This is how to check your urine color to tell if you’re dehydrated

Looking for a way to tell if you’re drinking enough water during this summer’s Scouting adventures?

Urine luck.

Monitoring the color of your pee is a great way to tell if you’re getting enough fluids. And getting enough fluids is a great way to stave off dehydration.

What is dehydration?

As the summer days get long and hot, you risk losing more water than you’re taking in. When you sweat or breathe out more fluid than you take in, that’s dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches or muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Dark urine and/or decreased urine production

What’s the ‘proper’ urine color?

We know that a “happy mountaineer always pees clear” and “an unhappy fellow always pees yellow.”

But yellow comes in many shades, so which should concern you?

Your best bet is to consult the urine color chart below. It’s also found on page 138 of the Scouts BSA Handbook or page 237 of the Fieldbook.

What to do if you’re dehydrated

Other than the obvious — drinking plenty of fluids — a dehydrated person should rest in a shady place or air-conditioned vehicle or building.

Of course, food is fuel, too, so make sure you’re eating plenty of energy-dense food throughout your adventures.

How to avoid dehydration in the first place

One of the best things you can do is “drink to thirst.” If it sounds simple, that’s because it is — if you’re thirsty, drink water until you aren’t thirsty anymore. Your body is really good at telling you when you need to drink water, and it does so by making you feel thirsty.

Sugary drinks are already not healthy and are even worse in hot weather or any situation in which you could become dehydrated. Same goes for energy drinks, which really should be avoided altogether.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.