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How-To: Ten Essentials For Adventure

First published in 1960 by The Mountaineers of Seattle, The Freedom of the Hills is now in its eighth edition. Long regarded as the textbook on all things hiking and mountaineering, The Mountaineers were the first to introduce the concept of The Ten Essentials–and despite all the technological advances of the last few decades, the core of their insight remains a timelss checklist to ensure that you’re always ready to respond to accident or emergency, and can handle an unexpected night in the great beyond.  True, you may not need all ten items for every adventure, why both taking the risk?  After all, if something goes wrong, you’ll be whispering private thanks to each and every item.

1. Navigation: Whether you use a traditional map and compass, an app on your smartphone, a handheld GPS, or even a GPS watch, some form of navigational ability is the key to not getting lost or getting yourself un-lost. And it should be more than just knowing that moss always grows on the north side of the trees.

2. Sun Protection: Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, and protective clothing. Nothing can ruin a great day outside more than sunburn, snow blindness, or even heat stroke.

3. Extra layers: Depending on the climate, you will want a rain jacket or light insulated jacket in your pack in case the weather turns foul or you get caught out all night.

4. Illumination: Even if you plan to be gone for only a couple of hours, it is essential to have some sort of light source, just in case. And batteries don’t last forever so be sure to check them regularly.

5. First-Aid: A basic first-aid kit should be able to do three things: stop bleeding, pain, and allergic reactions.  As part of the kit, also include some sort of communication device–whether it be your cell phone, whistle, or satellite messenger in case of a real emergency.

6. Fire: Either a lighter, fire starter, or waterproof matches.

7. Hydration: Although it is always good to have enough water, keep in mind that one liter of water weighs 2.2 pounds. If you have access to a water source on the trail, consider ditching the excess and carry a water filter, bleach, or some iodine instead. Fully hydrate at the start and end of the day. And since you aren’t carrying a ton of water weight, you have space for that flask full of your favorite trail tipple to enjoy around the campfire at the end of the day.

8. Repair Kit and Tools: A knife or multi-tool comes in handy for a variety of tasks. Wrap some duct tape around your water bottle or hiking poles and you can fix almost anything–at least for the time it’ll take to back to civilization.

9. Food: You need enough food to fuel you through the day’s adventures, but plan on throwing in a few extra no-cook items such as jerky or energy bars.

Emergency Shelter: Space blanket-type emergency bivies weigh nothing and cost nothing, so there is you just round of reasons to not stashing one at the bottom of your pack.


 Columbia Sportswear Take Ten App:

Take Ten is the second in a series of mobile apps designed by Columbia Sportswear to help you get the most from your adventures in the Greater Outdoors. This app is designed to introduce backcountry users to the Ten Essential Groups, a collection of items promoted by outdoor experts as critical to the safe enjoyment of our wild areas.

The Ten Essential GroupsAt the heart of the app is a user-expandable database of tools and equipment divided into ten groups:

  • Medical
  • Navigation
  • Shelter
  • Insulation
  • Communications
  • Hydration
  • Sun Protection
  • Nutrition
  • Tools


Download the Take Ten App today! 


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