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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Default 10 essentials

Curious at what point do you NOT carry the 10 essentials? Or is it standard to carry these regardless how quick/easy a climb/scramble is listed at?

" Nobody conquers Mt. Everest or K2. You simply survive it"
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 04:39 AM
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My two cents:

The ten essentials are great but they aren't a replacement for thoughtful preparation. You can't just have a "ten essentials" kit that you throw in your backpack for every trip and consider yourself to be prepared.

There is some good reading on wikipedia about the 10 essentials.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials


In general, thinking of systems instead of items is a good idea and the updated list is better than the classic list for that purpose. Going through the motions of carrying ten essential items is not the point. You need to thoughtfully prepare your systems for your trip based on the scenarios you will likely face. Hydration is a good example. For one trip you might need to carry a stove to be able to melt snow. For another trip you will need to carry extra water for the duration of the trip. For yet another trip it will be sufficient to carry a few water treatment tablets. It's a system, not an item.


There are also trips where additional essential items will be added such as avy gear in the winter or perhaps bear spray when travelling in grizzly bear country.
Here is the scenario that worries me the most when I am in the woods:
It's December or January and I'm hiking or snowshoeing alone in an area with very little traffic. I'm travelling on snow but it's currently raining and almost freezing. I have a gore-tex jacket and pants but all of my clothes are sweaty. I'm going downhill so I'm wearing most of my extra layers. I slip or post-hole and break a leg and can no longer move. I will need to wait until I am late and a search party is sent. That means I need to keep myself warm for many many hours. That's one of those situations where I would need many systems to work flawlessly and I'd need them all to be fairly robust (lots of extra layers, a good temporary shelter, food, candle and matches, etc.) After thinking that through, I normally also add a personal locator beacon to my list of essentials if there is a chance I will face that scenario.

One omission from both lists is a time keeping device. I always like to have a watch so that I can make decisions about progress based on fact instead of emotion. I consider it a part of my navigation system but it's easy to overlook if it's not called out.

Before thinking about the ten essentials, there are two other things to always do in the preparation phase. I feel that these preparation tasks should be added as Essential system #0.
1) Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
2) Walk through the trip in your mind. Study the maps. Know the distances and elevations and estimated times. Look at the route on Google Earth. Study a weather forecast.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 10:07 AM
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I carry them every time I go hiking in the mountains, even if it's a short easy trail. Weather can be unpredictable and it's not hard to turn an ankle on any trail.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 12:33 PM
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Good equipment summary on the NSR site.

I usually carry all of the items, except for a shelter/tarp. I do carry a minimal thickness space blanket, even though it's not much protection.

Sometimes I make a judgment call. More gear vs being able to travel faster/lighter. Extra clothes add bulk but not that much weight. What usually weighs you down are things like crampons, ice axe, poles, and water weight.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 03:15 PM
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At NO point do I ever ever set foot without the 10 essentials as outlined in the latest of the Freedom of the Hills. Those essentials remain in my pack and are not removed. I know of too many horror stories of people just going for the proverbial walk and getting into trouble beyond belief.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 06:38 PM
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Steventy's reply, along with everyone else's, is bang on. The classic '10 essentials' is a good starting point, but you have to combine that with your own judgement according to your personal situation (for example, http://www.ashikaparsad.com/2015/06/...e-backcountry/), your research re what you're going to be dealing with on the particular trail/hike you've chosen, etc. Personally, I carry everything, with my own modifications, on pretty much every outting.

And re shelters/emergency blankets, I always carry something a bit more beefy (http://www.mec.ca/product/5028-797/b...-sleeping-bag/) but that's more personal choice/risk tolerance flowing from what I've seen.

-Ryan
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 06:38 PM
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I second Guntis re the NSR list ^. I learned the hard way to carry the essentials. No one ever plans to have a bad day in the mountains. Unfortunately, bad weather, a wrong turn, or unexpected injury can turn an easy day into an extended emergency.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan.in.yaletown View Post
Steventy's reply, along with everyone else's, is bang on. The classic '10 essentials' is a good starting point, but you have to combine that with your own judgement according to your personal situation (for example, http://www.ashikaparsad.com/2015/06/...e-backcountry/), your research re what you're going to be dealing with on the particular trail/hike you've chosen, etc. Personally, I carry everything, with my own modifications, on pretty much every outting.

And re shelters/emergency blankets, I always carry something a bit more beefy (http://www.mec.ca/product/5028-797/b...-sleeping-bag/) but that's more personal choice/risk tolerance flowing from what I've seen.

-Ryan
Re: Ryan's reply, if you take a look at the provided link, I used the NSR list for the basics and catered it to ppl with type 1 diabetes (or similar chronic conditions).
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 08:22 PM
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I just bring what I think I'll need for each trip. I almost always have a headlamp in there and a small first aid kit and if I'm on my own my PLB, but otherwise it varies considerably.

I ran the Skyline Trail and the Berg Lake trail this summer and took almost nothing. My tiny hydration pack had some food and sports drink powder, a small first aid kit, small headlamp, and that's it.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 09:56 PM
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For me it depends on the trip. You better believe I'm not hauling extra water & food up the Chief (or other similarly crowded half-day excursion). Nor am I toting a gps for on-trail hiking. And I must admit I've never even considered buying an emergency bivi shelter. I could probably stand to supplement my meager first aid kit - usually it is just some moleskin & tape, triangular bandage and tensor wrap. And my last few trips I've really questioned why the hell I haven't bought a spot or plb yet.

Semper fudge
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 01:13 AM
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A heavy daypack don't bother me, so yeah Ill have 50 essentials that are always in a large ziplock and go from pack to pack, depending which I'll use that trip, then load up my other required items.
There is likely too much in that "core" bag and it does weigh a bit, but it goes almost everywhere with me.
I should thin out some items, but soon as I do I will need them on a trail or someone else in need would appreciate it etc. Kinda curious of what is in there now

Last edited by Aqua Terra; 09-02-2015 at 01:25 AM.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 11:39 AM
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Many times I've been schooled by those wiser than I on the need for mandatory survival gear and three incidents quickly come to mind. First time was a winter excursion into a backcountry hut and for various reasons we left late in a heavy snow storm, turned up the wrong valley in the dark and ended up spending the night in a qunicy shelter. I had no shovel or sleeping pad, and only a thin sleeping bag :-( Most interesting was seeing our tracks in the morning; we'd scribed a nearly perfect circle on side-hill terrain without even noticing it!

2nd "adventure" I broke my wrist while scrambling in a remote area 3-days from our vehicle. My partners were serving and ex-military and produced from their packs full first aid kits including a splint which was credited by the doctor later as saving my wrist from deformation while healing.

3rd time (yeah, will I ever learn?), we'd just launched into a week-long wilderness canoe trip during spring flooding and within an hour came across an unexpected hazard which swamped two of our three boats. Standing on the bank soaking wet with most of our gear gone, it was easy to recognize that our group was EXTREMELY fortunate to have escaped uninjured, and be within walking distance to assistance - something which wouldn't have been the case had this happened later on. This reinforced that survival gear is only useful if on your person and not floating down the river in an upside-down canoe...

So now, sometimes to my friends annoyance, I bring all the essentials and spread them out among the group. For canoeing, I have a "ditch kit" that I wear along with the pfd anytime I'm on the water. Hope for the best, plan for the worst...
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Last edited by Trail Talk; 09-02-2015 at 11:54 AM. Reason: addl info
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Talk View Post
This reinforced that survival gear is only useful if on your person and not floating down the river in an upside-down canoe...
Wow...did you ever recover the canoe and gear?
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:04 PM
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I had a 5'x8' siltarp made up, with some lightweight rigging and stakes. I always hike with my poles so and for maybe 200g I have everything I need for a pretty quick shelter
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenarc View Post
Wow...did you ever recover the canoe and gear?
In all the years that was the only trip I'd describe as "epic", and it only lasted one day! Both boats were lost, although we provided reports to the nearest RCMP including serial numbers. 2 of us went back a week later to complete the trip and search for the missing boats but nada. Thankfully, with good insurance and receipts for everything, I didn't lose out financially.

It still scares me to think what could have happened though. My buddy was trapped in the air pocket under his boat for several minutes before he decided to take a deep breath and swim for it. The royalex canoe was bent virtually in half but popped free later and sailed away. I was snagged by a submerged tree and sprained my ankle wrenching it free while being pushed under. Both our youngest and oldest trippers experienced near-exhaustion trying for shore against a heavy current, but all turned out well in the end due to luck more than good management.
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