#3. When Dying of Thirst, Eat Snow
It's the first snowfall! You throw on your polar bear jammies, grab your mittens and bound outside. You innocently frolic and skip your way through the winter wonderland, hurling snowballs at imaginary foes and just generally cavorting with the reckless abandon of a Disney character. But when the endorphins wear off, you look up and see nothing but an army of identical snow-covered trees. You're lost.
Stranded. Your child-like joy has likely doomed you (again). You're going to need shelter, food and water soon. But wait a sec; you're surrounded by water in convenient powdered form! Well, shove it in, big guy!
If your goal is to preserve your frozen corpse, packing it with snow is a terrific idea. Yes, the snow will turn to liquid when you eat it, but mostly it'll rob your body of precious heat. Instead, stuff the snow in a container and put in between layers of your clothes (not directly against your skin) so your radiant body heat might melt it without directly leeching the heat from you.
Also, be at least a little discerning about the snow you consume in the woods: That's where the Pope shits. Wait... was that right? We forget how that joke goes.
#2. When Stranded at Sea, Drink Your Own Pee
If the visionary film Waterworld taught us anything, it's that it is totally okay to drink your own pee. So when the bombs start to fall, you don't need to worry about irradiated water supplies; you know to just lean back with a lovely pee cocktail in your hand and let out a sigh of satisfaction, for you've beaten the end of days...
How do you think Arnold did it?
...by dying. Funny thing about urine: Your body doesn't want it. That's why your body politely asked it to leave in the first place. More specifically, it's the salt in your pee your body needs out. Salt dehydrates the body and by introducing more of it in recycling your urine, you'll dry up faster than Kevin Costner's career (Caution: Low flying zingers!)
Kevin who now?
Instead of squeezing juice out of your own salty udder, maybe you should hit up that glowing pond after all. Sure, you'll die that way too, but at least it's dignified; nobody will put "drank too much of his own piss" on your tombstone.
#1. When Lost in Desert, Get Water from a Cactus
Jesus, according to that title you're lost in the desert now? What is it with you and traversing into the wild without supplies? Did you feel bloated before taking that treacherous nature hike? Seriously: Bottled water=Not expensive. Fine, let's see if we can keep you from killing yourself, AGAIN. Well, didn't you once hear you can get water from a cactus? Let's try that.
Not from cacti
You lop off the top of the nearest cactus to find not aqua, but mushy green innards. Well, that's gross. But that's just like nature, isn't it? Always fuckin' you when you're already properly fucked. Ah well, you must be able to squeeze some liquid out of that, right? You do so, gratefully downing the putrid, life-saving fluid....aaaaand that's when the vomiting and diarrhea begin!
See, the alkaloid-rich mash inside cacti only makes you sick, thus dehydrating you even faster. If you really need water, you could consider constructing a solar still (like the one shown here) which collects water using controlled evaporation and the sun to pull moisture from the ground and...aw, hell, who are we kidding? You're wandering off into the snow, getting in fistfights with sharks, and we actually had to convince you not to drink your own piss up there. You're dead and a half by now. The best you can hope to do is leave a hilarious corpse. Try to die giving the double bird; archeologists finding your corpse in the future will probably get a laugh out of that.
You can read more from Cole at his site.
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For survival advice from people that have actually been there, check out 7 Fatal Injuries (That People Somehow Survived). Or find out how we're trying to give it back to Mother Nature, in Man's 6 Most Ridiculous Attempts To Take On Mother Nature.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 1.15.2010) for instructions on how to survive David Wong breaking into your house.