Pack the Ten Essentials wherever you go in Yosemite, even on day hikes... It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

Yosemite Ten Essentials

Every person in your group should carry their own pack containing the following:

1. Navigation

A topographic map/compass or GPS device should accompany you on any trip in the park. Even if it is a frequently visited trail. 

Note: A compass equipped with a sighting mirror can also be used to flash sunlight to a helicopter or rescuer during an emergency.

2. Sun Protection

Sunglasses or sunscreen are HIGHLY recommended in Yosemite, even if you are outside for only a few hours. Reflective granite and hot summer days can cause severe sunburn.

3. Extra Clothing

Conditions can change RAPIDLY in the park. Please carry an additional layer of clothing as a sudden turn of events may cause you to be exposed to the elements for longer than expected.

4. Headlamp/Flashlight

Bring a headlamp (or flashlight) EVERY time you head out. Even on a day hike. Many headlamps have a strobe setting which is invaluable when in an emergency situation for signaling rescuers. Every member of the group should carry their own light and spare batteries.

5. First-aid Supplies

Your kit should include treatments for blisters, adhesive bandages of various sizes, several gauze pads, adhesive tape, disinfecting ointment, over-the-counter pain medication, pen and paper and a pair of Nitrile gloves.

6. Firestarter/Matches

Bring matches, a mechanical lighter or flint/steel/magnesium. Matches should be waterproof, or stored in a waterproof container. Fires should never be started in Yosemite unless it is an EMERGENCY situation, or if you have a permit. For Wilderness permit information, click here.

7. Tools

A knife or a multitool can be the difference between life and death anywhere, especially in the backcountry. Be sure you use safe handling skills when using a blade.

8. Extra food

Always pack AT LEAST an extra day’s worth of food. Freeze dried items are fine, but no-cook items are better as they take less time/energy/resources to prepare in an emergency. Pack dried fruits, nuts, energy bars, jerky, etc.

9. Water

A couple of liters per person, plus a means of treating water (tablets, filter, etc.)

Dehydration and heat exhaustion in Yosemite are common. Be prepared, even on cooler days.

10. Communication Device

A way to communicate with other members of your party or rescuers.

Other items to consider:

Insect repellent


Ice axe (for winter travel)

Personal Locator Beacon such as a SPOT Device

Emergency Shelter

Be sure to familiarize yourself with everything you intend to bring:
Survival items are useless unless you understand how to use them.

Friends of YOSAR 501(c) 54-208 1466

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