My 10 Survival Items I would take if I were on History channels new show “Alone”

I’ve seen the previews a couple times for this new T.V. show called “Alone” that debuted on the History channel last week. I also got to catch the end of the first episode that was rerun on Father’s Day. Ever since I saw the preview I’ve thought to myself what 10 items would I take if I were on this show and had to survive with only those ten items and the clothes I was wearing. So here are the ten items that I came up with after much thought.

1)            Gransfors Bruks 430 Scandinavian Axe: Having a good quality axe would make my chances of surviving in the wilderness much higher. I would be able to process larger amounts of wood for fires as well as build a more permanent shelter to survive in modest comfort and possibly beat my competition.

2)            SOG Powerlock EOD Multi tool: To be honest I did have a quality bushcraft knife here to begin with but the more I thought about it, it made more sense to have a good quality multi tool instead. To me the multi tool is more useful than a single knife. I already would have an axe and I could possibly fashion a primitive knife out of things in the environment, the pliers alone would be very useful.

3)            Buck Saw (Homemade): Having a saw would make processing wood quicker and easier as well as take some of the wear and tear off of the axe.

4)            Lansky “The Puck” Tool Sharpener: Why have all these quality cutting tools without an easy quick way to keep them sharp and functioning properly.

5)            Fire Steel Rod: For obvious reasons I would want an ignition source to be able to create fire.

6)            Sawyer Personal Water Bottle: As long as nothing malfunctions, this water bottle will filter 1,000,000 gallons of water (should outlast my competition). That alone would give me an advantage over my competition. By being able to purify water right away on day 1 without needing to process wood for a fire as well as spending time trying to get a fire going, I would put myself in a better position of staying well hydrated. By having an easy way to stay hydrated I would be able to use precious energy elsewhere.

7)            Stainless Steel 3qt. Kettle Cook Pot: For cooking as well as collecting and boiling water if the water filter were to fail.

8)            550 cord: I would fill my cook pot with as much 550 cord (one continuous length) as would fit. We’ll just leave it at as many uses as your imagination or skill will allow.

9)            Hennessy Hammock Shelter: Not sure if this is allowed or would be considered more than one item. If allowed, my reasons for taking this shelter system are; Quick setup time, off the ground sleeping, very comfortable, easy to stay dry and should last for a while well building a more permanent shelter to outlast the competition.  If not allowed, I would take a tarp, possibly made out of oiled canvas, ripstop nylon or Cuban fiber.

10)          -15 degree sleeping bag: Obviously the warmer I could stay and more comfortable I could be would help me possibly outlast the competition. With that being said if I couldn’t use the Hennessey Hammock Shelter I would probably go with a high quality wool blanket instead. The wool blanket would more than likely hold up much better over the long haul than the sleeping bag would.

These are the 10 items I would take if I were to be on this T.V. show. This is not the perfect list by any means but it’s the list I put together if I were going to try to survive and win the show. Making the early days and weeks as comfortable and “easy” as possible would help keep me in a better frame of mind. That was my thinking when I put this list together. By having an easy way to stay hydrated and an easy dry shelter that would also keep me warm and off the ground, would be huge on the very first night and days to follow. With a very short setup time I would be able to have a comfortable shelter and water, all without ever doing very much work. That would leave me free to set snares and process firewood.  Your list would probably look different than mine so let me know in the comments section what you would take and why. Thanks for reading and as always get out and enjoy nature.

Emergency Blanket

An emergency blanket is one of the lightest and easiest things that you can carry with you at all times and could possibly mean the difference between life and death. There are many manufacturers that make and sell some version of an emergency blanket. Like anything, whichever brand of emergency blanket that you buy, test it out before your life depends on it. Some emergency blankets are silver, some are orange and some are designed to be more like a sleeping bag. Here again it will come down to personal preference. The emergency bivy’s are a little too bulky to be able to carry easily in your pocket, which means you might not even bother carrying it, which in turn  won’t help you in the end if you need it but left it home.

There are many stories of survivors who survived a cold night stuck in the wilderness only because they had one of these emergency blankets. Emergency blankets reflect a huge amount of your body heat back onto your body and can help keep you from becoming hypothermic in cold weather conditions. These blankets can also be used to keep you dry in wet weather. You can either wrap yourself up in it or you can use it like a tarp to make a makeshift shelter. Be careful if you do try to use it as a tarp because emergency blankets are much more fragile than tarps. Tying an emergency blanket too tightly or using it as a tarp in high winds could cause it to tear.

Another option is to find some wood and kindling for a fire. Then find yourself a good tree that you can comfortable sit and lean against. Sit down and spread your legs and dig a small pit in the ground for a fire in the area between your legs. Build a bank around the pit, to protect your legs, with the dirt you dug out of the hole. Now build a little fire in the pit and keep the rest of the wood in arms reach. Sit there with your emergency blanket wrapped around your body and create a sort of funnel over the fire and allow the heat from the small fire to rise up inside the blanket. Smoke will come inside as well but will escape through the hole around your neck. Just make sure it’s not so bad that all you are breathing is smoke. You can use a small stick to help keep the blanket spread out over the fire as well as keeping it up high enough that it doesn’t melt. You want a very small fire, it won’t take much. You must be very careful if you choose this option but it can help you stay somewhat warm and help you survive a cold night stuck in the wilderness.

Anytime you head out into the wilderness it is worth putting an emergency blanket in your pocket especially if you plan on just hiking for a few hours or just going out on a day hike. These are often times when injuries happen or someone gets lost and can’t find their way. This is also the time when people are not prepared to spend a night in the woods. They usually are not carrying any form of shelter or sleeping bag. In the spring and fall this could become life threatening because temperatures at night could still drop very low causing hypothermia. So for what little an emergency blanket weights why not carry one in your pocket to help protect yourself in an emergency survival situation? It may just end up saving your life!

A simple shelter

The fallen tree or debris shelter is one of the simplest survival shelters to make. If you find yourself stuck out in the wilderness with no man made form of shelter like a tarp or tent and there are no other natural forms of shelter, then knowing how to build this shelter could be very helpful and lifesaving.

First survey your surroundings. You can either use a fallen tree where the tree is still attached, about 3-4 feet off the ground, to the trunk. It should look like a triangle on its side. If you do use the fallen tree method, make sure the tree is secure and you are not in danger of the tree coming loose and crushing you. The method I recommend and use is first find a generally good level spot where you would like to make camp. Next, look for a good sturdy tree with some good branches that will be low enough for the entrance of your shelter. Now go find a log for the ridge of your shelter. Make sure it is long enough so that you will be able to lie down in the shelter when you are done building. I am 6 feet tall so I generally try to find a thick log or fallen tree that is about 9-10 feet long. If you cannot find a good log or already fallen tree then you will have to cut a small tree to fit your needs. Try to find everything you use on your shelter from already fallen trees if at all possible.

Now lean the log on the tree so that one end of the log is still on the ground and the other is resting on top of a thick branch where it ties into the main part of the tree. Lay the log in the notch of the branch and trunk. If you have some sort of cordage it wouldn’t hurt to tie the log off for safety sake. You will now want to go find sticks or branches that are about as thick as your forearm and lean those out along the log you have leaning against the tree. Make sure you have a good steep angle to help run water off in case of rain. If you weave some thinner branches or vines trough the branches it will help make it sturdy.

If you are in an area with evergreen trees you can begin thatching the roof with evergreen branches. Keep the butt end of the branch up and start along the ground and keep piling them on until you reach the ridge log. Place a layer of evergreen branches along the ridge so that they overlap each sidewall and close the ridge up.  Now just fill the inside with leaves or evergreen branches and move in for the night. You can also close in the front door with branches and leaves after you are inside. Make sure that you do have some vitalization though.

If you are not in an area with evergreens then you can supplement by building up piles of leaves and debris against the walls you built out of sticks.  Place some small branches on top of the leaves and debris to help hold everything together and then place more leaves and debris on top of those branches. Completely cover the two walls and ridge. The more layers of leaves and debris that you have the warmer the shelter will be and you will be less likely to get wet in a rain storm. Place a thick layer of leaves inside the shelter for bedding. Climb in and enjoy all your work.

In the winter you can also place snow on the outside walls and ridge for insulation and to cut out any wind that might be blowing. I recommend that you test out building one of these shelters in your own yard or wherever you might be able to. It is easier to learn from any mistakes you make now than when your life might depend on it. There are also many modifications that you can make to this shelter as well. You can thatch the walls with birch bark, add a tarp or Tyvek underneath the thatching to make the shelter more water resistant and you can also thatch the roof with moss. Have you ever built one of these shelters and what modifications if any did you use? As always build at your own risk and never stop learning and fine tuning your survival skills. You are only guaranteed to have your knowledge and skills in a true survival situation. You may not have any man made tools or supplies when you most need them. So go out and enjoy the wonderful place we call the great outdoors and test your survival skills.