Top view of travel equipment for a mountain trip on a rustic dark wood floor with empty space in the middle. Items include flask, map, knife, rope, carabiner, flashlight, shoes, GPS
survival tips

Ignore These Survival Myths That Do More Harm Than Good

Are you a person that wants to make it in the great outdoors? Well here are some survival myths that do more harm than good. Go ahead and ignore these tips.

What’s your favorite Mythbusters episode? Paste ranked the show’s 20 best myths and this topped the list.

When it comes to survivalism, there are also myths that have been busted but continue to persist. Here’s a list of the top survival myths that you should ignore no matter how many times they come up in conversation.

5 Survival Myths to Ignore

Myth #1. Food comes first.

Out there in the wild, starvation could kill you but it will take many days (up to six weeks) before it gets you. As we’ve said before, finding water should be your first priority.

Next would be to build a shelter. We recommend filling up a trash bag or tarp with leaves and grass, which will serve as your roof. If there are large branches lying about, you can also build a simple A-frame.

So again, find water and build a shelter. Chances are, someone will rescue you before you die of hunger.

Myth #2. Drink your urine to avoid dehydration.

You know how you shouldn’t drink seawater because it will dehydrate you more? Well, it also applies to drinking your own pee, especially if it’s scorching hot and your body’s overheated.

In survival situations, the sodium content of your urine will cause you to be more dehydrated. It also adds unnecessary stress on your kidneys, which will affect your body’s cooling systems.

As far as survival myths go, you can tweak this one to effectively combat heat stroke. Instead of drinking your own urine, you can soak a piece of cloth, wrap it around your head for evaporative cooling.

Myth #3. Bears will not attack you if you play dead.

Grizzly bears might fall for this but black bears won’t. If a black bear attacks you, playing dead will do you no good. The National Park Service advises escaping to a secure place such as a car or building.

If escape is not possible, fight back. Focus your blows and kicks on the bear’s face and muzzle. Use whatever you have at hand as a weapon. IMPORTANT: Do not engage in a staredown with the bear.

Myth #4. Suck out the venom if a snake bites you.

If there’s only one advice we could give you it would be: ignore this myth forever. What you should do is call 911 and clean the wound as best as you can. Don’t cut it and don’t put your mouth anywhere near it.

You risk damaging your mouth and trachea when you suck the poison. Anti-venom is the best treatment so always seek emergency medical attention in case of a snakebite.

Myth #5. Cactus water is a good idea.

Water from a cactus won’t save you. Besides, it doesn’t even taste that good. It’s bitter and there’s a good chance you’ll vomit whatever few drops you can get from a cactus.

If you’re stranded in the desert, find a wash. Follow it downstream until you see areas where water has pooled. Purify it then you’re good to go.

Survival Myths vs Survival Tips

Now that you know which survival myths to ignore, don’t forget to check our Survival Tips and Helpful Videos.


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