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Beginner’s Guide to the Ten Essentials

Gear Recommendations for the Ten Essentials

The Ten Essentials are necessary for any wilderness situation! These are things that can save your life, and can certainly keep you comfortable during your trip. Make sure that you keep these with you on any extended trip. You can and will adapt these to your liking, but never leave home without them – no matter how short your trip! Make sure you check as many of the boxes listed below, and no less. You just never know what you might need in case of an emergency. 

Essential Item #1 - Sun Protection

Sunglasses, sunscreen, SPF sunscreen, layers, and a hat all fall under this category. You might not need them all, but you will likely need one! (Sunglasses……..of course) Here are some of the best items we’ve used to check this box!

Nectar Sunglasses

Nectar sunglasses are affordable and have so many different styles! There a many colors of lenses and they are polarized. 

Blistex Medicated Lip Balm with SPF

Hands down, best chapstick ever! And SPF is necessary. 

Essential Item #2 - Navigation

Map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger are all under this category. If you’re bringing your GPS device (or plan on using your phone) make sure to bring a battery pack and remember that batteries drain very quickly in cold weather! (AKA ALWAYS BRING A MAP!)

Essential Item #3 - Illumination (aka light)

If you’re outside in the dark, you’ll definitely need a headlamp! Make sure to keep extra batteries on you as well, becasue we all know how they like to burn out right when we need them. You can also bring a flashlight as a backup. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.

Essential Item #4- Fire & Fire Starters

Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container. We recommend a pocket bellows as well!

Essential Item #5 - Knife & Gear Repair Kit

Knives, multi-tool, scissors, pliers, screwdriver, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties.

Essential Item #6 - Extra Nutrition (aka food)

Add extra food for one additional day (for emergency). Dry food is preferred to save weight and usually needs water. You can also bring a 5 hour energy or some sort of kick in case of emergency.

Essential Item #7 - Water

Always bring more water than you think you need, plus water filtration​.

Essential Item #8 - Emergency Shelter

Tarp, bivouac sack, space blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.

Essential Item #9 - Clothes

Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season.

Essential Item #10 - First Aid Kit

A first aid kit, plus insect repellent, and anti itch cream.

Ultralight Medical Kit

This one has everything you need, in an ultralight version! I’ve had to add burn patches, and also an extra of my daily meds, but overall, very happy with this kit. 

Ten essentials gear list


Florida born, Maine living. Outdoor life is for me. I love adventures - hiking -photography - running - camping - reading - creating - learning - traveling - deep eddy vodka - cats and living, basically. Follow me on social - @DanielleDorrie