Ten essentials

From ArticleWorld

During the 30s, an organization known as the Mountaineers codified the Ten Essentials list, a list of items that are considered essentials for dealing with typical outdoors situations or emergencies. The standard Ten Essentials includes:

  1. Map
  2. Compass: A map and compass of the visited area is essential, in order to avoid getting lost. The map should be of a considerable detail, marking topography, roads, campsites etc. You should obviously have the skill to use these, especially in order to be able to travel through areas that are unmarked or lack roads.
  3. Sunglasses and Sunscreen: these are essential in very sunny areas or for climbing high or snow-covered mountains.
  4. Extra food (and extra water): while you can generally find water in the outdoors, an extra supply certainly cannot do any damage. Extra food, however, is essential, in case you will get lost, in order to avoid hypothermia and dehydration.
  5. Extra clothes: these are needed in order to avoid hypothermia as well. You may also need to change clothes if they got too wet, or in order to protect from shrubbery, insects, sun or wind. They can also be cut and used as bandages.
  6. Headlamp/flashlight: either a flashlight or a headlamp should be carried, in order to allow travelling in the dark, distant signaling or camping during night.
  7. First aid supplies should be always present in case a physical injury occurs.
  8. Fire starter
  9. Matches: a Fire starter and a match are essential if you need fire, either in order to avoid hypothermia or just to cook
  10. Knife: useful for opening packages, but also for hunting small animals, building shelter etc.


While not on the essential list, some items may also prove useful:

  • Water treatment device, because water quality in the outdoors is not always too good. You should also cary water bottles to make supplies.
  • Ice ax in order to travel through glaciers or snow-covered areas.
  • Repair kit, should you require any repairing of mechanical or electronical devices you carry with you or you encounter
  • Insect repellent (or clothing designed for this purpose), in order to avoid some insect bites which may be carrying diseases like malaria or West Nile virus.
  • Signaling devices: these includes whistles and flares in case you need to signal your position. Cell phones may be useful if you are in a signal-covered area. Radio transmitters-receivers (two way radios) are useful especially if you are traveling in groups.