drinking urine, Les Stroud, Survivorman
Photo by Laura Bombier
Les is no stranger to the dangers of the wilderness. His search for water during them has come to many conclusions.

Very few survival issues cause as much controversy as this one. Some people are huge proponents of drinking urine, even in non-survival situations! Urine therapy has been used in various cultures for millennia, and refers to either drinking urine or massaging it into one’s skin for medicinal or cosmetic purposes. Some Renaissance people used urine to clean their teeth.

My feelings on drinking urine? Don’t do it! The primary dangers of drinking urine come from its salt and toxin content (the same dangers apply to drinking ocean salt water). The salt content (approximately 2 percent) tends to cause further dehydration, so it’s a case of one step forward and two steps back.

Urine also contains metabolic waste byproducts such as formaldehyde, ammonia, and dissolved heavy metals. The less diluted it is, the greater the concentration of these by-products you’ll be ingesting. There are numerous documented cases of people dying from drinking their own urine.

Drinking Urine: Don’t.

If you wait until you’re dehydrated, drinking pee will do you little good, if any, for the obvious reason that you’ll have little urine to produce anyway. When I was surviving in the Kalahari Desert, the one time I did pee during the week was minimal in volume and a disgusting tawny yellow/brown color. Another safer and more palatable option is to use a solar still to purify your urine

Distilling Water From Urine

Here is a neat trick as invented by my friend Allan Beauchamp. First, taking two large soda bottles and pee in one container to about the one-quarter mark and then attach this container in a neck-to-neck/mouth-to-mouth fashion to the second container using some tape from a first-aid kit, and place them both in the sun.

Cover the “clean” container with some sand and leave the contaminated container in the sun. The “contaminated” container will heat up and cause evaporation in the sun during the day. This moisture will then migrate into the empty clean container, leaving the residual waste in the first container.

This article is from Survivor’s Edge Survival Experts Handbook 2018 Special Edition Magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

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