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Are You Smarter Than a Boy Scout?

Scoutmasters wrote the book on camping, and built an army of pack-toting teens. But do the troops truly rule when it comes to outdoor skills? We pitted three Scouts against three average readers to find out.

5. Packing the 10 Essentials

Game On
From equal piles of assorted gear and clothing, each team must pull out The 10 Essentials–those butt-saving items no wilderness traveler should leave home without. To make it harder, we included toilet paper, a water filter, a spork, and other distractions.

Winner
Troop 43. The Scouts finished 30 seconds behind Team BACKPACKER but the youngsters got 9 out of 10 correct (they left out sun protection, which The Handbook cites–but is debatable). The seniors picked two incorrect items, including toilet paper. "It doubles as a firestarter," argues David. Nice try. Readers: 2, Scouts: 3

By the Book
Exactly what constitutes the 10 emergency essentials is controversial. The Handbook lists a pocketknife, first-aid kit, extra clothing, raingear, water bottle, flashlight, trail food, matches and firestarter, sun protection, and map and compass. Other sources variously swap in a repair kit, space blanket, whistle, and garbage sack.

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