The Ten Essentials

Your must-haves for staying alive in the wild

By The Editors

The 10 Things You Need to Survive in the Wilderness
Share This

21 September 2015

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)

Share This