Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Climbing, a mountain, Canada.
Interest: climbing and spraying
Essentially there are two components to the "essentials"
1) Things to prevent you from getting into trouble - in this category lie sunscreen, hat, water, food, map, compass, headlamp
2) Things to keep you alive when you DO get into trouble. Extra clothes, headlamp (again), extra food, first aid kit, firestarter, telling someone where you are going fall into the latter category.
There don't have to be 10, it's just a handy number. You can take 8 and still cover the bases or 20 and still get into trouble. It's more about knowing what to do, how not to get into trouble and what to do if you do. Taking a FA kit won't help much if you have never taken a 1st aid course or if you faint at the sight of blood. Taking cellphone won't help if you fall down a gully and lose coverage. Having all "10 essentials" on the list above still won't help you if you fall through a cornice or get eaten by a bear.