Answers to ‘How Will You Fare Out There?’ quiz

Find the questions and answers for the “How Will You Fare Out There?” quiz listed below. CampingQuiz

1. Heavy rains have been predicted for your outing. To keep water from flooding your tent you should:

A) Place a plastic ground cloth under the floor. Be sure it doesn’t extend beyond the floor.
B) Place a plastic ground cloth inside your tent. Make the ground cloth a foot larger than the tent, all around.
C) Dig a shallow trench around the tent perimeter. Slope the trench so it will drain water.
D) Equip every tent with a sponge so accumulated water can be quickly removed.

Answer: B. Flowing ground water enters a tent through ground-level seams, damaged seam tape or worn fabric. An interior plastic ground cloth will keep accumulated water away from your sleeping gear. Make your ground cloth a foot larger (all-round) than the floor of your tent so it “flows” up the sidewalls a bit. Water that enters your tent will be trapped between the plastic “bathtub” and tent floor — and you’ll stay dry. Four-millimeter thick plastic sheeting (available at hardware stores) makes a good ground cloth.

2. Which of these would not be a good fire starter?

A) Dead, pencil-thin sticks from the base of an evergreen tree
B) Splittings from a dead evergreen stump
C) Green cedar (cedar oil) foliage
D) Resin from the trunk of a balsam fir or spruce tree
E) Newspaper

Answer: C. Green cedar foliage burns poorly. However, E is also a correct answer if the newspaper is damp or if you’re camping in humid weather and using newspaper as a starter.

3. Which knots/hitches are best used to rig a tent, rain tarp or clothesline?

A) Square knot, sheet bend and timber hitch
B) Trucker’s hitch, half hitches and sheet bend
C) Bowline, overhand knot, Prusik knot
D) Clove hitch, taut-line hitch, bowline

Answer: B.The trucker’s hitch (power cinch) is faster to tie and more powerful than the taut-line hitch. It is also easier to secure around a tree or pole, and unlike the taut-line, it won’t slip under load. The Prusik knot (loop) is sometimes useful when pitching tarps.

4. Knots used to rig tents and tarps should always be completed with:

A) An S knot
B) Two half hitches
C) A stopper knot
D) A slippery (quick release) loop

Answer: D. Knots used for rigging tents and tarps should end with a slippery (quick release) loop so you can get them out quickly, with a single pull.

5. Boots should be sized so you can wear two pairs of socks — one thick pair and one thin pair. Socks should be wool or synthetic, but not cotton. You should:

A) Wear the thin pair inside out next to your skin. Then put on the thick pair.
B) Same as above but wear both socks right side out.
C) Put on the heavy socks first, inside out. Then put on the lighter socks.
D) It doesn’t matter how you wear your socks.

Answer: A. Blisters are less likely if you wear the liner socks inside out. This will keep abrasive seams away from your skin. Heavy socks should always be worn over lighter socks.

6. Your campsite is on a slight incline. You’ll have to level your bed with spare clothes to sleep comfortably. The best way to pitch your tent is:

A) With the head end facing uphill
B) With the foot end facing uphill
C) Sideways to the hill
D) It doesn’t matter as long as you have a nice thick sleeping mat.

Answer: C. Pitch your tent across the incline and level your bed by placing spare clothes under the downhill side of your sleeping pad. You’ll sleep in a slight trough, on the level. If you pitch your tent head-high and stack spare clothes under your legs (so you won’t slide downhill), you’ll create a “hammock” position that may cause back pain.

7. It is a beautiful sunny day. High in the sky you see wispy cirrus clouds (horse tails). This indicates:

A) The nice weather will continue for several days.
B) A long, slow rain will probably begin within 24 hours.
C) A short, heavy rain will begin in a day or two.
D) You will soon experience high winds but no rain.

Answer: B. High cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals thrown skyward by an approaching warm front. Rain is likely to begin within a day or two, and it could last for several days.

8. It’s early morning and the mosquitoes are biting more than usual. Around noon, they stop biting. What gives?

A) It will rain soon.
B) High winds are approaching (mosquitoes don’t fly well in wind) but no rain.
C) A new hatch of mosquitoes has just become mature.
D) They are simply done feeding.

Answer: A. The low pressure of an advancing storm encourages insects to stock up on food before it rains.

9. You are going backpacking on a well-maintained trail. You should arrange things in your pack so:

A) Heavier items are at the bottom of your pack
B) Lighter items are at the bottom of your pack
C) It makes no difference as long as your pack has an internal or external frame.
D) It’s best to distribute the weight uniformly throughout the pack.

Answer: B. Place heavier items on top when hiking groomed trails. Put them low in the pack when bushwhacking.

10. You have observed a black bear near your camp. Fortunately, you have a can of cayenne pepper spray. What should you do?

A) Spray the door of your tent and your food packs to keep the bear away.
B) Spray the bear if he comes into camp.
C) If the bear chases you, climb a tree and spray the bear from up in the tree.
D) Throw rocks at any bear that comes into your camp.

Answer: B. NEVER spray tents and equipment! Bears don’t like to be sprayed with pepper, but they do like the taste of it. Pepper-sprayed items will attract bears, not repel them! Black bears climb trees better than most humans; it is best to stand your ground and spray the bear from behind a tree. Throw rocks at a bear ONLY if human life is in danger. The bear you hit may respond by attacking you.

11. You are planning to backpack along a river that has very silty water. You can carry your drinking water (one gallon per person per day), or you can draw water from the river and purify it — that is, if you can prevent the silt from clogging your filter. What should you do?

A) Don’t mess around; just carry fresh water.
B) Pre-treat the water with alum and then run it through your purifier.
C) Place the river water in buckets. The silt will settle in about an hour, and then you can purify the water.
D) Silty water cannot be safely purified.

Answer: B. Here’s the procedure: Add one heaping tablespoon of alum to two gallons of water. Stir slowly, in the same direction, for about three minutes or until you see a snowy precipitate forming. Stop stirring. Allow the precipitate to settle (about 15 minutes). The clear water on top can then be purified.

12. The best way to clean a synthetic-fill sleeping bag is to:

A) Hand or machine wash it.
B) Dry-clean it.
C) Synthetic bags can be dry-cleaned or washed.

Answer: A. Synthetic-fill sleeping bags should be hand or machine washed, never dry-cleaned.

13. What is the most effective way to purify drinking water, besides boiling the water?

A) Use a water filter.
B) Use a water filter/purifier.
C) Treat the water with halazone tablets, which release chlorine.

Answer: B. Filters (A) trap most microorganisms (but not viruses). Filter/purifiers (B) kill all bacteria and some viruses. Purifiers are more effective than filters, but they flow more slowly. Halazone (C) doesn’t work well in cold or cloudy water.

14. You are buying new rain gear and know that mosquitoes and black flies are attracted to certain colors. Which color should you avoid?

A) Bright yellow
B) Light green
C) Red
D) Navy blue

Answer: D. Navy blue is the worst color you can wear in bug country. Dark colors tend to attract more insects than light colors.

15. You are buying a new summer tent. Which feature is least important?

A) A waterproof fly that covers every seam and zipper
B) Good ventilation
C) Fast setup
D) No-see-um bug netting

Answer: D. Wide-mesh mosquito netting provides better ventilation and is easier to see through than fine-mesh no-see-um netting. If you spray netting with permethrin or repellents, no-see-ums won’t fly through. Fast setup and good ventilation are a blessing in any tent. And a waterproof fly that covers every seam and zipper ensures the tent won’t leak in heavy rains.

16. You arise early in the morning to discover your tent fly is wet from dew. The smoke from your campfire is going straight up. This suggests:

A) Today will be a beautiful sunny day.
B) There will be no wind today.
C) The temperature will slowly drop during the day.
D) It will rain today.

AnswerA. Dew indicates the temperature has already reached the dew point and there was insufficient moisture for rain. Rising smoke indicates high pressure and a nice day.

17. There is a lightning storm in progress. You count 10 seconds between the lightning flash and the boom of thunder. Roughly how far away is the lightning strike?

A) 1 mile
B) 2 miles
C) 5 miles
D) 10 miles

Answer: B. Divide the time interval by five. Your answer in miles is based upon the speed of sound, which is roughly 1,126 feet per second, or about 1 mile in five seconds.

18. You are cooking on a gasoline trail stove. Which of these is a bad practice?

A) Placing an appropriate-sized pot on the burner
B) Using unleaded automotive gasoline in your stove
C) Refueling a cold stove

Answer: B. Always use a pot that’s not oversized for the size stove you’re using. Automotive gas (B) is dirtier and possibly more volatile than refined naphtha (Coleman and Blazo fuels). Refueling a hot stove can cause an explosion, so always refuel a cold stove (C).

19. You are toasting some bread in a skillet. How can you best prevent the bread slice from sticking and burning?

A) Generously oil the skillet.
B) Make sure the skillet is completely free of oil.
C) Shake a little salt into the dry skillet then set the bread slice on top of the salt.
D) Set the bread slice in the skillet, and then prop the skillet at a 45-degree angle to face the fire.

Answer: C. An old woodsman’s trick. Salt will keep the bread from sticking to the pan. If you oil the pan, you’ll have “fry bread,” not toast.

20. Which of the following should Scouts not wear on a hiking trip?

A) Blue jeans
B) Nylon trousers
C) Cotton-polyester (60/40) trousers
D) Wool trousers

Answer: A. Many cases of hypothermia have been traced to wearing cotton blue jeans.



  1. Enjoyed the quiz. Just a suggested correction. In the answer for #1, 4 mil (not 4 millimeter) plastic sheeting will work well. Here “mil” refers to 1/1000 inch. Four millimeter would be more than an 1/8″ thick!

  2. Great stuff. Thanks. Good to hear from those on my side of the debate regarding placing the ground cloth INSIDE the tent!

  3. 3 drops of iodine per liter will effectivly sanitize water for drinking. Filter with a cloth and it’s good.

    • Hi Evan,

      Not to be rude (or disrespectful) but have you ever tried the ground cloth on the inside during a heavy rain? Try it both ways and then, based on experience, determine what you prefer for yourself. As for me and three Philmont crews, we chose and continue to choose to put it on the inside as described. (If you feel you need to protect the tent floor from abrasions, then put one on the outside too.) BTW, when I was a Scout, our tents HAD no floors.

  4. I am recently new to Scouting, although have camped since I was young. I recall many a trip when we put a layer under the tent, (with a floor 😉 only to find it collected and directed the water – right to us. Rushing about madly trying to gather wet gear and load it in the car in the middle of the night certainly made memorable trips.
    Since I’ve learned to put a larger tarp inside and partly up the walls of my tent, I’ve been through several torrential rains, on slopes and in slightly depressed areas, and left with nothing wet but my tent. The plastic tarp acts as a bathtub, only keeping the water out.
    Larry has it – putting one under for abrasion, and one inside is a great idea.
    Cheers to Scouting!


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