The following post on the 5 C’s & 10 C’s of survivability is timeless. I originally posted this years ago however I’m re-posting the list as a refresher, especially to new comers.

These elements of survival basics are well worth remembering (and practicing)!

Dave Canterbury first came up with the concept which he calls the 5 C’s (and the 10 C’s) of survivability.

When putting together a minimalist basic survival kit, consider these basic categories for survivability.



5 C’s of Survivability

These are the core elements of survivability. They are categories/items 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 – World’s Best Firestarter Rods


Cover & Shelter to protect you from the elements. This could be a wool blanket, a tarp, mylar foil blanket, etc.
Heavy Duty Emergency Blanket / Tarp


A container capable of boiling water (such as single walled stainless steel), or cooking.
Stainless Camp Cooking Container


Paracord, rope, twine, etc. will facilitate building shelter and other uses.


10 C’s of Survivability

These are the expanded elements of survivability.


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, 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.