Get ready for Season 5 of Alone on History! This year features returning cast from the first four seasons of the show, who are tasked with surviving as long as they can, while filming themselves, with ten survival items to aid them. Last one standing gets $500,000! This being a knife blog, let’s find out what knives the cast are bringing with them.
Whereas Season 4 sent the contestants out in teams of two, Season 5 returns to the original format of solo survival. That means that the “10 Item” gear list videos posted by History will again reveal the blades the contestants have brought. (Their knives didn’t count against their ten items in Season 4 and were therefore not featured in the videos). The new season also brings a new location, so no one has an advantage over anyone else. This time, Mongolia will play host to their adventures.
I have combed through the cast and gear videos to identify the blades that the members have brought to help them survive the rugged terrain.
Three cast members’ gear videos are strangely absent from the site, so I have pieced together what I can. (Updated 6/1/2018 – All of the gear videos have now been posted. Sections have been updated)
Season 3’s Britt Ahart has gone with the tried and true Becker BK7 that got him through 35 days of survival in his last outing.
The knife itself looks fairly stock and unmodified, but the leather sheath is a nice upgrade.
Britt has also brought along a multitool. He shows off a Leatherman Wave in his video. This is a trend we’ll see repeated a lot with this cast. Credit perhaps their insight from having done all of this before, as multitools have typically been rarer in seasons past.
More: Britt’s returning for Season 5 of Alone, and more determined than ever before. After his experience of 35 days in Patagonia for Season 3, he realized the experience was like nothing he had ever experienced. He emerged at the end a completely changed person and was more in touch with himself physically, mentally and spiritually than ever before. Baptized by fire, he had successes and failures that pushed him to learn, practice and expand his skills and knowledge. In Patagonia, Britt feels that he fought with nature. This season, he plans to co-exist with it. He’s a new man coming to Mongolia, and he plans to reach the finish line.
Wilderness Living Skills Instructor
Nicole Apelian is bringing a custom 5160-steel kukri-esque blade made by Ron Macy, and sheathed in leather from Diomedes Industries. Here is what Nicole had to say about the knife, which she also carried in Season 2.
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.
Look for a production version of this knife to be coming out at some point in the future. Nicole has confirmed to us that they will be made by Bark River Knives.
Nicole is also bringing a modified Leatherman Charge TTi. The flathead screwdriver has been turned into a chisel and the can opener has been turned into a spoon gouge.
More: Nicole’s passions range from living and teaching wilderness living skills (fire, water, shelter, trapping, foraging, etc.) to prepping/emergency preparedness to her deep knowledge of medicinal plants and herbal medicine. Nicole grew up in Massachusetts and connected with nature at an early age. Her first exposure to true wilderness living however, began while working as a field biologist in Botswana in the mid 90s. Following a job as a game warden with the US Peace Corps, she began tracking and researching lions in Southern Africa and immediately fell in love with the African landscapes and the San Bushmen’s way of life. Already having a Master’s degree in biology, she later completed her doctorate while working with the San Bushmen. After developing strong relationships within the tribe, Nicole learned many of the primitive skills and ways she practices and teaches today.
At home in the Pacific Northwest, she makes her own herbal medicines from local plants as part of her healthy living strategy after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000. This diagnosis changed her lifestyle and eating habits, but didn’t deter her from becoming one of the founders and primary guides of her own tracking and wildlife safari company, as well as being an adjunct professor at Prescott College. There, she brings her passion for nature connection, indigenous knowledge, ethnobotany and research to her graduate students.
Nicole also thrives as a personal wellness and life coach helping people develop personalized holistic life plans, especially as related to autoimmune issues, and has her own herbal medicinal apothecary line. She teaches workshops on her land in Oregon and Washington, and also travels to teach skills across the globe. She will miss her home, but will gain strength from thinking about her two sons back in the Pacific NW.
After spending 57 days on Vancouver Island during Season 2, Nicole is excited to test her skills living off the land in this challenging foreign environment. She is grateful for all her mentors and supporters and is sure to channel them when facing the many challenges that await her in the wilds of Mongolia.
Retired Green Beret
Jesse never takes his knife out of the sheath in his gear video, so I am just best-guessing here, but his knife looks like it could be an ESEE Junglas-II. Read our review of that knife here.
If anyone has any better ideas, please chime in below.
More: Since last season Jesse’s been attending college for bio-medical engineering at the University of Maine, while settling down and building a life around his organic garden and livestock farm.
He’s worked as a wood working finisher during the summer, while also performing in leading roles at the Lakewood Theatre in his hometown of Skowhegan.
Keeping active by hiking and camping in national parks across New England, he’s also been hunting and survival camping on family and friend’s property throughout Maine. He’s become a sponge for new survival tricks and hopes to showcase his new talents on the upcoming season in Mongolia.
A fan of taking on new challenges, Jesse, along with his younger brother, has taken up bee keeping with hopes of making mead. Jesse builds his own bee hives by hand and has grown the hives from 12,000 bees to 30,000 bees. He’s excited to try this grand adventure again, but this time on his own. Jesse’s fully confident he can do better than last season now that he’s solely relying on himself.
Wilderness Skills Instructor
Randy has brought a handmade puukko knife made by a friend, Jeremy Thomas of Sacha Knives. The blade is short, likely
5160 steel, (It is O1 – see below.) and has a sharpened spine – ought to make a nimble and versatile carver. Quite the opposite of the knife he carried in his Season 2 outing, the Condor Primitive Bush Knife with an 8″ blade.
More: Randy Champagne hails from Boulder Utah in the summer and Flagstaff, Arizona in the winter. He has been instructing at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School for 9 years. He teaches wilderness living skills, primitive skills, and modern survival but really enjoys teaching and learning how to live with the land with only stone age tools. He specializes in hunting and trapping with primitive methods and believes his time spent learning these principles and how to connect with the land will help him to be successful on season 5 in Mongolia.
After spending 21 days in living off the land on Vancouver Island, his greatest challenge was lack of food and companionship. He knows moving forward into season 5 he will have to persevere through all hardships whether that is lack of food, lack of companionship, or extreme weather conditions in order to stay in the field for an extended period of time.
Update: Randy dropped us an email with a clarification on the steel and a request –
Hey man/woman was just reading your article about the alone knives. Good work a lot of folks are super curious about the knives we bring on the show. I just wanted to give you a heads up though the knife i brought with me on alone is not a 5160 steel is a 01 tool steel. Also I don’t know if it would be possible to just link up jeremy website on my section of the article. It’s https://sachaknives.com/.Thanks so much,Randy Champagne
Season 3 runner up Carleigh Fairchild’s was pulled from competition after a medical check found her to have lost too much weight. It is good to see her get a second shot.
She is also giving her knife a second shot, using the same L.T. Wright Genesis, flat ground with A2 steel, that nearly carried her to victory. That knife formed the basis of a signature model knife with LTWK.
More: Carleigh Fairchild is an adventurer at heart. She has studied survival skills since she was a teenager, as well as NIASZIIH Healing over the last few years. She was thrilled to test her skills and survive as long as she possibly could on Season 3, where she displayed a strong repertoire of skills and knowledge in shelter building, fire making, edible plants, and establishing a connection with the land. Those skills helped her survive for 86 days in the wilds of Patagonia.
She struggled with catching fish and keeping up her weight which ultimately led to her extraction. Leaving Patagonia, Carleigh felt so thankful for everything and everyone in her life, and there was a realness in living that she had never felt before. She’s thankful for a second chance, and hopes to hunt and gather enough food so that she can sustain herself for the long haul.
Wilderness Skills Instructor
Season 1 runner up Sam Larson has actually forgone a fixed blade knife. Despite bringing a Green River Hunter with him in the first season, this time around his edged tools consist only of a Hults-Bruk axe, a collapsible bucksaw and a Leatherman Super Tool. Although the video shows a Surge, Sam has informed us that his Surge bent before the show started, necessitating the swap.
More: Sam Larson is an author and outdoor educator from Lincoln, Nebraska. As an educator, Sam teaches wilderness living classes on everything from animal processing to canoeing. Since his 55 days on season one of Alone, Sam has added two new members to his family. His son, born shortly after his return from Vancouver Island, is now a 2 year-old that enjoys exploring the woods just as much as his dad. His daughter was born just days before he left for Mongolia. In his free time Sam enjoys writing and spending time with his family. His goal is to learn the ways of this Mongolian wilderness with an open mind, pursuing whatever it may teach him.
Season 3’s Dave Nessia, like Carleigh Fairchild above, was pulled out involuntarily due to his BMI dropping below critical levels. Like Carleigh as well, his choice in knives has not changed. His video features a Morakniv Companion, and if it is the same one he carried in Season 3, it is made from 12C27 stainless steel.
More: Dave’s 73-day experience on Season 3 of Alone in Patagonia opened him to some life enhancing truths—if you have the courage, life does not have to continue in the direction you are going, and life has much more spice when you open yourself to living. With this in mind, Dave quit his job of six years as a bushcraft instructor, moved into his truck, and searched for new ways to learn and experience the world. This involved consulting for the television and fly fishing. Dave’s hope in Mongolia is to build a strong spiritual connection with the land and to learn what it takes to co-exist in this ecosystem.
Fox Lake, IL
In Season 4, Brad Richardson competed alongside his brother. For Season 5, he has brought a knife his brother forged for him, so in a way, he is still there by his side. He has it in a leather neck sheath, and I would be very surprised if it were anything other than a simpler carbon steel.
More: Since season 4, Brad has remained an avid outdoorsman, spending most of his free time practicing primitive skills throughout the Midwest and lower sections of the boreal forest. Learning the ways of his forefathers, Brad’s grown very comfortable in a wilderness setting. Along with his love for the outdoors he is also a blacksmith. Through the company he runs with his siblings, Brad hand-forges knives and tools. When he’s not busy forging and camping, he creates educational bushcraft and blacksmithing videos.
Rush City, MN
Season 2 Runner up Larry Roberts also has a signature model Genesis from L.T. Wright Knives. His model, the Gen 6, has a 6-inch A2 blade with a scandi grind. The impetus for the longer blade was based on his experiences in Season 2, where he found himself wishing for more length to aid in batoning, especially in the cramped quarters of his shelter.
More: Larry Roberts was a participant on Season 2, filmed on Vancouver Island. He was the runner up on his season, lasting 64 days. After his adventure, he returned to his wife of 28 years and his two grown children. Larry continues to work as an electrician in the Minneapolis area. In his spare, time he teaches at a well-known survival school, as well as teaching classes on his own. Larry also continues to increase his knowledge base by attending skills gatherings and taking as many other classes as possible.
He feels his time on Alone made him a stronger person, tested his limits, and made him appreciate the small things in life. Larry also feels he is very blessed to have met, and made close friends, with many of the participants of all the seasons of Alone. He’s been overwhelmed and very appreciative of the support of so many who watched his journey on Vancouver Island. Larry is hoping to again push the limits of his survival knowledge, his endurance and his mental toughness on this season. He is also prepared to push past his former breaking point that made him tap on season 2.
Fox, AK / Reed City, MI
Like others this season, Brook Whipple from Season 4 has brought along a multitool; a Leatherman Rebar in this case. Like Sam Larson, she has also forgone a fixed blade knife. If her Rebar has been modded at all, it is not apparent from the gear videos.
More: Spending her winters in Reed City, Michigan and her summers in Fox, Alaska, Brooke Whipple is a light-hearted, adventurer and explorer. She has spent a lifetime chasing wilderness endeavors and is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for the outdoors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor/Adventure Recreation Management and has taught thousands of youth and adults the joy of outdoor exploration.
She is the mother of two awesome children, Belle, 14, and Mickey, 12. Brooke has been married to her husband, Dave, for 19 years and it was with him that she endured 49 days on Vancouver Island on Alone Season 4.
Brooke is looking forward to this new challenge in Mongolia and hopes to surpass her previous stay on Vancouver Island.