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Alone Season 2

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Chignecto Woodsman, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    heh I hadn't noticed the table. People throw some funny things in the water. :D

    The only salvaged material I noticed was the green rope used for the trotline. A useful find. :thumbup:

    As far as primitive fires go.... maybe. If you can find some fungus to store a coal AND if you take care to never let the fire go out without first drying and prepping (waterproofing) the kindling for your next fire.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  2. Final Option

    Final Option Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2012
    Pict, your insight and contribution to this thread makes the experience of watching this show that much more enjoyable. Mary Kate's axe handling skills were frightening to watch, especially notching the large tree which was overhead, yikes if the axe bounced off it could have struck her in the face. I was surprised Randy was so careless with his ferro rod, I see that many of the contestants have a lanyard of some sort attached to a striker or to their person. Good luck with a friction fire in that environment, I don't know if flint is available or any other spark producing rocks are available in their location. I'm sure someone familiar with this area will enlighten us, I mean aboriginal people had to have a way to start fire and make edged weapons.
    Glade I'm able to enjoy this show from the warm dry confines of my home, they are all to be admired to embark on such an adventure that taxes both physical and mental toughness!
  3. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    We're pulling for Mary Kate for her spunk but IMO the accident with the axe highlights the virtue of batonning as a technique, even above using a holding stick for kindling of that size. But then when you consider the limited gear to bring, that leads me to value a fixed blade knife capable for both food & game and for batonning.
  4. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    Better ax technique would do the trick. [video=youtube_share;X5W6r5U7yBE]http://youtu.be/X5W6r5U7yBE[/video]

    Batonning also works.
  5. sams


    Apr 21, 2001
    I would like to comment the size of the axe geared to the strength and experience of the user, is critical. A small hatchet gets it done but safer. Girls need to gear up correctly.

    I am amazed at the lack of preparation most contestants demonstrate. I would have been making wet fires for a month or two prior to going, making tent shelters, sitting with gear spread out in front of me studying the usefulness of my stuff.

    " poor planing" on most of their part, especially high quality rain gear.
  6. Chignecto Woodsman

    Chignecto Woodsman

    Aug 2, 2014
    I sometimes create kindling with an axe the same way you carve. This is certainly not as aesthetically pleasing as a nice split-wood fire, but it is very safe and energy efficient, mainly because you immediately get kindling rather than having to split multiple times.

    You can simply use a double length stick to get longer pieces of wood and end with similar results to the split-wood fire.

    Shame though, as Pict said, her camp was looking like a huge improvement.
  7. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    Really good point.

    One thing I've learned winter camping and ski touring is the virtue of gear selections that you can rely on even when you're physically spent and operating at the limits. Some things just provide a bit more margin of error.

    Mears gives good advice when he says not to use an axe at night or when you're tired. But what if you're tired and you need kindling?

    Admittedly I didn't think of that axe technique so I really appreciate the reminder. I prefer a smaller hatchet for that style though and I still get nervous when the sticks to be split aren't long. The bigger the axe head, the longer I want that kindling! I also get frustrated with that approach sometimes with the hatchet head rolling off the kindling when the strike happens. This is less of a problem with splitting from the end.

    Not excusing Mary Kate's technique here. But if all she had (or was thinking of) was a full sized axe, I can see how mistakes get made easily.
  8. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    My wife wouldn't accept it said that way!!

    The way I explain it to her is that people should gear up according to their lean body mass (i.e. Amount of muscle).
  9. Captain Airyca

    Captain Airyca

    Jan 23, 2011
    I don't like it said that way either! I think she didn't have the axe skills developed that she needed. I don't think strength was a huge issue. People should gear up based on what they can physically handle and what they can practically use in their sleep.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  10. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Likewise if you are in a situation where your life depends on an item, like the firesteel, you don't drop it in the fire and only remember it the next day. You treat it like the gold it is. And the accident with the ax? Review her supposed bio? Was it exaggerated? She lived "off the grid"?

  11. Monofletch

    Monofletch Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    I know we all sit back watching saying, "I could do that....". Being in the Army myself I think I could "survive" alone, but it might take a bit before my quality of said survival raised up to acceptable standards. :D I already have a few extra pounds of "survival" weight to begin with. That being said, I try not to judge these people on technique, form, or whatever you want to call it. Like the Army- unless you constantly drill or practice these skills you probably won't be very good right out of the gate. I think they concentrate more on what gear they should take vs. getting familiar with the gear and actually using it.
  12. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    We here have one job ( :D ) to critique skills and performance. In this case on a TV show which pits people against themselves more than each other. The biggest pile of gear imaginable is useless to a person who doesn't have the skills to use it. And each had months to learn about the environment and practice the needed skills. Any surprise that Mike Lowe is doing well?

    Want to bet he didn't put in the research and dirt time to prepare himself for the environment? How else could he be familiar with bull kelp and other indigenous edibles?
  13. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    I suspect her bio is correct. I've seen a bunch of folks in my family use an axe like that. They're the kind of guys who drive log skidders and run sap lines. They have a frightening casual disregard to "proper technique" as "book learning".

    Again, I'm not making excuses for her. Just noting that she's sort of similar to farm/woods working cousins who would scoff at watching Ray Mears videos.
  14. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Yes, understood. At home an injury like that would be a minor thing. And in this case it may be also given the weekly medical check. Or they may tag her for evacuation spoiling her chances at the half million dollar prize. Not to mention the pride of accomplishment. You may be right that it was faulty mentoring that instilled poor ax skills early on. It that day and time, and in mine, there were no videos to learn from. We had scouting books and mentors. And importantly skill learned from practice. Perhaps some don't have realistic appraisals of the risks they're taking in this contest? They are enamored with the romantic ideal of the quest but not rooted in the reality? I guess we each get to pick who we think will win. I pick Mike and David based upon their background of having obtained skills through experience and teaching them, being most aware of the need to do research in advance. I will be interested in seeing how the contestants who lost their firesteels cope.

    Not to say that the unexpected can't happen. Any of their camps, traps etc. can be ravaged in a heartbeat by the local wildlife. Or they can slip and fall. Or catch a gastric bug. Hopefully no more serious cuts from mishandling equipment.
  15. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2000
    The axe use had me crawling in my skin even before I saw the accident. I feel sorry for her. As a knifemaker, I have several scars from just one second of poor technique. It sucks at home. Out there? Off the chart stress!!! I'd like to think I would be in the med bag trying my sewing skills but that rescue button would be looking very tempting while the blood was flowing. I did like seeing the previews with the fellow who burnt his fire steel will be working on a friction fire next episiode. Knowing what environment they would be in, I would hope they all have some strong back up fire skills. Makes me ponder my own "ten items" list having at least two definite fire starting methods. Either storm matches if allowed or heck, why not two fire steels? :) In real life I keep matches, lighters, and fire steels handy when in the woods. Living in the Northwest, I have camped in similar weather to what they will endure. It can suck the life out of ya. Many folks just do not understand what soaking wet for days is like! A fire and a $10 tarp are worth a King's ransom in the bad stuff!
  16. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Finally was able to catch the ep.
    Thanks again David for adding your thoughts. It helps add context.

    on the topic of lost gear and injuries, I've seen so many times where someone who is pretty proficient at what they do make a rookie error because they had changed a bit of gear, and that changed their habits. When you get tired, you revert to basics, and in Randy's case, I wonder if he normally sets himself up differently, or had some other habit that wouldn't have burned him in that way? He reminds me a lot of Lucas last year, really following his emotions. I wonder if that is sort of a flaw with fire-steels, when I was taught to light fires we used strike anywhere matches. The rule was to always make sure the lid was on, and the container secured before you moved on. with the "bomb-proof" nature of firesteels, I wonder if we don't instill that habit enough? How many of us carry multiples? I'm going to start thinking of how I can secure my firesteels in a better way, because I can see myself making a similar mistake with how I do things.

    For Mary-Kate, I feel like maybe she is used to different gear as well. she looked awkward with the ax, I wonder if she normally splits with a hatchet, and in a less cramped position? Yes the notchwork looked frightening, I honestly wonder if she would have been more comfortable running a power-saw? I've worked with loggers who can carve toothpicks with a chainsaw, but I won't be in the same county if they are using an ax.

    I will say that my opinion of Mike has shifted, I guess I've met guys who have acted similar that were not as switched on as he is, I think he may well be far more clued in than I initially gave him credit for.

    As for Justin's duck, I think he was just target focused on it, wasn't thinking of bait fishing or using it for crab bait. He's not really in hunting mode.
  17. NYCFLY


    Jul 13, 2015
    This lesson was about 2-3 years ago... Buck Punk..was prepping wood for a BBQ to get the Charcoal started. I thought I was a Bad Ass. But now even if it's a nail clipper... I take my time and really think about the situation. I've built many fires since then and even come to love the bow drill method, instead of a fire steel. but when it comes to prepping, I take my sweet ass time.



    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  18. marlyscanoe


    Jan 2, 2016
  19. darsk20

    darsk20 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2016
    Thanks for the ongoing side bar and input. Makes watching the show even better.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  20. B34NS


    Dec 30, 2013
    So far makes two "Survival Instructors" to lose their fire steel in the first few days on the show. You'd think they would have researched how the Haida Gwaii started fires in the same location without such luxuries for thousands of years. Two is one, one is none comes to mind.

    Seemed to be a basic lack of experience with the tool. She was with the Hobart Hotshots, which use chainsaws, pulaskis, and shovels. Those fire crews have to hike in long distances with said chainsaws and tools and remain self sufficient for a week or more at a time while fighting forest fires. Not sure what there is to embellish there, that work ain't easy!

    Every one of them brought similar items, axe, sleeping bag, emergency rations, ferro rod. We'll see if anyone brought the axe for more than symbolic reasons.

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