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Surviving Alone: What Would Your 10 Items Be & What Kind of People Would You Like to See?

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List the 10 items you'd bring, along with what the contestants/survivors were allowed to chose from. What should they have picked, and why?

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Clothes don't count. If you go to History.com and check the individual bios on the show's page, there's a list of the 10 items each brought. Clothes aren't mentioned.

 

It's pretty clear from the lists that they had a list of items -- they couldn't just choose 10 items.

 

I compiled a list of all the things they brought among them. I ended up with a list of 20 things:

 

  • 12×12 ground sheet
  • 550 paracord – 20m
  • Saw
  • Axe
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bivi bag (gortex sleeping bag cover)
  • Large 2-quart pot
  • Ferro rod
  • 300 yards of single filament line with 25 assorted hooks
  • Bow and 6 arrows
  • Water bottle/canteen
  • Small gauge gill net
  • Slingshot
  • Knife
  • Large knife
  • 3.5lb wire
  • Extra emergency rations
  • Extra tarp
  • Sharpening stone
  • Leatherman multi tool

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There is no master list on the History website, so I consolidated each competitor's selections:

 

1.12×12 ground sheet tarp   (Josh, Sam, Brant, Lucas, Joe, Wayne) 6
2. 550 paracord – 20m   (Josh, Dustin, Brant, Joe, Wayne) 5
3. Saw   (Josh, Alan, Lucas, Wayne, Chris) 5
4. Axe   (Josh, Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas. Mitch, Joe, Wayne, Chris) 10
5. Sleeping bag   (Josh, Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas. Mitch, Joe, Wayne, Chris) 10
6. Bivi bag (gortex sleeping bag cover)   (Josh, Mitch) 2
7. Large 2-quart pot   (Josh, Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas, Mitch, Joe, Wayne, Chris) 10
8. Ferro rod   (Josh, Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas, Mitch,. Joe, Wayne, Chris) 10
9. 300 yards of single filament line with 25 assorted hooks   (Josh, Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas, Mitch, Joe, Wayne, Chris) 10
10. Bow and 6 arrows   (Dustin, Sam, Brant, Mitch, Chris) 5
11. Water bottle/canteen   (Dustin, Alan, Chris) 3
12. Small gauge gill net   (Dustin, Alan, Mitch, Joe) 4
13 Slingshot   (Dustin, Sam) 2
14. Knife / large knife  (Dustin, Alan, Sam, Brant, Lucas, Mitch, Joe, Wayne, Chris) 8
15. 3.5lb wire  (Alan) 1
16. Extra emergency rations  (Sam, Brant, Lucas, Joe) 4
17. Extra tarp  (Lucas) 1
18. Sharpening stone  (Mitch, Chris) 2
19 Leatherman multi-tool  (Wayne) 1

 

The items everyone took are the sleeping bag, pot, ferro rod, axe and the fishing line and hooks. The sharpening stone looks like a really good idea, I was surprised only 2 guys took it. And I'm really surprised that only 1 guy took the multi-tool, that's one of the items Les Stroud says he'd never be without in the wilderness.

 

ETA: rainsmom beat me to it. I wasn't sure if the "large knife' was any different from the "knife" so I combined them to get 19 items.

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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My husband said that one of the guys did not have an axe but a hatchet (I think that is what it is called). An axe has a very long handle, one of the guys had one with a short handle and a smaller head. I think an axe is a better choice. They also make double headed axes as well. Do you guys know if they can only select from a set list of items, or can they select anything at all?  If it were me, I would pick some of those fire starter sticks that I use in the fireplace and things that keep you dry. 

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Since some of the items are very specific, i.e., 300 yards of single filament fishing line with 25 assorted hooks, I've assumed that they had to choose from a pre-determined list. But so far, I don't think the show or the website has been specific enough. I do remember that the items were supposed to fit in a backpack, so maybe that's why they went for a hachet rather than a real axe.

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A hatchet is much more versatile.   You'd only need a large axe and/or saw if you were planning on felling large trees to build a log cabin of sorts.  :-) 

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A hatchet is much more versatile.   You'd only need a large axe and/or saw if you were planning on felling large trees to build a log cabin of sorts.  :-) 

Yeah, well that is what my idiot husband said. He couldn't understand why they would want a hatchet since an axe would be so much better! I have been strongly encouraging him to audition for one of these shows that has live cougars, bears and wolves to show them all how to do it!  Hee   ;)

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I'd wear a pair of prescription eyeglasses (not the cheap readers you get at the dollar store) to use on a sunny day to start fire. That's one item you could deduct from your list of 10 if you indeed needed the glasses to see. :)

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Yeah, well that is what my idiot husband said. He couldn't understand why they would want a hatchet since an axe would be so much better! I have been strongly encouraging him to audition for one of these shows that has live cougars, bears and wolves to show them all how to do it! Hee ;)

Hum, maybe I should encourage my ex-husband to apply, but that would probably be so very wrong of me since he couldn't even catch a fish after spending thousands on a boat & assorted fishing crap. Still I hear the outdoors calling him, or maybe that's a bear's stomach growling, either way, winning idea!

ETA: I am teasing... mostly. ;)

Edited by ramble
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Yeah, well that is what my idiot husband said. He couldn't understand why they would want a hatchet since an axe would be so much better! I have been strongly encouraging him to audition for one of these shows that has live cougars, bears and wolves to show them all how to do it!  Hee   ;)

 

 

Hum, maybe I should encourage my ex-husband to apply, but that would probably be so very wrong of me since he couldn't even catch a fish after spending thousands on a boat & assorted fishing crap. Still I hear the outdoors calling him, or maybe that's a bear's stomach growling, either way, winning idea!

ETA: I am teasing... mostly. ;)

 

If you guys don't make it on a survival reality show, your chances are most excellent for the ID Channel (Wives Who Send Their Husbands Into The Wilderness To Be Killed or Die).  ;-)

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If you guys don't make it on a survival reality show, your chances are most excellent for the ID Channel (Wives Who Send Their Husbands Into The Wilderness To Be Killed or Die).  ;-)

Oops, you caught me! But those guys that broke out of the NY prison could teach Josh (1st quitter) a thing or two!. They are on day 13 or so now? They have outlasted most of the idiots on The Island and will probably outlast quite a few on this show too. Yes, they got some help, but these guys are being given some stuff too. That could be a new show, Prison Break Out: Survival of the Fittest. Whoever lasts the longest (while being chased!) gets their conviction overturned. Sounds like The Running Man movie. 

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I wanted to talk about clothing, especially since one guy mentioned all he had was a light-weight primaloft filled jacket with a silky exterior that was not waterproof. First, I'd wear as many layers of clothes as I could get away with. I'd also go for the most versatile, such as a jacket with a zip-out liner or one that converts to a vest. I'd certainly wear a jacket that was water-proof or water-resistant and that wouldn't get torn up walking thru thick brush. That would seem to be a no-brainer.

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I think the voice over or one of the guys said that they did not know where they might go. I would try to pick rainproof stuff, even if it were a tropical climate. Some of those are really wet but, warm. 

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I think on most shows, Survivor included, they have no idea where they are headed if they are newcomers to the game. Survivor is always in a tropical location so I laugh when I see guys in jeans. There are pants that convert to shorts when you zip off the legs, and shirts that do the same. That type of clothing would be ideal to take.

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I think on most shows, Survivor included, they have no idea where they are headed if they are newcomers to the game. Survivor is always in a tropical location so I laugh when I see guys in jeans. There are pants that convert to shorts when you zip off the legs, and shirts that do the same. That type of clothing would be ideal to take.

 

Ideal for the tropics - totally useless where they ended up, though.  :-)

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Okay, I made my list of 10 things. Wish it could have been 12!

 

  • 12×12 ground sheet
  •  Axe
  •  Sleeping bag
  •  Large 2-quart pot
  •  Ferro rod
  •  300 yards of single filament line with 25 assorted hooks
  •  Bow and 6 arrows
  •  Small gauge gill net
  •  Slingshot
  •  Knife

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I once went to a team-building seminar and we were given a list of survival items and had to put them in order of importance, with other members of our team. I think there were 6 each per team. We all worked for the same company but were put with people from different departments that we didn't know. They also asked us to work out what we'd do with the most important item if we were stranded in a snowstorm in a car.

I suggested we cut up the tires with the knife (#1) and use the garden hose (#2) to sipon gas from the tank and set the tires on fire with the matches (#3). Tires make a very smoky fire and can be seen for miles. We had a weather forecast indicating that within 24 hours we'd have sunshine. Meanwhile, we should stay in the car, cutting up the seats and using the insulation to keep us warm.

One guy said "Just use the knife to kill a couple of the others and use their bodies for food."

He didn't work for our company for very long, thankfully.

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My parents bought some heavily wooded acreage circa 1965 in beautiful B.C. (outskirts of Vancouver, these days).  We had to use old tires and copious amounts of diesel fuel to get the cleared brush to even start to burn ... My, how climate change has hit home for me!

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I was curious about the Leatherman multi-tool, so I went to their website: http://www.leatherman.com/multi-tools  I was surprised how many they have, close to 3 dozen if you count the ones that fit on a key chain. I just picked their best seller, which has the following:

 

  • Needlenose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Hard wire cutters
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire stripper
  • 420HC knife
  • 420HC serrated knife
  • Saw
  • Spring action scissors
  • 8 inch ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/metal file
  • Diamond coated file
  • Large bit driver
  • Small bit driver
  • Medium screwdriver

 

Most of the others are just variations on this list. I didn't see anything that would lend itself more to a outdoor survival situation (from my experience, which only consists of watching shows like this). It turns out that Les Stroud actually gets his from a different company, Camillus, and they have a Les Stroud autographed multi-tool that includes a fish scaler/hook remover, as well as a small flashlight/whistle and a ferro rod, the last 2 being in pockets in the sheath and not on the tool itself.

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You know who I would like to see on this show? I only watched the first season of Naked and Afraid, but in one of the early shows there was a young woman who was just fabulous - very likable, well-spoken, and knowledgeable about outdoor living. She was weaving palm fronds into hats and clothes almost as soon as they hit the beach. She was paired with an absolute troll of a guy who got so sun-burned the first day he had to be medivaced out by day 3. Anyone else remember her?

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Just wanted to mention that although I wasn't sure originally, there do appear to be 2 different kinds of tarps, which wasn't clear to me when I was compiling the original master list. I really wish History would provide us with that list, because close to half of the 40 items were NOT chosen, and I'd like to know what those were. Also, there were  number of items that everyone chose: the sleeping bag, pot, ferro rod, axe and the fishing line and hooks. I think that some of those, certainly the first 3, should just be a 'given' and you get to choose 10 items in addition to those. Or maybe just say, for every item that everyone chose, you get to pick one extra item.

 

Since no one took it, I'm sure a firearm was not on the list, but I'm wondering if they should add it. It would certainly make some of these guys a lot more comfortable, and possibly 3 of the first 4 quitters would not have tapped out if they had one. Regardless of whether you think they shouldn't need one, for the purposes of the show, a 40% dropout rate in the first 5 days must be awkward, at best.

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I don't think they will let them have a gun, due to the possibility of one of them shooting their own foot in the heat of the moment. Plus, to shoot bear or whatever, it would have to be hunting season, with the proper permits.

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Besides, unless it was a really big gun, all shooting the bear would do is piss it off and pretty much guarantee an attack. And once they ran out of ammunition (which would be around the second night), they'd tap out anyway, since unlike with a bow, creating more ammunition is essentially impossible.

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If there was a gun, they would probably limit it to half a dozen bullets, like they limit the number of arrows. Arrows, if used carefully, can be re-used, though. A gun is utterly useless without bullets.

 

I would love to see the whole list, though! A gun can be a game changer... but then so is a fire starter, an ax, and a tarp.

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Just wanted to mention that although I wasn't sure originally, there do appear to be 2 different kinds of tarps,

What are the two different types of tarps? I believe I saw plastic (blue) tarps. Were the other ones canvas? I am an indoorswoman, and even *I* know that I wouldn't take canvas into the Pacific NorthWet. I can agree with Joe tapping out because he had no fire, but the other guys? Ascared of bears??  Yeah, take away their guns...not so impressive.  I hope none of the remaining guys use the "I miss my family" card. Research, fellas! You signed up to be away in the NW wilderness for up to one year! Quit whining.

 

Regardless, I am enjoying this show. I'm rooting for Dustin, as he is from my hometown (Pittsburgh, PA)

 

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What are the two different types of tarps? I believe I saw plastic (blue) tarps. Were the other ones canvas?

One is described as a '12x12 ground sheet tarp', and the other just says 'extra tarp'.  Someone, maybe Sam, is using what appears to be a blue tarp over a beige tarp for his sleeping area. I think the beige one is canvas and the blue one is plastic. Last night someone (Lucas? Dustin?) said he was just realizing that the beige tarp that he was using as a roof was not water-proofed. I am, like you, an indoorswoman, but it seems to me that one of the primary purposes of a tarp is to keep you dry, whether the wet is coming as rain or just wet ground, so I don't understand why it wouldn't be water-proofed.

 

Alan appears to have made a beautiful little hut out of evergreen boughs without a tarp at all.

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Yeah, someone said early that no about of branches would be rainproof, to which I called bullshit. Branches absolutely can be rainproof. Pile 'em on thick and you not only get rainproof, but you get good insulation too. One of the things I've noticed is a lot of these people are building large shelters. Those will be difficult to keep warm with just body heat.

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A ground sheet tarp is what you put underneath your tent set-up, it keeps your "floor" dry. It's not as waterproof as a top tarp (which I am guessing the "extra" tarp is for) but it will keep you warmer than having bare ground beneath you.

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For some reason, I'm wondering if those shiny space blankets were one of the items not chosen. Les Stroud has always made good use out of those.

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After watching Lucas use a tarp to complete his canoe, I'm trying to figure out exactly how many tarps these guys have. The most any of them have listed on their item list is 2: a ground tarp and an unspecified "extra tarp". We know that the ground tarp is canvas and apparently not completely waterproof, so he's definitely not using that. In an earlier ep I noticed that Sam had something bright blue on top of his canvas tarp and I assumed that was the extra tarp mentioned. But in this last episode, Sam had several layers on top of his tent, including something dark green and something white. And the tarp Lucas used appeared to be dark gray. So I'm mightily confused.

 

ETA: I just checked the packing lists and Lucas is the only one remaining who took the extra tarp. So that's definitely what he's using for the canoe. What the heck Sam has covering his tent I have no idea. Apparently stuff that comes in on the tide is fair game, and I could see if the white thing was a garbage bag that washed up, but I don't know where he got the blue and green bits.

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From the Ask Alan thread:

Liberty, on 17 Aug 2015 - 1:53 PM, said:

 

I was really surprised to see "Three choose to carry 5lbs of emergency rations".  I had assumed they needed to find their own food.

 

Yes, apparently emergency rations were on the supply list, But don't forget they took them at the expense of a useable tool.

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We haven't seen anyone eat them (or even mention them). But Sam is one of the people that took them. We saw little of him in the early episodes and only saw him catch one fish, so we don't know how successful he was at food gathering. I don't think we've seen him eat seaweed like several others did. Was he eating mice when he still had the emergency rations? Maybe we'll find out, maybe not.

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Oops, you caught me! But those guys that broke out of the NY prison could teach Josh (1st quitter) a thing or two!. They are on day 13 or so now? They have outlasted most of the idiots on The Island and will probably outlast quite a few on this show too. Yes, they got some help, but these guys are being given some stuff too. That could be a new show, Prison Break Out: Survival of the Fittest. Whoever lasts the longest (while being chased!) gets their conviction overturned. Sounds like The Running Man movie. 

 

After finishing the series I went back and watched a few extra videos on YouTube.  Alan says on his pre-trip video that he is a corrections officer. Count me in also as someone who would have never guessed that - I mean how could someone who loves the outdoors and freedom have a job that not only confines you to the inside, but also involves keeping others locked up within a multi-level system of locks and high walls, working in such an atmosphere of confinement. I just never would have guessed that in a hundred tries.

 

But that wasn't my main point.  He was saying on this video how he takes groups of inmates out into the woods and teaches them survival skills in the woods. I was thinking WTF?  And that a few of them would be thinking "Thanks Alan, I will absorb all I can from your free lectures and use them if I can ever escape"

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I expect the inmates are well screened -- and minimum security. The reality is there are a lot of people in jail who are there because of bad decisions, not because they're evil people. There are also a good number who are innocent of the crimes they were convicted for or who received sentences well beyond what their crimes called for.

 

Alan is teaching them to rely on THEMSELVES and to listen to their inner voices. He's getting them away from peer pressure and showing them a world that doesn't judge them, doesn't tempt them, doesn't have a horrible history for them. They get a clean slate, and what determines their success if their own inner fortitude. That's a good lesson for anyone to learn.

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Somebody -- I think it might have been Lucas or Mitch -- had a coffee pot. I remember seeing it and thinking "Huh??" It's not on the list at all.

Maybe he found it. I think in the final episode there was a clip of Sam finding some very useful things. Lucas mentioned the milk crates that he found, which I think could be very useful. Unlike The Island, I don't think those things were "seeded" for them. It is amazing that a good show like this will make you forget that abomination (except for the amazing Benji the Savior of Turtles). 

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On that other forum I read that Lucas found an abandoned camp when he was exploring. He found his skillet, the crates, and other stuff. This doesn't surprise me AT ALL. What would crack me up, though, would be for that abandoned camp to be somewhere some guy goes every month or so, which is why he left his crap there, and when he gets back he'll find it has been robbed!

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On that other forum I read that Lucas found an abandoned camp when he was exploring. He found his skillet, the crates, and other stuff. This doesn't surprise me AT ALL. What would crack me up, though, would be for that abandoned camp to be somewhere some guy goes every month or so, which is why he left his crap there, and when he gets back he'll find it has been robbed!

I wish we had video of that, it would be interesting. I wonder if it was one of the explorations he did by canoe.

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take a paracord gillnet and a paracord hammock. Unravel them and remove the outer sheathing. This will take about a day to accomplish. 
Then you'll have  21,000 ft of single strands, enough to weave  2500 sq ft of 3" mesh netting, which is 400 x 6 ft, enough to convert an entire small cove into a fish trap. bait the cove as the tide comes in, and locate the net where there will be at most a foot of water in the trap at low tide. Presto, you've caught 100's of lbs of fish.  Make a big 'holding=tank" of netting, so you dont have to smoke/cure them. Every day, you can weave  40 x6 ft of this netting and hang it as a gillnet, so you'll be catching fish as you go, too.

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they used to be given (season 1 and 2) a 20 x20 tarp and a 10x10, not part of the 10 picks. In Season 3, they got only the 10x10 given to them, so they had to wasted a pick on a 12x12 tarp. Season 4, they are given no tarps at ALL, so they have to waste 2 picks, one on the 12x12 and one on a bivvy sack for their sleeping bags. So the fact that they are given 3 more items (sleeping bag, belt knife, and ferrorod, does NOT make up for having only 200 sq ft of cover, as vs the 500 sq ft that they used to be just given. Their rations are cut from 5 lbs per person to 1 lb per person,  (2 lbs for 2 people, actually) The gillnet is cut in half, and the mesh is made so small that it's useless, too.

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sharpening stone is a wasted pick. You can sharpen your knife on any smooth rock, and you can use the multitool's file blade to sharpen the shovel.  The paracord and ferrorods are wasted picks. Instead, take a parcord hammock and paracord gillnet. You'll end up with 30x as much paracord after you unravel them. Remove the outer sheathing, and the 7 inner strands will make enough 3" mesh netting to feed you (quite well, actually).  You can start a fire with the batteries that they give you, the duct tape (which is SO useful) and a couple of the tines from the fishing arrowheads. Cross the tines, and they will glow red hot in just seconds. Have feathersticks ready, along with pine pitch and some lint you've scraped from your woolen socks and clothing. Once you have a fire, ashes and char will make it pretty easy to start fires with any hunk of chert or quarz, and any carbon steel tool.

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