The 10 C’s Of Survivability

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The following post is timeless, and is re-posted as a refresher:

Dave Canterbury is the owner and instructor of “The Pathfinder School” in Jackson Ohio (which provides training in wilderness and survival techniques) and a former co-host of Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survival”. He promotes what he calls the 5 C’s (and the 10 C’s) of survivability.

These elements of survival basics are well worth remembering (and practicing) which is why I’m posting them here for your benefit…


When thinking of putting together a basic survival kit or minimal items to take with you on a camping/hiking trip, etc., consider these basic prep items for survivability.

5 C’s of Survivability

These are the core elements of survivability, and things that would be difficult to reproduce in an outdoor situation if you didn’t already have them.

Cutting Tool

The most difficult thing to reproduce in an outdoor situation. A high quality knife, preferably in a sheath and strapped to your belt.
Morakniv Survival Knife


You need ‘something’ that will start a fire, whether the environment is wet or dry.
FireSteel 1/2″ x 5″ with Scraper & Lanyard


Cover & Shelter to protect you from the elements. This could be a wool blanket, a tarp, mylar foil blanket, etc.
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer 90 Percent Heat Reflective Emergency Blanket


A container for water, preferably capable of boiling (single walled stainless steel).
Klean Kanteen Classic (w/Loop Cap) Brushed Stainless


Paracord, rope, twine, etc. will facilitate building shelter and other uses.
Paracord Planet 550 Cord Type III 7 Strand Paracord 100 Foot Hank


10 C’s of Survivability

These are the expanded elements of survivability.

Cutting Tool


Or a Headlamp (LED) for hands free operation. Flashlight is next best…
Headlamp Flashlight, also with Red LED to maintain night vision

Cotton Bandana

Any cotton material (~ 3×3 feet) can be used for head-cover, cleaning, filtering water, making char-paper, etc.
Military Army Trainmen Paisley Large Bandanas (Olive Drab – 27″)


A quality compass for navigation
Official US Miltary Tritium Lensatic Compass

Cargo Tape

Also known as Duct tape. For repairs, making things, and a zillion other uses.
Duck Brand Duct Tape, Digital Camouflage

Canvas Needle

A heavy duty needle for repairs, sewing, and many other uses.
Leather | Canvas Needle

The following two videos are Dave briefly explaining the 5 C’s and 10 C’s of survivability.


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