Rule #1: Do not Die! -The 10 Essentials

Updated: Jan 14

Whether you are exploring Grand Teton National Park, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or camping in the Arizona desert of Tonto National Forest, returning alive and safe is desirable. These are the items you will to handle an emergency.


"The 10 Essentials" list for camping and hiking has been around for almost 100 years. It was originally put together by a group of adventurers in Seattle, WA. Compromised of items necessary for individuals to be prepared in an #emergency. Back then it was a basic list. As gear has become better and we have been able to reach more and more wild places the list has evolved to include modern tools. For example, the original list included a map and compass. Now, navigation can cover several additional devices. The adaptation of this list hasn't altered the purpose: To keep you alive and safe.


1. Navigation

Navigation has a variety of tools today. Map and compass are still included. With these tools there is very little opportunity for malfunction, need for batteries or a charge. However, satellites are pretty amazing. GPS, Personal Locator Beacons, altimeters all have come a long way with advances in technology. Getting lost can be terrifying. Make sure you are familiar with your navigation systems and know how to use them.

2. Shelter

Exposure is a quick killer in the wild. You may have adequate clothing for a day hike but aren't prepared for sinking temperatures at night. That could spell disaster if you get lost. Emergency shelters can be a lightweight bivvy sack. SOL makes an emergency bivvy that packs down to about the size of a tennis ball.

3. Fire

Nobody wants to freeze to death. It's a given that fire will keep you warm and keep hypothermia in its place. Don't forget about its uses for light, protection from wildlife, signal rescue, boil water and cooking. Fire provides a mental boost as well in an emergency situation. Because of its many uses and benefits never have less than three methods of making fire in the event one fails. Common fire starters are a lighter, waterproof matches, flint and steel, ferro rod.

4. First Aid

Customizable to your adventure but as essential as it comes. All basic kits should include: Medications, ibuprofen, allergy medications, band-aids and bandages, butterfly strips, gauze, compound tincture of benzoin, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, bite/sting relief, tic removal, safety pins and tweezers. Complete kits can be purchase or you can make your own. Be sure to check this before every adventure and make sure it is full stocked.

5. Knife

A knife can have many functions. A multi-tool can take its place because of it many functions as well. Also included in with knives is a repair kit. Repair kits can include necessary items for fixing tent poles, damaged guylines, zippers and cuts in fabrics.

6. Headlamp

It becomes incredibly dark when you're miles from ambient light. Having a headlamp with a minimum 100 lumens at its highest setting makes things a lot easier. Especially if its a high stress situation. Don't forget extra batteries!

7. Sun Protection

The higher in elevation you go, the more intense the sun becomes. Even in cold temperatures. Sunscreen is a must if you will have exposed skin during the day. Snow blindness is a real thing. So, not only will polarized sunglasses save your eyeballs from the direct rays of the giant burning ball of gas in the sky but your corneas will thank you too for blocking the ultraviolet light reflecting off the snow. Not often mentioned, brimmed hats are greatly beneficial. Full brim is recommended.

8. Extra Clothes

Bring more than your expectations. For example, sunny and 70... bring a light to mid thermal for a temperature dip. Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain, bring the rain jacket. Weather changes fast you want to be prepared for it.

9. Extra Food

You never know when you want or need the extra calories. Crushing some elevation or got stuck out an extra night? You be happy you have something extra to munch on.

10. Extra Water

We all know how important water is to life. Imagine how drastic a situation can become in its absence and miles from help! Carry more than you will expect to drink or bring a filter if you are certain there is accessible water in the area you will be traveling.

Now that you know #thetenessentials to hiking and camping your'e ready to head out into the wild. Always make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and up to date. If you really want to step up your safety in the wild there are many first aid and survival courses available throughout the United States.

Stay safe out there.

Keep Killin' it!

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