The Ten Essentials

It’s not unusual to hear true outdoorsmen rattle off their Ten Essentials. (“So the grizzly comes around the corner and all I’ve got on me is a multi-tool and roll of duct tape…”) The term’s been used by burly men since the 1930s, and first outlined in the 1974 edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.

The objective of the list, put forth by the Mountaineers, is twofold: First, can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? And second, can you safely spend a night — or more — alone in the wild?

As the list has evolved over the years from individual items to complete “systems,” we compiled a list of survival gear that should provide everything you need for a few days out in the wild: gear you won’t fully appreciate until your life depends on it. Stock up on these items (or something like them) and you’ll always be prepared.

Bruntun Truarc Compass ($60) | Garmin Montana 680T ($600) | National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps (Prices Vary)

Spy Cutter Sunglasses ($160) | Rocky Mountain Sunscreen ($4) | Howler x Huckberry Hat ($27)

Patagonia Merino Air Hoody ($150) | Aether Anorak ($325) | Topo Designs Work Shirt ($198)

Snowpeak Snowminer Headlamp ($50) | LuminAID PackLite 12 ($22) | Big Agnes mtnGLO Kit ($40)

Leatherman Signal ($100) | Benchmade TI Monolock Family ($390) | Z.A.P.S. Survival Grenade ($75)

Good To-Go Meals ($6-$12) | Patagonia Buffalo Jerky ($10) | Clif Energy Food ($18)

MSR Guardian Purifier (Available January 2016) | Klean Kanteen Wide 40 oz. ($32) | LifeStraw Personal Water Filter ($20)

Ultralight & Watertight .9 ($36) | SOL Survival Blanket ($7)

Rattler Strap Flint Laces ($20) | Solkoa Fire Module ($25) | Exotac Nanostriker ($27)


Bush Smarts Survival Tarp ($40) | VSSL Shelter: ($60) | Rumpl Blanket ($65)