If you are new to survival and bushcraft, or a seasoned practitioner, a general list of the most basic and essential components may be helpful to assist us in memorizing every aspect. Download the 10 C check list: CLICK HERE There is a commonly used method to outline most of the basic tools (kit) required for survival. The exact item you choose to use will be entirely based on your own preference, dictated by climate and region as well as skill level and proficiency. You may wish to utilize this basic outline to frame your emergency kit contents, or as a complete solution for other needs, such as a hiking kit or bug out bag. (Courtesy of Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School) The first 5 C's Cutting tool Combustion device Covering Container Cordage The Second 5 C's Compass Cotton bandanna Candling device (lamp or light) Cloth sail needle (awl) Cargo tape (duct tape) Based upon this method, I have created a simplified list based on what I personally have found to be the most critical components to making a kit. A few of these are not included in the normal list of 'C's' by Dave and others. I will explain each below, in detail. The critical 10 C's Cutting tool Combustion device (fire) Communication Covering (shelter) Container(s) (water) Cordage Compass (and map) Clothing (and footwear) Carry bag Care and rescue (first aid) Let's look at each of these and discuss some of the more important aspects. I will attempt to describe the reason each may be needed, and give an example of each one. In no way should you limit your kit just to the item I describe, since you may find a better solution (another brand) based on your own preference or environment. Cutting Tool This is the knife you will carry. You may also wish to have redundancy, carrying more than one or even complimenting it with an axe or folding saw, or some other bladed tool. You will need to carry a knife which would perform the tasks at hand; wood carving for basic items, to skinning game and to serve as a utility tool. You will want a fixed blade (as opposed to a folding blade), something with a good steel, and is known to function well. For these reasons, I have selected the Mora line of knives. These are affordable and very well made blades, and they come in a wide variety to serve any role. Linked threads for extended information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- Combustion Device As long as you know how to use it, the combustion device of your choosing will assist you in creating fire when you need it. Some points to consider are - will it work when it is wet? Will it last for an extended period of time? Will it work when my hands are cold and numb? Just like a cutting tool, you may wish to have redundancy in fire making, too. If you chose to use a Mora "Light my Fire" blade, it comes with a built-in ferrocerium rod within the handle. Use the tool you decide to use and actually try to make fire (safely) and test your abilities. Recommended tools in this category: Numyth fire piston, Light my Fire, waterproof matches. Linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- Communication This is one of the critical C's skipped by many people, whether it be because they just do not see it as essential, or due to ignorance, I cannot say. Perhaps for most, looking at just a general survival situation, it isn't essential. But, if we are going to talk about survival in this century, I highly recommend implementing sturdy and dependable communications into your routine. The level of communication you implement will be based on your skills and expectations. You can go with iDen secure two way phones, CB radio, Ham radio, or just about anything you find reasonable. This portion of the list also includes AM/FM/SW radio and emergency alert frequencies. You can receive information with radio, and transmit as well as receive with various tools I already listed. Search our forums about any of these at your own leisure. Linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- Covering (shelter) This can be a daunting challenge to newcomers. But, it's actually not as tough as some may think at first glance. You basically need to protect your body from exposure to the elements. If you can accomplish this task, then all the fluff disappears. Start with a sturdy tarp. Do not buy the cheap 2 dollar plastic blue tarp and store it for a few years and expect it not to be cracked and ruined. You will benefit from a PU coated ripstop nylon tarp, but if the budget will not allow this, a well made poly tarp will work. You want to check the stitching, the grommets (if any), and try it out -test it. The average size tarp is a 5'x8' dimension, but this can vary and it depends on your preference. This topic also includes bedding: a hammock, sleeping bag, wool blanket, or anything else you consider shelter. Again, we have plenty of topics on the forum for these items. Linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)- Containers (water) Water procurement, water storage, and water treatment -all of these are essential to survival, and in order to do these things, you need a container. To treat water, you will need to boil it. Lots of people choose to use a metal container just because they know they can use this container to boil water. From portable stoves, to kettles and carriers, it's all pertinent to the subject of procuring water, treating it, and storing it for use. The advantages to using a plastic container are, they are lighter and you can carry more of them. Linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)- Cordage (rope, paracord, twine) From trapping to fixing your kit and even fishing, there are many uses for quality cordage. Try to choose a braided line which can be broken down into individual strands, or use a 550 parachute cord, for example. For those on a budget, common bank line (at least 3 ply) will work very well. Linked threads for extended information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- Compass (and map) Having a quality compass and topographic map can save your life. Without these tools, you will be at the mercy of your environment, and rely upon guessing where you are going if you are in the wilderness or traveling long distances (aside from general navigation by stars or bushcraft methods). You will need to posses the skill to read a map and to ascertain direction with a compass (terrain navigation). See these linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)--(5)- Clothing and Footwear Your clothing should be constructed of wool and or cotton canvas for the greatest amount of protection and durability. Some nylon and cotton/polyester blends are acceptable, but keep in mind that you must test out your kit long term to see for yourself which can stand the tests of time. Footwear is also critically important. This is so important to learn: spend the money on quality footwear! See these linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)--(5)- Carry Bag Your backpack is an extension of yourself, in that it carries all or most of your kit. Therefore, it would be wise to do some research if you already do not have experience with extended hiking and backpacking. Knowing how to properly fit a pack to your body is important, and not all packs are "one size fits all". Know the difference between an external frame pack and an internal frame. Limit yourself to a usable pack which conforms to your body type and environment. If you are carrying a pack with its contents and the total weight is more than 1/3rd your total body weight, you should lighten the load or seek advanced training. Common pack types to search for are USMC ILBE, Webtex PLCE, Kifaru, Tasmanian Tiger, and Kelty. Linked threads for more information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- Care and Rescue (First Aid) This particular subject includes critical training in emergency response and/or self treatment for injury and injury assessment. An actual course for casualty care is always recommended for those who do not have the training by route of military or qualified emergency response expertise. The basic kit is comprised of more than a few band-aids and a tube of antibacterial ointment, so a little time is required to gain understanding. Linked threads for extended information: -(1)--(2)--(3)- _____ All things considered, along the subject of knowledge, which most of these tools really do require in order for you to be well-rounded and successful in any outdoor adventure, another topic I would like to revisit is plant identification and related edible plant guides. This subject goes hand-in-hand with any proposed skill set, since at its very core it establishes a solid baseline for success in the wilderness. I hope all of this information has been helpful, and please do follow all the links I provided and feel free to comment on the threads. Extended Information: The Ultimate Bug Out Bag Master List This particular thread is meant to be a BASIC guideline for many who just want to get started and find some solid footing on where to begin.