Need A Fire? How About Using Your Own Pee?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Some say that prepping is the ultimate form of pessimism. Only nut-cases and doomers are prepping for the end of the world. There is no such thing as a zombie apocalypse, the end of the world is not near, all of us will live long and prosper in the best of all possible worlds. If any.

On the other hand, I think that prepping is the ultimate form of optimism. It’s not about doom and gloom, it’s about learning new things and improving your life experience.  Every experience comes with a lesson.

You learn it or not, it’s your choice. Obviously, it would be better to learn from other people’s experiences, but one can only hope to be that wise. Which brings me to today’s topic.

When it comes to surviving a hairy situation, there’s always the holy trinity that comes into play: food, water and shelter. I bet that by now, you’ve already stumbled upon the theory of threes: you can last for 3 minutes without oxygen, for 3 days without water, and finally, for 3 weeks without food.

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However, being capable of starting a fire when stranded out in the wild is one of the most important skills a true survivalist must learn. Fire is essential for survival, as it will cook your food, sterilize (even procure) your water, keep you warm and it will also protect you from dangerous wild life.

And by starting a fire in a survival scenario I don’t mean showing off your Zippo-lighter or whatever cool (and presumably expensive) gizmo you’ve bought from Amazon. A real prepper should be capable to start a fire using readily available materials, as in sans gear; in our particular case, pee, urine or whatever you want to call it.

And this is not a joke, but the real deal. You can really start a fire using your own pee, if everything else fails, provided you’re an avid reader of Survivopedia. To begin with, I am not a big fan of Bear Grylls.

Actually, I can’t stand that guy since the urine-as-beverage episode. Hence this urine article, which will most probably piss-off (pun intended) the aforementioned dude, since in today’s piece you’ll learn how to use urine in meaningful ways for survival purposes, as in not as a refreshing beverage.

Joke aside, starting a fire using one’s pee may be a pretty obscure skill as far as survival skills go. However, if you think “water” instead of pee, well, the situation changes dramatically, at least theoretically, because in our scenario, there’s not much difference between water and one’s pee.

The idea is that you can use both water and urine to start a fire, but there’s a catch. Imagine you’re in the desert or wherever, stuck out there in the wild sans any cool gear, except from a full bladder and an empty bottle (I mean you don’t even have water).

Here the pee-thing comes into play. The first method I will talk about today is called “the urine bag fire-lightning method” (I just made it up).

This technique uses the same concept you’ve known since you were a kid, and you were burning holes in plastic and set ants on fire and so forth and so on by using a magnifying glass and Sun power. You are also probably aware of the basic idea of starting a fire using a magnifying glass in a sunny day.

You see where this is going, right? There are many ways to DIY a lens which can be used to focus the sun-rays on a piece of paper/tinder to create “ignition”. It can be done with eye glasses, bottles, and even ice (if you’re can master the craft of shaping ice into a lens).

But what about urine?

Well, the water bottle filled with urine (fairly clear pee, not too dark) will act like a lens of sorts. The trick is to hold the respective bottle upside down, thus allowing the sun-rays to pass through its convex top; in this way, you’ll be able to focus the sun-rays onto tinder (you must get some tinder prior to engaging in this exercise) or a piece of paper, and provided you’re patient enough and you’re lucky to benefit from a sunny day, sooner or later you’ll admire your smoldering ambers.

Here’s a video, to prove my point, i.e. if it’s perfectly doable with water, it will work with urine too, as they’re pretty much the same substance.

If you don’t have a water bottle at your disposal, you can always improvise a lens by using a piece of cellophane, or a sandwich bag. The story goes something like this: you’ll take a piece of plastic wrap and fit it to conform to the shape of a stone, about fist seized, then pour urine (or water) in it.

After getting filled with pee (or whatever), the wrap will stretch, thus forming something resembling a lens. All you’ll have to do is to find its focal point and ignite your fire.

Here’s a cool tutorial which also teaches you how to DIY the perfect tinder. You can always use a light bulb filled with pee/water to focus the sun rays on a piece of paper/tinder. The trick is to hollow out the bottom of an old light bulb and if it’s not clear, to rinse it in order to remove that white powder residue.

After you refill the light bulb with urine (or water) and cap the end-tip with a balloon or something, voila, you just got yourself a makeshift magnifying glass which is able to ignite tinder or paper in a matter of seconds. Remember, if you’re using paper to kindle your fire, make a black spot to focus the sunlight on, it will work much better.

Also, you can find online the light-bulb-urine-fire-starting method. Remember, all these tricks are using the same concept, i.e. using urine/water to DIY a makeshift lens and then focus sun-rays onto a flammable material.

The idea is, this method of starting a fire will also work for other clear round containers, so think outside the box and use whatever it’s available.

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas, questions or whatever, feel free to express yourself in the comments section below.


Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Thank you for sharing this important tip!

  • Thank You. forgot the Hot Doggs. Be Well.

  • You would need to pee in the container before you are dehydrated, and save it for later, if you go walking about and working your piss would be very dark yellow very soon,

  • I’ve seen a water filled condom used as a lens.

  • This puts “being full of piss and vinegar” in a whole new light.

  • the three days without water has been disproved, it is longer than that, the 3 weeks without food is also incorrect as youtube has tons of folk posting their month long (or more) complete fasts from food.. look it up.

  • The 3-3-3 is a “rule of thumb “ some die sooner others later.

  • Drinking urine: Early 1960’s. Springhill Nova Scotia Canada. Mining disaster. There was a cave in at a mine. Three or four meant were trapped hundreds
    of feet underground. The collected their urine and distilled it to purify it. Saved their lives! Same method is used to get fresh water from sea water. :

  • Unfortunately these techniques using solar power to start a fire don’t work in most situations when a fire is most critical and that is at night or during a storm. So it still advisable to have more than one technique or device to start a fire.