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Top 5 Outdoor Survival Myths and Misconceptions

Posted by Nick Clement on


Top 5 Outdoor Survival Myths and Misconceptions

The internet and other media outlets are flooded with misinformation and the dramatization of outdoor survival. Imagine all the survival shows out there. Are there events truly practical for the every day outdoors person? Not really. We have been in the outdoor industry and survival business for many years. We always ask people what they think outdoor survival while some of the answers we get can be a bit interesting but prove that there is a lot of misconceptions out there regarding outdoor survival. The following is our list of top survival misconceptions we hear from people we have spoken with over the years.

  1. I don't need a survival kit

  2. I need to put food in my survival kit

  3. Protecting myself from animals that could eat me is a top survival priority

  4. I will never get lost

  5. Primitive (bushcraft) and Tactical (military) apply to me

1. "I don't need a survival kit." We hear this a lot, almost so much that it is painful. We talk to people constantly that simply refuse to admit that they may need a survival kit at some point in their life. We have kept close track of the percentage of people we talk to that won't admit they need a survival kit. 99% of people that recreate think they do not need a survival kit. They simply think it won't happen to me. Some of the most surprising responses we have received when asked this question is: "Why would I need a survival kit? My generator is my survival kit" ... we always respond with the question, do you venture more than 200 feet from your camp? when they say "yes" our eyes always light up in disappointment. Sir, do you realize that if you hike more than 100-200 ft from your truck there is a possibility you will get lost? Not to mention what would happen to you if you and your generator got stuck on a remote mountain road in the winter, oh yea and your car rolled off the road and you think you can just hike over the hill to your friend's cabin. The confused look on their face is always entertaining but more often than not (99%) of the time, they walk away and simply won't admit. Are you part of this 99%?

2. "I need to put food in my survival kit." This one is interesting because I'm pretty sure I love food just as much as the next guy. So yes, you should bring as much food, if not more than you anticipate needing on your trip. However, you don't need to put it in your survival kit. Why not? An important rule to remember is the Rule of 3's. You can survival 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Water is one of the four survival pillars, not food. Sure, bring an extra pack of sausages or one extra freeze-dried meal, just in case just save yourself the energy and don't put it them in your survival kit. 

3. "One of the biggest threats against me is animals that could eat me." We teach a lot of inner-city youth in Denver and Colorado Springs outdoor survival. This is the number one response we get when we ask them what they think the biggest threats are in the outdoors. Here in Colorado, we do not have Brown or Grizzly Bears nor do we have wolves so the answer is a bit different depending on where you are in the world. However, generally speaking, animals are not a threat. Always keep your distance from wild animals no matter what the situation is and understand what threats you should be concerned about. These include sudden changes in weather, lightning, hypothermia and even hyperthermia which is essentially your body overheating from being too high in elevation and too hot. 

4. "I will never get lost." I know this one well because I used to say it. I used to hear people tell me this all the time, that it is easy to get lost and being from Colorado and having some experience fishing high country lakes with tall peaks around I always thought, how can you get lost with such substantial landmarks all around you. Until, one day, while trying to find a remote, unnamed, high alpine lake in the Gore Range in Eagles Nest Wilderness in Colorado we were sure we were 100% convinced we were on the path to the lake, then next thing we knew it we were above treeline and there was no lake. Where is the lake? Maybe it is an old map? There is obviously something different about the terrain compared to the map. Wait, shoot, we are lost! This wrong turn we took ended up costing us over 5 hours of fishing time as we had to hump over a ridge to find the real lake after we were able to orient ourselves. This same thing has happened to me numerous times where you think you are one place then all of the sudden it is different and you are lost. When this happens, it's late, and you need to protect yourself, keep warm and dry and avoid the risk of dying. 

5. "Primitive and tactical survival apply to me" This one is the fault of modern day media, literature, and over-dramatization of survival on broadcast television. Beware, when you search the internet for survival information. A lot of the information out there is focused on primitive and tactical survival. Bushcraft is also known as primitive and it simply should not be considered as a viable survival technique for the everyday outdoor person. Same case with tactical or military survival. TV programs portray some pretty incredible things that simply shouldn't be considered as skills to really keep you alive. For example, building a spear to acquire food is not nearly important as simply sheltering yourself immediately if you find yourself in a harsh change in weather or stuck outside lost in the woods for the night. 

How do I protect myself?

The ability to ensure you are able to protect yourself is easy once you are able to realize the importance of always having that confidence you will be able to endure an emergency situation. We like to keep this process as simple as possible. The four survival pillars include water, shelter, fire and signal. We have simple steps for you to follow on how you can be a smart survivor. Stay safe out there.

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