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Analysis of Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

Dave Canterbury is a wilderness expert and former star of the Discovery hit TV series Dual Survival. Dave was the original creator of the “5 Cs of Survival” concept, and he’s since expanded his list to include 10 “Cs.”

Below, you will find following items:

  1. Cutting tool

  2. Combustion device

  3. Cover

  4. Container

  5. Cordage

  6. Cotton bandana

  7. Compass

  8. Candlelight

  9. Canvas needle

  10. Cargo tape These ten essential tools and items can help you survive should you be stuck in the wilderness or faced to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Let’s take a look at what Dave Canterbury’s 10 Cs of Survival are and which items fit the bill for each one.

#1 – Cutting Tool

A survival knife is one of – if not the – most important tool you can have in an emergency situation. Part of the reason why it’s so vital is because it’s next to impossible (without the right skills and time) to reproduce in the wild. Every outdoorsman and prepper should have a high quality knife sheathed and attached to their belt.

Foldable ones are great, but you’ll need a much larger knife with a stronger blade for survival purposes. For chopping down trees and other larger tasks, a single full tang blade is the best choice. Look for knives that are versatile.

For example, some double as hammers or have holes that allow you to attach the knife to a spear. This will turn your knife into a multi-purpose tool that you can use in a variety of situations. While you can skimp out on other items on this list, investing in a good, high quality knife is essential!

Remember: You won’t be able to make one out in the wild (okay, technically you could make one out of stone), so you’ll need something that’s reliable and durable. Therefore, I highly recommend you to check out following article that will help you in deciding which blade to invest in – How to Choose the Best Survival Knife.

#2 – Combustion Device

It’s no surprise that the second “C” on Dave’s list is a combustion device. In a critical situation, you’ll need to build a fire to keep warm and to cook food. In dire situations, fire can even save your life. Having at least one combustion device will speed up and simplify the process of getting a fire started in both wet and dry conditions.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to carry at least a few BIC lighters in your bag. They’re not ideal, but they’re a quick way to get a fire started. For situations when your lighter runs out of fluid or gets wet, you’ll need a backup plan. Dave recommends packing the StrikeForce Fire Starter from Ultimate Survival Technologies. It’s lightweight and can be used in all weather conditions.

What is more, it can be used thousands of times, and even comes with a WetFire tinder compartment in the handle (which includes free tinder). For those who are unfamiliar with WetFire, this is a tinder that can light even when it’s wet.

Remember: With the WetFire tinder and the StrikeForce Fire Starter, you should be able to start a fire anywhere.

#3 – Cover

When Dave talks about cover, he means a way to protect yourself from the elements. This can come in the form of a blanket or a makeshift shelter. You have several options for cover, and most of them are lightweight.

Dave recommends packing a wool blanket in your bag. Wool can retain up to 80% of your body heat (even if it’s wet), and can also double as a makeshift shelter if necessary.

  • Large poncho

  • Lightweight tarp

  • Thick garbage bag

All these can also be used as a shelter in emergency situations. Ideally, you want to pack both a wool blanket and some other secondary cover, such as those listed above.

Available here: Often, you can get these useful blankets for special discounted price. You can check out for good deals.

#4 – Container

Water is the single most important thing in any critical situation. You can survive for days – weeks even – without food, but you’ll only survive a few days without water. A container can store water and keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Although you have several options for containers, stainless steel is the absolute best choice. Why? Because you’ll probably need to boil your water before you drink it (for purification purposes), and you cannot boil it in a plastic bottle.

What is more, you can do this with a 32-ounce, stainless steel water bottle. The 32 ounce measurement is also important because most water treatment solutions such as tablets use quart measurements.

Pay attention: Here you can check out availability of discounts for these bottles.

#5 – Cordage

Cordage, or rope, is so versatile and something that’s difficult to reproduce in the wild. Sure, you can create your own rope using surrounding vegetation, but why waste the time and effort when you can pack your own rope?

Dave recommends bringing at least 100 feet of 550 paracord. There are dozens of uses for this cord from using the inner strands to create fishing line to lashing two branches together to create a makeshift shelter.

Extra advice: To save space in your bag, you can wrap your cord around your knife handle or even wear it around your wrist in form of a bracelet. Just check out this article to learn more – Getting the Best Paracord Survival Straps and Bracelets.

#6 – Cotton Bandana

Bandanas are like cords in that they have dozens of uses. They’re lightweight, easy to pack and can really come in handy for first-aid situations. While Dave specifically mentions cotton bandanas, just a simple piece of cotton cloth will be sufficient.

These can be used to carry items, dry off, protect your skin from the sun or even act as a sling!

Pay attention: Because they’re small and lightweight, you can always pack quite a few. Just check out availability of discounted prices right here…

#7 – Compass

While you can always learn to navigate the old fashioned way using the sun and stars, a compass is much simpler and easier to use. It is one of the tools that you should always have at your hand while going into the woods. However, not every model will offer you same multi-purpose features.

A compass with a mirror and a bezel is best. Not only can you use the compass to navigate your way through the terrain, you can use the mirror as a signaling device.

Pay attention: If you still struggle to pick the proper model, then follow Dave´s advice as he recommends the Suunto MC-2G Compass.

#8 – Candlelight

Candlelight is pretty simple and straightforward. A fire will provide you with light, but candles are much more portable and can be used in situations when you only need light. Now, you can pack survival candles in your bag, but you can also pack a headlamp as well.

These will give you the light you need without tying up your hands like a flashlight would. Most modern headlamps are waterproof and allow you to control the angle of the light. However, for a backup light source, you can pack a candle or two as well.

Available here: You can get this product made by Coghlan´s right here.

#9 – Canvas Needle

A canvas needle can be just as versatile as the bandana or cord mentioned above. Also known as a cloth sail needle, you can use these to stitch up a wound or to repair your clothing, shelter or backpack.

You can even use this needle to remove splinters from the skin. What is great, it weighs next to nothing, can easily be stored in your bag and is very inexpensive to purchase.

Please note: In fact, you can buy a 10-pack of Tandy Leather Factory Stitching Needles for just few bucks!

#10 – Cargo Tape

Cargo tape, a.k.a. duct tape, should be included in every survival bag. Duct tape is just as versatile and useful out in the wilderness as it is in your home. You can use it to repair things, make things and secure things with ease.

Pay attention: It’s easy to store large rolls of tape in your bag, and they weigh virtually nothing. You can use simple generic duct tape, or something a little bit tougher like Gorilla Tape.

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