There’s a lot of bad survival information out there, not sure how it’s come about but some of that information will straight up get you killed. There’s also a lot of information that people come up with an it just explodes, regardless if it’s good information or not. Many people don’t actually take the time to stop and think about the information and test it out, they just take it at face value.
Here are some myths that people need to stop listening to.
1. Follow birds to find water – There’s a survival tip going around that tells you to just follow birds and they’ll lead you to water. Don’t do that. While birds will eventually fly to a water source, they also just fly where ever they want. You could be following a bird all over the place and get totally off track and lost and in a much more serious situation than before.
2. Flowing water is good to drink – While it’s generally considered that good, flowing water should be good to drink, that doesn’t mean it is. There are so many potential viruses and bacteria that you could ingest along with that so-called “flowing, safe water”. There are so many ways to sanitize water these days that it just doesn’t make sense to not sanitize it first before drinking. Better be safe than sorry.
3. Cotton kills – Before you start sending me angry letters, yes, cotton will kill in cold weather, but not hot weather. In fact, cotton is best when it comes to hot weather. It seems a lot of survival tips focus on cold weather survival, but hot weather survival is just as important. Wear cotton in hot weather, because the same reason it’s bad for cold weather, it’s good for warm weather.
4. Matches won’t light after they get wet – I tested this out and proved that regular matches do still strike after they’ve gotten wet. Once dried, they strike just fine. However, the ‘strike anywhere’ matches actually didn’t light after they got wet and dried. But regular matches were A-OK and still lit just fine.
5. You can eat anything animals can eat – You may see birds eating a certain berry and think that if they can eat it then you can eat it, but this is not true. Many foods that animals can eat, humans can’t. Get a book on wild edibles and know for sure which plants are safe.
6. Survival blankets don’t do anything – Many people think that those mylar survival blankets are useless but this couldn’t be further from the truth. People just don’t understand how they work. Those blankets work by reflecting your own body heat back at you. They may not keep you snuggly warm and cozy, but they will keep you ALIVE and that’s the whole point of them.
7. Eat snow to stay hydrated – Eating snow for fun is cool and all, but not when you need it for hydration. The problem with eating snow is that your body has to work twice as hard to process the little bit of water that comes from snow. If you actually melt snow, one cup of snow could turn into 1/4 cup of water; it’s a big difference. Melt the snow first, then drink the water.
8. Debris shelters are garbage – No way! Debris shelters are awesome shelters. I’ve made a few and they’re great shelters. Will they last and be effective for super long term survival? Maybe not, but that’s not the purpose of debris shelters. They’re easy and quick to setup and will give you the shelter you need until you can get a more permanent solution together. Don’t poo-poo the debris shelter, just don’t rely on it for long term shelter.
9. You MUST get shelter first. You MUST get water first. You MUST get food first. – Listen, those ‘survival rules of 3‘ really don’t apply to survival. The fact is, what you NEED in a survival situation will be dictated by your region, your immediate needs, the overall situation and so many other variables. The rules of 3 is catchy, but that’s about all. Get trained, assess your situation and take action based on what you need in that moment.
10. You need to boil water for 10 minutes before drinking – This one drives me batty. Unless you’re in a higher elevation, once the water has come to a rolling boil, it’s done. If you continue to boil the water for another 10 minutes then all you’re doing is wasting precious water that is just evaporating away.
There’s a lot of bad survival information out there so if something sounds a bit odd to you, challenge it by testing it out for yourself. Don’t take the information that you see in survival shows to heart because a lot of it could be faked or skewed or whatever. Get proper training from those you trust and make sure to be cautious and safe when it comes to survival.
Best way not to be in a survival situation is to be prepared!
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!