Friday, June 28, 2013

What are the 10 Essentials?

I recall the first time I heard the phrase "10 Essentials."  It was my first backpacking trip and I was a complete mess on the trail.  My pack was borrowed and it was too small.  I forgot the fuel for my stove and had no water filter.  I had a family tent, a full size pan, and everything else I could think to bring for a 15 mile RT backpack.  Someone jokingly said 'what did you pack the '50' essentials?'

The 10 essentials are the 10 categories you always need covered at all times.  Day hikes, Overnight backpacks, car camping, or a longer term trip.  It is pretty easy when you are car camping, but when you're backpacking, it is easy to drop items for weight.


Here are the 10 Essentials:

Navigation - (1) Map and a (2) Compass.  Never completely rely on the people you are hiking with will be able to cover for you.  It is a great skill to learn how to use a compass and a topo map.  Look for further posts under "10 Essentials."

Light - (3) Flashlight / Headlamp - be sure to pay attention to the lumens, the modes, and the run time.  Don't rely on a cheap, small flashlight and don't forget extra batteries.  REI has a great article here.

Food - (4) Additional Food - always pack at least 1 extra day.  See my posting on food prep.

Extra clothing - (5) Always prepare for the elements.  This could be extra layers, extra protection for your skin, or a hat.  Never pack cotton.  They have a saying "cotton kills."  I have also had multiple trips saved with an extra pair of socks.

Rain Gear - (6) Always prepare for the elements.  My wife used to make fun of me for always stringing up a tarp, but spend one night in a wet tent or one morning packing up in a downpour and you will understand.

First Aid Supplies - (7) Look for my posting on my own first aid kit, but this is critical.  You don't want to be 10+ miles in the woods and need first aid.

Knife - (8) This is a matter of taste.  I have a Leatherman that broke because it couldn't take the abuse, and a nice KBar that is a bit too heavy, so I am not a good resource for this.

Fire - (9) - Fire - Always have at least 2 types.  I prefer waterproof matches and a fire starter, but a lighter really isn't a lot of extra weight.  Even when a lighter is out of fuel, you can also use it as a firestarter.  See YouTube and G+'s +CrazyRussianHacker for his "Zombie Survival Tip"

Insect and Sin Protection - (10)  This varies across different lists.  My personal opinion is Insect and Sun Protection (I guess that is 11?).  One person, +SkeptiK Swine recommended eating a raw onion prior to camping.  He said he has never had an issue with insects.  One day, I will get the courage and try this, but until now I will stick to my unsafe Hunter's Deet that I have used since camping with hunters from the south.


Stay tuned for my other essentials, including Bandannas, Various survival kits, Backup water treatment, Trashbags, and a few others.

Here are a couple great articles if you want to continue reading on the essentials:
http://tennessee.sierraclub.org/broome/ten_essentials.htm
http://getpocket.com/a/read/374421641

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