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13 Survival Uses For PVC

Modern society provides a number of survival materials that those in primitive cultures could not have imagined. They used plant, animal, and stone material for everything that they did. As this piece from PrepforSHTF demonstrates, modern materials, like PVC, can be used for a number of survival purposes.

PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride is one of the most, if not the most, widely used plastic piping today. It is relatively inexpensive, comes in various diameters, and can be joined together with solvent and PVC cement. 

Because of the various diameters, and the fact it is impervious to water and decay, PVC pipe is ideal for storing items, survival items, for example, in the ground. PVC pipe can be made into survival gear as well, and what it can be used for or made into is only limited by your imagination.

PVC pipe and end caps are joined by using solvent that softens/cleans the material and then by applying PVC cement and twisting the pieces together to ensure the cement is applied evenly. This is sometimes called a solvent weld because the plastic essentially melts together creating a permanent and waterproof seal. White schedule 40 PVC pipe is one of the most common.

Supply Storage

PVC pipe is ideal for storage caches because it can be stored in the ground for decades without any obvious effects on the plastic. You can cement end caps or attach fittings that allow you to unscrew the end caps. Keep in mind that the threaded caps would not be as waterproof as caps that were glued to the pipe using solvent and cement. You can dip the cap end (s) in melted wax to improve the water resistance. The pipe can be painted any color to camouflage it.

If you cement both ends together you will need a way to cut one end off to get to the supplies. Using a knife would not be ideal. You would need a hacksaw or some type of plastic pipe cutting tool. Additionally, if you use cement on both ends and have to cut one end then the pipe cannot be used for storage unless you have another cap along with solvent and pipe cement.

Quiver for Arrows or Bolts

Decide how long you want the quiver and cut to size using a hacksaw blade or you can use a wire wood saw that is common in many survival kits. The wire saws, while they do work to some extent, are not ideal for any heavy duty wood sawing but keep one in your kit for cutting PVC pipe. The pipe can be painted to camouflage it, or use camouflage duct tape.

You can cut a hacksaw blade in half and duct tape or use ranger bands to attach to a knife sheath or pack, so you always have a blade handy to cut the pipe. Attach cordage so the quiver can be carried across the back. Drill drain holes in the bottom to prevent water from collecting in the bottom. 

Is PVC Safe for Carrying Drinking Water

White schedule 40 PVC is rated safe for drinking water. There are concerns that the plastic can leach chemicals into the water but PVC has been used since the 1950’s for drinking water, and any pipe manufactured after 1977 is considered safe. Schedule 40 PVC is rated for cold water while CPVC is rated for hot water. White schedule 40 will not withstand hot water temperatures and can cause leaks around seals if used (NSF, 2015).

Therefore PVC pipe schedule 40 can be used to carry drinking water. Cap and solvent weld one of the ends and attach a removable screw cap on the other end. Attach cordage for carrying the water tube, but do not of course, make any holes in the pipe while doing so. Use whatever diameter pipe you feel you can carry once filled with water.

Water Collection

Cut a two or three inch section from half of the pipe leaving a small trough that can be used to channel water dripping down from a corner of your shelter or to collect water from dripping vegetation and then into a collection vessel.

You can make a water bucket from larger diameter pipe for water storage and transport around camp. 

Everyday Carry

Take smaller diameter pipe and cut to lengths that can be carried in a pocket, around the neck on a breakaway chain, put in a briefcase or purse, and carried the glove compartment of your vehicle. 

Cap one end permanently and put a temporary cap on the other to carry matches, fishhooks, fishing line, fire tinder, magnesium shavings, and other emergency survival gear. Use dental floss or cotton twine dipped in wax to waterproof the threads. Wrap the twine or floss around the threads and screw the cap on. Dipping the end in wax could work, but if carrying close to the body the wax will soften and may work away from the threads over time.


A section of PVC pipe can be filled with sand or concrete and capped off to create a club. Keep in mind it will be heavy, so do not make so long so it cannot be swung effectively, and do not use a large diameter pipe. The pipe must be sized so the hand can grip it well.   

You could conceivably attach a spear point to one end of the pipe to use for hunting, spear fishing or for self defense. If you want to use it as a spear you would need to add some weight to put some force behind the thrust and to balance the spear. You can do this by inserting plugs and weight. Drive a wooden plug or cork down the pipe, fill with sand or weight of some sort to give some mass to the spear end, and then drive another plug in further back and repeat with the weight to help balance the spear.

Dart Gun

In theory you could use a small diameter piece of PVC for a dart gun, but because of the length required, the pipe would not be ridged enough without some modifications. You would likely have to tape some stout pieces of slender wood, an arrow shaft, for example, to the pipe to prevent it from flexing/bending down as you raised it to use.

Click Here to continue the List. It includes:

Launch Arrows or Darts by Creating an Atlatl

Boat Anchor

Digging Tool

Well Casing

Survival Bow


Some of you are already thinking that PVC piping would not be available in most survival situations. This is true of course, but what gear and material is available in a survival situation, hence why it is called a survival situation. Gear and material must be on your person, or made on the spot from material found in your environment. In an urban survival situation however, PVC pipe would be available virtually anywhere.

Create survival gear now before you need it that can be carried with you. You would always need waterproof containers to store matches, medical supplies and so on, so make some now that can be used later. You can carry small pipe cut into sections that can be used in any situation, but you need the material in your pack so it can be used. 

Think about other uses for PVC in a survival situation and start gathering up the materials that can be carried with you, because you simply do not know what it can be used for until you need it. 

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