Backcountry Preparedness: The 10 Essentials

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on January 22, 2009 6:00 pm

Nature is the best enforcer of self-responsibility.  If the outdoors is your playground and the lunch bell’s about to ring, then today’s class discussion is on Preparation.  The 10 Essentials are a list of essential items for safe travel in the backcountry.  The list is a quick reference guide, equipping you for the unexpected.  Ignoring your responsibility when heading off-piste is disrespting the power of nature.  Be a good student.  Clear ten memory slots in your brain and learn The 10 Essentials.

Scott Bornstein.  A memory training expert.  An expert in planting memories.  From his memory training tapes I still know a "nosegay" is a small bouquet of flowers.  From my Verbal Advantage cassette tape, Scott’s voice gives me the visual memory cue, "See the nose smelling the small bouquet of flowers… nosegay.  A small bouqet of flowers."  And this was 20 years ago.  Scott’s moved on to bigger and better, helping corporate sales types remember their customers’ names for a 15k fee.  But, the techniques he taught this future SAT taker have, like my memory of Scott Bornstein, lived on.

The 10 Essentials is a simple list of ten items.  It’s this type of grouped items that Scott Bornstein’s memory techniques were magical at.  So in tribute to Scott Bornsetin, I attempt to train your memory to remember The 10 Essentials.  No paper list required after today’s class!

1. Navagation

What it is: map and compass

What Scott would say: "See the rapper say, ‘There is only one MC.’  There is only 1 M (map), C (compass).  How many MCs are there?  Only one.  One Map, one Compass.  One MC."

2. Sun Protection

What it is: sunscreen and sunglasses

What Scott would say: "See the two suns of Luke Skywalker’s home planet in Star Wars.  One sun burns the eyes, one sun burns the skin.  Two is the two suns.  One sun burns the what?  Yes, the eyes.  The other sun burns what?  Yes, your skin.  Two is the two suns."

3. Insulation

What it is: extra clothing, enough to survive the worst conditions that can be realistically expected.

What Scott would say: "Three layers of insulation.  Three is the number.  Three layers of insulation."

4. Illumination

What it is: flashlight, headlamp

What Scott would say: "Four is for forehead.  See the headlamp on the forehead.  For is for forehead."

5. First Aid Supplies

What it is: a first aid kit

What Scott would say: "A bleeding man, high FIVEs you for bringing a first aid kit.  See the bleeding man high five you.  Slap!  Why’s the bleeding man high-fiving you?  You brought a first aid kit.  Bleeding man, high FIVE, first aid kit."

6. Fire

What it is: two disposable lighters

What Scott would say: "Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue starts fires, with two lighters.  Nikkie Sixx, firestarter, lighter in each hand.  See Niki Sixx start fires with two lighters."

7. Repair Kit and Tools

What it is: multi-tool (glorified pocket-knife)

What Scott would say: See the multi-tool with seven functions.  How many functions?  Seven.  Seven is the number of functions on the multi-tool.  Seven functions.  Multi-tool."

8. Nutrition

What it is: entire extra day of food.

What Scott would say: "See the man who ATE a tire.  An enTIRE’s day worth of food.  How much food?  A tire day’s worth.  See the man who ATE the tire.  Eight, tire."

9. Hydration

What it is: water

What Scott would say: "See the anchor man on Channel 9′s news at 9 reporting on a terrible drought.  Channel 9 news, live at 9, terrible drought.  At 9 on Channel 9.  Drought. "

10. Emergency Shelter

What it is: space blanket or tent

What Scott would say: "See the volume knob turned up to 10 when "Gimme Shelter" comes on the radio.  Volume knob 10.  Rolling Stones’ "Gimme Shelter".  Volume to 10, "Gimme Shelter" on the radio.  10, volume.  Gimme shelter."

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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