew. And, while you're not sure how things will shake out now that the world's overrun by zombies, mutant chickens or looters, one thing's for certain: You're a survivor, so grab some PVC pipe and get started.

Naturally, you'll want to focus your efforts on securing a food source. Thank goodness your PVC pipe fishing kit was already stowed in your bug-out bag. The 1-inch (25.4-millimeter) diameter PVC pipe fishing pole is 12 inches (30.4 centimeters) long, permanently capped on one end with a removable cap on the other end. Inside the PVC tube are basic fishing supplies, such as hooks, lures and weights. The outside of the tube is wrapped in fishing line, which has been threaded through a small hole drilled in the top of the tube. Simply affix a hook and weights to the end of the line and lower it to the desired water depth. You'll be eating a fish dinner in no time [source: Gurney].

If you aren't near a well-stocked water source, you'll have make do with your PVC bow and arrow. You can use this bad boy to hunt small game, and in a pinch, to gain protection against marauders. Months ago, you used a multistep process to heat and bow a 5-foot (1.5-meter) piece of 1-inch (25.4-millimeter) diameter PVC pipe and affix a length of cord to both ends. Ever since, you've regularly tested your archery skills and are now ready to depend on them for survival. Tonight's dinner may just be rabbit, rather than fish [source: Zombie Survival].

If you're serious about setting up shop post-disaster, you can rely on PVC pipes to transport seeds and grow plants. To add vegetable and fruit seeds to your survival kit, simply place them in labeled plastic bags and into a PVC pipe with removable caps. Be sure to keep the seeds away from temperature extremes during storage and to replace them annually while you're awaiting the Apocalypse (this will help ensure germination).

When it's time to begin your garden anew, use PVC pipes and plastic sheeting to create a temporary greenhouse to protect tender plants. Or, dissect large-diameter PVC pipes, bore a few holes in them and use them as planting troughs (bonus: these troughs are moderately portable). Just think, in a few short weeks you could be dining on a balanced meal of game and locally sourced vegetables. Now that's survival.

Author's Note: How can a PVC pipe help you survive?

As I was in my underground bunker writing this article, I realized my experiences as a doomsday prepper would finally come in handy. No more waiting for armies of the undead. All joking aside (I really don't work inside a bunker), researching this article offered an array of fascinating DIY projects -- all involving PVC pipe. At this point, I'm fairly confident that if push came to shove, I could fashion a greenhouse, temporary shelter, soccer goal or irrigation system out of PVC pipes. And you never know when that's going to come in handy.

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  • Cantebury, Dave. "PVC Pack Frame." SHTF Preparedness. Feb. 18, 2013. (April 3, 2013)
  • Gurney, Jeff. "Survival Fishing Kit." The Retreat. Aug. 11, 2011. (April 3, 2013)
  • JM Eagle. "Frequently Asked Questions on PVC." (April 4, 2013)
  • McClarin, J. "Help FEMA Catch Lawbreakers Burying Survival Items." Daily Paul. April 28, 2008. (April 3, 2013)
  • Rahman, Shah. "PVC Pressure Pipe: Past, Present and Future." Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology at the University of Houston. (April 4, 2013)
  • Whitfield and Associates. "The Economic Benefits of Polyvinyl Chloride in the United States and Canada." Dec. 2008. (April 3, 2013)
  • Zombie Survival. "How to Make a 35 pound PVC Survival Bow." Aug. 29, 2012. (April 3, 2013)