Not Gear — April 2, 2014 at 7:00 am

Ask Gearographer; Drinking Pee?


Dear Gearographer,

My friend watches a lot of “survival” shows, and recently he’s been gearing up for worst-case scenarios. He keeps talking about how you can drink your own pee if worse comes to worst, and that just seems completely insane to me. Is it safe to do that? Healthy, even? Are there filtration systems for that kind of thing?

–Thirsty and Confused


Dear Thirsty,

Ah, the ever-popular practice of urine consumption. To answer your question(s); yes, it is usually safe to drink it if you’re in absolute dire straits. Urine is sterile, as your kidneys will flush out the toxins during digestion. To be clear, it is not healthy. The nutritional value is moot and there is no perfect replacement for good old clean water. There are traces of sodium in urine, which will further dehydrate you. Survival experts are largely in disagreement on the issue, but logically it’s hard to see the benefit. There are water filtration units readily available at your nearest outdoor store or online, many of which are inexpensive and fairly compact.

Our advice would be to buy your friend one, or maybe, y’know, some Gatorade or something? If he’s planning on chugging some of his own “batch” of fluids, maybe you should reconsider being his friend? It’s kind of concerning, really.

–The Gearographer

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