The Ten Essentials (10Es)

What are the "Ten Essentials"?

The "Ten Essentials" are essential gear that you should always carry. This list of essential gear has its origin with The Mountaineers, a famous Seattle hiking and mountaineering club. As stated in their book Mountaineering, The Freedom Of The Hills: "You won't use every one of these items on every trip, but they can be lifesavers in an emergency, insurance against the unexpected." Lists vary and this list isn't perfect, but it's very good. Yes, there really are more than ten items on the list, but hey, the name's catchy.

  1. water
  2. rain gear (also used as wind protection)
  3. extra clothing / insulation
  4. extra food
  5. maps and compass (and knowledge of their use)
  6. sun protection (sun glasses, sun screen, lip balm, and sun hat)
  7. waterproof matches or lighter
  8. flashlight or headlamp (make sure in working order)
  9. first aid supplies
  10. emergency shelter (lightweight emergency bag or space blanket)

What should you do with the Ten Essentials?

Based on the observation that there is no crystal ball giving infallible weather predictions, the professional meteorologists don't have one either and that conditions in the mountains are incredibly changeable the WMC recommendation is to
- Put the Ten Essentials in your pack.
- Always keep them in your pack.
- Always bring your pack.
Yes, that means you should not remove your rain jacket from your pack because you're "sure" it won't rain today. Nine times out of ten you'll be right. The 10th time you might get hypothermia.

Some other gear to think about.

  1. high-top boots (for rocky or off-trail hikes)
  2. poly-fleece clothing for warmth
  3. extra fleece cap, mittens, and neck gaiter for warmth
  4. a cell phone for emergencies
  5. a water filter (on long hikes)
  6. wind jacket and wind pants
  7. gaiters (for snow or gravel)
  8. toilet paper, trowel or sand-stake, zip-lock bags to pack out toilet paper