Opening quote: “Our Food Lies Ahead and Death Stalks Us From Behind” – Ernest Shackleton
History’s Alone has kicked off and it’s a chilly one. Their location is the Arctic, specifically 75 miles south of the arctic timberline around Canada’s very deep Great Slave Lake.
It was determined they are all in need of hunting weaponry and items to protect from the frigid climate.
The premiere is titled Icebreaker and it reveals the first four out of the ten survivalists who all each have a chance to win $500,000 by enduring the coldest location in the history of Alone: The Arctic. The last to tap out will win the prize.
But there is a winter storm out of the gate.
So, what are the most common 10 items that our intrepid contestants picked?
Alone participants can bring standard items including clothing, safety and survival gear — plus 10 from a master list from which they are all allowed to choose.
We couldn’t help but notice the four people featured on the premiere all shared some common items in their choices: A tarp, fishing hooks and lines, a sleeping bag, and knives.
First, let’s revisit the first episode and we will discuss the key items the introduced cast are relying on.
The full cast:
Tim Backus. Nathan Donnelly. Nikki Van Schyndel, Donny Dust, Jordan Jonas, Barry Karcher. Ray Livingston, Brady Nicholls, Woniya Thibeault, and Michelle Wohlberg.
Premiere episode cast shown:
Barry, Nikki, Nathan, and Tim.
Most common items selected among the four:
- Fishing hooks and lines,
- Sleeping bag
- Bows and Arrows
*The contestants are also allowed the items below. These items do not count towards the 10 special items but cannot exceed the approved quota for each.
1 pair of high-leg hunting boots
1 pair waterproof Arctic winter boots
1 T-shirt (short sleeved)
1 fleece/wool shirt (a hooded fleece is acceptable)
2 wool sweaters
6 pairs wool socks
2 hats (brimmed, wool, fur, Arctic or baseball)
2 buffs or neck gaiter (no balaclavas)
1 shemagh OR scarf
4 pairs of gloves (1 insulated, 1 leather work-style glove, 1 overmitt, 1 thin glove liner)
2 pairs of underwear/briefs
1 insulated parka-style jacket (should cover backside and have a hood)
2 pair of outdoor pants/bibs (can unzip into shorts)
1 pair of fully insulated or waterproof winter pants/bibs
1 waterproof uninsulated shell/Jacket
2 pairs of thermal underwear (long top and bottom)
1 pair of gaiters
1 leather belt (or synthetic equivalent)
1 pair of eyeglasses (with proof of prescription)
1 personal photograph (no bigger than 4×6 and one-sided)
Lynx, cougars, muskox, porcupines, moose, wolverines, Grizzly Bears, Brown bears, Black bears, wolves.
Barry Karcher kicks off the contest. The 39-year-old dad from Fort Collins, CO is a self-defense instructor schooled in Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is described as “a minimalist bush-crafter” who has been “hunting, fishing, and trapping since he was nine.” He has a wife and four children and is bringing the following items:
1. Sleeping bag
2. Ferro rod
7. Trapping wire
9. Bow and arrows
10. Fishing line and hooks
Revealing he was homeless growing up, he says: “I grew up in an environment where it was a necessity.”
His smart move? He immediately heads to the highest, driest point, and will hunt for a few days. Sees scat from a moose and notes that Arctic snow can begin in August.
Nikki van Schyndel is a frontierswoman who hails from Echo Bay, British Columbia, Canada. She is a wilderness guide and commercial fisherman and has big aspirations to join the famous Explorers club and has dedicated her life to naturalist studies.
In the early 2000s, Nikki lived primitively on a deserted island in the Broughton Archipelago of British Columbia for nearly two years. There, she tested her skills and learned the truths of survival, all of which she detailed in her book Becoming Wild.
Nikki complains as she wrangles a 65-pound camera case. We learn the temperatures can hit 40 below. She forages mushrooms from moose poo as a big lynx looks at her, and she deduces there are hares around for food.
The ten items Nikki selected for her Arctic journey include:
4. Sleeping bag
7. Bow and arrows
8. Fishing line and hooks
9. Ferro rod
10. Trapping wire
Nathan Donnelly is a 39-year-old Disaster Preparedness Instructor who hails from the Salish Sea, off the coast of Washington on a small island. He owns and operates a permaculture design business for his clients’ homesteads.
Additionally, he teaches nature awareness and survival courses and volunteers for his local oil spill response organization. Immediately he is shown to salvage an arrow out of a tree.
The ten items Nathan selected to bring on his survival journey to the Arctic:
1. Sleeping bag
4. Fishing line and hooks
5. Pocket knife
6. Gill Net
8. Emergency ration
10. Bow and arrows
He says he has a: “deep spiritual connection” to the land and says he is a horticulture designer, biologist, jack of all trades, park ranger
homesteader who needs the prize money to build a home.
His handicap: He cannot get a fire started his first night.
Lubbock, TX native Tim Backus is the elder contestant, a granddad who is loaded for bear. He is a hunting guide who was born in Africa and he has hunted recreationally since his teen years and professionally for over 10.
He lives in West Texas and his winters guiding hunts in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Virginia, and West Virginia. Texan Tim is a full-time hunting guide.
This 55-year-old grandfather has framed his tent house. He gained a ton of weight for the show. In the long run, it was in vain.
The ten items Tim selected ;
1. Bow and arrows
2. Sleeping bag
5. Fishing line and hooks
7. Ferro rod
He says: “If I can harvest a big game animal it will sustain me.” He’s on the hunt and hears a step.
A squirrel warns the critters Barry is there. “He’s gotta be the first to die,” says Barry. A 20 gauge wire selected in his “ten.” He uses an arrow and kills the squirrel cleanly. Time for squirrel stew!
Washington state native Nathan is busy trying to make a shelter. He fears moose for their “aggressiveness.” The Northern Lights decorate the sky at night but Nathan is awakened by steps. A moose is foraging near his tent.
He still cannot get a fire going. After hours of effort, he finally got it going.
Tim asks a pine tree for permission to cut it down. Four days with no food has him edgy.
A marshy spot called Lilly’s bog and Eden’s way is the path to it, both named for his grandkids. Bonus scavenge: He found a shovel. This is allowed.
Then calamity strikes. He falls and breaks a leg. “You gotta be kiddin’ me,” he says. Time to tap out. He says: “What is it, day 4? This is ridiculous.”
Only 9 people remain. Day 5
Nathan has the fire thing figured out. He checks his gill net. He catches a monstrously sized lake trout. He scavenged a 5-gallon gas can and filled it with skinned and gutted trout.
It’s cold. Winter is here. Nathan observes the snow and is now set to make some walls for his open tent to keep from freezing to death.
This Canadian is optimistically fishing. However, her line is empty and she was not prepared for the snow.
The Colorado man is hunting with a bow and arrow. He retires to his tent and says “it will be brutal.”
Begins with nine contestants. The title is Tainted which is telling, likely someone eats something and they will get sick. The one week mark is nigh and the contestants make some “risky choices” in order to eat with the threat of “serious infection.”
One participant will consider tapping out early.
Alone airs Thursday nights on History.