Have you ever heard of the Ten Essentials? How about the Ten Essential Systems? Well if you haven’t, you’re going to discover both of them here in this post.

Updated Ten Essential Systems

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Insulation
  4. Illumination
  5. First-aid Supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair Kit and Tools
  8. Nutrition
  9. Hydration
  10. Emergency Shelter

What is the updated “systems” based “Ten Essentials” list?

The Origins Of The First Ten Essentials List

The first version of the ten essentials was first created by a group of mountaineers that were based out of Seattle in the 1930s.

They created the list for two primary reasons.

  1. It was a simple list of survival and climbing gear that helped people understand exactly what they should get. At the time there wasn’t much information available on what gear to get.
  2. The essentials list also provided a support system for the climbers.

What was the first version of the list?

Good question.

This is the first version of the list that was created in the 1930s.

The original ten items on the list were

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Flashlight
  6. First aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra knife

As said earlier, the original list is based on specific items. Which is still good

Just not as good as focusing on systems which is what the new list was optimized for.

As long as the items you choose meet the requirements and functions if the category, then you can use any item you wish.

Also, there are two categories that were left out completely in the first list.

Shelter and water. 

Water is just about the most essential thing needed for our survival.

No item in the classic essentials list meets the category for hydration or shelter.

The new survival essential systems list does a good job at covering all our bases for surviving.

Basic and simple. It got the job done. But things have changed somewhat.

Not so much “change”. The same group just realized that it would be better to have the list made up of systems instead of specific individual items.

Which makes sense and is definitely a better way to organize the list.

Updated Survival Essential Systems List

Let’s get started with the newly updated version.

1. Navigation

Navigation typically consists of a map and compass.

2. Sun Protection

To protect yourself from heat and sun exposure, get sunglasses and sunscreen.

3. Insulation

To pack some insulation, bring extra clothing and clothing specifically for the outdoors or for the environment where you will most likely be.

If your camping, for example, outerwear is the optimal choice.

4. Illumination

Light your way with your choice of either a headlamp or flashlight. Or better yet, both.

5. First-aid Supplies

A basic first aid kit and medical skills are essential.

6. Fire

Fire is one of the primary pillars for survival. You can make your own waterproof matches. Pack a  lighter and candles for a quick and easy fire resource.

7. Repair Kit and Tools

duct tape, multi-tool, other tools

8. Nutrition

extra food

9. Hydration

extra water

10. Emergency Shelter



Out with the old, in with the new.

Out with the old, in with the new. Click to Tweet

This updated list is definitely an improved version of the first version that was developed in the 1930s, at least we think so. Some disagree.

Do you think the updated ten essential systems list is better than the first? Let us know below.

Up Next: How To Prepare and Survive Any Disaster

The New Ten Essential Systems List
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updated ten essential systems list


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