If you are a camper, chances are you are inventive. The same mentality that makes you enjoy the challenge of making a home away from home in the outdoors challenges you to concoct conveniences out of rudimentary materials. Though there aren’t any PVC “trees” to chop down and carve into projects, a trip to the home improvement store for lengths of PVC pipe and a box full of PVC fittings can provide plenty of material to fuel your imagination and invent handy camping items for your next trip.
PVC pipe is strong, tough, waterproof and resistant to everything but intense heat. These attributes make it a suitable material to construct many simple items. You can use a rotary tool with cutting accessories, a hacksaw or a handheld cutting tool to carve a notch in a 1/2-inch PVC pipe to make a tent peg, or insert a length of 2-inch PVC pipe in the wet sand on a lake or river bank to serve as fishing rod holders. Other items that you can construct from PVC pipe are flag poles and clothes lines.
When you go to the home improvement store, look at the variety of tees, elbows, angles and other fittings available then imagine how you can put them to use. Using these fittings, you can make frameworks for a variety of handy camping structures. Long lengths can form the framework for a tent or dining fly. You can securely glue 1 1/4-inch PVC pipes into a framework, then attach some canvas to make camping chairs or loungers. You can also create a tall frame from which to suspend opaque plastic sheets to serve as an outdoor shower room.
Some PVC objects you make from should be securely glued together for safety and strength. Other items should not be glued together, or not glued on both ends, so you can disassemble them when breaking down camp for easy storage and transport. Use an indelible marker to label matching pipes and fittings for easy assembly in the future.
Large diameter PVC pipes make convenient and rugged storage containers for other camping items. Glue a cap on one end and use a threaded “clean-out” fitting on the other. A 4-inch pipe typically used for drains will hold several fishing rods. Put all your tent poles and pegs in a length of 6- or 8-inch PVC pipe. Shorter lengths can store cooking utensils, knives and sharpeners or even food items such as flour, grains or small vegetables.