Just when I thought I’d heard everything….

May 23, 2012

The things folks do in the backcountry never cease to amaze me. Check out this recent item from the Albany Times Union regarding some guys who became lost recently in the Adirondacks:


Peeing on each other to stay warm? Yikees!

Of course, equally important to keeping warm is keeping dry. This was obviously a counterproductive strategy. Since their names were used in the article, I suspect that most of their friends have come across this news item. At least they survived.

This brings to mind an occasional question about hypothermia–is it better to hold onto urine because it is warm, or empty your bladder? (Urinating on another camper is not usually one of the choices.) The correct answer is that it makes no meaningful difference. Urine is only warm because the body keeps it heated, so in theory less heat would expended if there were less urine in the bladder to heat. In the big scheme of things, however, the impact of this on total heat balance would be trivial. More importantly, most people with serious hypothermia are somewhat dehydrated, so the most important thing is to be drinking enough that it isn’t possible to hold it!

Just don’t pee on your friends.