The Knives of History’s Alone, Season 2

The second season of Alone starts tonight on the History Channel. The show disperses ten contestants into remote areas of Vancouver Island with only ten items of their choosing at their disposal. Each must then film themselves “surviving” for as long as they can, with the last one standing earning a big cash prize.

I enjoyed season one of the show. It is one of the few “survival” oriented TV shows that I feel is worth a damn. The environment itself is a worthy opponent for one thing. The area is frequented by heavy rain storms, and bears and mountain lions, but the biggest struggle in any survival situation is maintaining a positive mental attitude. By the time the field had been narrowed down to a small handful, watching the mental progression of the contenders was fascinating. Since they are on their own, and filming themselves, this is as close as we can reasonably come to documenting “true survival.”

I’m certainly guilty of the following, but we knife nuts/gear hounds can be rather gear-list centric, often focusing on the minutiae of what we or others are carrying. This is understandable, as it is one of the things we can really plan for. Most of us have no experience with how our minds would actually hold up in a survival scenario, but that is the most important aspect. The final two standing on the last season were carrying a a small carbon steel butcher knife and a Condor kukri. A lot can be done with minimal tools if the will to survive is strong.

With that in mind, lets meet the contestants and their knives. Photos are courtesy of If you want to see their full gear lists, check them out here.

Alone_S2_Tracy_Wilson_Bio-BTRACY WILSON / BECKER BK7: Tracy Wilson comes from a military/LEO background. The BK7 may not be high on the list for most buschrafty-types as it is more of a tactical knife, but seeing some of the close calls with wildlife in the last season has me thinking that is not a bad thing. The fact that it can still handle things like carving and batoning quite well make it a worthy survival knife. Astute readers may recall I picked the BK7 for my zombie apocalypse knife for these very same reasons!


Alone_S2_Larry_Roberts_Bio-BLARRY ROBERTS / L.T. WRIGHT GENESIS: An electrician by trade, Larry Roberts has chosen the Genesis from L.T. Wright Knives. Horace Kephart’s philosophy on knives has stood the test of time. The Kephart blade style – a four to five inch spear point blade with small finger guard and broomstick handle – hits a lot of points for versatility and the LTWK is my favorite modern interpretation of the style. The thumb scallops are a nice touch and I’ve found L.T.’s products to be extremely sturdy.


Alone_S2_Desmond_White_Bio-BDESMOND WHITE / FäLLKNIVEN A1: Desmond is former US Army and has loved the outdoors from his Boy Scouting days in Souther Arizona. He is carrying what looks like a Fällkniven A1 to me. The VG10 stainless blade should shrug off the terminally damp conditions with ease. I’m not the biggest fan of rubber handles, but they can definitely be an advantage in the wet and the cold.


Alone_S2_Randy_Champagne_Bio-BRANDY CHAMPAGNE / CONDOR PRIMITIVE BUSH KNIFE: Survival instructor Randy Champagne from Boulder, UT also went the stainless route with the Matt Graham designed Condor Primitive Bush Knife. Measuring 8-inches of 420HC steel, this is a fairly long, but not too thick piece of kit. The sharpened swedge should help in defensive scenarios and the tubes in the handle can facilitate lashing if the scenario calls for it.Alone_S2_Randy_Champagne_Bio-Knife

Alone_S2_Nicole_Apelian_Bio-BNICOLE APELIAN / CUSTOM KUKRI: Nicole Apelian worked as a game warden for the Peace Corps and is a safari guide and anthropoligist. She has brought along a whopper – a custom kukri-inspired blade, designed with and made by Ron Macy out of 5160 steel. There is a lot of versatility in this style of blade, and not just for combat applications. Here is Nicole’s explanation of everything this knife can do:

The knife is very forward heavy and great for batoning wood. Its shape also allows me to use it as a draw knife and it has a pointed end for just-in-case needed protection and for gutting. Squared-off spine for the ferro rod strike and toward the handle it is edged for finer work. I had to ask a lot from one knife and this one delivered. I also really like the sheath design – I can quickly draw the knife out and it doesn’t bounce on my leg with the side-draw design.


Alone_S2_Mike_Lowe_Bio-BMIKE LOWE/ L.T. WRIGHT JESSMUKSERE Instructor/Rescue Training Instructor Mike Lowe is carrying the scandi-ground Jessmuk by LTWK. The blade shape is vaguely Nessmuk inspired with a few twists. The 1/8″ O1 steel is classic bushcrafting fare and the clip point and finger guard may also help in potential defensive encounters.


Alone_S2_Mary_Kate_Green_Bio_2-BMARY KATE GREEN / MORAKNIV COMPANION HD: Mary Kate is a former wildland firefighter and spent 12 years as a child living off the grid with her family. She has gone with a solid low-budget knife, the Morakniv Companion. Although I am not certain, it appears to be the HD version with a 3mm thick carbon steel blade. Mora’s certainly punch above their price point, and they have the advantage of being very lightweight as well.


Alone_S2_Jose_Martinez_Bio-BJOSE MARTINEZ AMOEDO / TRAILING POINT CUSTOM: Jose Martinez Amoedo is an aboriginal skills instructor hailing from Spain. He brought with him a customized Leatherman geared toward woodworking and a custom knife he designed himself. With the trailing point it ought to skin and slice very well.



Alone_S2_David_McIntyre_Bio-BDAVID MCINTYRE / DIVING SPARROW KNIFE WORKS CUSTOM: McIntyre is a writer of post-apocalyptic fiction who has established a survival school in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. According to him, he never feels comfortable in a new area until he has survived in that area’s wilderness. He has chosen a custom by Abe Elias of Diving Sparrow Knife Works, and the blade itself is very Woodlore-esque. Dave had this to say about the knife.

It is a scandi grind in ATS34 stainless. He did a fantastic job on the knife and dangler sheath which he impregnated with a beeswax secret sauce to weatherproof the leather. I normally use carbon steel knives but for saltwater environments stainless is the way to go IMO. On a short trip, sure carry what you want and care for your blade. When planning to live and work in saltwater with no way to care for the knife… I chose stainless and have no regrets.


Alone_S2_Justin_Vititoe_Bio-BJUSTIN VITITOE / LEATHERMAN SURGE: Former US Army sniper Justin Vititoe has instructed numerous outfits in marksmanship, camouflage, tracking, and other skills. Joe is the only competitor who is not bringing a fixed blade knife, but rather a black coated Leatherman Surge. He does have an axe and a saw, so he is not exactly hurting for edged tools, but an interesting choice nonetheless. In his own words, “Hopefully it was a wise decision and I don’t end up regretting it later.”


So that is it! Personally, being a fan of Beckers and LTWKs, I know who I am rooting for. What about you? What do you think of the blades they picked?

Update 4/27/2016: David McIntyre has commented and let us know a few details about his knife. I have updated his section of the article accordingly.

Update 5/17/2016: Nicole Apelian’s section updated with more details, taken from her response in the comments.


  1. PeterK says:

    Kukri! And the Mora is an interesting choice.

    Beautiful and interesting kit all around.

    1. Thanks! The kukri/bolo blend worked really well for me.

      1. Jon says:

        It was a beautiful knife Dr. Apelian. A very impressive and well thought out choice. 🙂

  2. Mike L says:

    Sorry but I refuse to watch a “survival ” show which explictly prohibits firearms, ammunition and gunpowwder. I call BS on that. Actually I call POLITICAL BS on that.

    I do watch and enjoy Les Stroud, Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain (the latter two are food guys primarily) BECAUSE they all have carried guns and shot animals on their shows.

    Any “survival ” guy who purposely avoids and abjures guns can GTH in my eyes. I grew up on Bradford Angier, Col Townsend Whelen (who spent a year alone in the North Country during the last of the 19th century. I rail against the constant deballing of America.

    1. Jake says:

      a couple of points here:

      1st – If firearms were allowed, it would be all to easy to drop a bear, or other animals, which makes getting food a lot easier. Iget that this is the idea of firearms in survival, but it’s a tv competition show.

      Second, and more importantly – I think the main reason guns are not allowed is not “no guns political correctness”, but the possibility of one of the contestants becoming depressed and biting a bullet – as a showrunner that would present an absolute nightmare, so don’t be so surprised the network does not allow guns.

      1. scaatylobo says:

        @ Jake.
        The show is a “SURVIVAL SHOW” and if you get too ‘alone’ and decide to eat your gun ,INSTEAD of calling for the help that is NEARBY = you did not get vetted and do not belong on the show = or the planet.

        1. Jake says:

          hey, I’m not arguing THAT point. I’m just saying that leaving people alone with guns is a potential PR nightmare that the network is most unwilling to take.

          Kind of a different ballpark, but when filming action movies, you are literally required by law to have an armorer present, and blank firing guns are only used for action shots and immediately handed back to the armorer. Television operates under a set of rules not like the real life.

        2. scaatylobo says:

          @ Jake, there are LIVE action shooting events on TV.
          And the shooters handle their own guns and are TOTALLY responsible for all safety .
          Guess this is not the people that can do that ?.
          Or History is too wussified to allow real men & women who are responsible on the show ?
          After Desmonds performance ,I guess I agree.
          But allowing buffoons on is not what I was hoping to see.

      2. David says:

        That’s a stretch. If they were likely to get that depressed it would be just as easy to slit their wrist or any number of things. It’s a political decision. We’re being programmed to see guns as unnecessary at best and evil at worst. And having a firearm does not guarantee you a meal by any stretch of the imagination and to say it would make it easier to defend themselves against an attacking bear like that is a bad thing is ridiculous.

        1. tony says:

          if you had to bet on contestant or bear always bet on the bear.

    2. scaatylobo says:

      THANK YOU, for the answer I would have penned too.
      There are so many locations that would allow any and ALL tools of survival that this is a pile of P.C. poo.

      1. Dwight E Howell says:

        Um, who the crap wants to watch somebody surviving in their air conditioned RV complete with tv? This isn’t a rehash of the BG show. This is people who are under serious life threatening stress.

        1. David says:

          What does having a firearm have anything to do with an RV??

    3. David says:

      I agree 100%.

    4. Chaz says:

      Why are you here again?

    5. Lumberjake says:

      Its a bit ignorant to presume that everyone else is of the exact same opinion with regards to fire arms, and the reality is that not everyone who goes into the woods carries.
      Second, this is fimed in Canada.
      Third, a fire arm is not some miracle survival tool that would change the chances of survival by a drastic amount. Indiginous tribes live in these situations fine without the bang bang stick.
      Finally, how much ammunition is practical to carry. Obviously a fire arm is only effective with finite resources.
      Its silly to have such a political attitude towards a show about survival with people with various backgrounds.

      1. scaatylobo says:

        “silly to have such an attitude”,sorry but that is too judgemental.
        I am many things,silly is not one [ goofy when it moves me to it ].
        If your a shooter ,you KNOW that a brick [ 500 rounds ] of .22 caliber is easy to hump and would [ SHOULD ] last you well over a year of SURVIVAL hunting.
        IF you were born in the bush,then it might be easy to survive with the tools ‘they use’.
        As just living to a ripe old age of 40 is pretty amazing for them.
        But as a simple .22 rifle would prove,your ability to gather food would be so much greater that the “alone” part would be the harder part,and NOT gathering sustenance.
        Too each their own,MY PREFERENCE is to see a show with actual men & women who can make it a few months without RUNNING for shelter and taking a cop out.
        Funny that no actual SEAL’s could make that cut = or just a big FIX with too many that will fail all to easily.
        Do the show,but do it correctly.
        Budget it for those who will be there for at least 6 months [ of MUCH longer ].
        But lose the losers that they are all too eager to put on the show.
        SEAL’s,Special Forces,Recon ,where are ANY of them ??.

    6. tony says:

      i am a gun owner. i like the show with no guns. for safety purposes. there was several people cutting themselves on the show what if someone had an AD or accidentally shot another contestant. . besides plenty of people take their Bows, but i have never seen anyone use them for hunting so a waste of a Pick for the 10 items IMO. fishing seems to be the best and most reliable source of food so far. season 4 has a bunch of guys with bows so maybe we will see a harvest of some kind. if its in season. remember our conservation laws still are in affect even if it is a survival show. in reality do what you got to do. this show is quasi reality there is an element of danger.

  3. scaatylobo says:

    Saw and closely followed that first show.
    Was VERY dissapointed at the lack of knowledge and preparation that any I know would have done ASAP [ like a real shelter,KNOWING you were there for at least a month ].
    Heard all the EXCUSES, sorry they dont work for me.
    Too many I have met are MUCH better than that last crew.
    And why Canada ,where no guns ??.
    If guns were added,that show might have been 6 months or more longer = that would have been a REAL survival show.

    1. Good to see you around these parts Scaaty! I don’t disagree with anything you have said here, but I do think that allowing firearms would make for a less interesting show.

      1. scaatylobo says:

        Just watched the first show and was EXTREMELY dissapointed to see that “Desmond” was vetted about as badly [ or worse ] than the group from the last show.
        WHERE the fk did they find these idiots that OBVIOUSLY have no knowledge in even the basics of camping,let alone SURVIVAL in dangerous conditions ?.

    2. Harry Balzonya says:

      Id take a gun and Id never have to leave….

  4. JT says:

    David Mcintyre ‘s knife is a custom from Abe Elias at Diving Sparrow Knifeworks.

    1. scaatylobo says:

      David McIntyre is so far is only one of the VERY few that have a real ability to survive.
      So far they have shown the few that look pretty pitiful,except the large lady who actually has some skills = time will tell but she is a survivor so far.
      Desmond is a total joke and shame on History channel for allowing such a buffoon on the show .
      WASTING a place for a real possible survivor.

    2. Pat Burwell says:

      David is a skilled survivalist and this show is an exact fit for him. Good on Abe for taking the time to make a stainless steel knife in the pattern David favored!! These guys go way back in friendship and what an awesome blending of that friendship!! My only surprise was there was no modified machete by Mac!!!

      1. Dave McIntyre says:


        Machetes were not on the approved list. I wanted to take mine.

        1. Abe Elias says:

          It was my pleasure to make a knife for Dave. I always enjoy seeing my knives in skilled hands. I hear many people talk about stainless versus carbon. If your heat treat is dead on and you have a good grind on the knife (blade Geometry) any difference in performance should be so small it would not be noticeable.

  5. Len Pacek says:

    What do the numbers in some of the photos mean? e.g #1 knife. #2 knife?

    1. Len,

      The photos were screengrabs from the videos on History’s website. They did a rundown of each participants ten items. The #1, #2, etc was just where that items was in the list.

  6. cmeat says:

    firearms make everything more interesting.

    1. scaatylobo says:

      Firearms make it interesting AND, in the America I was born in = they are a RIGHT of birth.

      Too bad they are filming in a nation that does not have such ingrained freedoms.

      And too bad they did not take the American way,G-d,Guns & Guts.

  7. JT says:

    Out of the thousands of people that applied to participate for the show, this Desmond guy was one of the top ten most qualified?? He couldn’t even hang a bear bag! C’mon History, really?

  8. annabelle says:

    did I just see right? did desmond just break the blade of his silky big boy 2000? has he EVER used a saw before? a Japanese saw? dude, you have to man handle it AND be the dumbest boob on the beach to do that…..just, pull the saw….don’t even have to put pressure on it. I have used mine like crazy…still going strong. ffs.

    1. scaatylobo says:

      You noted the point we all are making,HOW in the wide world of sports did they find the one guy that was so scared of the woods that he went home THE FIRST DAY ??.

  9. Dave McIntyre says:

    As was mentioned my knife was a custom “Woodlore-esque” bushcrafter made by Abe Elias, of Diving Sparrow. It is a scandi grind in ATS34 stainless. He did a fantastic job on the knife and dangler sheath which he impregnated with a beeswax secret sauce to weatherproof the leather. I normally use carbon steel knives but for saltwater environments stainless is the way to go IMO. On a short trip, sure carry what you want and care for your blade. When planning to live and work in saltwater with no way to care for the knife…I chose stainless and have no regrets.

    1. That sounds like a very cool knife Dave, thanks for letting us know what it is! I’ll update the article accordingly.

  10. Phil says:

    After seeing season one i bought myself a spyderco h1 knife. this steel is NOT rusting at all. Don’t understand how none on S2 would have gone with that option.

  11. Just saw this thread and thought I’d comment on my kukri-style knife. My dear friend Ron Macy – – custom-made it for me. I went down to his workshop in Southern Oregon and we worked out the design – it’s not a classic kukri but a bit of a blend between a kukri and a bolo style knife. It’s 5160 carbon steel and a workhorse. I’d bring the same knife again (it’s still the survival knife I use in the woods…I also have a custom bushcraft knife I use for daily use that is always on my belt). The knife is very forward heavy and great for batoning wood. Its shape also allows me to use it as a draw knife and it has a pointed end for just-in-case needed protection and for gutting. Squared-off spine for the ferro rod srike and toward the handle it is edged for finer work. I had to ask a lot from one knife and this one delivered. I also really like the sheath design – I can quickly draw the knife out and it doesn’t bounce on my leg with the side-draw design.

    1. Thanks Nicole for dropping by our neck of the woods and letting us know the details of your blade. I geek out over this sort of thing!

      I’ll update your section accordingly. Cheers!

      1. Hi David! I geek out about knives too :-). I love my blade!

        1. Ralph Knuden says:

          Nicole you’re a amazing lady with you great altitude!

    2. JT says:

      Thanks for chiming in! I like your whole attitude that you had out there. Your shelter looked nice and cozy too haha. Could you tell us which particular axe you chose as well? Thanks Nicole!

      1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. I love being in the woods – guess it showed :-). Yes, my shelter was, as you saw, a cabin/lean-to with 3 feet of debris on all sides (and top). It was very cozy indeed! I wanted to stay warm and dry.
        I brought a Gransfors Burks Splitting Axe. If I had a do-over I wouldn’t bring an axe…my large knife and saw were all I needed. It’s a great axe for splitting wood at home on a chopping block though.

        1. scaatylobo says:

          TOTALLY AGREE, the axe is a tool for felling trees and not for making small lodges and firewood.
          AND its the BEST way to harm yourself [ need proof ].
          Nice job there ,young lady

    3. Dr. Apelian, what bushcraft knife do you carry daily? And is Ron Macy still making your awesome kukri bolo at Yakiba Forge? I can’t find Yakiba on the Internet any more. I think you’re terrific, both on the show and in your personal life, overcoming the MS challenge in particular. Good going!

      1. Hello Shane! Yes, Ron Macy still makes them (calls them the “bush bolo”) and I still use mine ALL THE TIME when out in the woods. Was just using it the past few days to clear trails on my property. Ron is not online much – best to call him at 541-315-8398. My EDC switches out a lot as I am always field testing knives out for folks :-). I have a few favorites though…a custom made puukko by Sacha Knives is with me often as is my Bark River Matterhorn. My latest favorite is the new Larry Dean Olsen knife by Schenk Knives (and it is only $135) – I love it – see My other go to knives are mostly by Bark River. Carry their Canoe knife often and LOVE their bird and trout knife for spring fishing. I have a lot of knives and switch them out depending on what I am doing, but those of some of my current favorites! Thanks for your kind words! Warmly, – Nicole

  12. Bradley Flynn says:

    It is my understanding that the reason the contestants aren’t allowed firearms is at the request of the Indians that own the land. They may have been concerned that so many cheechakos would use their firearms unnecessarily and kill bears, wolves, etc. that didn’t really need killing. My own personal experience working for the Forest Service in Southeast Alaska is that, with proper training, this isn’t really true. It would require training, however, which would instill a skill set the people didn’t have themselves coming into the show and might alter the outcome. Since the show is being filmed on the Native’s land, you need to honor their desires. I’d be unhappy if someone camped on my land and did something I didn’t want them to do.
    That said, I’ve been highly impressed with Dr. Apelian’s ability to identify edible plants. I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground in Southeast Alaska, which is very similar to Vancouver Island. Some of my ground time was with an ecologist who was also very adept at identifying edible plants. He used to feed me a lot of small snacks on plants while walking through the woods and along the shore. I wish I was better at identifying such plants myself. To me, it is an impressive skill.
    Since Mary Kate was a wildland firefighter, I had higher hopes at her abilities and was disappointed that she had poor safety habits. Her crew bosses let her down by not teaching her better safety skills with an ax. I could see the end coming, however, when I discovered she picked a DOWN sleeping bag for use in a rain forest. When the weather got worse she would have been out (or dead) anyway. I hope her hand healed OK. Has anyone heard how her hand healed?

  13. JT says:

    David C. Andersen, is there any way you can tell us which particular axe each contestant brought as well? I think many of us are curious. I believe I’ve seen a few Gransfors Bruk axes as well as a Velvicut Hudson bay. Would love to know for sure.

    1. JT,

      Sadly my axe knowledge is not nearly as extensive as my knife knowledge, so I would have a hard time ID’ing them. Maybe Nicole or David will chime in with their choices though.


  14. Jim Van Vleck says:

    I am a gun guy. That being said, I agree with the guy who said it makes it way more dramatic not having a firearm in Bear and Mountain Lion country. From an entertainment point of view it was the right choice for the producers to take that position, or were forced to by the Indians who own the land. This is a survival show. This is not Life Below Zero. Note: Mike Lowe had it knocked out there but couldn’t handle the isolation. I couldn’t understand why he taped until he told his orphane story. Then it made sense. He has a heightened anxiety for anything that resembles abandonment, I would guess. I’m speculating here but I would not be surprised if it’s true. It’s either that or he was masking his fear of a bear attack, maybe. I was just sooo impressed with his survival skills it was a shock to me.
    He jumped on the back of Jesus and rode home to Mommy. A rather boring guy, really. But SKILLS he did have…IN SPADES!

  15. Tom Smith says:

    I would like to know what kind or brand of saw Justin Vititoe was using, it looked impressive to me! Anyone know?

  16. DT says:

    Hate to throw a wet blanket on the party but am I the only one who has noticed how easy Nichole has it? It’s as if she’s getting the easy road. She hasn’t been hungry once. Despite the horribly wrong place she puts her tiny gill net, she magically gets a large salmon every morning. Her location certainly is far more friendly than everyone else’s…Best sun, easy water, great resources. Hell even friendly bears to keep her company. Sorry for my skeptical nature, but this has been waaaaay too easy for her and it sure feels like she’s getting help. I will give her credit for being the only one who has built a decent permanent shelter. I am finding it very difficult to believe these people are experts. You’d think the contestants would have done more preparation. There’s abundant food if you know where to look and apparently few have done their research. I have to say I feel a sense of disgust for the tappers. The last guy tapped because he was bored and felt he had nothing more to prove. What a joke. The poor pastor was literally starving (due to poor planning and failure to train/educate) and he didn’t quit. The guy who should have taken the trophy is the hippie from Utah. He clearly wasn’t strong enough emotionally to handle the isolation. More failure to prepare. What the hell did he think he was getting himself in to? And it’s quite frustrating when so many of the contestants are dicking around all day when there are so many tasks that need to be done to prepare for bad weather. They have been very fortunate so far as the weather was good. Almost none of them are prepared for cold wet weather. They will be dropping like flies when it finally comes. Amateur hour on Survival.

    1. Bradley Flynn says:

      I too am somewhat surprised that people haven’t been doing more to improve their shelter for the winter. They’ve had surprisingly good weather so far, but that is going to change. Unless a person is simply too tired to do it, every spare minute should be used improving your shelter, figuring out a way to store food (if they are catching more than what they need in a day), and making a HUGE stash of firewood in case they get rained in for several days (which WILL happen in that country.)

  17. Chris Cortright says:

    I was curious and haven’t been able to find any information to my next question. What type of axe are the cast members issued? They all appear to have the same forge stamping on them but haven’t found any info on History or other various blogs. Thanks!

    Disregard, I saw Nicole’s comment about her axe.

    1. We all brought our own axes…they weren’t issued…just like we all brought our own knives.

      1. I wanted to take a moment to again thank you and Dave for dropping by and responding to our readers.

        I hadn’t checked out the show until David wrote this article but I found myself sucked in.
        Your participation in this discussion is greatly appreciated.

        Clay Aalders
        Managing Editor

  18. AL says:

    I thought the show was about being alone and survival, but most of you worry about who’s got the prettiest knife or biggest gun,to me that makes makes me think you are without any outdoor skills except to and from the gun and knife shows,

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  20. Gaston Louis says:

    Guns run out of ammo and are dead boring…

    I don’t know how anyone could call it a survival show if they had a gun with more than a tiny handful of rounds…

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The Knives of History’s Alone, Season 2

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