Alone season 5 (Mongolia) premieres June 14th, 2018. So naturally, it got me thinking about the 10 individual items I would take on Alone. I’ve had many discussions with like-minded folks around the items and after much deliberation, I came to a consensus. I will outline the 10 best items to have on Alone and why each item was chosen.
If you’re not familiar with Alone or the 10 item list, here’s the backstory. Participants of the show select 10 items from an Individual Survival Gear List to take to their “Alone” survival location. The last man standing takes home a prize of $500,000 USD. In addition to the 10 individual items, each participant is provided with a fair amount of clothing, emergency gear, and camera equipment (see that list here).
While there are 50 items on the individual survival gear list to choose from, a strong pattern has emerged of 6 items selected by almost every contestant of every season so far. While I’m not surprised by this, I do see a great opportunity for the show producers to spice things up by changing up the list. For example, taking one (or more) of these 6 items off the list would certainly increase the difficulty of the situation.
Those common individual items are the following:
- Sleeping Bag
- 2 Qt Pot
- Ferro Rod
- 25 piece Fishing Kit with Line
These are great selections and are the core of the items I’m calling “The Best 10 Item Alone Kit”
The Best 10 Item Alone Kit
I wavered back and forth between the axe and saw for timber gathering needs. The saw is inherently safer and more precise, but ultimately the axe won out due to the fact that infield sharpening was possible. Additionally, the axe lends diversity as it could be used for defense, harvesting game, pounding, and splitting, in addition to the standard wood cutting tasks.
Benefits: Shelter building, camp crafts, personal defense, harvesting game, timber harvesting, boat building, etc.
Model: Gränsfors American Felling Axe – These handcrafted
The knife is the most recognizable tool around the world. It would be extremely difficult for me not to choose a knife due to the countless tasks it can perform. I take knives everywhere daily, why not on Alone?
Benefits: Shelter building, food preparation, resource gathering, trap building, fire preparation, the list goes on and on.
Model: SURVIVE! GSO-5.1 – Well designed and meticulously crafted the Survive brand knives are the best knives I’ve owned. I trust these tools to get me through any situation.
I wasn’t keen on the multitool for quite some time. I felt it was too general (jack of all, master of none) of a tool to be much use for big tasks, but after seeing a few modified versions I’ve come around. There is some comfort in having “backup tools” in case something breaks too. I’d choose the largest leatherman multitool available (Supertool 300 or Surge) and reconfigure many of the less useful tools for wood carving tasks.
Benefits: Stitching, carving, crafting, detail work, backup tools, trap/trigger creation, tool sharpening and let us not forget the plier stuff, lol.
Model: Leatherman Supertool 300 – While not my favorite multitool, the Supertool 300 has the largest sized tools in the Leatherman line making it the best choice when considering the 10 item limit.
4. Ferro Rod
This long-lasting fire ignition source has the potential to provide thousands of fires when used properly. While the ferro rod itself offers limited use, e.g. creating fire, the fire is the tool that you’re choosing.
Benefits: Warmth, comfort, cooking, cleaning, water purification, safety, signaling, meat smoking, etc.
Model: FireSteel Bunker (½”x6” maximum allowable size) – The “FireSteel” brand ferro rods are my favorite, they are excellent at producing hot long burning sparks.
5. Metal Pot
The simple metal container is one of the most versatile and handy tools to have in any survival situation.
Benefits: Water (Collection, Transportation, and Purification), Food (Gathering, Preparation, and Cooking), Tool (Shovel for Digging, Can Crush/Smash/Pulverize), Fire (Create Charred Material, Transportation Embers).
Model: Zebra Pot 14cm (2 qt) – These pots are sturdy and dependable, newer models have metal lid clips as well that could be very useful for transporting liquids or live food.
6. 300yds of Fishing Line and 25 hooks
Although not very diverse when compared to the gill net, the fishing and traps that can be constructed from the line and hooks outperform the other available options, in my opinion.
Benefits: Food gathering (fishing), trap building, shelter building, repairs.
7. Gill Net
Of all the food gathering choices this one is the best way to catch a meal. It requires little attention once setup and is essentially an aquatic trap for seafood if placed properly. While this is a 1 trick pony, everyone has to eat.
Benefits: Food gathering, Hammock?
Model: Handmade #12 bankline net 8m x 2m – I feel the commercially available gill nets won’t hold up to the abuse of an extended ordeal. Crafting a gill net by hand will allow the use of superior materials and additional uses of cordage for other duties.
8. Sleeping Bag
Perhaps the ultimate comfort item. Good quality rest can be the difference between a good day and a bad one.
Benefits: Comfort and warmth.
Model: Not sure, I’d have to venture to REI to find a suitable bag
9. 5 lbs of Pemmican
This calorie-dense food will provide days of life-sustaining nutrients that will allow for the preparation and building of camp during the crucial first days of acclimation to the environment.
10. 5 lbs of Dried Pulses/Legumes/Lentils
After careful consideration, I feel that having a large amount of food at the onset will ultimately lead to a great outcome. Time spent not worrying about food is time that can be spent laying the foundation for a good camp, finding a superior camp location, locating other resources, constructing a safe and weatherproof home. All the while you have the energy and motivation to build a stronghold.
Honourable Mention Gear
These 7 Items were highly considered but ultimately eliminated for one reason or another.
- Saw – Something I would normally take for any overnight trips. The saw offers much in the way of wood cutting, but the lack of ability to sharpen it is why it didn’t make the list.
- 12×12 Tarp – A tarp of this size would make a great shelter, portable shelter, rain catch, possibly a hammock or other furniture. But they provide a few tarps so it’s stock isn’t as valuable.
- Canteen – A water container would be great to have in almost any situation. I have at least one in all of my kits. But the choice had to be made and a canteen just isn’t as critical considering the other items.
- Bear canister – It’s a large sealable container, need I say more? It would be nice to put purified water in and have a large container of safe drinking water at the ready.
- Sharpening stone – Something I would normally take on an extended trip to touch up dull blades. I have faith I can find a natural stone to resharpen in the field.
- Roll of duct tape – It will be difficult to leave the duck behind, but with the 10 item limitation, I don’t see enough value.
- Small shovel – I don’t have much shovel experience, but Fowler was doing a good job selling me on it. If I knew I’d be in a bamboo forest or treeless environment, the shovel would replace the axe.
Why is this the Best 10 Item Kit?
Let us break down the basic needs of life – Food, Water, Shelter, and Clothing – and how the kit will provide for those needs.
- Clothing – This need is taken care of on Alone. All participants are allowed ample clothing, so item emphasis goes to the remaining three needs.
- Water – Thankfully this one is a fairly easy need, as long as you can locate water and purify it. The ferro rod will create fire and a boilable container (metal pot) will gather and hold the water.
- Shelter – Having a safe, comfortable and element free shelter is imperative for health and well being. The harvesting of timber will be done with an axe. Adjustments and detail work can be completed with a knife. The sleeping bag and ferro rod with keep your temperature regulated.
- Food – As I see it, this is the greatest need during an extended survival challenge. Food needs to be gathered continuously because it will be the hardest need to
fulfil. The majority of items focus on food gathering and preparation. The knife, multitool, pot, fishing gear, gillnet, pemmican, and legumes are all food/food-related items. Have a reliable means of harvesting food will be the best way to be the last man standing, assuming you can maintain your health (both physical and mental).
The best 10 item alone kit was derived from my familiarity with the tools available and my knowledge of the environment. I decided what items I would need to survive and thrive off that land while alone. What do you think? Would you choose anything differently? And why? I’m always looking to make improvements to my kit.