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Drinking urine for survival when dehydrated

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Thomas Linton, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    A recent thread contained posts questioning the intelligence of anyone who either: 1) advocated drinking urine to survive when dehydrated; or 2) opposed drinking urine for survival when dehydrated.

    How about a thread, conducted as an exercise in learning by adults, that discusses this issue.

    To start off, my only formal training in survival was a two week course from the U.S.M.C. many years ago. We were emphatically told not to drink urine (or sea water) when dehydrated. The U.S. Army teaches the same.

    I suppose we will get lots of anecdotal testimony. That's fine, but some science would be nice.

    As we know, da' Bear advocates it. On the other paw, John Wiseman, who taught survival to the S.A.S. for seventeen years is opposed, as is Tom Brown, Stroud, and the Wilderness Medical Society.
  2. nealf5


    Jul 14, 2011
    Tha San Bushmen of the Kalahari have drunk it for survival purposes .... but for survival (i.e. to prevent death from dehydration) ultimately it comes down to how concentrated the urine is (i.e. how dehydrated you are) and therefore the % of water content vs. uric acid.

    If its normal urine (i.e. well hydrated) then you're looking at in excess of 90% water. The biggest thing is to get over the mental block/stigma in that kind of situation.
  3. UffDa

    UffDa Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 1999
    I watched the Survivorman show where Les was in Norway. He made a comment that went something* like this, "At least I don't have drink my own piss......(and then quietly) Yeah. Right. :D

    *I don't remember the exact words.
  4. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    I am not a urologist, but I see it as a matter of balance. If you already need water then your urine is likely concentrated, yellowish, and high in ureic acid and all of the other compounds that your kidneys filter out. At that point, as much as you might need water, you need those concentrated toxins less. Your kidneys will have to work that much harder to refilter the urine and for much less gain. If one could clean up the urine first by distillation, it might be a viable option. Otherwise, I see it as causing more harm than good. B.G. can have mine.
  5. wolfmann601

    wolfmann601 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2001
    I am certainly no expert but I have got to believe that if you are at that point where you are considering drinking your own pee to survive, you are very, very dehydrated. That said, dehydrated urine must be full of all kinds of contaminants that might cause all kinds of body system malfunctions and the salt cannot be a pleasant addition to one already bone dry mouth and lips.
  6. Nullity


    Jul 28, 2002
    I prefer mine on the rocks.
  7. UffDa

    UffDa Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 1999
    Be careful. It may splash on your shoes.
  8. 555

    555 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    I don't think this is a good idea and might be hard on the body as Codger_64 posted.

    This thread makes me happy that my time in the woods, is roaming the rain forests of the NE. :)
  9. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Likewise with where I have roamed. Water can almost always be found if one knows where and how to look. Even a dry looking creek bed usually has some water flowing deep under rocks, gravel and sand. I doubt this is true in deserts, but I don't go there.
  10. claymoore

    claymoore Banned BANNED

    Dec 25, 2011
    the Army does not say don't drink urine. If you have a sock fill it with sand, filter it .
    6 times you know the rest..... SERE grad.
  11. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    So you and Bear. Any other source?
  12. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    The Army has it on the "Do Not Drink" list.

    FM 21-76-1 SERE/Survival Us Military Field Manual

    From the link Chapter VII Titled: WATER, page VII-1, Section 2.
    Has this been superseded? If so, can you lead us to the different language?

    Sand filtration would not filer out salts or toxins as far as I understand. Distillation, as noted, produces "water" from urine.
  13. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    I posted this on another site about a year ago. About 5 years ago I used to teach a University course on human physiology and kidney function was part of my unit:

  14. bigghoss


    Jul 27, 2011
    Whether it's a good idea or not, I think I'd rather die than drink piss.
  15. fuzzwuzz133


    May 30, 2012
    Best idea is to not drink your own pee. Sure, you might live for maybe a couple more hours longer but after that, you'll eventually contract permanent renal failure if you keep it up. The more you drink your urine, the more you pee out waste. Better off using the solar still method using urine then running it through a charcoal sand filter after to get rid of the taste. I'm assuming there's a taste. Then, I'd boil it again for good measure. Especially if it's more then one person's urine if we're participating as a group. Also check for diseases before hand too. XD
    Just better off not getting into a situation like this, but this method works for salt water too.
  16. CR33

    CR33 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    I'd drink my own urine and ask for seconds rather than die.
  17. claymoore

    claymoore Banned BANNED

    Dec 25, 2011
    ok, whatever you say. You quote one sentence , sounds like your a lawyer. I don't type very fast and write every step, but u have to use layer's in the said sock or whatever, thats what i meant. It has sea water on your list also, read the rest. You sound like a nintendo sniper. That list means pee in you mouth like a monkey.
  18. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    He invited you to post information from a different source if it superceeded the information from his quoted source. I see no need to insult him for it just because you disageee. Do you have an updated source? Those field manuals do get upgraded from time to time.
  19. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    solar still
  20. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    See my extended reply earlier. Even if you recover all the water from you pee without loss (impossible with even the best still), you will lose more water via exhalation and perspiration than you do via urine. So its a losing battle. Recycling pee, even if you clean it up, is just a slightly slower net loss of water unless you find an external water source. Fact of life, until we can make Dune style stillsuits, your pee-out-of-luck if you can't find water.

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