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The 10 C’s of Wilderness Survival from The Pathfinder Blog

14 June

Some very thoughtful, expert advice on wilderness survival from Pathfinder School, LLC founder Dave Canterbury. Take a look at the first five C’s here, and follow the link below to see the entire article. Don’t forget to check out the site for more great information and recommendations on survival and backwoods living:

Dave Canterbursurvival bug out bagy of the Pathfinder School, LLC developed the “10 C’s of Survival” as a handy  of the most essential tools for staying alive in a wilderness emergency. The list should be
taken to heart by anyone who spends any time in the backcountry—indeed, even the front-country.

After all, a day hike can quickly become a situation of perilous stakes. Weather can rapidly turn, bringing frigid rain or wet, heaping snowdrifts where ten minutes before was blazing sunshine. You may stray from the trail and become entirely disoriented, or become suddenly hobbled by a twisted ankle.

The 10 C’s are best thought of as divided into two batches: a core five of absolute must-have survival gear rounded out by an additional roster of highly useful, if not essential, tools.

(1) Cutting Tool: Ultimately, this means a sturdy, full-tang survival knife—something that should always be on your person in the backcountry. A design with a four to five-inch carbon-steel blade and a flattened back edge is typically the most dependable and versatile. Well-made survival knives allow you to do everything from clean fish to split kindling.

(2) Combustion: Being able to spark a fire is critical in a survival situation. In inclement weather, it’s the first order of business—fundamental to maintaining your core temperature. Additionally, a blaze can help you advertise your location to potential rescuers. Carry spark-catching material such as the Pathfinder Mini Inferno tinder or Gorilla Tape alongside a ferro rod and a good lighter.

(3) Cover: A common mistake committed by plenty of outdoor recreationists is neglecting to include an emergency shelter in their go-to hiking packs. Even if you’re simply setting out for an afternoon trail hike, you need the ability to quickly erect a precipitation and cold-resistant covering to keep you dry and warm in the event of an unforeseen night out in the backwoods. A poncho, wool blanket, tarp, or even a plastic garbage bag will serve you well.

(4) Container: An ideal container for wilderness use is a 32-oz. stainless-steel water bottle. Staying hydrated is fundamental in an emergency, and you want a durable vessel for storing and carrying water. The high-quality metal additionally allows you to boil water—or melt snow—to render it safe to drink: You don’t want to be dealing with a gastrointestinal malady on top of your other worries.

(5) Cordage: Sure, you can fashion rope from plant materials in the backcountry—but why expend that time and effort if you don’t need to? Carry a good 100 feet of 550 cord, which can assist in a dizzying array of tasks.

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