Test your knowledge of winter camping with this quiz


(This quiz was updated from a previous version that appeared in Scouting magazine.)


    • Most tents will not hold a cot or a heeatr. A heeatr might be dangerous. You should be fine with a warm down or synthetic sleeping bag and thermarest style air mattress. You can look them up online and they sell that at most sporting goods stores. You can also just buy the normal air mattress but they deflat throughout the night. As for a heeatr. Some times when it is really cold . I will take a foot or hand warmer or two and put them in a sock in my sleeping bag. Its like a little heeatr all night. If you are car camping and can afford to bring alot of stuff you can bring down or fleece blankets for more warmth and padding to make your tent more comfortable. Also for heat. Sometimes I will boil water and throw it into a nalgene and put that inside the tent as a little heeatr.

  1. I took the cold weather quiz, and scored only 55%. I have camped alot in winter, and am puzzled by the ones I got wrong. What are the correct answers to the quiz? A list with the correct answers to ALL of the questions would be appreciated. Would also like to have been able to print the quiz/answers.

  2. There are 17 questions listed in the magazine and 20 listed on the web site. Would also like to print the questions for my scouts to take.

  3. It would be helpful if you showed the ‘best’ answer or, better yet, why the error made was a bad choice.

    Why are the questions not in the same order as in “Scouting” magazine?


    • There’s no absolute anewsr because different styles of camping favor different criteria. If you will be mountaineering your needs are different than a sub-alpine backpacker, and both are different from a family camper. You’d get better results if you described what style of camping you’re interested in pursuing and some indication of your preferences and budget.My favorite source for researching tents and other camping gear is Campmor.com. They have a good selection including all the leading brand tent manufacturers, customer reviews and very competitive pricing. It’s also nice that they are close enough for me that I can head over and compare products in person before making a decision. REI is another good retailer for tents and outdoors gear, and they have a lot of private-labelled items that are usually at the top of their categories in terms of quality and durability.

  5. Question 1 seems a lot to carry. I would still have been ok with a -20 bag
    Question 2 why would you want the wind blowing into the hut?
    Question 7 what purpose would putting your water bottle upside down in the snow be?
    question 10 I always use leather gloves because i use snow to wash with and my hands stay warmer.

  6. I answered all twenty questions above correctly. However the grading changed some of my answers? Not a big deal, however “what happened?” Questions – 2, 7, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 19 were changed.

    Also the magazine had 17 questions and not in the order of the above questions?

    I’ll be reviewing “Cold Weather Camping” rules with our troop, therefore I would have liked to see the correct answer in addition to the reason for the correct answer and why the incorrect choices (distractors) are wrong.

  7. Okay, so why face the door into the wind? Is it because of drifting, and the windward side will not collect snow?

  8. Can you please send me a PDF of this cold weather quiz? I would like to make copies and give it to our troop for a troop exercise. Thank you

  9. A detailed explaination of the why each answer is correct would be very helpful to those of us who wish to learn from our mistakes.

    My biggest question is about the question “You are building a Quinzee hut. The wind is blowing from the north. In which direction should the door face?” I do not understand why you would face the door such that the wind would blow into the quinzee (i.e. door facing North). That sounds like it would allow snow to blow into the quinzee, and also whomever is using the quinzee would have a cold breeze blowing across them all night.

  10. I have been winter backpacking in New Hampshire for the last 40 years. I been on all the summits in the Presidentals several times in the winter in all types of weather.I don’t know where your “expert” got some of his answers but he needs to do more research before he ventures out into the winter mountains. Apparently he’s never heard of iso-butane which is a specific blend of propane & butane for winter camping. Kerosene is very hard to ignite on very cold mornings. Your sleeping bag will already be somewhat damp from night condensation (your breathing) so you need to dry it prior to stuffing it. Getting back to stoves a piece of closed cell foam insulates any stove from the snow and provides a stable base plus it packs easily. Having been involved in many rescues and searches I would take a whistle into the back country before I would take a marine smoke signal. The whistle will last longer and be heard by grounds units that are looking for you. Who takes dishes and pots and pans on a winter trip when you have cook in the bag (pouch) backpacking meals which need very little water, are light-weight, and easy to pack in and out when your finished.

    • I’m with you on the whistle and the closed foam. The marine flare is a one and done option. I wouldn’t mind having it, but not in place of a whistle. Also, I don’t want to pack in a wood board. Last, I disagree with putting your headlamp in your sleeping bag unless your bag has a small gear pouch sewn into it as many mummy bags do.
      Overall I think this was a good test that has gotten a lot of us thinking and talking.
      Thank you.

    • I don’t get it: Nowhere in this quiz have I addressed putting a heater or gasoline stove in your tent. And yes, the entrance to a Quinzee should face the wind in the event you get a snowstorm at night. If the entry is the other way and you sleep through a big snow storm the entry could be buried by a snow pile and this could be serious.. And as far as gasoline stoves are concerned, they are the only lightweight fueled stoves that work well at low temps. Yes, propane works but it’s too bulky and heavy for self-propelled travel. And butane is a joke in sub-zero weather. There are exceptions to my answers and regrettably, space prohibits noting them all. In winter, as in summer camping, there is more than one correct way of doing things. I designed this quiz for Scoutmasters, knowing that the kids they take winter camping probably won’t have the same sophisticated gear as adults. Hence, two inexpensive sleeping bags work as well as one serious winter bag. Fleece and acrylics can substitute for wool, etc. This is the same realistic philosophy used by Charles L. Sommers canoe base in their winter program. I might add that the comments of using a metal fire pan beneath a stove to keep it from sinking into the snow works only until the stove gets hot and transfers heat to the pan, which then slowly sinks out of sight. Better to use a stove base that doesn’t conduct heat–hence the suggestion to bring a small square of plywood–which everyone has at home. It is obvious to me that if the snow is too deep to dig to the ground for a fire, then build a support base on top, as stated in the quiz. And using foam under a hot stove–well, it’ll melt, that’s a certainty. Again, space prohibited addressing all bases. I did provide much more rationale with the original answers but regrettably, Scouting did not have the space to print it.

  11. The Scouting (printed) magazine states that there my be more than one correct answer per question. The online radio buttons allow only one answer. The answer key gives only one correct answer. Confusing.

    Worse, there is no author’s commentary with each correct answer. You missed your teaching opportunity!

  12. It would be nice to have all the answers to the question in the magazine. An explanation of the answers would be helpful. I don’t agree with all these answers but I don’t agree with a lot of things Cliff Jacobson recommends. I have only been involved with scouts about 30 years so I guess I am a slow learner or the information is poorly shared.

    • I agree completely with Robert’s remarks. Put the answers in the magazine and don’t make me come to your website. Some of the quiz answers are misleading, and I disagree completely with some of them (put my headlamp inside my sleeping bag?? where it will get shoved down and perhaps hard to find?? NO! I’ll keep putting it in a tent pocket near my head where I can find it in the middle of the night).

  13. Please send me a copy of the entire quiz, with answers. I was not able to get a printable copy from the website. — This is very good and important info from a very well known source. It would have been best if the entire quiz AND answers/explanations were include in the Scouting magazine.

  14. Thanks, everyone, for your excellent comments and interest in this quiz.

    We’re working to improve the quiz — by adding the answers in full at the end of the interactive quiz, and by adding a separate link to an answers-only page — so that this feature can be even more enjoyable and useful for you, our readers.

    As for a print-out PDF of this quiz: We’re working on that, too. You’ll be the first to know as soon as it’s available.

    We’re still perfecting our online quizzes here on Scoutingmagazine.org, so the feedback is extremely valuable. Keep your thoughts coming! Let us know how we can improve, and we’ll do our best to deliver.


    Gretchen Sparling

    • I disagree to an extent with many of the “answers” as an experienced winter camper in temps as cold as minus 40F For example while the heating value of butane may drop with the temperature- propane can be totally ineffective at in very cold conditions. No leader in their right mind would tell Scouts to put (cold, snowy, wet) boots in their sleeping bag. Far better to remove liners (if equipped) spread boots open to air out in the tent or shelter. A the thermal efficiency of a water bottle is negligible in comparing the material options. Far better to have an aluminum or stainless steel bottle that can be warmed over a fire if needed. No disrespect intended but there are many ways to skin a cat… in fact you can turn them inside out to make dandy mittens.

    • I wouldn’t put my sleeping bag in a stuff sack right away after sleeping in it unless I was headed for home and not planning on sleeping in it that night. At the min. leave laid out flat in tent. At Philmont I have everyone pull bag and ground pad out of tent if not raining to air out and pack as a last item. Also suggest wearing a poly PJ and air out during a stop that day, weather permitting.

    • I disagree with the answer on Q18. Thats the traditional approach to warming a hypothermic patient, but NOLS (the National Outdoor Leadership School) teaches that having a person in the bag with them actually adds very little heat, and its tough to fit in there! They reccomend getting off the wet clothes, and placing in a “hypothermia wrap”-in a sleeping bag w pad underneath, wrapped in another bag, and then wrapped in a windproof tarp; if the person is alert enough to swallow, give warm soup; if not-place in the hypothermia wrap w hot water bottles (insulated) or hot packs at the hands(over the chest), feet, armpits, groin, and neck

      • Remember that NOLS is coming from a liability and modern medical paradigm that deals in triage and minimizing risk. Acute hypothermia and Chronic Hypothermia are treated the same way in this aprticular school of thought because procedures need to fit the most likely scenarios. We share hypo-wraps as one of many options based on the specifics of the situation. Evacuation being necessary, sure, but evac isn’t always necessary (politically incorrect perhaps, but certainly not necessary).

      • Advanced care paramedic and Wilderness EMT here. Placing someone in a sleeping bag with someone who is hypothermic is not only difficult, it is dangerous for the “heat donor”. The thermal wraping (aka “burrito”) with hot packs on the thorax, the groin, the neck and under the armpit is THE recomendation for treating hypothermic patients. It is supported by science and research. There are valid studies that back-up this procedure.

    • Best is an opinion that also aeplips to what your budget is. The best tents in the world are the handcrafted tents made by tentsmiths these run around a thousand dollars or more. If your looking at the common tents that you can find available at sporting good stores everywhere best falls into what sells the best, again in each category of mountain tents to family camping tents. The best selling tents in the world are Coleman tents. Now are these the Best tent there is in each category and of course not NO, but are they the best tent in any category Yes Family tent camping. If your looking for a mountain tent for back packing Best becomes what is lightest to carry and can withstand the high winds and severe weather. Here the competition is very big and well over 25 different tent makers all claim best in one way or another. I again go back to what sells the most and has good reviews. REI has the Half-dome tent that is the best seller in this category with consistent reviews.The opinions you get here are obviously skewed by personal opinion some by folks that have absolutely no clue so if you want to find out for your self you need to do research of your own. One resource that has consistent information is BackPacker.com they do product reviews constantly and get peoples opinions form all over. Some major online sellers also have product reviews like REI, Gander Mountain, Campmor and the many many othersHave fun shopping

  15. Great quiz. Lots of fun and well done. There are a few questions that seem to have differing opinions from readers 🙂


  16. I strongly disagree with your answer to q4. One should never wear cotton anything in cold weather conditions. I sweat profusely in winter and cotton absorbs and retains the sweat. Then when you stop, the wind penetrates and evaporates the moisture causing hypothermia. Everyone sweats to some degree. Synthetics such as polypropylene, qualofill or even wool are much better

  17. I found the question regarding which signal gear to bring to be very funny. First of all I would never rely on a cell phone in the mountains. I rarely get coverage and in the battery will go quickly if it starts roaming. Second – I can’t imagine giving smoke signals to my scouts. A plain old whistle is dependable, light, useful day and night and cheap. For a second item (since I won’t depend on the cell phone) I suggest a red signal flag. A small plastic one can fold out to be 12 square yards and fold up to a tiny square.

  18. As a longtime ski patroller, outdoor emergency care instructor, EMT, and avid winter camper, I strongly disagree with your hypothermia answer. Putting a patent in a sleeping bag with two other people is an not an accptable treatment for hypothermia. A patent in the condition described needs urgent care. The heat transfer between two or three humans is not going to be effective at restoring body temperature.

    If urgent care is not available, placing hot water bottles in the sleeping bag would be more effective. Plastic Water bottles with warm water placed in the armpits, groin, and behind the knees will help… But again this is only a stop gap. Extrcation to a emergency room is what is needed.

  19. In reviewing Tenderfoot to First Class requiremetns noticed there is no requirement to look at summer versus winter clothing. It is in the Handbbok but no requirement.

    Also Handbook has a whistle as one of ten essentials, not the other items.

    Using some of these questions may want to add a segment on winter camping to Handbook. It was good stuff but nowhere in Handbook.

  20. Great Quiz, I will be encouraging everyone in the family to take this quiz. The answers were very helpful, to teach me why an answer was wrong.

  21. For 8. “A – The buried end won’t freeze.” I’m with you for the short term but if it’s below freezing (particularly well below freezing), isn’t the whole thing going to freeze eventually?

    • In general it shouldn’t since the snow will insulate it well enough (the whole point of building a snow cave or quinzee as well). I cowboy camped at our Klondike 3 years ago (it was 10 F overnight) and the one I stuck upside down in the snow had not frozen and the one I just laid beside me was frozen solid.

    • “Eventually,” yes. But over night, the water (snow) acts as an insulator. Not matter how cold the air gets, the snow won’t get colder than zero C. At the other end of the spectrum, it is similar for cooking. Even though the flame is 1000 C, the water can never go above 100 C (at sea level w/o salt, in case someone gets picky).

      • Snow can get colder than zero C. It depends on the system. If there is water present, like a saturated snow-water system, the coldest will be zero C. However, dry snow can get as cold as the ambient temperature.

  22. interesting. i am a fair weather camper and shudder to think i would deliberately set out in foul weather.
    good to know if ever the necessaty arrives.

  23. The “correct” answer to #19 is ludicrous, unless you are somewhere with very little snow. In our mountains, digging down to the ground could easily require a ten foot hole. Certainly NOT worth the time and effort, not to mention the calories burned. Perhaps a fire pan would be a better answer?

    • I’ve had the experience of digging down to the ground. Got hot and sweaty and then the surrounding snow prevented the fire from burning. Building on top of a fire pan works better, longer. We usually do without a fire for winter backcountry trips though. (South central Alaska)

  24. Nice romp in the woods in winter. Gets you thinking. Now I do have a concern with # 10 in the magazine print version, where gasoline and kerosene are listed as stove fuels. My understanding ever since getting into scouting 20+ years ago was that these fuels are never used in scouting. One encounters kerosene in the general outdoor experience amongst older folks. But… gasoline. Never. My 2 cents.

      • Well . . . . Ed is right Clint, white gas is gasoline. It is a more refined (higher/better distilled) gasoline with no additives. It used be what was used in cars many years ago before lead and othe additives were put in.

        The Boy Scout site (as do most people) associates white gas with Coleman fuel, and in fact your link says: “Recommended chemical fuels—White gas (Coleman fuel); kerosene; . . .” Coleman fuel formulated to replace white gas as white gas was outmoded by leaded gas. It is actually around 48% petrolium distillate (white gas) and about 48% naptha, with a couple percent of toluene and xylene for good measure. This is done to reduce the flash point and make it a safer fuel to handle.

  25. I was disappointed at how impractical some of the “correct answers” were.
    e.g. Any bag big enough to have room for a pair of boots is too big for a winter bag.
    i.e. There’s no way my boots are going to fit in my mummy bag with me.

  26. Many questions pose 4 answers, none of which are what I would do if I had a free choice. the choice for sleeping gear in Q 1. I would (and do) use a 15 degree bag with a big agnes air mattress with a primaloft layer. I also take a poly pro liner. Even a plain air mattress offers fair insulation contrary to the answer given. Also, two mummy bags don’t fit inside each other without compressing which defies the intention of getting loft. Why give 4 answers that do not include even better possibilities? If you want us to think about basic principles, ask about the principles, don’t give supposed example questions that may be misleading or ambiguous or the answers are unlikely to be what one is really faced with. Also, some questions pose the answer as “which is best,” and then one of the answers is “all of the above are acceptable,” which could be true but does not answer the question!!! What is a test taker to do in that situation? I am not a professional survey person but have done research and given considerable thought to the problems of surveys would be happy to lend a hand in helping to design a questionaire if you would like. Ambiguity and unintended possibilities for different opinions are the big bugaboos of surveys and research. They are very hard for the creator of a survey to notice as he knows the answer and thinking he is looking for and cannot easily get outside the mindset.

  27. I would be very concerned about winter camping with the person who wrote this quiz. It does not reflect reality of cold weather survival. I lived in Alaska for thirteen years and have gone on dozens of winter camping trips in weather ranging down to minus 40 degrees, have had to set up camp during a blizzard on two occasions, worked as a paramedic in the Arctic Circle, and had several brushes with life threatening, extreme weather situations to teach me more than any book ever would. In addition, I was a member of an Oregon based SAR team for several years. Below are some brief ideas to consider:
    #7 Keep all of your gear in the tent/hut at night. It only takes one good storm to blow away or cover your items.
    #8 and 13 Keep your boots inside the hut to keep them from filling with snow, and put the liners in the foot of your sleeping bag next to your liter of bottled water. This keeps them warm and readily available. A heavy snow can hide buried water, and it will freeze if the ambient temperature is cold enough. In addition, who wants to get up and go looking for water in the cold and dark of night?
    #10 In severely cold weather propane does not flow well. I have used butane lighters in all weather conditions. White gas is the best I have found. Also…Kerosene gels up in cold weather; keep grandpa’s stove at home.
    #11 In the snow, use snow as a scrubber for dishes. No scraper, gloves, or anything else is needed. So much more energy is used up when camping in the cold. Don’t waste precious energy bringing extra clutter. Extreme weather camping is more about survival than convenience of comfort items. Be conservative in packing.
    #12 As the adage goes: Cotton kills, wool is warm when wet. Bring ample fleece for layering with Polypro type wicking underwear and a good shell.
    #14 An aluminum plate turned upside down on packed snow is a good solid base that will hold a stove upright. I guess if a person was snow camping out of a car then plywood would make sense. But is that really camping? See note on # 10 for packing concepts.
    #16 Orange smoke is only visible during the day, and may run out before being noticed. A small LED flashlight with strobe effect and a signal mirror are a much better bet. One may argue that the flashlight will eventually run low on batteries, but it will last a lot longer than a smoke product.
    Bringing along a few extra AAA batteries is a good idea, and will not add much weight.
    A person may also argue that the mirror will not work well in inclement weather, but aircraft will not fly in that weather, and thus smoke is far less effective.
    #18 Warm sugary liquids will help energize a cold person who has used up substantial energy stores to warm themselves. Removing wet clothing is necessary, but should be done carefully, as a person in advanced hypothermia can develop life threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Warm packs applied to the neck, groin, and armpits with the patient in a warm sleeping bags will help the patient until definitive medical care can be obtained. Using other people for warming may be romantic, but most sleeping bags only accommodate one person, and there is no reason to have two or three people with hypothermia. If no heat packs, or bottles are available, put the person in sleeping bag which is opened toward a fire. Re-heat the person slowly, otherwise shock can ensue.
    #19 Placing green branches side-by-side on the ground is a good base for a fire. Digging down to the ground can be unpractical and energy sapping.
    #20 Putting a headlamp in a sleeping bag may keep it warm, but that is not necessary. Start the trip with fresh batteries and keep in in a tent pocket in easy reach. No reason to complicate a simple task.
    There is so much more I could say, but my chief advice is to bring along a person who has significant experience in snow camping. Additionally, I would advise learning how to set up your four-season tent with a blindfold on; it may save your life in a blizzard, or in the event of lighting failure.
    Happy Trails!

    • Experience teaches skills learned in a book. I thought the skills taught from the quiz could be a good start for a winter camper. I would hope you would start by camping by the car in winter to learn. Winter camping is abou survival as I have been in Alaska as well. Very insightful Chris thank you.

    • Thank you! I have many years winter camping in sub- zero temperatures. As I read the answers to the quiz, I started to think that I had gone senile. You confirmed what I have been practicing for all those years. Hopefully, your reply has taught something to the readers.

    • Thanks Chris, I took the test and when I saw my results I was shocked. Then I read your post and answers with explanations I realized I no longer feel bad, because you used same logic. Thanks for your experiences and knowledge of real winter camping.

  28. Q18 Same as NOLS and EMT/Ski-Patrol comments. I’ve had to treat soldiers who fell in cold water during winter with no evacuation possible for 2-4 hours. Be ready to cut off wet clothes, individuals may be so cold they can hardly move. Also recommend you carry a thermos with hot water and a couple of first aid heat packs (per patrol first aid kit if you’re a scout unit that is winter camping) to start the reheating immediatley. It will take ~10 minutes to get enough water from stoves to do this.

  29. Granted, I’m not a hardcore winter camper and only took the quiz for fun, but with all that paraphernalia actually in my sleeping bag (and the crazy headlamp on my head all night), how am I supposed to get any sleep?

  30. A heater in most tents is a FIRE Hazard. Get your self a slneipeg bag rated at 25-40 degrees and get you some long johns.You can purchase cots, mattress pads, and inflatable mattresses for comfort. Sleeping on the ground will only increase your chances of getting cold because the ground does not hold in heat. So getting something to sleep on is a must if you do not like or cannot stand to get cold.

  31. wow, sorry but that’s kind of sad,a heater? in a tent? in the midlde of the woods? really?a cot I might be able to understand if I were really an inside person,if you really need to ask about this kind of thing I suggest you make an excuseto get out of it

  32. I am sorry, but I have to seriously disagree with a number of the “correct” answers given to this quiz. I grew up scouting and hunting in Minnesota and did plenty of winter camping, not to mention completion of military winter survival schools, etc. Some comments have been made; why door facing into the wind, whistle over flare, stoves inside a tent or snow cave in winter? Your asking for asphyxiation. Bring the water in the tent. It most likely won’t freeze at all! Disagree with head light in your bed; you’ll wake up with a broken headlamp. Digging down to the ground for fire makes sense in inches of snow, but in feet. On Mt. Hood you would have a fire in a 12 foot hole!

  33. Ok so i do search and rescue and do just about all of my camping in the snow and i dont follow a lot of the answers in this quiz. t make no since at all please give us some reasons.

  34. As a novice camper, I found the quiz informative as much from the variety of comments from readers who disagree with some of the answers as the quiz itself. I was surprised, however, not to see any comments about questions #10 and #14 being, perhaps, trick questions. Both refer to gasoline stoves. The Guide To Safe Scouting lists gasoline under the Not Recommended category.

  35. My comments are for my experiences in cold weather operations. When the temperature got down to zero F, many times I would say and do…sleep out in the woods for that night. The best situation is a hemlock bough bed, but the problem with that is that it takes over an hour to cut enough boughs to make it thick enough and from a conservation viewpoint, pretty wasteful. Still, the few I made were luxurious with a very pleasant odor to boot. One time I decided to test sleeping out in very cold weather but was not totally equipped to do so. At this time it was just a quick sleep out using a shorty air mattress with a Duluth pack under my feet (boots in the pack) and two down sleeping bags. One had to watch the top part of the body or feet compressing the thickness of the bag insulation. Yes, I also wore a plain old hoodie and cotton sweat pants with scarf and wool cap. Throughout the night I was warm and comfortable. In the morning my boots were, however, so cold that by the time I got to a restaurant for breakfast, my feet were so cold that I had to warm my feet 30 minutes by the radiator. The lady near my rest said it was 25 below zero F that night.

    I did take my explorer crew for a 5-day winter hike in the Worlds End area in Pennsylvania where we never set foot in a man-made structure in that time period. For cooking meals we never cleaned dishes conventionally. Instead, after cooking the main course, we heated water for tea in the pots which cleaned the pots admirably and our cups as well (we used only cups for eating all food and drink). When we got home, we did have to clean up the rim of food at the tops of the pots which never got entirely cleaned up with the hot water course of the meal.

    For meals, and this is a good comment, we found that one should never make a big deal for breakfast. When one gets up the heart is beating so slowly that the body does not warm quickly. The first morning we got very cold before we finished breakfast and started to pace back and forth to get warm… took us 30 minutes. Then we finished breakfast in about 10 minutes and were off on the trail. One needs to have maybe pre-made breakfast or minimally cooking and get out on the trail quickly. Then for lunch one can have a fancy meal.
    The worst night we had was 35 degrees F and raining. Since we hadn’t planned on having the temperatures above freezing, we hadn’t brought any tents and used tarps (maybe we didn’t have even individual tarps…I don’t remember as that was 50 years ago) for snow cover. We did have a 10×10 tarp. We all found out how sardines feel like as we had 7 bodies under that tarp! The next night it was way colder, maybe 10 degrees and all were comfortable.

    Please note that I had the kids do several nights sleeping out prior to the trip for training.

    These early training activities have proven useful in my current work in coaching kids from 10 on up to be quality whitewater slalom paddlers. We train at the Sunnyside Paddling Park in Bellefonte, PA 11 months or more each year. Note that we have a heated dressing area next to the slalom training spot and the training takes place at one spot and not on a river cruise. The river cruise would require much more preparations. So we are getting wet at temperatures in the 30s and even in the 20s. We use acrylic sweaters and paddle jackets (wet suits are too stiff and dry suits too cumbersome and expensive) as well as hand mits. I tell the kids to run up the hill to get their heart beating before getting into their kayak since it is very difficult to warm up by even vigorous paddling if one gets cold. Keep in mind that the lower body under the spray skirt is probably 20 degrees warmer than the exposed body.
    then by June it gets warmer again. Ahhhhhh.

  36. i’ve lived, and survived, obviously, living in a tent at 10,500 ft. in the Colorado Rockies….in the winter.

  37. 18 What’s the best way to treat an advanced case of hypothermia (victim is disoriented and shivering)?
    quickly place the victim beside a roaring fire

    remove wet clothes, except underwear, then place the victim in a sleeping bag between two people

    i use to think the same thing! but in all actually this is can put multiple people at risk of get you killed! one or more person gets in with them it puts them in HI risk of getting hypothermia too! and there may be no one to help the the other person(s) get wormed up. one you get so cold you lose motter control. and will NOT be able to help out!
    the best solution is to get them out of any wet clothing and in a sleeping bag. place a 2 drum plastic liners bag over the sleeping bag. then stuff the middle of the two drum liners with insulating material ever green branches, leaves…. and get food into the person they need calories to help produce heat.

  38. i don’t know who came up with these answers but i think they might not make it out of the woods. my personal experiance winter camping has prooved alot of the answers wrong. also the questions are kinda set up to make you get the answer wrong. like the all of the above questions. one would be the grounfd cloth question. yes it seems to make sense to put your ground cloth under your tent. but if you have to ditch you tent do to heavy snow and it is too much weight in your pack. who wants to sleep on a muddy frozen ground cover??? trust me on this one. it sucks. another trick question was the washing dishes one. i would find a sponge the most useful. rubber gloves camping??? who takes that kinda weight with them. wash your dishes next to the dang fire. in a real winter camping situation you don’t want to expend tons of energy. you want to save your energy as much as possible for your body to put up with the cold. just like the fire building on the snow. who is gonna waste their time and energy digging down through 3 ft of snow?? i can say that had i used the advice given here i never would have made it out of devils gate wilderness in the blizzard of 2003 . maybe this advice works best if you drive up in a truck. i will stick to what has proven to be successful for me. good luck to anyone who takes this seriously.

    • Not sure what you mean about the ground cover. Are you saying that you’d go without one? OK, if you like sleeping in water. The rubber gloves vs. sponge. You’re winter camping, you use snow as a cleanser/sponge/scrub brush. The gloves are to keep the wind chill off your hands while you do it. I’ll agree with you on the fire. Most times in the winter, the wood won’t get wet and put out the fire. I’ve built many a fire on top of 5 ft of snow and not had a problem. But, this is Scouting, so…

  39. Whatever. There are lots of ways to do things, what’s important is that you learn about the environment you’re going to camp in (and about your self and your gear options) so that you can figure out what actions will get you the best results according to the specific conditions you’re in.

    Plus, yes, this test would be way better with more explanation. What are they trying to do, teach people how to be safe and comfortable on a trip, or just tell them how incompetent they are?

  40. 3. Down cannot be kept dry in winter camping in Ohio. The body constantly perspires in an effort to achieve 100% relative humidity against the skin.. In Winter camping here, the resulting warm moist air migrates outwards until it reaches Dew Point. Typically, that is on the outside of the bag, but in severe cold is inside the shell. In either case, down absorbs moisture. Ergo, answer D is incorrect here. Perhaps correct in southern California.

    15. See material above. Here, the bag is very likely to be wet. Stuffing distributes the moisture throughout the bag.

    17. Plastic is less likely to have the water freeze but, if frozen, must be soaked in hot water to restore functionality.

    18. Place him in “a sleeping bag” between two others. Where do I find such a bag? I mean some of our dads are big, but even so . . . . ^___^

    • In Reply to:
      #3 Actually, it’s not the dew point, but the freezing line that is important here. In a freezing condition, the moisture will build up as ice equally in all 3 fills. That ice never thaws. You carry it with you during the entire trek. In the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, typically 14″ synthetic fill bags are used. Their finishing weight is about 22 pounds heavier than the beginning. This is all due to the moisture gain during sleeping. Fill is used, instead of down, primarily because that is not as much weight and size constraint as if they had to carry the bag in their backpack. For winter back country treks, down is still the best–just keep it dry!

      #15 Hanging any kind of fill bag in freezing temperature will do nothing to improve the moisture condition. Only the surface covering of the bag , if in direct sun, will have any sublimation. Inexperienced youth “hanging their bags from branches or cords” only expose those bags to more wetness, when they drop them. BAD IDEA!

      #17 Forget the “soaking in hot water” stuff. Keep Scouts away from dunking things in hot water, most tend to splash. Plus it’s a waste of fuel. Remember, you unless car camping, you have to carry that fuel on your back. Simply setting a frozen or partially frozen bottle near the stove while cooking, will do.

      #18 Two bags are best totally opened with one bag on top the other on the bottom of all three–used as blankets. All three people should be fully dressed. More heat will be lost without clothes that with, not to mention the privacy issues. Delay in heat transfer through a layer of clothing in close contact with a hypothermic person is negligible as compared with skin on skin contact.

  41. I am a VERY experienced winter camper. During my son’s scout years (including his Cub years) we typically camped no less than 30m nights in the snow. Most of this camping was in the back country during skiing treks.

    There are 10 of the 20 answers that are wrong! 8 of them are ABSOLUTELY WRONG UNDER ANY CONDITION! The other 2 are only correct if you are “car camping”.

    This test is leading untrained people into a bad situation.

  42. Some of these question are wrong when you are hiking in the winter you should still bundle up because the weather might drop even if it is warm out. you can always take off a layer.

  43. So I saw one major failure in this test, I am a EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) aka a first responder and you NEVER put someone who is hypothermic in-between two people. One body only makes enough heat for one person therefor if you put a hypothermic victim in-between two non-hypothermic people you will create a total of three hypothermic people!

  44. It’s OK to place “water bottles” upside down in snow. A better solution is to fill a water bottle with warm water and place it inside your sleeping bag. Your quiz used the term “jug” indicating a large,multi gallon, water container. These should be emptied into metal cooking pots that can be heated on stoves or fire. If buried in snow,the cap should be on top.

8 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Answers to the cold-weather camping quiz - Scouting magazine
  2. Eight winter gear items to help keep you warm - Scouting magazine
  3. Prepper News Watch for December 18, 2012 | The Preparedness Podcast
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  5. Roundtable News | Matinecock District
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  7. Test Your Winter Camping Knowledge! | Troop 25 Pelham, New Hampshire | Chartered by First Congregational Church Pelham
  8. Winter Camping – Troop 265

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