Communications is a key part of being prepared and a necessary element in most situations. From the ability to yell at a fellow hiker to "watch out" to being able to contact family in a disaster.

We've come to rely on our tech tools - the cell phone being the primary one. They have evolved into computers with information, data, several types of communication ability and valuable tools (such as the gps or compass apps). I've got off-line maps on my phone and as long as the power lasts they are great as I can zoom in to a front porch level from state wide.

However, (ah yes, the famous 'but') I still have paper maps and tools like several compasses, experience and training that doesn't rely on tech to augment and replace the tech when/if needed. I too am a child of the 50's & 60's when you always carried an emergency nickle or dime to 'call home' if something happened. So, the smart phone is in my ten essentials as it is a 'Swiss knife' of tools and works as a force multiplier for me. I also don't rely on it as it can (and will) fail. Now the hard part... the other nine items!