The 10 Essentials Stripped-Down Life

The 10 Essentials Stripped-Down Life

The 10 Essentials is a concept with a long history in outdoor activities and wilderness survival. They are items and skills that keep you alive. The 10 essentials apply to your everyday life, look at the list. These groups or systems are not just for survival situations, though the idea was developed for that, it’s essentially a stripped-down life in a short and direct idea.

The 10 Essentials. Stripped down life.

Ötzi, aka The Iceman, a frozen man from 3000 BCE, found in the Alps with what can be considered an ancient, maybe the earliest known, 10 essentials kit.

This list is not prioritized because situations and people differ. Individual posts on each essential will follow weekly, on Sundays.

This post does not have Amazon affiliates links, it’s not for that and I thought it would be inappropriate for the post’s tone. Our leave at a friend cache post is though. 🙂


You need to stay warm, safe, cook, and purify water. The ability and tools to make fire are essential for any kind of survival. The hottest environments in the world do not prevent humans from wanting or needing fire.

From briquettes to bow-drills there are many ways of starting a fire. The most simple fires might only need a match and some wood, some will need much more, including knowing what’s around you. Have you burned dung lately?


Nature kills. The elements and animals can kill you. Shelters add to your security and sense of place, your mind is at ease when you are in a shelter.

The first time I pitched a tent, a North Face. I read the instructions in the field, it was a great spot in Franconia Notch State Park. You may have to put half a dozen sticks at an angle and throw forty pounds of dry leaves over it to spend the night, or pop a tent to save your life. Don’t be afraid, learn to do it.


No water, no life. The rules of three illustrate what happens without water, in 3 days (average) without water you die. Don’t be a dead prepper, it doesn’t help anyone.

Procurement, processing, and storage. Find, filter, and (well) store. In an urban area where you can buy a bottle of water every ten feet you might not know how much you drink water, or how much you waste. Don’t fall for that self-made trap. Drill into your mind the constant need of clean potable water.


Burgers, beans, bugs. Who cares? You need food. Calories, fat, carbs, salts, vitamins, protein, and a full belly. Carry extra in your pack. Do you know how to snare squirrels or which plants you can eat where you got lost?

Packing extra food with you, adding extra food to your plans, and keeping extra food at home are all steps you must take right now. The expense is usually negligible, there is simply no excuse.

First aid

Injury is your enemy, keep it away. If it happens, know what to have on you to deal with the most likely injuries to happen. Cuts, broken fingers, and diarrhea to name a few can ruin your trip or stop you from getting home in an emergency.

At home, you can have a comprehensive approach to first aid and medical needs. Replicate this home ‘infirmary’ at your retreat or bug out location cache (if possible)


Extra clothing for insulation/warmth or a rain jacket for storms are extensions of you, don’t get caught up a mountain in a cold drizzle unprepared. Many have put themselves in situations that cost them their lives.

Learn about where you are going, that hot as hell desert during the day can be a meat locker at night.

Protection from the Elements

I think this essential should be part of ‘Clothing’ but I didn’t come up with the list. Sunscreen, sun hats, eyeshades, do you see a pattern? The sun is rough on us humans, protection is needed.


Whether you are in the wilderness or suburbs, you have to know where you are and how to get to the next location. In the wild, you need better skills than urban or suburban areas where a road map could do.

Compass, topographic maps, azimuth, and route finding. Important tools and skills for you outdoors, learn these if you haven’t by now.


The dark is insidious, scary, and dangerous. That’s not hyperbole. As a kid we had candles, and my grandmother knew how to make oil lamps (from peanut oil and little strips of newspaper. Learn those old school skills, but don’t put yourself threw it. Be prepared.


Pliers to pull those pesky teeth you will lose. No, I am joking. though a multi-tool has to find it’s way into your 10 essentials kit, as well as a knife. You may be in an area or trip where an ax is in the kit!

10 Essentials Stripped-Down life.
A 10 Essentials Breakfast

Stripped-down Conclusion

In conclusion, a very brief overview of the 10 essentials. Remember this is an introductory post to the series that will follow. These subjects can seem simple until you have to rub two sticks together to make fire, in the dark, to light the way to a lake, half a mile away. The 10 essentials are a stripped-down life. But life, nevertheless.