Three Outdoor Survival Myths

News & Tips: Three Outdoor Survival Myths

There’s a wealth of information available out there for those looking to learn more about outdoor  survival skills, from the details on starting a fire to gathering food and water to finding a shelter. But the thing is, a lot of the information out there is actually misinformation. 

For those new to the outdoors, knowing the difference between the true and the false can help keep you from making big mistakes when you’re out in the wild. We’ve rounded up a list of three very common survival myths, along with some explanations about why these myths are misguided and what course of action you should take instead.

1 fire survival1. To start a fire, simply rub two sticks together. 

Many would scoff at the idea that fire immediately springs from two sticks rubbed together, but this myth is one that has been perpetuated relentlessly and won’t die out. For example, more often than not, when a fictional character gets into peril out in the wilderness, this is their go-to means of getting a fire roaring; we’re sold this idea from the time we’re young and haven’t stopped hearing about it yet.

In reality, it’s better for outdoorsman to be prepared to start a fire by having weatherproof matches, metal matches or a lighter on hand, along with some tinder -- cotton balls, pocket lint, dry pine needles, packaged tinder -- to get the fire going.

2. Water in nature is safe to drink, so long as it’s running. 

This is untrue, and hikers, hunters or campers who drink water in nature just because it’s flowing run the risk of making themselves very sick. 

That’s not to say, however, that this water can’t be purified -- boil the water, and you’ll kill off germs and make it safe to drink.

3. Get to high ground to keep warm. 

Heading to higher ground is essential if you’re facing rising flood waters; however, if you need to stay warm and you’re in a dry area, it’s best to lie low. But we’re taught in science class that hot air rises and cool air falls, so why is this? 

It’s all about wind. At higher altitudes, a person is less protected from the wind, whereas valleys and low lands are protected from the harsh, cutting wind. Thus, you should seek shelter in low areas with wind blocks to keep yourself warm.

What are some other survival myths you’ve run across? Let us know in the comments section.