8 Prepper Myths That Will Get You Killed

Howdy Authorized Boots readers! Daryl here - I am happy to introduce a featured guest post by Evan of KnowPrepareSurvive.com

I’ve been a “prepper” for as long as I can remember. I was never much of a boy scout because I’m “not a team player” and “you’re not supposed to set things on fire” but I’ve always enjoyed learning bushcraft skills and preparing for different scenarios. Over time, I’ve heard quite a few fallacies, misconceptions, and outright lies circulating around the survivalism/prepper community that I would like to set straight.

1. Gear = Prepared

Sure, having a good survival knife, tactical watch, and fully stocked bug out bag makes surviving a lot easier. But if you don’t know how to use those tools, you might as well be carrying around a Beanie Baby collection.

You don’t need a $150 survival knife or a $200 tactical flashlight to be prepared as much as you need food, water, extra clothes, a lighter, etc.

I’ve written before about how you can put together a pretty decent bug out bag for basically free, just with things found around your house.

In fact, if you ever watch the Primitive Technology channel on YouTube, you’d see that you actually need much less than many “experts” suggest. That guy goes into the Australian wild with just a pair of shorts. And he basically builds a small town with rocks, mud, and leaves.

Knowledge is more important than stuff and just because you’ve got an arsenal of tactical gear doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more prepared than the wilderness guide with just a lighter and a can of beans.

2. All you need to do to make fire is rub two sticks together

This one is probably more for beginners but I’ve heard some “serious” preppers listing this as their primary firestarting method too.

Sure, you can start a friction fire with sticks. But it's not going to be easy or quick and you can ruin your hands and burn a lot of essential calories in the meantime.

Friction fires should not be your first choice for firestarting if you have other options.

Here's a video on how to make a fire by rubbing sticks.

Read our resource on survival tips for more advice - Authorized Boots

And if you are planning on using this technique, know that it will take a while, that it will likely blister your hands, and that you will probably be tired and frustrated by the end.

3. You should find food first

If you're familiar with the Rules of 3s, you know that the average human can survive up to 3 weeks without food. So why is it that so many “experts” start setting up traps or foraging for berries as soon as they get out in the woods?

It's a better idea to spend that time building a survival shelter or finding a clean source of water.

Speaking of clean sources of water…

4. You can drink your own urine if you run out of water

Sometimes I think Bear Grylls does more harm than good.

Yes, we've all seen that fool drink his own urine. But think about it. Would you eat your own feces if you ran out of food?

Of course not. Aside from the obvious reasons you wouldn't want to do that, it wouldn't provide much value because your body has already taken the nutrients from the food. Feces and urine are literally waste products i.e. what our bodies couldn't use.

While urine is 95% water, the other 5% is made up of crap that your body was trying to flush out. You know, toxins, nitrogen, calcium, etc. If you keep doing this, you risk total kidney failure.

Here's a video where Bear Grylls drinks his own urine.

“The Army Field Manual (PDF) for survival, evasion, and recovery specifically lists urine on its "DO NOT drink" list along with seawater and blood.” - Source

So drinking your own urine may help psychologically but it's not a replacement for finding water and may do more harm than good.

5. Shelter = Roof over your head

The majority of videos and articles I see about wilderness shelters only focus on building some protection against the rain and cold.

However, you shouldn't forget to protect yourself from the ground.

Not only does sleeping on the ground give you a terrible backache, it also saps your heat and leaves you vulnerable to bugs, insects, and those giant worms from Tremors.

If you have limited time or resources and it isn't raining/snowing or about to start raining/snowing, focus on getting yourself off the ground first. Set up a hammock, build a sleeping platform, or just stuff a trash bag with leaves.

6. You should always bug out in an emergency

It seems that in every disaster/post-apocalyptic movie or show, staying in your home is the worst choice possible.

This makes sense from a screenwriter's perspective. With the exception of Home Alone, it's not very interesting to just stay at home when you could be out on the streets fighting for your life.

But honestly, depending on your circumstances, your home may be the safest place possible. It's where all of your stuff is!

Your home is an environment that you can control (just like in Home Alone). You can set up home defense systems, stockpile food, weapons, and resources, and it's where you have a literal home field advantage.

Why would you want to give that up?

Now I will admit that there are several scenarios where bugging out is the best choice but that should not be your plan A. Protect your castle.

7. You should eat snow because it’s clean

Snow can be a great source of clean-ish water (depending on where you found it) but you shouldn't just stuff it in a leaf and start eating it like a snow cone.

Eating snow forces your body to work overtime to turn it into a liquid. This burns precious calories and lowers your body temperature.

In extreme cases, you can even gets frostbite on your lips which isn't good if you ever plan on whistling again.

So, if you must, put the snow into a container and heat it - either with a fire, the sun, or your body heat - until it is a liquid and safe to consume.

8. Moss only grows on the North side of trees

While there are many mosses in the Northern hemisphere that prefer the North side of trees because it gets less direct sunlight, there are a lot of other factors at play that can affect where the moss decides to grow.

Bottom line, it'll work in a pinch to give you a general direction a lot of the time but there are better ways of getting a reading.


So those are my Top 8 Most Annoying Myths I Hear From Preppers. What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments!

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