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So, I’ve been catching up on the new season of the History Channel’s Alone show. It makes for good entertainment and a lot of introspection of my personal skill sets and of course, kit choices. I’ve always looked at tool choices based on my activity where actual “backpacking” requires smaller, lighter options and often few choices.

However, the concept of Alone allows a more diverse selection based on simply using a base camp and more substantial shelter with less traveling outside of short range scouting, hunting, and foraging within a certain radius. Weight is less of concern. Consider a remote site you either pack into for 10 miles, take a boat, canoe, helicopter or plane...these are not tool selectins I would trek 100 miles with! The current series is a challenge for a hundred days. If the other areas are covered (similar to the series), are these tools enough for you to make a 100 days in a boreal or even arctic environment (summer to fall...I ain't doing major snow storms!!!:D:)

I can appreciate the limited selections to even the playing-field, however, as I look at what I could realistically pack in (again, 10 miles or less, more likely canoe in, drop in via helo or plain) for such a scenario (more for boreal forest than arctic), I was thinking more of category selections and feel we need some posts here, so let me know what your choices would be. I think most agree a large chopper, saw, and fixed blade knife are the three primary tools. I’ve never chosen a multitool over a pocket folder, so let’s leave both on the list…just fill in your choices. Lastly, having seen previous seasons where one tool was the Cold Steel shovel and a recent contestant included a bushcraft auger, are there any special tools you would consider?

Here’s my choices for each category:

Large Chopper: Granfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. Lots of good choices, this is one I have and quite comfortable with.

Saw: Either a Silky Katana 500 folding saw or my Bob Dustrude 24” folding buck saw. I like the idea of the Silky saw for felling trees or the versatility of sawing through larger rounds, but the bucksaw is also a great sawing machine for logs about 6-8 in diameter. For a more packable option, I still like my Silky BIGBOY 2000 folding saw (with a 14.5” blade). The nice think about my Dustrude bucksaw is that I carry three extra blades in the canvas carry case…

Belt-Knife: If it was a limited tool selection, I would likely choose my Habilis Bushtool. However, with a more robust tool selection, there’s less need to have a larger blade and I would opt for a smaller belt knife; one that would be much easier to carry all the time. My choice is pretty simple. I have a couple of custom knives from Ed Martin Knives (EMK) that I just like:

Multitool: A lot to choose from top three would be my Victorinox Spirit, Leatherman Wave, or the Leatherman Surge. For this scenario, I would opt for my Surge “kit”. I like the exchangeable T-shank saw blades and file, and their file (I have two in my kit) is diamond coated on one side. If trash is found and used, the hacksaw blades can come in handy as well. As you can see below, mine is a pretty robust "kit" with two sharpeners, needles/awl, sinew, bankline, Firesteel, and some waxed jute twine...

Pocket Folder: I includes this because I always have a folder on me when outdoors. For backpacking, the choices are very small and light, for this scenario and I would take a slightly more robust folder. Given that I would have a large chopper (axe), a belt knife and even a multitool, I would prefer something with a thinner blade for game skinning, fish/fowl cleaning, and food prep. I like Spyderco and would likely choose something like the Spyderco Military.

Special Purpose Tool: So, I have a bushcraft auger (6” x 1”) that is useful for projects like furniture or joining structures with dowels vice cordage or wire, but I would likely choose something like the Cold Steel Shovel as my “special tool”. I’ve just found them so very versatile, and for a base-camp situation like this, likely a high-value selection.

So, what would your choices be?



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