How Would You Fare In The Wild?
Test your wilderness survival IQ with this survival challenge quiz:
1. What is a safe minimum group size for a multi-day backcountry hike
a) 2 b) 3 c) 4 d) 5
2. On the trail, are thirst and appetite good indicators for how much you should drink and eat?
3. The night is clear and cold. Where will your campsite be the warmest? a) a basin b) a nearby slope c) a nearby ridge
4. You lose most of your body heat through your: a) feet b) torso c) head
5. On a cool dry day, your hiking companion becomes weak, and has a headache. He is likely suffering from what condition?
6. You begin crossing a creek using your hiking pole. Where should your pole be placed? a) upstream from you b) in front of you c) downstream of you
7. The creek meanders left and right. Where is the current slowest? a) on the inside of the bend b) in the middle c) on the outside of the bend
8. On a damp day, your hiking companion becomes unusually tired and dizzy. These are early signs of what life threatening condition?
9. Your companion becomes thoroughly chilled. Will putting heavier cloths on him and getting him into a warm sleeping bag warm him up?
- What should you do to a sleeping bag before you put a hypothermic victim in it?
- In the mountains, you notice one or more of the following: odours become stronger, sounds carry better, birds fly lower, some flowers close up. What do these signify?
- Which is more dangerous for hikers? a) a cold, dry, calm day, or b) a moderate, wet, windy day.
- At camp, the air becomes warmer at night. What is likely to happen? a) someone will get up to pee. b) Noisy campers will stay up late c) rain is on the way.
- What does a ring around the sun indicate? a) you are wearing polarized sunglasses. b) Your contact lenses need cleaning. c) Rain within 24 hours d) Continued fair weather.
- Where is the safest place during a lightning storm? a) under a lone tree. b) near a creek. c) in timber of uniform height. d) in a flat meadow.
- A lightening storm suddenly traps your group in the open. You should: a) immediately lie flat on the ground. b) crouch low on a foam pad. c) sit on a frame pack.
- You are suddenly confronted by a black bear. Which TWO alternatives are better? a) Recognize the photo opportunity. b) Remain calm and stand your ground. c) Drop your pack and run. d) Back away slowly.
- You have been traveling across country on a bearing of 280 degrees. To retrace your route, what bearing should you take?
- If your instincts and your compass differ, which should you trust?
- If you’re lost in the wilderness, will a stream take you back to civilization?
- You’re lost in the snow, can’t build a fire, and have to spend one night in the wild. What should you do? a) keep walking all night. b) Make snow angels. c) Curl up under a tree or other sheltered spot.
- Above 10,000 feet, what can you do to prevent altitude sickness? a) climb no more than 1000 feet each day b) drink plenty of coffee c) breath into a paper bag at least twice a day.
The Answers….. No Cheating
1. Four. In an emergency, two can go for help while one stays with the victim. If two are injured, one can go for help while one stays.
2. No, exertion often suppresses thirst and appetite.
3. (b) A nearby slope cab be up to 20 degrees warmer because cold air flows downhill. A ridge is more exposed.
4. (c) About 80 percent of body heat escapes through the head.
5. Dehydration. Other symptoms: nausea, cramps, increased pulse rate.
6. (c) Downstream. You need support where the current is pushing you.
7. (a) On the inside of the bend.
9. No. Clothing and a sleeping bag help retain heat. First you must warm him up with hot food, drink, a warm friend, or a fire.
10. Warm the inside of the bag.
11. An approaching storm.
12. (b) Hikers are more at risk of hypothermia on a wet day.
13. (c) Increasing night temperatures indicate that clouds have moved in.
14. Rain is likely.
15. (c) Rain within 24 hours.
16. (c) Trees of uniform height are less of a target for lightening.
17. (b) Crouch low on a foam pad. You need insulation and minimal contact between you and the ground.
18. (b) Remain calm and still, and (d) back away slowly to reduce any threat.
19. 100 degrees. Add or subtract 180 degrees to get a reverse bearing.
20. Compass. Exception: nearby iron or steel can affect your compass reading.
21. No. Streams can often be surrounded by thick impassable vegetation, and a stream may just lead you to a remote pond or deeper into the wild.
22. (c) Find shelter under a tree and rest. “Tree wells” beneath trees offer an insulated place to rest and regain energy.
23. (a) Researchers have found that climbing at a rate of less than 1000 feet (305 meters) per day can help you better acclimate.
So, How Did You Do?
21-22 points = Wilderness Survivor. You definitely know your stuff in the backcountry. Search and Rescue is always looking for new recruits!
16-20 points = Experienced Outdoors person. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but you obviously know a thing or two about the woods. With a little first aid training, you might live to hike another day.
11-15 points = Amateur Hiker. You probably know the difference between a compass and a camp stove, but it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your wilderness safety.
6-10 points = Tenderfoot. Okay, so you’re a beginner. You have to start somewhere. You probably had a hard time fulfilling those Scout merit badges, didn’t you? Well, keep trying. And, hike with an experienced hiking partner.
0-5 points = Bear Bait. Contrary to what you might think, neither a cell phone nor a hair dryer is one of the ten essentials. Seriously though- there is hope for you. Keep reading up on backcountry information. Memorize the TEN ESSENTIALS. And quit watching so much T.V.