10 C’s of Survival (What you Need to Know)

This article will cover the 10 C’s of survival and everything you need to know about it.

People carry several mixed items in their bags, depending on the situation, the setting, and the activities anticipated. This is called adaptation to the situation, which is what self-reliance and survival are all about. 

Over the years, it has been my passion to study what simple things are actually needed for survival. By practical exercise, trial, and error, I have discovered that you can easily add or remove a few basics. These things depend primarily on specialized tasks, environmental or seasonal changes.

This method of reasoning takes us to the 10 C’s of survival. There are some items that are necessary for survival and a self-reliance situation, and these items should be considered first for any Pack, B.O.B. (Bug Out Bag), or Car/Truck emergency bag. 

The foundation of the 10 C’s is the elements that either need unique materials to be constructed or take the most energy from natural materials in the wild in a survival situation.

So, imagine for a second that you’re trapped in a 72-hour forest survival situation. What items do you absolutely need, even though you’re a little uncomfortable or short on supplies?

A survival knife will be the main part of a situation like this. With the right survival knife and some experience, you can build something else you absolutely need, such as a fire kit, shelter, and cordage. 

These are the essential things you need to regulate your core temperature. CCT (Controlling Core Temperature) is the greatest need in a survival situation since Hyperthermia or Hypothermia is the leading cause of death for those lost or trapped in the wild.

You must be able to improvise any of these things from natural materials in the wild, such as friction-fired hand drills, a jungle vine cordage, or a bamboo-segment jar. 

The ability to find resources in the wild would rely on the kind of area you are in, and it can be extremely unpredictable and inconsistent. 

It’s a much safer bet to bring supplies with you to the wild if you can. However, if you can’t, remember to bring these 10 C’s of survival stored in many of your survival kits.

Note that all products used in your kit must be multipurpose so that you can remove excess weight and do more with less. The “less weight” idea is to save resources such as calories (energy) wasted lifting your package and hydration loss from heavy loads and sweating. 

With these 10 things, you can effectively fulfill all your basic survival needs for a limited period of time by contributing to your self-reliance.

Let’s dig in.

1. Cutting

The cutting tool you bring should be able to complete any tasks in the event of a total breakdown of the equipment. You need this for all your survival kits. The tool for this job should be anything that isn’t too big, as you will need it for fine carving or food preparation. 

To that end, it is advised to have a 5 or 6-inch blade on a full tang survival knife. Perhaps, you should consider getting a little hand ax if you’re experienced at using it for delicate work.

Most individuals now tend to be wearing multi-tools or pocket knives as a regular emergency item. They’re perfect as an extra tool, and they’re good for a lot of things.

However, they can never be your first or only option in this case, since they are either not big enough or strong enough to be the only weapon you trust with your life in a survival situation.

It is also advised that the tool be made of high carbon steel and not stainless or exotic metal as it needs to be as multi-functional as the rest of your kit.

The spine of your knife you choose as your survival knife should have a 90-degree flat ground spine so that it can be used to strike a Ferro rod. 

This saves you from using the blade for this purpose, saving your money and not dulling the blade needlessly. The explanation for the high carbon steel blade is that flint or other hard rock material on the spine can be contributed to the fire starting when other techniques fail, are destroyed, or are lost.

Your cutting tool has almost limitless applications, such as firewood gathering, self-defense, gutting and skinning, cording and cloth cutting, wild edible gathering, flint and steel fire-starting, wood carving, food processing, first aid, and much more.

Your cutting tool is a very multi-purpose item, and there are so many uses for it that you won’t even think about until the time arrives. The cutting tool is perhaps the most significant C of the 10 C’s of survival.

2. Cordage

Cordage is a must-have for its many applications, and it can be time-consuming and difficult to manage in a survival or self-reliance scenario. We still advise people to make sure that every cordage is multi-ply. 

This is because, if required, it can be broken down into smaller fibers. There are two primary types of cordage, one of which is favored over the other for various reasons. 

Until recently, 550 parachute cords have become the primary go-to cord for any survival or self-reliance application. True paracord has 7 inner strands such that it can be broken down for use on smaller activities like fishing and is very durable and light.

The biggest downside of these inner strands is that they seem to break out very quickly. They are difficult to deal with under certain activities, such as trapping, since the whole rope is too large in diameter to create an effective small game and bird snares. 

The chosen cordage is the Tarred Bank Line or the Mariners Net Line. This is not the Masons line available in hardware stores. It’s new. It’s three-ply cordage is very powerful again that can be bought up to 340 lbs of breaking pressure. 

It takes up less space and weighs less than paracord in addition to being more practical to items required in a survival situation such as hunting, fishing, and lashing.

It is a perfect material for small animal snares and traps, and it’s also dark-colored (usually black) that contributes to its camouflage ability when used for fishing and hunting. 

It also stretches less than the paracord, meaning that lashings and knots on tools and shelters do not relax with time. In addition to its number of other applications, it does cost only half as much as paracord and does not add extra weight. It’s deemed the first choice of cordage all around.

3. Container

It does not sound like it was initially, but containers are incredibly valuable wilderness supplies. The “Containers” category is a wide range. Technically, your pack is a container. 

A soup flask, a prescription jar, a metal canteen, and a plastic bag are all containers, but they are somewhat different from each other and good for different applications. 

The main thing is that they’re all bringing your things and making them capable of traveling, sorting, and storing. Imagine yourself well-stocked with a multitude of the finest survival equipment possible, but nothing to bring them in!

Perhaps the most critical sort of container to have with you in the forest is a container capable of storing and sterilizing drinking water. 

Water is one of the Four Main Components of Survival (shelter, water, fire, and food) and, in most parts of the world, it is recommended that drinking water be boiled to sterilize it.

Water found in the wild will also contain different species of diseases, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause illnesses ranging from moderate constipation to occasionally even death. 

So, it’s still better to boil water to kill these bacteria before you drink it, and you need a bottle that can do this. A 100% pure stainless steel canteen is fine, but a filtration water bottle is ideal(I recommend LifeStraw, and here is a review). 

One without any padding or plastic that can be put directly in a campfire to get the water to a rolling boil.

4. Combustion

Fire is one of the Four Main Survival Elements, so adding a Combustion Unit to your survival kit is necessary. The fire has a wide variety of applications in the wilderness. 

It can be used to cook food, to sterilize drinking water, to provide comfort, to dry wet clothes and gear, to deter predators and dangerous animals, to keep insects away, to signal escape, to provide light, to make tools, to sterilize metal utensils, and also to improve your mood.

Soap can be made from the ashes of a fire, and the smoke itself is antibacterial and can “clean” the clothing and body and eradicate the stink of the body. 

When your clothes get a smoky scent, they help dissuade insects even when you’re far from the real burn. You ought to be able to create a fire when surviving or to hike in the woods, and that’s what combustion is all about.

There are many different forms of Combustion devices available in almost every store, each with its pros and cons. One of the simplest methods to start a fire is by lighter or matching, but these are not always the most effective or effective. 

They can crack or stop working when they’re wet. Lighters can run out of fluid easily, and most of them don’t even function at high altitudes. However, they’re still going to make huge beneficial changes to the survival pack. 

There are some costly “survival” lighters on the market, but they appear to have mixed results. In my view, the way to go is just a regular old classic BIC lighter. It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it has not failed me ever. Ferrocerium rods are also great options if you really want to be safe.

5. Cover

When I speak about the cover in this sense, I’m talking about something that will help you keep your core body temperature around 98.6 ° F. 

That just happens to be the temperature that keeps your body safe in the forest or anywhere else, for that matter! The cover simply means shelter, and shelter is also one of the four main components of life. The shield is what covers you from the elements of storm, wind, and heat.

The cover requires shelter building equipment, such as a plastic tarp or a tent. It also contains accessories, which offer a wide range of possibilities. 

Cover can also involve different gears such as a rain poncho, shoes, hat, sunglasses, gloves, bandanna, sleeping bag, towel, mosquito net, etc. You might also consider sunscreen to be a type of “Cover.” Something that covers your body from the environment. 

Your clothing will also shield you from things like bruises, scratches, wounds, mosquito bites, animal attacks, sun damage, wind chills, dirt, foul liquids, etc. The cover shields the body, prevents bacteria, sunburn, hypothermia, etc.

Hypothermia is the primary cause of mortality in the outdoors. They’re not attacks on wildlife, malnutrition, dehydration, etc. It’s just the cool environment. And the freezing and the wet weather. 

This reality demonstrates the value of cover. You are much more likely to become hypothermic if you or your clothes get soaked since water reduces body heat 25 times faster than average. 

Even at mild temperatures such as 60 Fahrenheit (15 Celsius), a person can experience hypothermia if they or their clothing becomes soaked.

That’s why waterproof rain gear and shelter materials are so critical in most areas. A basic $1 throwaway emergency poncho would be a perfect addition to any survival package and might practically be a lifesaver. 

When buying rain gear, check if it is dry or waterproof. There’s a major difference between “resistant” and “proof.” Water-resistant clothing is always saturated when it gets really wet, so there’s no effect.

6. Cotton

You’re going to need a piece of cotton that is a 3 feet long square. Bandanas are the most popular cotton fabric of the same dimension. When you’re on your journey, you’ll find it very flexible. 

From holding the embers and using it as a sling, the flexibility of the cotton bandana is amazing. You should cut it into strips for bandages, wash it in such a way that your hands are clean, and even tie together twigs and branches for the flames.

You should still use it for what it meant to be and put it on your head to shield yourself from the sun in case you are missing your hat or cap. Dipping the cotton bandana in cold water and using it to refresh yourself can be very pleasant in the hot weather. 

In addition, you may use it as an improvised first aid packing and wound care dressing. 

You can also make them a traditional hobo stick, use them as a coarse, first-stage filter for water treatment, as a cushion, as a potholder, a little extra insulation, or, in an actual emergency, you can break strips off and use them as toilet paper.

7. Cargo Tape

Cargo tape or duct tape is one of the things that you simply cannot duplicate in the midst of a survival situation. With it, you can render and fix almost everything. It’s lightweight and separated from its primary function. 

It takes up very little space, particularly when wrapped around a bottle of water, a knife sheath, or a flashlight body. This can be used for anything from first aid to the production of required objects. 

The adhesives in this tape are often extremely flammable, and a golf ball-sized wad will easily burn for a few minutes to help spark. It can simply be stripped into minute fibers and used to make your Ferrocerium rod ignite an impromptu bird’s nest.

Cargo tape can be one of the most valuable things you carry in an emergency, so you can carry a whole roll. This is one thing you’re certainly not going to go cheap on. 

Higher-end duct tapes are geometrically more durable and much stickier than cheaper duct tapes. An eight, nine, or ten-dollar roll of duct tape is a minor investment in your survival kit. Make sure you buy the good stuff and pack a lot of it; you’re going to need it!

8. Compass

A compass lets you know where you’re headed, and a proper compass helps you get a clear path out of the wilderness. 

You can buy a compass with a lid and a mirror to help you indicate the passage of aircraft or cars. The mirror can be helpful when you notice ticks or to check wounds that might be difficult to see otherwise. 

In particular, there are compasses that provide magnifying lenses up to and including 5+, which ensures that you can use it to start fires in case your primary combustion kit is not working or missing.

Speaking of compasses, learn how to read a compass the proper way.

9. Cloth Sail Needle

Sail needles are a huge needle used for fixing both tent cloth and sewing/repairing sails. It’s got a wedge on the front and a really sharp tip. This is not a needle that can be purchased from a hobby shop.

The elegance of this needle is its scale, power, and multifunctionality. I put mine on the back of my Gorilla Tape Knife Sheath and forget about it before I need it. Magnetizing this needle in advance will cause it to be used as an improvised compass device. 

It can be used for fixing some broken gear, punching holes as an awl, and it’s also useful for pick-up on thorns, splinters, or stingers. It may also be used to suture in a serious situation.

10. Candling

It’s not exactly a flashlight. However, it’s more of a headlamp that offers enough illumination without having to keep it in your hands. 

Using a candling kit ensures that you have the lighting required to make repairs, to set up a tent, or to do much of everything at night without having to prop up a torch. Candling systems can provide excellent signaling units to attract passing aircraft and vehicles after sunset. 

Plus, if you’re out for a long time, the light from this system can attract fish at night and cause the frogs to freeze so you can capture them for a fast meal.

Below is a video with the 20 C’s of survival:

Final Thoughts

That is the 10 C’s of survival.

This is Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of survival that will help you survive longer if you’re stuck in the desert with no help. You can encourage your family and friends who also like to spend time outdoors, hiking trails, or camping so that they can survive if the worst happens.

If you liked this article, you should check out our guide to build a bugout bag, covering everything you need to know about bugout bags. Perhaps you would also like 7 reliable techniques to start a fire.

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5 thoughts on “10 C’s of Survival (What you Need to Know)”

  1. This is by far the best explanation of Dave Canterbury’s kit mentality concepts I have ever read.


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