Anytime you’re headed into the woods, Sierra recommends you carry the Ten Essentials plus one additional important item.

The Mountaineers of Seattle have the most widely recognized list of the Ten Essentials.

  1. Map and Compass (GPS batteries fail, or trees can block signal. Carry and know how to use your map and compass.
  2. Sunscreen and sunglasses.
  3. Extra clothing.  (Remember, no cotton.  Once cotton is wet, it loses all insulation value. “Cotton kills.”)
  4. A headlamp or flashlight.  (And at least one extra set of batteries.)
  5. First Aid supplies.
  6. Firestarter.  (Along with matches or a lighter, bring cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly as kindling.)
  7. Repair kit and tools.  (Extra shoelace, safety pins, duct tape.)
  8. Extra food.  (You might be out there longer than you think.)
  9. Extra water.  (Or a way to make water you find safe to drink, such as a filter or purifier.)
  10. Emergency Shelter. (People die of the cold long before they die of starvation.)

OK, so what’s the 11th essential?  Toilet Paper.  And the 12th essential is a plastic bag to keep it in.  Depending on your knowledge of the plants in your area, using leaves for TP can be a big, itchy, mistake.

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