On Alone each participant are allowed to bring 10 survival items that came from a list of approximately 40 items.
Here are the 10 I brought with me to the shores of Great Slave Lake, NWT:
- Ferro Rod
- Sleeping Bag
- Fishing Hooks and Monoline
- Gill Net
- Snare Wire
- Bow and Arrows
There were a number of other options to take with you. Some more practical or what I would deem worthy of a top ten. Some of the items that I was considering would be:
Just to give you an idea of some of the other items you could bring:
- Foraging Basket
- Water Bottle
- Sewing Kit
- Sleeping Pad
- Lip Balm
One of my major contributing factors when choosing my ten items was will it keep me fed, and will it keep me warm. My main focus for this whole journey was getting calories into my body and trying not to lose them too quickly. Because if you don’t have the calories in, game over.
I’m going to go through each of the 10 items I brought, why I chose them and what their brand is.
- Ferro Rod
A ferro rod for those of you who don’t know, it a stick (in our case, up to 6″ long) made of ferrocerium which when a hard steel is scraped against it in the right way will shoot hot sparks. Paired with some tinder it will ignite into fire. Fire is life out there and I wasn’t about to test my bow drill skills while I’m also testing my ability to feed myself off the land. Way to go Nathan (season 6 finalist) for making that work!
I chose a 2 qt., 10″ cast aluminum dutch oven by GSI Outdoors.
Cooking food and getting as many nutrients from your food as possible is essential and for that you need a pot or pan. I chose a pot because it has a lid and would be better for stewing. I chose a wide dutch oven rather than a tall pot because I was hoping to be able to broil some nice fish steaks!
3. Sleeping Bag
I wanted the warmest sleeping bag there was . The season prior I found a -45*C Redline Mountain Equipment Down Sleeping bag for $600 USD which was a good deal. I have always been a cold sleeper and I knew that with dwindling fat reserves I would need all of the help I could get.
4. Fishing Hooks and Line
We were allowed 25 barbless hooks with a max size of 7g. I had asked early on in the process if we could cut or pinch the barbs on regular hooks because I was having a hard time finding barbless hooks in the right sizes and they had said no. So I did end up finding them in each of the sizes I wanted but I could get the brand I wanted. I wanted them to be all Mustad hooks but ended up getting some Gamakatsu Octopus hooks.
I chose to have my hooks to all be of he bigger sizes from 4-7. A little insider tip from our friend Jordan Jonas who won season 6 in the same location!
My fishing line was 20 lbs test monoline as per regulations. I took 300 yrds all of 20 lbs.
My MVT (most valuable tool) of the whole experience. This axe was my companion, my trusted ally and my story teller. I chose to bring my Hultafors Felling Axe model HY 20.
The reason I love this axe is because it’s light enough to do basic one handed limbing or carving but hefty enough to buck and split small trees for firewood. The axe needed to be an extension of my arm. I chose to forgo a bucksaw which meant I had better be damn good with this axe.
I have been using this axe or similar for well over a decade and the summer before I left I was chopping and bucking wood with the axe to hone my technique and build the specific muscles I would need for doing so. In fact I chopped 100 dry spruce logs and stacked them on three pallets as Dave’s calendar. Each day I was out there he would burn a log hoping to get to day 100!
This axe has such a special place in my heart. Nicks, dents, sap and all. I love this tool.
6. Gill Net
As mentioned above my choices were heavily based on acquiring food. Having a passive wave to potentially gain the most valuable food resource out there seemed like a no-brainer for me. There would be a chance that my location didn’t work and it would be too shallow, but it was a risk I was willing to take.
I home made my gill net out of bank line. The specs were 10 meshes deep by 12′.
7. Snare Wire
Again, more ways to procure food the better. Staying adaptable to your environment and going with what works is probably the most important skill to have out there. Not to force your ideals on the environment and always be thinking of ways you can adapt.
The snare wire I brought was going to be another great passive way to procure food. My plan was to set 10 snares a day until I ran out of wire. Because it all adds up!
I brought spools of copper 20 g wire and spools of 20 g steel. I brought one roll of19 g black wire in case I wanted a heavier wire for other applications. The wire’s total weight was 3lbs as per regulations.
I knew I wanted a multi-tool instead of my knife because of the versatility of the pliers, knife, file, awl, etc. I have never been a big knife guru but I do know the value of a full-tang blade. It was a risk but I figured I could do most things with my axes and skinning bunnies with the knife on the multi-tool or chopping fish wouldn’t be a problem. If I got a big game, well we know Jordan did it with his so I figure it’s all good!
I brought a modified Leatherman Surge. A friend turned the multitool into a great little bushcraft tool. He changed the screwdriver for example into a little gauge, the can opener into a hook knife and replaced an inside toolsfor a little carving knife.
He also replaced the serrated knife for a saw and the hacksaw for a full-sized file which was great because it was removable so I could actually use it to sharpen the knife in the multi-tool.
I really loved the scissors for nail hygiene, crafting, cutting my hair and cutting the paracord. I used the scissors almost as much as the actual knife!
9. Bow and Arrows
We were allowed to bring 9 arrows with various tips. Our must be 44.3 lbs to hunt with a bow in accordance with NWT laws. The bow I chose to bring was the Super Grizzly Bear 50 lbs recurve.
I was a novice when I signed up for this experience and by the time I was ready for the show I would say I was a confident intermediate. I could shoot well at 20 yards and deadly and 14. At a target any how. I never have once said that I was an experience bow hunter. The only thing before the show that I had killed with a bow was a target.
But as I mentioned, the whole theme of my 10 items was food procurement. If I had a good chance, I was going to take that shot.
My arrows as per recommended by Correy from @organic_archery were Penthalon Heavy Hunters 500 grain carbon fibre arrows.
I brought 5 Judo Points for small game, and 3 broadheads for big game.
I was very happy with my choices and felt very connected to the land walking through the forest with bow in hand.
I brought 80 meters of assorted colored paracord. My favorite cord of all was the rainbow colored cord. It made me happy just looking at its bright colors. I used my cord for shelter building, gill net setting and other projects. It was a great resource and was happy I had it!
I highly recommend rainbow colored paracord for all of your future endeavors!
So those were the 10 items that I elected to bring with me to the subarctic shores of Great Slave Lake. I was very confident in what I was bring along with my clothing that I made, that I would be able to last a long time. Hopefully even 100 days!
For a list of the clothing I brought head over to my Clothing list.