Survival myths can destroy your chance to survive.

If I had a dime for every survival tactic I’ve heard, I’d be rich. And the fact is, most of the survival strategies I’ve heard are either useless or just plain wrong. Some survival myths are so wrong, in fact, that if you follow their advice, they could actually make you sick or even kill you.

If you’re ever lost in the wilderness and need to depend on your wits to survive, you need some sound advice to pick up where your wits end. You’ll probably also need some water and shelter before too long. What you don’t need are survival myths that pop into your head and seem convincing. And remember that the first priority for the producers of survival reality TV shows is to entertain so that they can get good ratings, not to inform.

So, it’s best to learn what those survival myths are now so that you’ll know to avoid them when the time comes. Here are three of them:

• The top priority is finding food. Nope. Your top two priorities should be finding water and finding shelter. You can go several weeks without food if you absolutely have to, but dehydration and hypothermia can kill you pretty quickly. Editor’s note: check out Water4Patriots for our top choice of personal water filtration.

• Field guides will tell you what’s OK to eat. The problem here is that when people get hungry, they tend to make the field guide description fit what they see in front of them, and then eat it. Again, food isn’t as necessary as it may seem, so don’t take the risk.

• A roof over your head is enough. A shelter with a roof is important to protect you from the elements, but you also need something to protect yourself from the cold ground. Find materials to construct bedding first, then worry about a roof. Otherwise, you could freeze to death.

What other survival myths have you heard that have little connection with reality? Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? If so, what have you focused on in order to survive? I’d love to hear from you about this important subject.

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