Emergency Food Storage Torpedo

The principle of the "Torpedo" is a relatively simple one and is adaptable to many storage uses from food, to storage of documents, money, priceless photos, ammo , valuables of all kinds, etc. The torpedo principle is limited only by your own imagination. You use the same principle for the home and the automobile and recommend the principle for office survival planning as well as community survival plan development.

What about security: What happens if someone comes along and steals all your food? The second, of course, was: What happens if a sudden evacuation is required due to toxic clouds, fire, tornado, or flood? My answer was the development of the torpedo idea. All that is involved is to secure a mobile storage device.

You can use a 6" diameter Schedule 40 PVC (which is very thick) and cut it into 4 ft. lengths. This can be adapted as a food storage container (as the diagram illustrates). Using rubber caps (called "J" caps), which come supplied with a steel band, the unit can be secured to be both water and insect proof.

The completed torpedo is then buried in the ground, stored in a shed (or stored in a front hall closet in the case of non-earthquake situations). For the flood plain residents store in the highest part of the house. Once you grasp the idea, many variations on the theme can be devised (e.g.: a torpedo just for babies' needs; special diets for diabetics; etc.) How about smaller tubes for the automobile or, as mentioned, various sizes for those special items that are irreplaceable?

Many years after the London bombing had stopped, the piles of rubble were finally cleared away to make room for new houses. As the bulldozers worked clearing the site of each once standing house, the people who had lived there as soon as they were able pulled containers of all kinds (glass jars, tin boxes, etc.) from the ground. Each was recovered with precious contents intact. In many cases, pictures of sons and daughters lost in combat, family heirlooms, important records, and other family treasures that would have been lost in the mass destruction were saved because they were kept underground all those years, the hiding place known only to the person who buried such treasures.

Cellers were very common on farms in the past and are another possible storage area for the "food torpedo".

One of the first requirements for making an insurance recovery claim is documentation. Stop and think about it.

Food Storage

The torpedo has one essential requirement, food for storage must be dry. Grains, cereals, rice, beans, packaged foods of all kinds (including all those delicious soups and such) are ideal for this purpose. Let us say we are preparing for two people. Imagine yourself in a future time when you are standing in the backyard or outside your apartment post-disaster and hunger is the need. You remove the lid from the torpedo and there on top is the first days food all neatly separated for your use.

Set out on the table five days meals, first breakfast, say a small bag of pancake mix, coffee or tea packets, and small packets of sugar and creamer. Perhaps you would include some dried fruit or even hard candy with fruit flavors to keep the saliva going. Follow with lunch and the evening meal. Repeat the sequence for the other 4 days.

Next, cut five cardboard disks the size of the inside of the tube, leaving the bottom "J" cap off to allow air to escape. Pack the food packets for the first day into the bottom of the tube followed by a separator disk. Follow with day 2 supplies and a disk. Now put the "J" cap loosely on the bottom of the torpedo and continue packing the other days. As the job is completed, tighten the bottom "J" cap put the other cap on the top and seal it for appropriate storage procedures.

If you use a four foot tube, you will have five 8 inch sections. Each section is roomy enough for storage of one days food.

I am sure you can adapt this torpedo idea to your needs both as an evacuation requirement, either as a unit to dig up or as a "stand-by-ready-for-the-hurricane-or-flood water unit, or no power, no grocery store etc."

For apartment dwellers, torpedoes are ideal to have in the outside storage lock up or even in the trunk of the vehicle. Positive post disaster imaging now while all is quiet will allow you to gather ideas as to the types of foods that are already available. You can use this information as you go through the sections in the grocery or health food store and find things that you don't usually look at. I know when I did my research I was stunned at all the food items available in small packets all with a shelf life into years. They were just made to order as we plan a positive approach to the post problem time, which for some is an annual event!

Of course, the question "Why go to all that trouble?" always arises. My answer now is to point to positive pre-disaster imaging for the post-disaster scene. Positive pre-disaster action will lead to clear indication of the post disaster situation in your own particular geographic area. Imagine you down to one hospital with a small emergency facility that will have to service almost many people at disaster time. In addition to the problem of food and water, medical needs now become one more personal priority since it is not numerically possible for "Them" to meet that need. Positive post disaster image that scene!

Following the post disaster imaging principle, let us consider a family of four and visualize that a rapid evacuation is required. Upon leaving their backyard, if each member of the family carried one torpedo, they would have roughly a 20 days supply of food. Conversely, the same family returning to a home that was destroyed would, if they had stored some "food torpedos", have a similar 20 days supply waiting for them!

Follow these suggestions, sit down with your family, your significant other, or just yourself and calmly carry out a few minutes of "Positive Post Disaster Imaging." In other words think about what you would need in an emergency situation.

Use the established processes to determine now what you think will be your position at home, at the workplace, traveling, or whatever. Do you feel that a food torpedo would come in handy? Will it be in the ground, shed, celler, closet, room or in the trunk or a car? What about a couple in the hall closet ready to grab and run? If your answer is yes, then do it now.

Closing thoughts

Suppliers of PVC pipe will be glad to cut the pipe into lengths for you. I suggested 4 ft. because that's what I feel is easiest to carry. You may wish to vary the lengths according to your own need or purpose.

The "J" caps use a slotted screw, so attach a penny to the outside of the tube just in case you need to open your torpedo and have no screwdriver! If you have an electric drill available, drill a small hole through the penny, and attach it to the "J" cap with copper or stainless wire. Or just attach a small can opener.

PVC and CPVC Pipes - Schedule 40


Pipe Size




Wall Thickness



1/2 0.840 0.109 0.622 0.16 0.17
3/4 1.050 0.113 0.824 0.21 0.23
1 1.315 0.133 1.049 0.32 0.34
1 1/4 1.660 0.140 1.380 0.43 0.46
1 1/2 1.900 0.145 1.610 0.51 0.55
2 2.375 0.154 2.067 0.68 0.74
2 1/2 2.875 0.203 2.469 1.07 1.18
3 3.500 0.216 3.068 1.41 1.54
4 4.500 0.237 4.026 2.01 2.20
5 5.563 0.258 5.047 2.73
6 6.625 0.280 6.065 3.53 3.86
8 8.625 0.322 7.981 5.39 5.81
10 10.750 0.365 10.020 7.55 8.24
12 12.750 0.406 11.938 10.01 10.89
14 14.000 0.438 13.124 11.80
16 16.000 0.500 15.000 15.43

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What to put in your PVC Survival Cache:

food (freeze dried or something that will last a long time. Canned goods also last a long time.)
first aid / medical supplies
maps / compass
ammo/guns etc
anything useful

Another idea for this project is to build a PVC pipe time capsule, as anything buried in this capsule will last quite a long time if it is constructed properly. The most important step with a project like this is getting a good solid seal of the end caps. If the PVC end caps are not properly sealed then moisture will be allowed to get into the capsule, and of course damage whatever is inside.

You can store these almost anywhere.