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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.

8. First Aid

Game On
The scenario: a severely sprained ankle. The goal: treat the injury, improvise a stretcher out of assorted clothing and two long poles, and carry a teammate 15 yards across the finish line. Each squad wisely appoints its smallest member to play the victim, then tears into a first-aid kit and correctly selects an elastic bandage for an ankle wrap. Troop 43 quickly stabilizes Todd’s right ankle and scoots him onto a stretcher made of a rain jacket and hiking pants. They’re seconds ahead of Team BACKPACKER. In the race to the finish, Michael stumbles under the load and the older team almost closes the gap, but the Scouts make a youthful lunge for the finish line.

Winner
Troop 43, by a hair. Readers: 4, Scouts: 4

By the Book
Both teams correctly immobilized the victim’s ankle and built a sturdy stretcher by slipping poles through arm and leg holes in clothing. Typically hikers with sprains are able to walk out, which is always a better option than carrying someone. "If you suffer a sprain and must keep walking," The Handbook advises, "don’t remove your shoe or boot." That’s because swelling could prevent you from putting it back on, seriously hampering your ability to self-evacuate.

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