The 5 and 10 C’s of Survival

The Five and Ten C’s of Survival/Survivability, are a solid base of essentials to build your bushcraft outdoor kit around. The items will provide some amazing insight in building your kit, buying new gear, and packing for new adventures. Showing you that we do not need much in order to survive.

Almost a year ago we posted a short article on our minimal bushcraft kit based on the five C’s,we thought it would be fun and interesting to show you an updated version with more information and pictures.

The Five and Ten C’s of Survival or Survivability originate from Dave Canterbury, known from Discovery shows such as Dual Survival and his book series on Bushcraft. The C’s are based on essential tools, that are the hardest (or most time consuming) to produce from natural material, yet have the biggest impact on your ability to survive in any given situation.

The C’s have a couple of advantages, first of all the list is short, easy to remember, and very clear. Making the art of survival and bushcraft a lot less intimidating! On the gear side of things, this system also can be very useful to plan out the gear you will take on trips, or even where to start if you are new to this all. Even if you opt for good quality, the expenses will be not extremely costly, since you are only focusing on the essentials that serve multiple uses.

This being said,  next to these essentials, Canterbury emphases the power of knowledge and proper clothes too. These ten C’s in your pack, good clothes and a fair amount of knowledge will take you a long way!

Running With Sheep Sheepbushcraft Longhunter Survival Leatherwork Packframe Post Apocalyptic Condor Knives Dave Canterbury-1

Five C’s
Cutting tool, such as a knife.
Combustion device, to make fire with.
Cover, for warmth and protection from the elements.
Container, to store and boil water.
Cordage, for building a shelter, wrapping, fixing and everything else.

With these Five C’s a lot of essentials are covered, but in our opinion a few things are not taken into consideration, such as a minimal first aid kit (including prescription drugs), and a minimal hygiene kit as well. In his book Bushcraft 101, Canterbury describes the need for an added toothbrush (used with ashes from hardwood) and information on useful and medicinal plants. This taken into consideration, we would still add soap or at a minimum baking soda, tweezers, emergency bandage, prescription drugs and a belt (tourniquet).

On top of these Five C’s Canterbury added another five items, to ensure your survival chances.

Running With Sheep Sheepbushcraft Longhunter Survival Leatherwork Packframe Post Apocalyptic Condor Knives Dave Canterbury Girl-1

Ten C’s
Candle, provides light and the paraffin makes a great fire starter.
Canvas Needle, for all sorts of repairs.
Cargo Tape, useful for repairs and blisters.
Compass, for navigation.
Cotton, like a large handkerchief or another medium sized cloth.

These Five and Ten C’s give some really good insight in what your outdoor kit should most definitely should contain. It is very easy to get lost in all the amazing gear that is being made, knives, axes, woodworking tools, pots, pans, kuksas and so on, that we forget what is truly essential. Not just in the woods, but even in urban life, these C’s are a solid base to your every day carry, whatever your whereabouts are.

So how what does a Ten C’s kit look like, you ask. Truth is, there are many ways a kit like this can look like. Depending on your own preferences, budget and location. This is the moment the play comes in; assemble your own kit, take it out, take notes and adjust accordingly.

Below you find an overview of Sanne’s current 10 C’s kit:
Cutting tool Condor Kephart knife with fixed blade
Combustion device DIY Antler Ferro Rod
Cover Polish Surplus Poncho Lavvu
Container Nalgene Stainless Steel Waterbottle 38oz/1,12l
Cordage Catahoula Bankline #12
Candle Regular kitchen candle
Canvas Needle Triangle Leather Needle
Cargo Tape All weather very strong medical tape (Duct tape/Gorilla tape will do too)
Compass Antique marine compass
Cotton Dutch Surplus Handkerchief 15,7×15,7 inch/40x40cm

The Modern Man's Essential Grooming Kit (1)

How does you Ten C’s kit look like? Share with us in the comments or on Instagram! We would love to get in touch!



Come say hello on Instagram (1)

6 Comments on “The 5 and 10 C’s of Survival

  1. I like the thinking but show us the containers! Surely the needle isn’t loose, the candle needs something to contain it, the knife has a sheath, and probably the canteen has a strap, bag or net to hold it? I’m enjoying your posts immensely.


  2. I know this will be boring but, as a traveler, my absolute minimum looks like this:
    The actual items change over time or depending on what I’m doing or where I’m going but there is always a water container (or many in the desert), a bandana or kerchief (usually both), pocket knife generally supplemented with a fixed-blade sheath knife when away from civilization, a lighter, and compass (type is variable depending upon the situation or if I am working). Whatever bag I am carrying will generally have an old military poncho and possibly a rain jacket).
    Your post has led me to think more about gear I talk about on my own blog.


  3. Thank you so much George! The five and ten C’s can have many forms, and can be a kit on its own, or be part of your kit! We will do a full gear load out soon. Glad you enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The candling device can be any light source like a candle or candle lantern, fuel lantern, flashlight, or ideally a headlamp


  5. Preferably, the candle should be a candle – something from wax or paraffin (so it can be used to lite fires as well). Although flashlights and headlamps can be very useful as well!


Your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: