The 10 Essentials

Any Scout should know about the “10 Essentials” for any trip or hike. These are items that no hiker or camper should be without in the wilderness. They provide a foundation for safety in the wilderness and should be carried on every outing – no matter how close to home.

  1. Map & Compass – Provides the tools to navigate in the wilderness.
  2. Sunglasses & Sunscreen – Protection from the sun. Even in the winter, sunburn is possible and there is little to be done if you are sunburned.
  3. Extra Clothing – Extra layers of clothing to protect you from elements and to keep you warm and dry. Depending on the season a fleece sweater, long sleeved t-shirt, jacket or insulated vest might be appropriate. Avoid cotton clothing if possible as cotton absorbs water and can actually make you colder if it’s wet.
  4. Rain Jacket or Poncho – Protection from the weather
  5. First Aid Kit – To treat common injuries such as blisters, cuts, insect bites, sprained ankles, etc. You should also carry aspirin or ibuprofen – both are anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
  6. Flashlight or Headlamp – In spite of the best plans, you still may return after dark. A small LED flashlight slips right into your pocket and provides great illumination.
  7. Matches & Firestarter – If you get lost, cold or wet a fire can save your life. A small amount of dryer lint makes great firestarter (tinder). Matches and firestarter should be in a waterproof container (a Ziploc bag works well).
  8. Knife or Multitool – A “Swiss Army knife” or a Multi-tool with a knife blade are best as they provide many tools in one package. Small folding knives are OK as well, but not as versatile. Scouts are not allowed knives with blades over 6″ in length.
  9. Extra Food – Always pack more food than you think you will need. Energy bars, beef jerky, GORP (Good Old Raisons and Peanuts) or Trail Mix keeps well, provides good energy and doesn’t take up much room.
  10. Water – Dehydration is a serious problem and you should always drink plenty of water. A canteen, sports bottle or 1-qt Nalgene bottle are are suitable for hiking and camping. Scouts should carry at least 1 quart of water on short hikes and at least 2 quarts of water on longer hikes.