Alone Rules | The 10 Rules of The History Channel’s Alone Survival Show

Alone Rules - The Rules of Alone TV show

In this article, we share the Alone Rules that every contestant must follow or risk being disqualified. You will learn the strict rules for Alone that ensure fair competition and make surviving in the wild all that harder.

A decade on and still going strong, the heart-thumping survival TV show ‘Alone’ is back again. The rules of Alone aren’t just guidelines; they form the very backbone of what is undoubtedly one of the most grueling tests of the human spirit and survival skills on television today. Sure, Naked and Afraid was more than brutal at times, but there was a film crew and a fixed end date.

In Alone, the rules are designed to make things as testing as possible. After all, the longer the contestants last, the more the show costs to produce, and so it is in the producer’s best interests to make things as difficult as possible without making it a purely starvation contest. 

Since its inception, Alone’s rulebook has continuously evolved and been designed to test participants to their absolute limits. This is no ordinary rulebook but the blueprint of a formidable survival challenge. Here is the current list of rules we put together using information on the History Channels website.

10 History Channel’s Alone Rules

Survive As Long As Possible

Alone Gear List S4 Jim and Ted Baird

The ultimate goal is to outlast all other contestants. The person who lasts the longest wins the grand prize, which in the latest season stands at $500,000. The person who usually wins has above-average grit and determination, as well as a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge. Over the past 10 years, here are how long the winners survived alone to outlast all the other contestants:

  • Season 1: Alan Kay 56 Days (Season Average: 40 days)
  • Season 2: David McIntyre 66 Days (Season Average: 50 days)
  • Season 3: Zachary Fowler 87 Days (Season Average: 36 days)
  • Season 4: Ted & Jim Baird 75 Days
  • Season 5: Sam Larson 60 Days (Season Average: 24 days)
  • Season 6: Jordan Jonas 77 Days (Season Average: 35 days)
  • Season 7: Roland Welker 100 Days (Season Average: 47 days)
  • Season 8: Clay Hayes 74 Days (Season Average: 40 days)
  • Season 9: Juan Pablo Quiñonez 78 Days (Season Average: 30 days)
  • Alone Frozen: Woniya Thibeault 50 Days (season Average: 45 days)

Complete Isolation

Map of Alone Contestant Locations

Contestants must live alone in the wilderness, without contact with the outside world, except for a satellite phone to forfeit or call for medical help. That means no covert drone drops, no smuggling of mobile phones, and no talking to strangers…

From what I can tell from season 10, the contestants are situated not too far from each other, sometimes as close as a few miles. However, the closer the contestants seem to be to each other, the bigger the obstacle between them (e.g. body of water or mountains and thick bush). Check out the map above taken from Ian Garret’s work on Google Earth which shows just how close they are to each other.

I can’t find the exact rules about meeting other contestants, but I believe they are given a small territory that they must stay within. This may be shown on a map or simply trigger a beep on their GPS trackers if they get too close to the boundary. I don’t think any of them have ever met, but could that be one of the show’s best-kept secrets?


outdoor film crew rules for Alone

There are no film crews. Each contestant documents their own experience with the camera equipment provided. While contestants are equipped with cameras to document their experience, they are strictly forbidden from using any part of the camera gear for survival purposes. The camera gear must only be used for its intended purpose of filming.

I feel that Les Stroud pioneered the way for this style of TV show, and I think that this Alone rule is what makes the show so entertaining. Knowing there is no one around to help them if things go wrong is what makes the stakes so high and almost impossible not to watch.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe they give each contestant a variety of camera equipment, including Sony, Cannon, and Go Pro cameras, although this hasn’t been confirmed yet. They also have a lot of battery packs and likely have a drop-off point to leave used batteries and collect charged ones to avoid human interaction.

Basic Clothing and Personal Effects Allowance

Small Hand Axe for Bushcraft

Contestants are allowed certain basic items, like clothing and safety equipment, that do not count towards their 10 chosen items. They cannot take more than the specified amount of each item, and each item must be checked and approved by the producers of the show. Here are the latest rules about which basic clothing and personal items every contestant can take:

  • 1 x Pair of full-height hunting boots
  • 1 x Pair of waterproof Arctic winter boots
  • 1 x T-shirt
  • 1 x Fleece/wool shirt
  • 2 x Wool, fleece, or cotton sweaters
  • 6 x Pairs of wool socks
  • 2 x Hats (brimmed, wool, fur, arctic, or baseball)
  • 2 x Buffs or neck gaiter
  • 1 x Shemagh or scarf
  • 4 x Pairs of gloves
  • 2 x Pairs of underwear/briefs
  • 1 x Insulated Parka-style Jacket or Anorak-style Jacket. No system-style or multi-layer jackets.
  • 2 x Pair of outdoor pants/bibs (can unzip into shorts)
  • 1 x Pair of fully insulated or waterproof winter pants/bibs
  • 1 x Waterproof un-insulated shell/jacket or un-insulated, windproof anorak
  • 2 x Pairs of thermal underwear
  • 1 x Pair of gaiters
  • 1 x Leather belt
  • 1 x Toothbrush
  • 1 x Pair of eyeglasses
  • 1 x Personal photograph

Gear Limitations

History Channel's Alone Gear List zach_fowler_bio

Every contestant can select 10 items from a list of survival resources set out in the Alone Rules. They must source their own equipment, but each item must be inspected and approved by the production team. Loops of string attached to any tool or weapon will be deducted from the contestant’s allowance of 80m of paracord, cotton cord, or trapping wire.

To see the full list of gear for season 10, click here. The list shows the items they have to choose from and the prohibited items they cannot take. The gear they choose to take can be the difference between 1st and last place, so I always love looking at what each participant selected and seeing if there are any patterns. Here are some that I found for season 10:

All 10 Contestants Took the Following Items of Gear:

  • Bow and Arrows
  • Cooking Pot
  • Ferro Rod
  • Fishing Line and Hooks
  • Multitool
  • Sleeping Bag

Other Popular Items Which Most Contestants Chose Were:

  • Axe
  • Paracord
  • Saw
  • Snare Wire

By Far, the Most Popular Selection Was:

  1. Axe
  2. Bow and Arrows
  3. Cooking Pot
  4. Ferro Rod
  5. Fishing Line and Hooks
  6. Multitool
  7. Paracord
  8. Saw
  9. Sleeping Bag
  10. Snare Wire

No Duplicates

Different Types of Axe Sheath

One of the rules from Alone is that contestants cannot take duplicates of the same item, so if they are the world’s best bow hunter, they can’t take 3 sets of arrows. Or if they can fish, they aren’t allowed to take more than one set of hooks. The only exception to this rule is that they can take up to two food items, although the rule might still apply in that you can’t take two bags of rice (no duplicates, remember).

This, again, makes the stakes all the more higher. There has been more than one time when a contestant lost their firestarter or arrows, which forced them to tap out early. If you did happen to lose one of your most important items, it can be a devastating blow to your chances of winning, but the winners don’t let it stop them.

Prohibited Items

gear list for alone season 10

A list of prohibited items is provided, including things like fuel, lighters, matches, bug spray, firearms, professional fishing rods, tents, and more. This list is constantly growing but is pretty broad in what it covers. Again, the whole purpose is to make the show as tough as possible. If they each had a rifle and a chainsaw, they would no doubt last longer.

Here is the latest list of prohibited items:

  • Fuel, lighters, or matches
  • Bug spray or mosquito repellant
  • Sunscreen or chapstick
  • Sunglasses or prescription transition lens eyeglasses
  • Goggles
  • Beauty products
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Unapproved technology
  • Professional snares
  • Firearms of any kind
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives or gunpowder
  • Animal poison
  • Professional fishing rods
  • Fishing lures, flies, bait kits
  • Fishing traps
  • Food or beverage
  • Decoys
  • Animal calls
  • Tree stands
  • Professional bows or crossbows
  • Scopes of any kind
  • Tents or shelters
  • Stoves, pressure cookers, or other cooking appliances
  • Hydration packs
  • Fire pits
  • Electric or propane lanterns
  • Inflatable boats
  • Filtration, purification devices, iodine tablets
  • Coolers or food storage boxes

Regular Medical Checkups

Alone rules about medical check ups

Producers conduct regular medical check-ups to ensure that contestants are safe. If a participant’s health becomes critically endangered, they may be pulled from the show. As the show passes the 40-day mark, this becomes an ever-increasing worry as each contestant has usually lost a significant amount of weight by this point.

They test things like blood pressure, weight loss, muscle tissue, and general health checks and make a decision based on their safety. Often, contestants don’t want to give up after surviving so long, which is sad to see. But once the realization kicks in that they get to go home and that they tried their hardest without tapping out, they don’t put up too much of a fight. 

No Hunting Large Game Without a License

Lee Ray Dewilde SEASON 10 Alone Gear List

In regions where hunting large game is legal, contestants must have appropriate licenses and follow relevant laws and regulations. Poaching is strictly prohibited, and there are multiple animals that are off-limits during certain seasons. For example, in the latest season, he stalks a set of antlers only to discover it is a caribou which get is prohibited from hunting.

Critics have said that the locations they choose for Alone are too hard without being able to hunt big game. However, the locations are chosen specifically for their abundant fauna and flora. The problem is that they are dropped in only a few weeks before winter rolls in, which doesn’t give them enough time to set up and stock the ladder. Alone rules are rules, though, I guess.

Utilization of Found Objects

Alone Gear List S4 Brooke and Dave Whipple

Participants are allowed to use any items they naturally come across during their time in the wilderness. This includes fishing nets/hooks washed ashore, plastic bottles for water storage, or any other useful materials they might stumble upon. However, these items must have been naturally encountered, not placed or left intentionally for the participant’s use.

The locations are kept secret until the show starts, so it would be pretty hard for anyone to plant items without insider knowledge. With a $500k prize up for grabs, I’m surprised the show’s location scouts haven’t been bribed into revealing the upcoming location. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many episodes of Cops.

I hope you’ve found what you were looking for in these unofficial Alone Rules. These Rules for Alone may not be complete, so please let me know if you have any further knowledge on the subject.

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

Gear Assistant