I sat down today to try and learn about some different fire starting methods when I came across the unbelievable method of starting a fire with your own urine!
So that’s it in a nutshell but have you ever thought if you would need to learn…
how to start a fire with your pee?!
There are some tips that can help make it easier. Firstly the clearer the plastic on the bottle, the better.
If your bottle is coloured plastic, it might still work but as a general rule, coloured plastic will absorb more of the sun’s energy.
Also, the smaller the bottle, the more successful you are likely to be. This is because the ‘lens’ that it creates is much more curved and will focus the sun on a much smaller point.
By folding the paper loosely into layers, it makes for the perfect conditions to get air into the embers once they start without blowing it out.
Remove label from your water bottle so you have more real estate on the bottle to work with. If you find you don’t have enough liquid – a larger bottle may be harder to fill, there is another method of using saran wrap. Check out this video where ‘The King of Random’ (channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1zZE_kJ8rQHgLTVfobLi_g) shows this exact method:
Is urine flammable?
At first I thought this was an obvious answer but it did have me second guessing myself so, no, urine is NOT flammable.
If when reading the title of this article you had visions of peeing on some tinder and magically it bursts into flames, then I hate to disappoint you but urine has way too much water content to be flammable…. even if you have consumed you own body weight in bourbon last night.
Why does starting a fire with your pee this way work?
Lenses, be it glass plastic or even ice, all focus light to a focal point. When light from the sun is focused to a small enough point, it creates a magnification effect that gets hot enough to light paper or tinder.
The important thing about the type of lenses that work is that they have to be curved and convex (think of chopping off the top part of a sphere). These lenses can be found in cameras, binoculars and even made out of ice!
Rob over at wildwoodsurvival.com wrote an excellent article on perfecting an ice lens in the field to produce the best results for starting a fire from ice. You can read it here: http://wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/fire/ice/rb/rbfirefromice3a.html
But what if I don’t have a penis and can’t pee into a bottle?!
Being female this immediately crossed my mind and certainly makes this method more challenging.
There is a fantastic device called ‘Shewee’ (also referred to as a female urination device) that you may or may not be familiar with but it’s something I’d highly recommend to any women who like to spend a lot of time outdoors.
It’s essentially just like a right-shaped-funnel that allows us to pee standing up and it’s something I take with me whenever I’m going somewhere that peeing standing up would be preferable. This includes facing sitting down on a disgusting toilet on a night out!
Obviously if you don’t have a specialised tool for this any funnel will be better than a spray and pray technique.
What if my pee isn’t clear?
This unfortunately will slow the process dramatically, particularly if you are severely dehydrated and your urine is dark.
However, it may still be possible, and if you’ve watched Bear Grylls collecting your urine anyway might be a good idea – though this really would be a last resort to be drinking your pee.
What are some other cool, unusual ways to start a fire?
In the spirit of being prepared it’s always a good idea to have a few back up plans and the knowledge to be able to start a fire with as many different ways as possible. Here’s a list of some of the more unusual ways I could find from around the interwebs.
Plastic wrap and water – in the video listed you’ll see that they offer this alternative if you don’t have enough urine to fill the bottom. With a lot less liquid, you can use plastic wrap (cling film) to make a ball of liquid that acts really well as a lens.
Other materials you can use for the magnification method – Camera lens, binocular lens, light bulb, reading glasses, ice etc.
- Battery and Chewing Gum Wrapper – These days, many of the gum manufacturers have switched to using paper only wrappers and this method needs a conducting material to work so will only work with a metallic gum wrapper. Also you’ll need a cylindrical battery. Make sure to cut the gum wrapper so that it’s much thinner in the middle – if you leave it as is, all you’ll do is heat up the battery and burn your hand. Touch one end of the metallic side of the gum wrapper to the positive battery end and the other end to the negative end…it should burst into flames. Here’s a long video that shows the best method for this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttPyIRAfhEQ
- Aluminium can and chocolate bar – For this method, use the chocolate bar to smear onto the bottom of the can. You’re going to use this curved surface to reflect light from the sun onto your tinder, so take some time to make it nice and shiny. Here’s a video by Howcast on youtube that takes you through this technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipMd5A7eUsc
- Steel wool and 9 volt battery – Pull the wool apart to make it as thin as possible without breaking it apart. Touch the battery to it and add your kindling. Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjWSV1LY_so
- Jumper cables and car battery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8fEaUKMnrQ
- Pencil and car battery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8fEaUKMnrQ
- D batteries and cell phone cord – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-oVkJtPhps
- With a flashlight – To start a fire with this method, unscrew the lens from your flashlight and remove the metallic cone. Jam some tinder in the centre and then angle it correctly into the sun so the focal point is on the tinder in centre.
Here’s a good demo of this technique:
- Condom filled with water – Making a fire with a condom may seem completely bizarre but the same lens principle applies. Things to watch out for are obviously a lot of condoms come with lubricant and spermicide so the plainer the condom the better. Also a great excuse for carrying around lots of condoms! Corporals Corner has a great video on how to do this:
Hopefully you learned a few things reading this article – how to start a fire with your own pee….I certainly did researching it!
What are your thoughts on starting a fire using these methods? Have you tried any of the techniques described?
Let us know in the comments.