Common Survival Myths

Even if you spend a lot of time outdoors, there’s a very small chance you’ll ever find yourself in a legitimate survival situation. You will certainly find adventure, but you probably won’t find yourself foraging for grubs and building rafts out of driftwood.  Still, it’s good to be mindful of the possibility, however unlikely it may be.

Not all the survival myths you hear offer sound advice, though. Here are some common survival myths that you should forget immediately.

Only rookies get into trouble

You’re less likely to get into trouble if you know what you’re doing, but accidents can happen to anyone. Carry a few emergency items such as an emergency blanket, extra food, and water purification drops.

And always leave a note before heading out.

Clear, moving water is safe to drink

Crystal clear and flowing water can still be contaminated with viruses, bacteria, or chemicals. The only way to ensure safe drinking water is through water purification.

You should never wear cotton outdoors

Cotton is a terrible – and potentially deadly – choice for cold, damp conditions. However, cotton is a great fiber for extreme heat in arid climates.

A knife is the only tool you need to survive

John Rambo could survive using only a knife, but you’re not John Rambo. The average person needs much more than a knife to make it through a survival scenario.

If an animal eats it, it’s safe for humans

This survival myth is definitely false. Nuts, mushrooms, and berries may be toxic to humans even if other mammals can eat them.

Your phone will keep you safe

Don’t assume that a phone will keep you out of hairy situations. You might struggle to find service, the battery could die, your phone may get wet, etc.

Moss only grows on the north side of trees

This is a classic survival myth that’s not entirely true. There are many different types of moss, and the growing conditions for each type of moss may vary. Some like it hot and sunny, others like it damp and shady.

Watching survival shows prepares you for survival situations

Watching people make fires with sticks isn’t that same thing as being able to make a fire with sticks. Practice your skills.

You can outrun or outwit a bear

Bears can run faster than you. They can climb trees. Some bears don’t care if you play dead. Carry bear mace if you’re going into bear country.

Carrying a map will save you from getting lost

You have to know how to use a map – and use it, too – to keep from getting lost, or to find your way if you do get lost.


What survival myths have you proven wrong? Let us know in the comments below. Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters the next time you’re looking for outdoor gear and camping supplies in Northwest Arkansas.

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