History Channel’s Alone is an adventure reality game show, where we can watch individuals document their struggles as they are sent into the wilderness and see how long they can last. As they are stripped of contact with the other contestants and the outside world, and are given a limited supply of survival equipment (in addition to cameras they have to use to document their experience), they push themselves to their limits, test their survival abilities, and get a taste for what it’s actually like to survive in the wild as they to become the longest Alone contestant.
This show makes our lives look easy and is honest about how difficult living out in the wild truly is. From the comfort of our own homes, we sit and watch each of the contestants struggle and question whether we’d be any better. Winners or not, the resilience shown is impressive and the contestant who lasts the longest can win a huge prize of $500,000. So, let’s take a look at the most resilient contestants who used their stamina, intelligence, and physicality to become Alone winners.
Updated on September 10th, 2023, by Scoot Allan: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.
15 Ted and Jim Baird
Alone tried something new in the fourth season that has never been repeated in later seasons. Contestants competed as duos to outlast the other pairs, even though the whole premise of the season defeated the purpose of the series. It’s very hard to test the limits and extremes of being Alone when you aren’t alone.
Nonetheless, the winners of the fourth season still showed grit and temerity to make it through to the end. Jim and Ted were brothers who entertained viewers with their humor as well as their bickering. While some duos struggled to find each other in the wilderness, Jim and Ted used their close connection to persevere and make it out with the money.
14 Jose Martinez Amoedo
The second season of Alone featured a few firsts for the extreme survival competition. Not only was it the first season that Alone allowed women to compete, but it was also the first season fans saw a contestant build their own kayak to fish on the water.
Jose Martinez Amoedo showcased his skill in making tools and weapons using only what nature provided him over his 59 days of survival. He took a big risk when he constructed Alone‘s first kayak so he could reach a better food source. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off. Amoedo left the competition after his kayak capsized, but its construction showed he had the resilience to adapt and persevere in his surroundings.
13 Teimojin Tan
The ninth season of Alone featured some heavy competition that made for an incredibly tense finale. Teimojin Tan was a former Canadian military man who later became a doctor after his time in the wilderness for Alone.
Teimojin Tan impressed viewers with his many capabilities and skills, as well as his longevity in the game. He survived for 63 days on Alone, which was renowned for its harsh conditions and lack of food in the final stages of the competition. Had Teimojin Tan competed in any other season of Alone, things might have gone very differently for him.
12 Alan Tenta
There were quite a few Canadian contestants who appeared on Alone over the years and even a few winners. Alan Tenta competed in Season 10, and fans fell for the high school teacher from British Columbia.
His confidence in his abilities drove his game, even with stiff competition from other survival experts. he showed both strong outdoor survival skills as well as incredible mental fortitude, which is often the most important quality when reaching for the final days of the season.
11 Alan Kay
Alan Kay is a Georgia native with extensive training in combative arts, medicinal plants, and tactical medical care. He put all of his skills together and pushed himself to his limits physically, psychologically, and emotionally during 56-day survival in a location where cougars and bears greatly outnumbered people.
Alan ventured into the wilderness with minimal resources, carrying only a saw, axe, sleeping bag, pot, ferro rod, water bottle, 300 yards of single filament line with 25 hooks, a small gauge gill net, wire, and a knife.
10 Nicole Apelian
Seasons 2 & 5
If battling the wilderness isn’t enough, try battling it with MS as well. A mother of two, Nicole first appeared in season two and came in fighting with incredible determination and a strong mental attitude.
She was intelligent and passionate, getting her through the challenge both times. With each bump in the road, she carefully considered her options and was always willing to throw herself into a test. While she was driven, Nicole remained extremely modest and tested her limits, but still managed to not push herself to breaking point.
9 Larry Roberts
Seasons 2 & 5
Who doesn’t love an underdog? Larry was extremely likable in both times he appeared on the show; he’s humble, fun, and seemed to always have bad luck, which made him quite relatable and enjoyable to root for. He never let it ultimately beat him, though, and he was always honest with himself and his journey, even if he didn’t like the answer.
Larry also opened up about feeling lonely and hungry and how this affected his mental health. This is what makes a good contestant: he didn’t pretend to find it easy or act like he was doing okay, which might not make him the strongest competitor, but he pushed himself out of his comfort zone, and that is an achievement in itself.
8 Dave Nessia
Seasons 3 & 5
In his first appearance in season three, Dave impressed the viewers by surviving a total of 73 days, although he did end up being evacuated for medical reasons. He was the perfect example of pure commitment and determination and even brought some great skills to the table in seasons three and five.
He decided to come back for round two, and it was obvious he was even more experienced, as his knowledge and skills had grown, but after only 35 days, he decided he’d had enough. Who can blame him? He’d proven to himself that he could survive in the wilderness and learned some valuable skills.
7 Roland Welker
Roland Welker is a professional hunting guide from Alaska who spent his childhood in the hard-scrabble mountains learning how to hunt, trap, and thrive in a natural environment. His backstory is a tragic one – Roland unexpectedly lost his mother while preparing for the show. In honor of her memory, he dedicated his efforts to winning the competition.
His dedication paid off as Roland holds the record for surviving 100 days on Alone, the longest of any contestant. Roland’s resilience continues to inspire others, earning him the nickname of the 100-Day King.
6 Callie Russell
When Callie was introduced as a lighthearted scavenger-gatherer who lives nomadically with a herd of pack goats that she raised, many assumed she would approach the show with a whimsical and naive outlook akin to a Disney princess.
However, Callie quickly shattered those assumptions by demonstrating her exceptional survival skills and mental fortitude. Despite the season’s intense conditions, she proved to be a formidable competitor, surviving on her own 89 days.
5 Woniya Thibeault
Season 6 and Frozen
She wasn’t the strongest, but Woniya’s journey was utterly inspirational. Tuning to her spirituality instead got Woniya through 76 days in the wilderness and even made it to runner-up. Woniya was a pleasure to watch, as she was calm, collected, and highly intelligent; listening to her monologues and quiet introspection was always a delight. She never gave in to stress, and her spiritual energy radiated across the season, helping make the difficult season six one of Alone‘s best.
Perhaps we should all take a page from Wonia’s book. In 2022, Woniya competed again in Alone: Frozen, an all-star, cold-climate spinoff of the original History Channel series, and made franchise history by becoming the first female champion.
4 Carleigh Fairchild
Seasons 3 & 5
She might have been medically evacuated eventually, but Carleigh had one of the most impressive journeys in the show, lasting an incredible 86 days, and would’ve stayed longer if she wasn’t forced out for her health. She used her intuition to get her through, but she was also extremely knowledgeable about how to make the best out of the situation.
Her dedication and determination didn’t drop once, and she always saw the positive in everything she went through, which made her strong, resilient, and one of the most life-affirming and charming competitors in Alone history. She was so close her second time around, yet when her hand was cut with a fishhook, it cut her journey short.
3 Juan Pablo Quiñonez
One of the most impressive winners in Alone‘s history appeared in the ninth season, alongside a few other resilient competitors. Juan Pablo Quiñonez was another Canadian who took home the win, and he did it in a rough season that truly turned into a battle against starvation for everyone involved.
While Juan Pablo Quiñonez displayed advanced wilderness abilities and hunting skills that carried him close to the end, that didn’t help when the food sources disappeared. Quiñonez instead employed an alternate technique and fasted on water while conserving his energy by sleeping to beat the hunger and outlast his opponents.
2 Jordan Jonas
Season six had to be one of the toughest seasons of the show because of its extreme weather, and Jordan battled it out fiercely. When temperatures dropped to below zero, he didn’t let it stand in the way of his journey.
Lasting an impressive 77 days, throughout his time in the wilderness, Jordan always seemed extremely relaxed and laid-back, which was refreshing amongst all the panic. He brought a great atmosphere to the season and his funny and chilled-out personality shone through, which is why he made such a great winner and audience favorite.
1 Sam Larson
Seasons 1 & 5
Taking part once in Alone wasn’t intense enough for Sam, and he felt like he wanted to push his abilities to try and beat his best score, so competed again in season five. He prepared well as he went on to be crowned winner of Alone: Redemption. Nevertheless, his time didn’t come without struggles; his food supplies ran worryingly low, and he began to have doubts about whether he could make it through to the final hurdle.
However, it seems like mind over matter is the way forward in these situations and that is exactly what Sam did – he picked himself up and remembered to use his great knowledge and skills. Sam persevered through some of the toughest situations, but he wasn’t going to let failure take him again. He remained optimistic, and it certainly paid off the second time around as it got him through, and was even crowned a worthy winner. Watching his surprise and glee when he found out was some of the best, most genuine, and rewarding moments in the history of this surprisingly great reality TV show.