We’ve all seen those people that make suggestions that couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth. They’re easy to find all over the internet, from blogs to youtube you don’t have to look all that long before you find one.
Survival myths are still around for a number of reasons, wives tales, lack of research and, simple ignorance are all possible reasons.
This article covers some pretty common myths that could end up being more harmful than helpful.
Everyone is an expert these days. Unfortunately, in certain situations, faux-expertise can get you killed. Erroneous survival myths usually aren’t malicious, just misinformed. Still, the wrong information can be deadly. The following list identifies and corrects nine common survival myths:
Myth: You Must Find Food First
There are a lot of things that can kill you in the wilderness, and starvation is certainly one of those things, but it is unlikely to be the first or fastest thing to bring you down. Humans can live for up to six weeks without food. That’s plenty of time for someone to figure out that you’re missing and come find you. In all likelihood, you will be rescued before you starve unless something else gets you first. Water, warmth, and protection should always be your top priorities.
Myth: Shelter Means Coverage
When most people think of shelter, they think of four walls and a roof. In the wilderness, this myopic view can kill you. Adequate shelter has little to do with coverage and everything to do with protection. You need shelter to protect you from the elements. In a hot sunny climate, this likely means shade. In a temperate or cold climate, it means warmth. Poorly built shacks with roofs and walls are a poor way to protect yourself from the cold. The best way to make a quick shelter is to find a dry place and insulate the ground using dry vegetation. Making a small nest that insulates the ground and provides a bit of wind protection and camouflage is vastly superior to a roofed shelter without insulation.
Myth: You Can Drink Water From a Cactus
So your car broke down in the desert. It’s miles to the nearest gas station. Your cell phone doesn’t have reception. You don’t have any water in your car. There’s no one around, and you are very, very thirsty. Now you chance upon a cactus. I’m saved, you think. I’ll just lop the top off this here prickly pear and go to town. Not so fast, partner. The liquid inside a cactus isn’t pure water and is actually a highly alkaline, noxious fluid. Chances are, if you drink from a cactus you will get very sick, and vomiting is one way to ensure you dehydrate faster. You can drink from a barrel cactus, but only one specific type, and unless you’re extremely into cacti botany, you’re better off conserving your energy or seeking out a purer water source.
Can you think of any other survival myths that you’ve heard or read recently? Add them to the comments below!
Be sure to check out our other preparedness articles.
Additional Reading: The Prepping Benefits of Starting Your Own Homestead