The List: 10 things zoologist, lion tamer and host of the new reality TV show Expedition Impossible Dave Salmoni can’t live without
My pocket knife
I’ve had my single-blade, foldaway Buck knife for more than 20 years. It’s probably been around the world with me 10 times. I rarely go a day without needing it for something.
My bush watch
It has a barometer and a compass, which is good because I get turned around in the bush all the time (animals rarely travel in a straight line). Without my watch, I’m screwed.
My first line of defence
Bear bangers are pocket-sized noise makers for scaring aggressive animals. I’ve had so many close calls—name the species, I’ve had my life threatened by one. But I don’t believe in carrying a gun. These are great get-out-of-jail-free cards.
My literary hero
Jack Reacher, the protagonist in Lee Child’s thrillers, is the toughest guy ever. He always gets the chick and he always saves the day. The world would have been blown up so many times if it weren’t for Jack Reacher!
I buy mine at Ideal on Ossington and bring it into the bush with me. You never know what it’ll be otherwise: you get off at the wrong place and they put freakin’ chicory in your coffee—it tastes like sticks.
My Nalgene water bottle
I know how to find water and clean it and all that crap. But most of the time I’m on a day trip and I just bring a couple of litres with me. Nalgenes never break—that’s the most important thing.
I’m not a crocodile-hunter type who only wears khaki shorts with a knife attached to my belt. In the city, I wear jeans and a T-shirt every day. I’m a single guy living in downtown Toronto. I want to look nice.
My gym bag
I always have a Kelty backpack over my shoulder. When I’m in the city, it’s packed for the gym. I go at least once a day. To do the types of adventures that I do—hiking and climbing mountains—I have to be in great shape.
Other people’s pets
I’m in Trinity Bellwoods Park almost every day. I can’t get a pet because I travel so much, so I’m the creepy guy at the dog park without a dog.
My good luck charm
My friend at Animal Planet felt nervous once about sending me out to basically get eaten by lions, so he gave me this Catholic charm: a St. Francis of Assisi card with a prayer on the back. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. It’s supposed to keep me safe.
(Images: Nikki Ormerod)