Space, or lack of it

by Fred Taylor

Some things are just plain hard to find space for, so my solution is to create more of it without impeding the space already there for other things. PVC pipe is a great way to increase space, it can be any length, or diameter. It can hold anything from canned goods to rifles, it’s waterproof, very durable, and pest proof (except bears and wolverines…Ha). It can be mounted on the roof rack, side of a trailer, even underneath the trailer as long as it doesn’t interfere with the suspension etc.

It’s fairly cheap, readily available, waterproof, and easy to fabricate into any size you want. Just buy a cap for one end and a threaded fitting and screw-on cap for the other end. Oh yeah, don’t forget the PVC primer and glue.

It can also be easily removed and stored under something, on top of something, vertically or any orientation, and it can be buried. When you get where you’re going, it can be used as a structural beam, tent post, post for a lean to or a drying rack, privy, etc.

A small diameter (such as 3″) can carry a lot of canned foods, tents, fishing rods, blankets, clothes, bulk dry goods, batteries, even water, etc.. and be tucked out of the way, even smaller could hold a lot of ammo in shorter sections (properly packed, pad it good).

I’m big on ‘wrist-rocket’ sling shots, rocks rarely shoot straight and are sometimes hard to find in the right size and shape. So I buy marbles in bulk and load them into 1/2″ PVC, long ones for the trailer (mine are mounted underneath), short ones (about 2 feet long w/ push on cap on top, not threaded) in a bundle with a shoulder strap for carrying around hiking/ hunting.

One thing that almost everyone complains takes up to much room is toilet paper. A section of 6″ PVC works great, we found that sections of ‘chimney sweep’ rods, they come in 3 foot sections and screw together, work very well, (they can also be used as tent poles, etc. in an emergency and are very strong), or, use (of course) a section of 1″ PVC pipe (it’s cheaper and can hold other items, tubes of toothpaste, travel size shampoo bottles, aspirin and other meds, etc.), 1.5″ works on some rolls, but not all. Screw a cross piece onto the end (about 2″-5″ wide, just something a little bigger than the cardboard tube in the center of the roll),  thread the rolls of toilet paper onto the rods/pipe, and feed the cross piece end into the PVC first. This way you don’t have to dismount the pipe or get a stick to fish each roll out, just pull the rod out. Also, we like T.P. in place of (Kleenex) facial wipes as you may only need one or two squares instead of a whole tissue, and the rolls take up a lot less space than boxes of facial tissues.

If you don’t like the color (white or grey), there’s plastic paint available almost everywhere, or if you want to use camouflage or other colors, we take a large can of PVC (purple) primer, paint the pipe first with it, then paint it with whatever color you want, paint sticks better this way. You can also use ABS pipe (black) instead, but it heats up fast in the sun (cooks whatever is inside, not to great if you’re storing ammo, or candles) and you usually need a different glue.

Always consider what you’re storing in the PVC and mount/ store in a place where it won’t get to hot or cold for those items.


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  1. This is a really good post, something simple that everyone can benefit from that most probably haven’t thought of. Thanks for sharing such a great idea! ~mamaprepper~

  2. PVC pipe is a marvelous building material. I use a lot for light/plant stands for indoor herb gardening. (NO, nothing illegal – I cook a lot and prefer fresh herbs….) . After reading this, now thinking about some storage shelves, with extra hidden storage space inside the shelf-members….

    My all-time favorite use (stolen from an old book called “How to Hide Anything” is to take a piece or 3-4 in pipe , put a flat flange on 1 end, an elbow and a threaded plug-fitting to the other, and then epoxy putty it to the concrete floor on an unfinished part of your basement. (preferably by a washer hookup/washroom hookup). Hang important items from a cord inside the pipe, attached to the threaded pipe plug. Nobody looks twice at (or even notices) a weird bit of unattached plumbing pipe sticking out of a concrete floor in a basement.

  3. My first thought was that this wouldn’t work well and would likely take up more space than intended. However, I’m beginning to comtemplate ways in which this idea could work, especially for those odd locations that you wouldn’t otherwise consider storing stuff. Thanks for the thought.

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