Can You Pass This Wilderness Survival Quiz?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Ah, the call of the wild and the great outdoors.  When it comes to bonding with nature and bringing out the survival spirit, nothing beats a night, or two, or more in the great outdoors.

Camping -- real camping -- not the wimpy kind with giant tin cans known as RVs -- will make you feel at one with the land in no time at all.  But let's face it, there are some pretty precarious situations, not to mention critters, small and not so small, that can put a cramp in your camping style ... or kill you.

In this quiz, we want to test your survival skills to make sure that when you venture out into the wilderness, you won't be eaten alive (yes, that can happen.)

Do you know the difference between surviving an attack by a black bear versus an attack by a brown bear?  If you're out in the wilderness and night is about to fall, what's the first thing you should do?  What happens if you get thirsty and there's no water in sight?

These are all basic questions that anyone seeking an adventure in the wilderness should know.  This quiz will test your wilderness-readiness so that you're prepared for whatever the great outdoors throws at you.  Before you sit by the campfire, take this quiz and see how likely you are to return from your adventure.

During an emergency situation, how should you shape your thinking about the challenges ahead of you?

It sounds a little stupid, but simply buoying your own spirits with a can-do, positive attitude will literally skew the actual events that transpire. You might still get eaten by a mountain lion, but hey, at least you won't have to live through another episode of "The Bachelorette!"


In the wilderness, how can you make water safe to drink?

Wilderness water is not always safe to drink. Boil it for a few minutes to kill pathogens that might otherwise kill you.


If a grizzly bear attacks you, what should you do?

Grizzy bears rarely attack, but if they do you can play dead. In many cases, the bears will leave you alone once they no longer perceive you as a threat. And never, ever watch "The Revenant" before any outdoors excursion in bear country.


The so-called "lens method" is good for what purpose?

If you have any kind of magnifying lens on your person, such as binoculars or even a piece of broken glass, you can use the lens method to focus sunlight and start a fire. And if you can't start a fire, you can at least scald a few helpless insects.


What's one important step you should take before you go on any wilderness adventure?

It's one of the most important -- and overlooked -- tenets of outdoors survival: tell someone where you are going. Otherwise, potential rescuers won't know where to find you.


If you have to gather your own food in the wilderness, what approach should you use?

Big game takes a lot of time and energy. Think plants, small animals, and even bugs -- they can keep you alive for long stretches, if necessary.


If you're in the wilderness and have a cell phone, but no signal, how can you improve your chances of finding a way to call for help?

Rocks, trees, and other objects block cell phone signals. But if you can climb to the top of tall hill, you'll improve your odds of picking up a signal. If you're lucky enough to get a data signal, you can also hop online and shop for a new big-screen TV, because if you do survive this ordeal, you'll never go outside again.


During cold weather, what often kills unprepared people?

Not surprisingly, hypothermia (when your body core temperature drops too low) is a major killer of people in cold weather. To prevent hypothermia, you have to stay dry.


What's one tool you should always have during a wilderness expedition?

A knife is primal. A knife is your best friend. Knives are useful for hunting, defense, and countless tasks that are otherwise much more difficult. Always carry a knife in the wilderness. Butter knives work best.


What should you do if a black bear attacks?

"If it's brown, lay down. If it's black, fight back." Black bears often keep attacking until they're sure your dead -- fight back with rocks, sticks, your bare hands, whatever it takes.


If you encounter a dangerous wild animal, what's generally the best course of action?

In very, very general terms, if you encounter a potentially aggressive wild animal, you should face the animal and slowly back away. Don't open and eat a Snickers bar during this process.


If you're forced to choose between one of the following water sources, which one should you pick?

Even if you can boil it, sometimes stagnant water is not really all that healthy. Choose flowing water if you can.


Mosquitoes are pests, but they're often a good sign that there's _____ nearby.

Mosquitoes and flies are really annoying. The good news is that they don't stray far from water, meaning you'll probably have as least some sort of moisture close to your site.


If you're unable to trek for help, how should you instead bring help to you?

Fires are good for warmth, cooking … and smoke signals. Billowing smoke will often attract the attention of forest officials and passersby.


If you're concerned about predators (humans or animals), what should you do?

Don't have a gun? Sharpen a stick. Or carry a hefty rock. If you're in immediate danger from another creature, you need some sort of weapon for protection.


If you dislocate your knee on a wilderness hike, and you're far, far from help, what should you do?

It sounds a bit gruesome, but you really can pop your dislocated knee back into place. Straighten your leg as far as possible to (hopefully) snap it back into the proper position. But let's be honest, you're not really going to do this and you'll probably die.


If you suddenly find yourself in a dangerous wilderness situation, what's the first thing you should do?

Don't panic, you'll only make things worse. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and don't smear bacon grease on your body, because bears will find you and eat you alive.


In addition to protecting you from rain, you can also use a cheap rain poncho to _____.

Those 99-cent rain ponchos are a godsend in a survival situation. You can use them to make a small shelter, capture rainwater, and for many other creative purposes, too.


If you must sleep on the ground in cold weather, what should you do?

Cold ground will suck the life right out of you, so put boughs of branches or grasses under your body before you crash. Doing so will give you a better chance of survival. Until the wolves find you, of course.


If you know you're going to be stuck in one location for at least a night, what should you do?

You need shelter for the night. You can hunker down in a cave, or construct a simple lean-to using tree limbs and boughs.


What lightweight, cheap tool makes it easy for you to signal for help in an emergency?

Emergency whistles have been a staple of survival kits for generations. Three blasts in a row mean you need help. Zero blasts means you're dead.


About how long can the human body survive without water?

If you're in dire straits, you need water. In decent weather, you can manage about three days without water. After that, try to remember if you signed your will before you headed out on this dumb, stupid, awful hike.


What's one way to obtain drinking water in a desperate situation?

Plants emit water vapor throughout the day. Place a clear plastic bag over a leafy plant and firmly close tie it off. Hours later, you'll see drops of water that might save your life.


Where should you NEVER set up a temporary campsite?

If you need short-term emergency lodgings, don't use an old river bed. In many areas, these bed are prone to flash flooding that can start with rain showers falling far from your immediate location.


Hand sanitizer is great for which survival purpose?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great fire starter. Put it on dry kindling to jump start your fire -- just remember that foam or non-alcohol sanitizers don’t work for this purpose.


True or false? Hypothermia still a risk when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just because 50 degrees feels comfortable doesn't mean hypothermia can't strike. Throw in a bit of rain and some wind and your body core temperature can drop in a hurry.


If you're lost, you can use the North Star to find north. The North Star is part of which constellation?

The North Star has saved many a lost soul in human history, guiding them to safety at night. This famous star is part of the Little Dipper.


True or false? If you cut yourself, should you immediately apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding?

Tourniquets are a measure of last resort to stop bleeding. Clean the wound and apply pressure first. If that doesn't work, well, you didn’t need that arm, anyway.


How many rescue mirrors should you carry?

In North America, the sun is always to the south … so to signal a rescue plane in the north, you need a second mirror to redirect the sun's rays. Plus, you'll be able to double-check your makeup before that cute forest ranger shows up.


What should you do if a rattlesnake bites you?

Don't panic. In many cases, rattlesnakes don't even inject venom. Clean the wound and calmly head to a medical facility as soon as possible. Only a very few people die from rattlesnake bites, and in those cases, those people generally refuse medical treatment.


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