Do You Believe These 15 Survival Myths?

survival myths
It seems like tons of preppers have bought into at least one of the many survival myths out there.

Now I’m not saying it’s there fault; the fact is word gets around about a way to survive in a crisis, and – even if it’s wrong – many people buy into it.

The problem is if we all buy into these survival myths, and they end up being untrue, we’re all up a creek once SHTF.

It’s my (and Survival Frog’s) job to help you thrive in any emergency – and sometimes that means bursting a lot of preppers’ bubbles about what information is real and true, and which you need to throw in the garbage.

I want to keep you informed; that’s why I need to ask you…

Do You Believe These 15 Survival Myths?

Survival Myth #1 – Suck Out The Poison

Many of us have heard that old adage about sucking the poison out of a snakebite. However, despite the method’s use in film and TV, this is actually NOT a good thing to do.

That’s because by attempting to suck out the poison you’ll most likely be ingesting it yourself (as it’s likely even a little bit of poison will reside in your mouth after you spit). You’ll also be adding your bacteria-ridden saliva to the wound, thereby adding more problems to the mix.

Instead, wrap the bandage and seek medical help immediately.

Survival Myth #2 – Punch A Shark

Tons of “survivalists” (and non-survivalists alike) will try to convince you to punch a shark in the nose. However, this is a really excellent way to get your hand/arm bitten off in the process.

Plus, as it turns out, sharks’ noses aren’t as sensitive as their eyes and gills, so it’s likely that even if you do land a punch it won’t hurt the shark nearly as much as it’ll hurt you.

Instead, try swimming along the side of the shark and aiming for the eyes and gills.

Survival Myth #3 – Move To Higher Ground

Many preppers will try to tell you to move to higher ground when it’s cold outside, operating under the belief that heat rises.

Although that fact is true, moving to higher ground also often means moving to a greater amount of wind chill. And, if you’re trying to make a fire, it’s real easy for that fire to blow out the higher you go.

My advice? Lower is better in the cold.

Survival Myth #4 – Shelter and Fire Are Not Equals

A lot of preppers think they won’t need to worry about building a survival shelter in case they have to bug out; after all, if they’ve got a huge fire, that’s all they’ll need, right?


First, fire can’t protect you from the wind, rain and snow like the roof of a shelter can. A good shelter can also help protect you from bears and other wild animals.

The problem is that a lot of preppers believe a fire will protect them are also the same ones who don’t know how to build a survival shelter (whether they’ll admit this or not is a different story, however…).

I highly suggest you learning how to build a shelter AND a fire, and use both simultaneously (luckily you can watch a tutorial for one of these in #10). It’s bound to make your survival situation a whole lot more bearable.

Survival Myth #5 – Lean-Tos Are The Best Shelters

Lean-tos are popular on survival shows and in movies – mostly because they’re fairly easy to put up and they’re great for camera angles. However, these shelters don’t have many walls, allowing a lot of the rain, snow and wind into your shelter.

The best survival shelters are ones with walls, a roof, and a door that can be sealed off from the elements. Sure, these will take a bit more time to set up, but the more effort you put in the more benefits you’ll reap once the next storm hits.

Note: If you want the benefits of a survival shelter without the work of building it yourself, we highly suggest our highly durable and functional survival tents:

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Survival Myth #6 – Drink Your Pee For Days On End

It seems like the idea of drinking your own urine has been around for forever…probably because it sounds rugged, extreme, and even impressive in a dangerous situation.

However, what this survival myth leaves out is the fact that you’re swallowing the very toxins, dead cells, bacteria, and waste products your body was attempting to remove in the first place. Doing so over a period of days can cause a buildup of these toxins in your kidneys, ultimately leading to symptoms closely related to kidney failure.

Urine also tends to have a higher sodium content, causing you to become even more dehydrated than before.

My advice is to not drink your urine unless you absolutely have to – and even then do it in small doses.

My better advice is to come prepared in the first place so you don’t find yourself in this situation.

That’s why there’s the LifeStraw Portable Water Filter – it filters up to a year’s worth of water in seconds, giving you fresh, bacteria-free water from ANY water source. Check it out below.

survival myths

Survival Myth #7 – City People Are Screwed If SHTF

There’s a huge misconception that,if you live in an urban area, you’re automatically resigned to a quick, painful death once SHTF.

Now true, urbanites are at a few disadvantages in a critical situation; after all, they’re surrounded by hundreds of panicky people, and will have very limited access to food once grocery store shelves are emptied.

However, urbanites have a lot more going for them than you might think, and still have a good chance at survival in a crisis. In fact, if a group of urban preppers band together, their chances at survival grow exponentially.

We’re so passionate about this we wrote a blog about the pros and cons of both urban and rural prepping. Check it out here. 

Survival Myth #8 – I Don’t Need To Test Out My New Gear Until SHTF

I’m not going to lie to you; this is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to prepping. That’s because SO MANY preppers buy tons of survival gear and then leave it all in boxes, assuming it will all work just fine and will save their lives in a survival situation.

Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of really worthwhile, high-quality survival gear out there that will get you out of a lot of sticky situations (I mean, just take a look at our online survival store!)

But trust me when I say this…you must know how to use your survival gear before you end up in a survival situation.

My suggestion? Get to know each and every survival tool you have. Try them out, practice with them, and learn what their benefits and weaknesses are. Think about how you can use these tools in a variety of situations, and then go out and use them for these purposes.

Only then can you truly know if these tools will help you once SHTF, or if you should have left them at home.

I’m all for using quality survival tools (seriously – our inventory is STOCKED FULL OF THEM) but you must now how to use this gear before it’s TEOTWAWKI. In my estimation, If you don’t, you aren’t much better prepared than those without tools.

Survival Myth #9 – I Don’t Need Survival Skills – I Have A Gun

I come across this survival myth a lot in the prepping community; there’s just something about guns that makes a lot of folks feel like they can take on the world without any other usable skill.

However, this couldn’t be more false in a survival situation.

The fact is, guns can’t save you in every situation you find yourself in. Guns won’t help you get drinkable water, dress wounds, forage for edible plants/berries, plant and harvest a survival garden, sew a hole in your clothing, build a shelter, or start a fire.

Many preppers have also never thought about the idea that they may need to gain the trust of other people in an emergency situation – this would be to establish a community, to gain access to other’s valuable survival skills, and to gain alliances.

And you typically can’t gain a person’s trust with a gun pointed to their head.

Even if you use your gun to hold others hostage, it’s likely that someone else will come along and shoot you down for stirring up trouble.

Believe me, I’m not anti-guns; however, you’re much better off in the long-run for having a whole range of survival skills at your disposal.

Note: Plus, in case your gun gets stolen, you can always depend on these compact tactical survival tools for self-defense (plus a range of other uses).

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Survival Myth #10 – Rubbing Sticks Together Is Easy

If you’ve seen Cast Away or other survival shows/films, you’ve probably seen the actor rub two sticks together to create a fire. However, no matter how easy it seems to be on film, I assure you it takes a lot more work, patience, and luck than we like to think.

One of the best ways you can prepare for survival is to practice starting your own fire. That way, if for whatever reason you’re without modern fire starting supplies (or they don’t work), you’ll still be able to get warm,  boil water, and cook survival food.

Here’s a video explaining the process:

Survival Myth #11 – Rub Frostbitten Skin

No matter what you’ve heard, DO NOT rub frostbitten skin with your skin, clothing, snow, or anything else. By rubbing the skin you are causing further damage to your skin.

Instead, cover the area and try to keep it as warm as possible. Seek shelter and warmth immediately, and alert medical attention (if at all possible) if the victim has hypothermia.

If the area is going to refreeze, don’t thaw it right away; otherwise, you’ll be doing further damage to the skin. Keep it covered and warm as long as possible.

Once you’re inside (and will be there the rest of the night), soak the area in very warm (but not hot) water for 15-20 minutes. Do NOT apply the skin to direct heat (such as to a stove, fireplace, heating pad, etc.) for this may cause the skin to burn.

You should feel the skin tingling and burning – this means bloodflow is returning to the area (a very good sign).

Take pain meds to reduce inflammation, and avoid using the frostbitten area as much as possible. You don’t want to do further damage to the skin.

Survival Myth #12 – Moss Always Grows On The North Side

This is a common survival myth, and one I remember learning in Boy Scouts. However, this isn’t always the case. Although a general rule, moss can also grow on opposite sides of the tree if it’s shaded or close by water.

My advice? Carry lots of directional devices with you (such as compasses and maps of the area) so you aren’t depending on moss to save you.

Survival Myth #13 – Eat The Snow

It might seem like common sense to just start eating all the snow you can get your hands on once your water supply runs out; however, this isn’t as great an idea as you might think.

First off, there can still be a good amount of debris and bacteria in the snow, depending on where you got it. This can be harmful to your stomach, and can cause you to become ill.

Second, consuming ice-cold snow will drop your internal body temperature, making you a lot colder in a hurry. And if it’s cold enough for there to be snow on the ground, I’m betting you don’t want to be freezing while gathering your new water supply.

Instead, I’d suggest collecting a bunch of snow and boiling it to remove the bacteria and ensure it’s 100% safe to drink. Then let it cool down and drink away. It might take longer, but your body will thank you.

If you and your traveling buddy need a compact, convenient way to boil water (and cook survival food) I highly recommend our 2-person mess kit featured below:

survival myths

Survival Myth #14 – Tourniquets Are The Best Way To Stop Bleeding

Tourniquets seem to be popular in medical emergencies (at least in the media). However, these can be extremely dangerous, as they can damage blood vessels and kill skin tissue. If done improperly, they can even make it so that amputation is needed (ESPECIALLY if you use this survival tool to do it with).

I would advise you to do your research and try to stop the bleeding in a safer way and use tourniquets only as a last resort.

To avoid putting yourself or your partner at risk, we recommend using the medical supplies in these durable first-aid kits:

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Survival Myth #15 – All You Need Is Matches

I don’t understand why preppers depend on matches (or on only one type of fire starting tool for that matter). I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for matches, especially the weatherproof ones.

However, even these have pitfalls; for example, you could accidentally break them, you could lose them, and you can run out of them. And if these are the only ways you know of to start a fire, you’ll be seriously regretting not preparing (which is why I recommend watching the video in #10).

As such, I highly suggest bringing a multitude of fire starting survival tools, such as rechargeable lighters, flint strikers and weatherproof matches.

Along with that, I suggest always having a few different types of tinder with you. I’ve included my favorite of each of these below. Click on the images to add them to your bug out bag or camping gear now!


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Now I recognize there are way more than 15 survival myths out there that need to be debunked; you can see a bunch more in this informative video.


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