The "Ten Essentials" are survival items that hiking organizations recommend for safe travel in the backcountry.
The Ten Essentials were first described in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a hiking and mountain climbing club. Many regional organizations and authors recommend that hikers, backpackers, and climbers rigorously ensure they have the ten essentials with them. However, some expert lightweight hikers do not always carry all the items.According to the Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, the ten essentials are:
- Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Extra food
- Extra water
- Extra clothes
- Headlamp / flashlight
- First aid kit
- Fire starter (matches, chemical heat tabs, canned heat, or a magnesium stick)
The textbook recommends supplementing the ten essentials with:
- Portable water purification and water bottles
- Ice axe for glacier or snowfield travel (if necessary)
- Repair kit, including duct tape and basic sewing materials.
- Insect repellent (or clothing designed for this purpose)
- Signaling devices, such as a whistle, cell phone, two-way radio, satellite phone, unbreakable signal mirror or flare.
- Plastic tarp and rope for expedient field shelter.