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USA Insider Race to Survive: Alaska

The 'Race to Survive: Alaska' Teams Are Allowed Rare Supplies – But What Are They Carrying?

No two contestants on "Race To Survive: Alaska" have entirely the same items in their backpacks. 

By Tyler McCarthy
Rts Alaska 101

The contestants on “Race to Survive: Alaska” have to rely on their wits, survivalist skills, and a keen sense of navigation in order to make it through the race unscathed, let alone in first place. However, unlike some other survival shows, they’re allowed to bring a pack of supplies with them, but what does one think to bring for such an unprecedented adventure? 

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Speaking to USA Insider, co-executive producer Alan Bishop explained that no two contestants’ packs are the same. Part of what makes having eight teams made up of diverse outdoor survival experts fun is allowing them to showcase their unique inventory as well as how they think.

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“The teams were told to bring what they thought they would need for an extended backcountry trip consisting of a number of different outdoor activities,” Bishop explained ahead of the April 3 premiere. “We wanted to see their characters in the gear they brought. We didn't want to tell everyone to have the exact same gear. Some packs at the starting line were super heavy (Hakim and Justice for instance because they chose to bring more gear) and some packs were light (Hunter and Jeff because they came from the Adventure Racing world).” 

Perhaps some of the biggest strategies from the race came for the teams when they were packing their bags. Going too hard on supplies means slowing yourself down and tiring yourself out easier during the race. However, going too light means fewer opportunities to replenish yourself or hunt for food. 

Although the majority of the teams had free rein to choose what they brought with them in their backpacks, Bishop admitted that production insisted on a few mandatory supplies to keep them safe. However, he noted managing weight beyond that was all up to them. As for what is typically necessary for such an outdoor situation, Bishop had some insight into that as well as what people brought. 

“Navigational skills (map and compass), fire starter, knife with full tang, tarp, sleeping bag, footwear you're confident in and, most of all, common sense,” he said. 

Bishop added that many survivalists talk about “go bags,” which are different from a strategically packed backpack for a month-long race in the wilderness. 

“A ‘Go Bag’ is different than packing for a trip. A survivalist bag is that bag you grab when the apocalypse hits,” he concluded. “It's filled with a well-thought-out list and contains the essentials you'd need for sustaining life on the move like water purification, fire starter, ham radio, firearm, food supply, first aid, etc. The packs for this trip combined a little bit of both."

You can see whose packing skills set them up for success in the competition on “Race To Survive: Alaska” this Monday, April 3 on USA Network. You can catch other survival content on Peacock now. 

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