Ten Essentials

Whether hiking, camping, backpacking, or doing just about anything outdoors that takes us out of sight of the car for more than a few moments, we bring along the “Ten Essentials.” At FamilyTrivium, we are about knowledge over stuff, but there is some stuff that you should always have with you when venturing into the wilderness. There are various philosophies on this topic, but a list of ten essential items seems to be the most widespread in North America.

As you will see in the examples we’ll look at, the items on this list may vary, but there are some commonalities. One of the most familiar, we’ll start by looking at the Boy Scout version of this list offered by Boys’ Life magazine.

Scout Outdoor Essential Checklist

  1. Pocketknife or multitool
  2. First-aid kit
  3. Extra clothing
  4. Rain gear
  5. Flashlight
  6. Trail food
  7. Water
  8. Matches and/or a Fire starter
  9. Sun protection
  10. Map and compass

Outdoor retailer REI explains that The Mountaineers, a group of Seattle based climbers and adventurers, developed the ten essentials philosophy in the 1930s with the goal of making people better prepared for emergencies when spending time in the outdoors.

Classic Ten Essentials

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp / flashlight
  6. First-aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food

According to REI, The Mountaineers updated the list in 2003, taking a systems approach. This consolidated some of the individual items together and made room for a couple additional essentials. Map and compass were grouped under navigation. Firestarter and matches were grouped under fire. Repair kit (and tools) and emergency shelter were added.

Updated Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter

Do you have a ten essentials list that you follow? Perhaps you use a different philosophy. Share in the comments if you’d like.


11 thoughts on “Ten Essentials

Comments are closed.