Ten Essentials – Other Useful Items
There are many other items that may be included in your Ten Essentials Kit. What they are and how many depends on how much bulk and weight you are willing to carry on every outdoors outing you go on, because a Ten Essentials Kit is useless if you leave it at home or in camp.
One category of items not included in the original kit are signaling items.
- Mirror: Lightweight Lexan plastic, about 1/2 ounce. Or if you have a compass with a built-in sighting mirror, that will do fine.
- Whistle: An essential item. You can shout only so long before you become hoarse. A whistle will work as long as you can breathe. Loudest ones are the Storm and Fox 40 brands. Additionally, they have no “pea”, so they do not rattle annoyingly.
- Carry TWO whistles. they’re lightweight, and if you’re stuck in an emergency with a friend, you can each use a whistle to signal the other in case you need to separate.
- Nylon parachute cord: Any amount can be useful. Most articles recommend 20-50 feet. At 550 lb of strength, they can even hold the weight of a person. Genuine military paracord has an inner core of seven (7) strands which can be pulled out for use as a lightweight string or as thread to repair other items.
- Emergency Blanket: The aluminized Mylar 2 ounce model. or two Trash Bags as emergency shelter
- Metal can: To carry the kit and doubles as a mini-pot for cooking / heating water.
- Handkerchief / Bandanna: Generally useful
From here, you can go hog-wild with GPS, wood saw, hand-axe, duct tape, thin wire, fish line and hook, survival handbook, etc. Remember, you must be willing to carry all this stuff.
In my Ten Essentials Kit I carry a Lexan Mirror (2 X 3 inch), two Fox whistles, 30 feet of parachute cord and an Emergency Blanket..
p.s. I always carry a spare pair of prescription glasses with an attached behind-the-head cord. I am blind without eyeglasses.
Jim Yuen March 2002
updates: May 2008,