Bear cub in a tree
(Photo: CarlaMc/iStock/Getty)

Myths, Busted: Debunking the 58 Biggest Falsehoods in Hiking

There's a lot of outdoor misinformation out there, and we're on a quest to quash it

Bear cub in a tree

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

This article was first published by

A myth isn’t a lie, exactly: We’re betting that the people who confidently told us growing up that moss always grows on the north side of the tree, that bear bells attract bears, or that tourniquets do more harm than good really believed that. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. From nature to survival to first aid, there’s a lot of misinformation out there that’s gotten so thoroughly embedded in outdoor culture that it’s tough to disentangle it from the good advice.

Backpacker’s on a mission to to debunk it. Over the past decade, we’ve written a lot about the most pernicious misconceptions in the outdoors. Here, we collect some of our most essential writing on them. Read it, and shed those old myths like an overloaded pack.

The Top 13 Hiking Myths

“Good luck navigating by moss here. (Photo by Nicolas Raymond/Flickr)”

Not everything you learned about nature is true. Go ahead and forget these eight misconceptions. Want more? We rounded up five more myths that have wormed their way into hiking discourse.

Survival Myths

(Photo: wwing/E+ via Getty Images)

When it comes to wilderness survival, there’s a lot of advice out there on making it out alive. But not all of it is good advice. These common survival myths have wormed their way into the public consciousness, but it’s time to set the record straight.

Tick Myths

A tick on a blade of grass (Photo: DieterMeyrl via Getty)

Think they perish in winter? Not a chance. We break down the truth about these creepy, crawling, bloodsucking arachnids.

Wilderness Medicine Myths

For people with severe allergies, epinephrine saves lives. (Photo: Daniel Grill/Tetra Images via Getty)

There’s a lot of first aid advice out there, and take it from a doctor: Not all of it is good.

Hiking Nutrition Myths

cooking eggs
Man making fried eggs with portable gas burner near camping tent, closeup. Man cooking breakfast in front of the tent in the morning camping holiday. (Photo: Anastasiia Krivenok / Moment via Getty)

When you’re getting ready for a hike, do you shop for energy bars and fill your hydration pack with water? Even for experts, it can be hard to tell the good nutritional advice from the bad.

Bear Myths

A brown bear (Photo: Js Photography / Moment via Getty)

Should you climb a tree to get away from a bruin? Do bear bells really attract bears? We tackle these questions and more.

Hiking Fitness Myths

"fitness myths"

Trying to get in shape for your next big effort? Ditch this workout misinformation.