This Top 10 List comes to us from the Pathfinder. It is a crucial list in our opinion and should be taken to heart when preparing any kit from the ‘Every Day Carry’ to the 72 hour kit or even the semi-permanent ‘Bug Out Bag’. If you are like most folks in bushcraft, you are pretty darn frugal and that’s okay. This list can be obtained through items you may already have or from the thrift or ‘Dollar’ stores. However, the only item you mustn’t skimp on is #1 on the list. Our most important tool of all.
Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survivability
- Cutting tool – the most difficult thing to reproduce in an outdoor situation
- Combustion – you need something that will start a fire no matter if it is wet or dry
- Cordage – para cord, rope, straps, etc
- Container – something that you can carry, boil, and purify water in
- Cargo – a pack that you can put your items into
- Compass – some sort of item that you can determine accurate coordinates for
- Cover – you need to have some sort of shelter to protect you from the elements
- Candle or light – 100% bees was candle or a flashlight
- Combination tool – which is actually more of a comfort item SAK, multi tool or saw
- Cloth or bandana – used for filtering water etc
There are many great options for a cutting tool. In our opinion, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a Mora Knife. They are dirt cheap and you can really abuse these high quality blades. If you are a high-class bushcrafter or a celeb groupie, going after Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder knife at over $250 or Les Stroud’s Helle for just under $200 would be good options. We prefer the Scandinavian grind or single bevel knives as they are superior for bushcrafting.
Again there are many options for combustion depending on your area or circumstances. You could get away with a Bic lighter if it is dry with no wind or dust… Or you could use a more traditional approach such as a Flint and Steel. Better yet there is the Ultimate Survival Technologies StrikeForce w/ WetFire Tinder. This is an absolute rock solid combination as you can get flame in the wind, rain, whatever. It works!
For cordage you could be a primitive expert and just make your own from the Yucca plant found throughout Red Dirt Country. Paracord is what we prefer as it has great strength, many uses, and is ideally priced. Some of the other guys try to discredit paracord stating it is inferior to Bankline. If all you need cordage for is fishing for catfish then this is definitely the way to go.
As for containers we recommend a stainless steel bottle or canteen. You could get one of the cheapies from the discount store and they have been used with great success. Also, you could get a sturdier and more solid steel bottle from a great company in Guyot Designs. They are absolutely a delight to go out in the bush with if you don’t mind the steeper pricing.
For cargo you could fit this entire list into a day pack and in our opinion there are two ways you can go. First is the Condor Urban Go Pack. This is a military style ‘BOB’ and it is tough as nails. You can get this pack for around $75 from US Cavalry. If you are of the ‘Ultralight’ crowd, then there is no other choice for us than The North Face Borealis. This pack is lightweight and really tough and is also around $75. There is also no reason you couldn’t go to a thrift store and pick up an old backpack for pennies on the dollar.
For the experienced bushmen and women out there, you could just use the sun and stars for navigation and use a $2 Sail Needle when it’s cloudy. For the rest of us a more modern approach may be necessary. You can get an absolute monster of a compass in the Silva Ranger for about $50. If you don’t know how to navigate with a compass and a map we suggest you read the military manual FM 3-25-26.
For cover you could use a thick mil trash bag, a military style poncho, a polypropylene tarp from the discount store, or you could go all out and get an ultra light rip-stop nylon tarp like the Kelty Noah’s Tarp.
For a candling device you could use just that. A candle. You could get creative and load old shotgun or .45ACP rounds with wax and some cotton line. You could also spend a little bit of money and get a solar or crank flashlight. We prefer a military style headlamp so we can work hands free at all times.
For a combination tool the SAK variety is an economic choice. We like luxury when our asses are on the line and that’s why we choose the Leatherman Wave which is a proven design loved all over the Earth and the Bahco Laplander folding saw which is in our opinion the sturdiest folding saw on the market. You can get the Leatherman in the neigborhood of $75 and the Bahco comes in at $30.
Last on the list is the cotton bandana. We don’t feel that there is any other choice. If you have seen our videos on YouTube then you know Chad wears one religiously. They are cheap and the multipurpose uses for these items make them an invaluable asset to any kit or bag.