Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the FastestWayToPrepare.com course.
If you’ve been watching the prepper series on National Geographic called, “Doomsday Preppers,” you probably remember that I started off the season writing about some of the good and bad lessons that were being illustrated. And then I stopped.
There are a couple of reasons. For one, as I would watch the early episodes, I’d do a quick search in my email for the people being highlighted in the show. Roughly half of the people on the show had either gone through a free mini-course, bought Urban Survival Playing Cards, or gone through one of my courses. I ended up bouncing emails back and forth with many of them…sometimes while the show was airing. On one hand, most of them were somewhat disappointed to see how National Geographic edited their segments to fit a preconceived storyline, regardless of the truth. On the other hand, more than one person told me that their “top secret” preps that National Geographic showed may have had a kernel of truth to them, but that the reality was MUCH different than what was shown on TV.
Even so, several people went to considerable expense and inconvenience to “secretly” lay up provisions and it frustrated me to see them aired on national TV…even if the details were changed. I put myself in some of these people’s shoes and it tore at my heart to think of what they must be feeling watching the show and I just didn’t want to write about it anymore.
On the other hand, there were a couple of people who did things that were SO amazingly wrong from a historical, physiological, tactical, and/or strategic basis that I couldn’t write about their segment without completely blasting them. I saw no benefit to doing this, so I didn’t. The fact is that, despite my reservations about the show, it is getting more people interested in prepping and it’s been the source of literally millions of conversations about prepping that wouldn’t have otherwise happened, so I don’t want to be too hard on the show.
This week, though, there were a couple of snippets concerning water that I feel I absolutely must bring up and correct.
The first one was a couple who used a portable backpacking water filter to “purify” urine. They didn’t go into detail on what their big picture plan was, but what they showed was taking urine in a cup, running it through the filter (that looked like a Katadyn mini-ultralight) and drinking it.
As you read this, keep in mind that this couple did a lot of things right, and it’s very possible that NGC edited out their comments/plans to deal with salinity.
To begin with, if you’re not ill and not taking medications that come out in the urine, you don’t really need to purify it. You need to desalinate it if you’re drinking it for any period of time, but you don’t need to purify it. That being said, the usefulness of urine goes down considerably as you get dehydrated. In other words, it’s much better to use urine to supplement your water when you’ve got plenty than to wait until you’re out of water and start drinking increasingly dark/polluted urine.
Second, the Katadyn mini-ultralight is not a purifier. It’s a filter. It’s a very good filter, and I own and use one sometimes, but it’s still only a filter. It’s good for particles, protozoa, worms, bacteria, cysts, etc, but it won’t take out viruses or salts.
For the most part, to desalinate water or urine, you either need to run it through reverse osmosis, a solar still, or distill it. There’s another method that will work, but it is an absolute last-ditch method that doesn’t need to be discussed here or included in your plans until you’ve mastered basic, intermediate, and even semi-advanced survival techniques.
So, if your survival/preparedness plans include drinking urine in a ratio greater than 1 part urine to 1+ parts water, depending on your level of hydration, you need to plan on desalinating it with one of the three above mentioned techniques. (blood salinity is roughly .9% and urine salinity is usually no more than 2.2%. Sea water varies, but a good rule of thumb is 3.5%)
The second water issue that I saw that I wanted to bring up, ironically, has to do with desalination. One of the families, who had done a lot of things right, owned a sailboat that was part of their SHTF bugout plan. They had water on board, but their plan for when the water ran out was to use a propane burner to distill seawater and collect the evaporated water vapors.
In some situations, this is a great plan…namely if you’re camped on a beach and have access to a virtually endless quantity of fuel to use to make heat. The gentleman in the segment was very squared away in several areas. He was formerly in the Navy and the rules are somewhat different on Naval ships since some of them have an endless supply of power in the form of nuclear reactors.
In the case of a small sailboat, though, they’re simply trading their stored propane for water and they’ll only be able to desalinate water while they’re at sea as long as they have propane. A solar desalinator, like the Aquamate, can generate fresh water every day without consuming anything, although you might need several if you’re depending on them for 100% of your water needs.
One strategy would be to use Aquamates to supplement your water supply, be prepared to aggressively collect water any time it rains, and only use propane as needed.
The particular application of sailboats on seawater as a survival tool is fairly limited in it’s application, but the chain of logic of trading one fluid for another (fuel for water) IS common. One of the most recognizable instances of it is people who think that they have an off-grid property because they can run their water well with their generator if the electrical grid fails.
While it’s true that with gasifiers and alcohol distillation (which is illegal at the present time), the off-grid claim can be justified, most people don’t have either technology in place and will find that the amount of water that they can get from their well is limited by the amount of fuel that they can store.
This isn’t a problem as long as you realize the shortcoming of trading fuel for water and/or have other systems in place for getting water, but it could be a nasty surprise if you don’t.
What takeaways have you gotten from Doomsday Preppers? Have you overheard conversations or been involved in conversations about prepping that were started because of the show? Has it expanded your vision for how much you want to prepare? Has it caused anyone in your life to become paralyzed by how unprepared they are? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.
And, for more information on water filtration and purification in urban disaster situations, please check out my www.SurviveInPlace.com course and/or my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course. Both of them go into solid, proven water purification techniques. In addition, both of these courses have upgrades that allow you to receive my Advanced Urban Disaster Water Purification book, which has been called, “the pHd text of disaster and survival water purification.” It goes much deeper into the techniques, chemistry, and physics of various forms of water purification and will show you specific esoteric water purification techniques as well as the fundamentals behind them so that you can adapt them to your particular situation.
Until next week, keep your power dry, buy more, and keep making daily forward progress on your preparations. The term “Debt Crisis” is being used more and more by people in positions of power and influence and we absolutely MUST do everything possible to get ready while we still can.
God bless & stay safe,