Typical Prepping

The 10 Essentials - Not Just For Hikers

June 08, 2021 Keith Thomas Season 1 Episode 15
Typical Prepping
The 10 Essentials - Not Just For Hikers
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In This Episode:

The 10 Essentials are widely revered in hiking circles as necessary equipment needed for safety and survival in the event of an emergency.

 What are the 10 Essentials? Why should you carry them? When should you carry them? What use are these 10 Essentials to the prepper ? 
In this episode, we will answer these questions and make recommendations for assembling your own version of the 10 essentials or adding a few of these items to your emergency kit.

Key Topics:

  • What Are the 10 essentials 
  • Why carry the 10 essentials 
  • When to carry the 10 essentials 
  • The 10 essentials and recommended items 



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The 10 Essentials - Not just for hikers

Welcome to typical prepping. Each Tuesday We’ll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparedness plan. Thanks for stopping by to listen today, now let's jump into today's topic.

Hi, I’m Keith and welcome to Typical Prepping. 

In this episode, I’ll be talking about the hiker’s 10 essentials and how these items relate to or can be useful with our preparedness supplies.


The 10 Essentials are widely revered in hiking circles as necessary equipment needed for safety and survival in the event of an emergency.

 What are the 10 Essentials? Why should you carry them? When should you carry them? What use are these 10 Essentials to the prepper?

In this episode, we will answer these questions and make recommendations for assembling your own version of the 10 essentials or adding a few of these items to your emergency kit. You may find that many of these items are already in your emergency kit.

What Are The 10 Essentials

The 10 Essentials were originally 10 items identified by a group of Mountaineers in Seattle as necessary items to be carried on mountaineering expeditions. The 10 Essentials first appeared in print in the 1974 Edition of” Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills”. The original list included the following;

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

 Over the years this list of 10 items has since evolved into a list of essential systems rather than individual items.

The updated list now looks like this;

  1. Navigation
  2.   Illumination
  3.  Sun protection
  4.  First aid
  5.  Knife
  6.  Fire
  7.  Shelter
  8.  Extra food
  9.  Extra water
  10.  Extra clothing 

The items from each system that you take can be tailored to your specific trip or need. This gives you the freedom to decide what tools you may need for your particular situation. When deciding what to bring, consider factors like weather, difficulty, duration, and distance from help.

 Why the 10 Essentials?

Now that we know what the 10 Essentials are, we can answer the question of why?

Why Carry The 10 Essentials

Packing the 10 Essentials whenever we step into the backcountry is a good habit. On a routine trip, you may use only a few of these items or none at all. It's when things go wrong that you will truly appreciate the value of having the 10 Essentials with you. 


When to Carry the 10 Essentials?

The 10 Essentials should be carried anytime we step away from the comforts of civilization, whether we are on a hiking trip, hunting expedition, fishing, or camping trip.

The purpose of these 10 Essentials is to help bring us comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. Carrying the 10 Essentials on short trips or in familiar territory may seem senseless to some, however, in the event, you become lost or injured these 10 essential items could potentially save your life.  Making a habit of carrying the 10 Essentials on every excursion is beneficial not only to you but possibly to those in your party as well.

Now that we have an understanding of what the 10 Essentials are and why we should carry them, let's look at each of these 10 systems and the recommended items for each. I suggest you think about the items mentioned and how you might adapt these tools for a disaster preparedness situation.

  1. Navigation

Navigation tools consist of a map, compass, altimeter watch, GPS device, and Personal Locator Beacon. 

  • Map - A topographic map of the area in which you'll be should always accompany you on any trip. 
  • Compass - A compass, combined with map reading skills, can be a vital tool, in the event, you become disoriented or lost in the backcountry. 

The map and compass make an invaluable set of tools that do not rely on batteries as do GPS devices or smartphones with GPS apps.  if you are interested in learning how to read a topographic map and how to read a compass, I recommend you check with your local Outdoor Outfitter for the availability of map reading classes, how to read a compass classes, or orienteering classes.

  • GPS - A GPS device allows you to find your location using satellite technology and digital maps.  GPS apps can be obtained for your smartphone as well. keep in mind that these devices do run on batteries, so you will need to monitor battery life and carry extra batteries when possible.
  • Altimeter Watch - An altimeter watch uses a barometric sensor to measure air pressure and or GPS data to provide an estimate of your elevation. this helps to track your progress and determine your location on a map.
  •   Personal Locator Beacon(PLB) or Satellite messenger - these devices are generally used by thru-hikers and can be used to alert emergency personnel, should you need help in the backcountry. when activated in an emergency, they will determine your location using GPS and send a message via government or commercial satellites. A PLB or satellite messenger can be a nice backup and they will work in remote locations where's cell phones cannot receive a signal. A satellite messenger device can also be used to send text messages to family or friends, but most do require you to sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription.


Being able to find your way in the dark especially in the wilderness is essential,  so you should always have some type of light source with you. 

A common flashlight will suffice in most cases, however, headlamps provide hands-free operation for all sorts of tasks.

Sun Protection

  •  Sunglasses - Quality sunglasses are indispensable in the outdoors to protect your eyes. The sunglasses you choose should be rated to block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Sunscreen - A sunscreen formula that offers a sun protection factor(SPF)  I'm at least 15, through SPF 30 is recommended for extended outdoor activity. Try to use a sunscreen formula that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Sun-protection clothing -  Many Outdoor Outfitters carry lightweight, synthetic pieces of clothing with an UltraViolet protection Factor rating that helped protect against UVA and UVB light. a hat, preferably with a full Brim is also a key accessory for sun protection.

First Aid

A first aid kit is a vital piece of equipment to carry and know how to use. there are pre-assembled kits available that take the guesswork out of building your own. All first aid kits should include treatments for blisters, adhesive bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, disinfecting ointment, over-the-counter pain medication, pen and paper, and nitrile gloves. First aid kits can be custom-tailored to your needs.


Knives are handy for Gear Repair, food prep, making kindling, or other emergency uses and should be carried on every outing. The knife you choose can be part of a multi-tool or a basic knife with a single fold-out blade.

 In addition to a knife, a small gear repair kit can get you out of a bind in an emergency.

 Common items to include in a gear repair kit are duct tape, cordage, fabric repair tape, zip ties, and safety pins. 


In case of an emergency, you will need reliable supplies for starting a fire. I suggest carrying at least two types of fire-starting devices. this can be a disposable butane lighter, waterproof matches in a waterproof case, or a Ferro rod.

You may also want to carry some type of Firestarter, This can be dry tender in a plastic bag, cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly, or even blind trappings from the household clothes dryer.

Emergency Shelter

You should always carry some type of emergency shelter with you to protect you from the wind and rain in case you become stranded or injured in the backcountry. In the event of a disaster, you may find yourself without shelter until help arrives. Options include an ultralight tarp, bivy sack, an emergency space blanket, or even a large plastic trash bag.

Extra Food

Always pack at least an extra days worth of food in case of an emergency. It's always a good idea to pack items that do not require cooking and that have a long shelf life.

 Things like emergency rations, extra energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, jerky, or even vacuum-packed foods such as spam or tuna are available at most grocery stores.

Extra Water

It is extremely important to carry enough water on your outing and have some method of treating water while you're out there, whether it's a filter or chemical treatment. As a rule of thumb, most people need about a half liter per hour of water during moderate activity in moderate temperatures.

Extra Clothing

It's necessary to carry extra clothing as conditions can abruptly change, wet windy, or chilly weather in the backcountry or an injury can result in an unplanned night out. common options include a layer of underwear, an insulating hat, extra socks, extra gloves, and a synthetic jacket or vest. Always check the weather for the area in which your outing will take place to determine your need for extra clothing.


I realize that to many people, this sounds like a lot of extra gear to pack. As I said, in the beginning, depending on the type of outing you are planning you can tailor your list of 10 Essentials to your specific outing. These 10 Essentials are a good basis for the start of a survival kit.  The purpose of the 10 Essentials is to have gear on hand, in the event, your outdoor adventure goes awry. That’s what makes many of these items appealing to the prepper.

Having preparedness gear on hand when you need it most!

 Well, folks, that's gonna do it for this week. Thanks for listening and join me next week for another preparedness topic and Until then, stay safe and be prepared! 

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 Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!

What Are The 10 Essentials?
Why Carry The 10 Essentials?
When To Carry the 10 Essentials?
Overview of the 10 Essentials - Navigation
Sun Protection
First Aid
Emergency Shelter
Extra Food
Extra Water
Extra Clothing