Whether traveling into the backcountry, even on a day hike, every person should carry the 10+ essential items recommended, for over seventy years, by backcountry enthusiasts everywhere.

Before you leave: tell someone where you are going, and carry these “10+ Essentials”:

  1. Navigation (map and compass / handheld GPS)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses / sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra layers of clothing / sit pad)
  4. Illumination (headlamp or flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies (including your personal prescriptions)
  6. Fire (waterproof matches or lighter / fire starter)
  7. Repair kit and tools (knife or multi-tool / duct tape / spare parts)
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (small tarp or tent / 25+ feet of cord)

+ Communication device (cell phone or Personal Locator Beacon)

+ Signaling device (whistle / mirror)

If lost or injured:

  • Call 911, dont delay!
  • Stay put, stay dry, stay warm

Travelers could very well carry these items for years without ever needing some of them. But, when the unfortunate happens, in combination with calm decision making, these items can save your life, and the lives of others. For more information, consider taking a class on practical wilderness survival through a local outdoor group or retailer.

Cell Phones

Cell Phones use dramatically more power when they need to hunt for a signal. In areas where the signal strength is very poor — like in the wilderness, or during times of disaster — your phone’s battery life will be severely hampered. If your phone might be needed to call for help, turn off your phone until you need to call out.