10 Top Survival Myths Debunked

America Now

There are a a lot of myths about surviving in the wilderness that circulate around the internet. Many of them have been circulating for decades, passed on from generation to generation by those who don’t question everything they hear. But some of those myths can harm you or lead to your death. Here are ten of the top survival myths that need to be debunked.

1. If You’re Lost in Wintertime You Can Hydrate With Snow

Now that we’re getting into wintertime, this is one of the top myths to debunk. The energy required to convert snow into water will literally sap the energy out of your body. If you want to drink snow water, you need a cup, bottle, or other container. Fill it with snow and leave it in the sun to heat up and melt, or put it in a pocket to melt from the body heat you’re already giving off.

2. Running/Dripping Water Is Safe to Drink

Thanks to advertising, we like to think that mountain streams are naturally pure. But animals urinate and defecate in them, meaning that those streams very often are contaminated with bacteria that can cause severe illness or death. The same goes for water that you might find dripping or streaming from sandstone deposits. You may think that it’s been filtered by passing through the rock, but you can’t trust that it isn’t contaminated. Always carry some sort of water purification method with you when you’re in the wilderness.

3. Drinking Alcohol Will Warm You Up in Winter

Yes, you may feel warm when you drink alcohol, but that’s because the alcohol dilates the capillaries and small surface blood vessels in your body. That actually causes your body to cool faster than it otherwise would.

4. You Can Eat Anything Animals Can

Animals have significantly different digestive tracts and tolerance to poisons than human beings do. Trying to eat acorns or wild berries that you see animals eating could lead to severe stomach upset or death by poisoning. If you have to forage, make sure you read up on what kinds of wild food grow in your area and which ones are safe for people to eat.

5. Eating Raw Wild Game Is Safe

We like to think that contaminated meat is a product of unsanitary conditions on large factory farms. But wild game isn’t necessarily any cleaner. Trichinosis, in particular, can be rampant in wild game. Always make sure that you cook wild game thoroughly to ensure that you kill any bacteria or parasites that can harm you.

6. You Can Suck the Venom Out of a Snakebite

Once you’ve been bitten by a poisonous snake, you’re not going to be able to suck the venom out. If anything, you’ll make the bite worse by introducing bacteria from your mouth. Clean and dress the wound, move as slowly as you can to keep the infected blood from racing through your system, and get medical attention as soon as possible.

7. GPS Obviates the Need for Paper Maps

We live in a society that depends more and more on technology, so we tend to ignore methods that seem outdated. With the constant improvements in GPS we can tend to think that we’ll always be able to rely on electronics to help us navigate. But if batteries die, or your GPS device goes on the fritz, you could be lost in the middle of nowhere and have no idea where you are or how to get to where you’re going. Paper maps as a backup remain indispensable. Just make sure that your maps are relatively recent, as new roads and development may have made your older maps obsolete.

8. Moss Always Grows on the North Side of Trees

This is one common myth that doesn’t always hold. In many damp, humid areas moss can grow on every side of a tree, making it impossible to figure out which way is north. Rely on Polaris at night and a compass during the day to figure out your cardinal directions.

9. Lean-Tos Make for a Great Shelter

Lean-tos are quick and easy to make, but they’re not the ideal shelter. They’ll protect you from soaking overhead rain, but that’s about it. If you need a shelter to protect you from wind and cold, try building a wedge tent, tepee, or small log hut to protect you from wind and keep you warm.

10. You Only Need to Rub Two Sticks Together to Make a Fire

Friction fire starting may look great on TV, but it’s much more difficult in real life. Carry a lighter, matches, magnesium fire starter, 9V battery and steel wool, or other methods if you really are intent on starting a fire. And above all, practice, practice, practice. Don’t assume that just because you have the tools you’ll be able to start a fire when you really need to. That’s a recipe for freezing to death.

10 Top Survival Myths Debunked was last modified: October 30th, 2018 by Paul-Martin Foss

This article was originally posted on Red Tea News.

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