9 of the Most Popular Myths About Camping Debunked

Debunking Camping Myths and Camping Stories

True or False? Debunking The Most Popular Myths About Camping and the Outdoors

Remember those camping stories you grew up with? Did you know that some of them aren’t really true? But don’t worry- we’re debunking the most popular myths about camping so you can get the true facts about America’s favorite pastime.

It’s easy to get caught up in the old wives’ tales and urban legends that people tell us. There’s a reason campfire stories exist- because they are so enthralling that we want to believe they’re true.

However, many of these tales are just that- tales.

There are many myths out there about hiking, camping, and the outdoors that sound like they make sense. But sadly, they don’t pan out.

Here are 9 of the most popular myths about camping that you might have fallen for in the past. Sharpen your outdoors knowledge with the real camping facts.


Two campers cooking on camp stove. Debunked myths about camping and survival.

1. Water Needs to be Boiled for 10 Minutes to Sterilize

This is false.

While boiling water is the most effective method for removing any contamination from your water, it doesn’t have to be 10 minutes.

According to the CDC, water needs to be boiled for 1 minute in order to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, as well as other viruses such as norovirus.

In addition to boiling, there are some products on the market right now that can help you decontaminate water. For example, we recommended the LifeStraw filtration system in our list of 11 cool camping gadgets under $100.


Debunked myths about the outdoors and hiking.

2. Sucking on a Stone Keeps You Hydrated

This myth is also false.

You’ve probably heard this old survival hack: if you become dehydrated, pick up a stone or pebble and suck on it. Some have recommended using a button if a pebble isn’t available.

This trick does help your mouth create more saliva and keep it less dry, which helps your mouth feel less parched.

However, you’re not going to magically get water out of the stone. Additionally, the saliva is coming from what’s already in your body, so you’re not actually adding anything to the mix.


3. You Can’t Make a Campfire When It’s Raining

Another false myth.

With the right technique, you can still enjoy a campfire in the rain. Part of the fun of camping is leaving things up to the elements.

So if you’re experiencing a rainy day on your camping trip, you don’t need to call it quits for the night.

Watch this video to learn how to do it right. 


4. Hanging Your Food Prevents Bears From Getting it

This is true.

However, you can’t just hang your food in a tree and be done with it. Bears can climb.

What you really need is a bear-proof box, or bear canister. Hanging that from a tree, at least 10 feet high if possible, is a safer way to store anything that would attract bears.

This keeps your food up off the ground, which makes them less likely to see or smell it, at least from far away.


RV in the mountains. Debunking common myths that people only camp when it's warm.

5. Camping is Only a Summer Activity

Now, this is definitely false, and many of us experienced campers already know this. In fact, many of us regularly enjoy winter camping trips every year.

Yes, camping is more common in the summer because of the nicer weather. You will also need alternate equipment designed for the colder elements.

However, there are many advantages of camping in the winter: there are less bugs, less people on the campground, and you can enjoy some super fun activities like snowmobiling and skiing.


People around a campfire. Important camping information for camping and RVing trips.

6. Campfire Smoke Follows You

This is another true myth.

If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, which most of us have, you’ve probably noticed that the campfire smoke seems to be following you around. It feels like this because it’s true!

When you stand or sit in front of a campfire, you block airflow and create an area for the heat to escape the fire. And when heat escapes, the smoke follows because it’s attempting to fill a low-pressure point.

So how do you get the smoke to stop following you? The best bet is to just sit further back than someone else.


Cannister for hiking. Debunking common myths about hiking and survival.

7. Drinking Urine Helps You Stay Hydrated in an Emergency

You might have heard this in those old camping tales or seen it on survival TV shows.

However, this myth is false.

In fact, if you’re considering drinking urine to stay hydrated, that means you are desperately dehydrated. That means there’s going to be nothing in there that will help you. And the more you keep drinking it and circulating it through your body, the more concentrated it gets, which can lead to internal damage.

There’s actually quite a bit of sodium in your urine, which will only make you thirstier faster.


Administering first aid while hiking. Camping information to help with bug bites.

8. Scratching Bug Bites Makes Them Worse

Rest assured, this is another true myth.

The more you scratch a bug bite, the more you’re just spreading around the inflammatory residue the bug left. This triggers your skin to feel even more itchy.

More scratching= more itching.

A better solution is to keep creams or lotions in your camping first aid kit and use those when the pests start to bother you. This helps to control the itchy area and soothe it instead of spreading it around.


Leave No Trace Camping Rules. Camping information to protect the environment.

9. You Can Burn all Your Garbage in the Campfire


It’s very much against campground etiquette to throw all of your trash in your fire pit.

Burning household items, like paper plates, emits toxins in the smoke that could harm the environment around you. Additionally, you could endanger your lungs.

Some items, like aluminum cans, won’t actually burn, and you’ll only end up with a pile of leftover items to throw away anyway.


Family camping in the woods. These camping tales reveal many myths.

Now That You Have the Facts, Book Your Next Campsite Now

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Choose from thousands of campgrounds in North America and pick the one that’s perfect for you. It’s that simple.

You just learned a bunch of facts about camping, so put this newfound knowledge to the test.

Visit the website or download the app to get ready for your next adventure!

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This entry was posted in Camping, Hiking, Outdoors.