Ten essentials when you go bush

Wherever you choose to go camping in Australia, there are some essential items you need to carry for a safe trip.

Australia is famous for its wild animals, but there’s more to be concerned about when you go bush. Your kit will be governed by how far off-road you plan to travel and for how long. You may never use all the essentials, but it’s best to have them and not need them, rather than need them and not have them.

The original Ten Essentials list was assembled in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based organisation for climbers and outdoor adventurers, to help people be prepared for emergency situations in the outdoors.

In 2003, the group updated the list to a “systems” approach rather than listing individual items (for example, map and compass now fall into the Navigation “system”). The updated “systems” approach made its debut in The Mountaineers’ seminal text on climbing and outdoor exploration, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (The Mountaineers Books), now in its eighth edition.

Here are the Ten Essentials:

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter

Click here for a full explanation of each system.

If you’re going 4WDing, here’s a list of off-road essentials.