The origin of the ten essential elements dates back to the 1930s and the purpose has always been to answer two basic questions:
Can you respond positively to an accident or emergency?
Can you spend a night (or more) safely outside?
Certain equipment deserves space in each backpack. Over time, the list of 10 essential elements has evolved from a list of individual elements to a list of functional systems.
10 Essentials: The Classic List
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Lamp or flashlight
First aid supplies
10 Essentials: 9 Sets
Navigation: map, altimeter, compass, GPS tracking device, PLB or satellite communicators, additional batteries or battery pack
Lamp: more additional batteries
Sun protection: sunglasses, sunscreen and sunscreen
First aid: includes foot care and insect repellent (if necessary)
Knife: More repair kit
Fire: matches, lighter and tinder, or stove as appropriate
Shelter: Carried at all times (may be a light emergency cover)
Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation, or the means to purify
Extra clothes: beyond the minimum expectation
The 10 Essentials is a guide that must adapt to the nature of the trip. Climate, remoteness of aid and complexity must be taken into account in the essential elements selected. The first seven essential elements tend to be compact and vary little from one trip to another, so they can be grouped together to facilitate packaging. Add the right food, water and clothes, and you’re ready to start. This short list is intended to be easy to remember and serve as a pre-trip mental checklist.
Modern tools have revolutionized navigation in the mountains. Today’s mountaineer carries four essential tools while venturing: map, altimeter, compass, personal GPS tracking device or other device to contact emergency personnel. It is also important to know how to use them: if your life is in danger, you need to be able to contact emergency services. The use of multiple tools increases confidence in location and route, providing support when tools fail and increasing situational awareness.
Head lamps are essential and are the favorite flashlight, freeing hands for anything from cooking to climbing. Even if you plan to return before nightfall, you should carry a lamp. The efficient and bright LED bulb has completely replaced the inefficient incandescent bulb of a few years ago. A LED bulb lasts almost forever, but the batteries do not, so you should carry a spare.
3. Sun protection
Wear sunglasses, sunscreen and broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 rating. Failure to do so in the short term can cause sunburn or snow blindness; in the long term it includes cataracts and skin cancer.
4. First aid
Take and learn to use a first aid kit, but don’t let the fact that you have one give you a false sense of security. It is best to avoid injuries or illness in the first place. The first aid kit must be compact and sturdy, with the contents wrapped in a waterproof package. Commercial first aid kits are widely available, although most are inadequate. A basic first aid kit should include band-aid, coetaneous closures, gauze and bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic, products for the prevention and treatment of blisters, nitrite gloves, tweezers, a needle, analgesics and anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, and antihistamines, a Topical antibiotic.
Bring the essential means to start and sustain an emergency fire. Most climbers carry a disposable butane lighter or two instead of matches. Either one must be absolutely reliable. Fire starters are essential to light wet wood quickly to make an emergency fire. Common useful fire starters include chemical heat tabs, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and commercially prepared wood soaked in wax or chemicals.
>> Also learn, 3 Ways to Build a Campfire [Lasts All Night]
Knives are as useful as essential in first aid, food preparation, and repairs that each group member needs to wear one, preferably with a strap to prevent loss. In addition, a small repair kit may be indispensable. On a short trip, you can take a small multi-tool, as well as a strong tape and some string. The list is extended for more remote trips, and you can carry an imaginative variety of supplies depending on the calamities previously experienced or imagined. Supplies include other tools (pliers, screwdriver, punch, scissors) that can be part of a knife or pocket tool or can be transported separately, perhaps even as part of a group kit.
Bring some type of emergency shelter against rain and wind, such as a plastic pipe shop or a giant plastic garbage bag. Single-use emergency blankets made of heat reflecting polyethylene are essential and an excellent option for less than 4 ounces. “Emergency blankets”, although economical and light, are inadequate for the task of avoiding wind, rain or snow. Carry an insulating sleeping pad to reduce heat loss while sitting or lying in the snow or on wet ground.
8. Additional Foods
For shorter trips, an additional food supply for one day is a reasonable emergency reserve in case unpleasant weather, faulty navigation, injuries or other reasons delay travel. An expedition or a long walk may require more, and on a cold trip, remember that the food is equal to the warmth. Food should not be cooked, easily digestible and stored well for prolonged periods. A combination of dried meat, nuts, candy, granola and dried fruits works well. If you take a stove, you can add cocoa, dried soup, instant coffee and tea.
9. Extra Water
Bring enough water and have the necessary skills and tools to obtain and purify additional water. Always carry at least one bottle of water or hydration bag or bladder. Wide-mouth containers are easier to fill. While hydration bladders are designed to be stored in the backpack and have a plastic hose and valve that allow you to drink without slowing down, are prone to leaks and freezing, are notoriously difficult to keep clean and often lead you to carry more water you need. Before starting the road, fill the water containers with a reliable source. In most environments, you must have the ability to treat water (filtering, using purification or boiling chemicals) from rivers, streams, lakes and other sources. In cold environments, you will need a stove, fuel, pot and lighter to melt the snow. Daily water consumption varies a lot. For most people, 1.5 to 3 liters of water per day is enough. In hot climates or at high altitudes, 6 liters may not be enough. Plan enough water to meet the additional requirements due to heat, cold, altitude, effort or emergency.
10. Additional Clothes
What additional clothing is necessary for an emergency beyond the basic garments used during the active part of your adventure? The term “extra clothing” refers to the additional layers that would be needed to survive the long inactive hours of an unplanned event. Like this question: What additional clothes are needed to survive the night in my emergency shelter in the worst conditions that can be realistically found on this trip? An extra layer of long underwear can add warmth without adding much weight. An extra hat or balaclava will provide more warmth to your weight than any other garment. For your feet, bring an extra pair of thick socks; for your hands, a pair of additional gloves.
Get Ready For the Freedom of Outdoor
When you enter the adventure, you must bring essential equipment and leave the rest at home. Achieving that balance requires knowledge and good judgment. Understanding the basic principles of clothing and equipment will help you decide on the essentials you need to be safe, dry and comfortable in the mountains.
Article Submitted By Community Writer