If you’re the survivalist type, you probably resent the idea of being trapped inside.
You’re likely dreaming of your next trek into the wilderness — roughing it under the stars, cooking over a campfire and getting away from society for a little while.
Given the current situation, you may have to compromise.
The next best thing to heading into the wild yourself? Living vicariously through the lens of someone else. Fortunately, you have a host of survival shows to choose from.
Whether you prefer competition or a documentary-style program, the following five survival shows are a great place to start.
1. I Shouldn’t Be Alive
“I Shouldn’t Be Alive” follows the adventures of everyday individuals who find themselves in dangerous scenarios far from civilization.
Some prior episodes have featured those trapped by avalanches, lost in the Amazon rainforest or attacked by sharks. The program combines first-person narration of these harrowing experiences with graphic reenactments.
Unlike many so-called reality TV series, some of the individuals depicted actually die. While you might think it sounds morbid, it highlights the severity of these wilderness circumstances.
It’s a sobering reminder that your primary goal when outdoors is avoiding getting yourself in danger.
Would you know what to do if you found yourself shipwrecked or pinned underneath a boulder far from shouting distance? Just as vitally, are you aware of what you should avoid?
This program offers an inside look at what you should and shouldn’t do when faced with scenarios few enjoy contemplating. Forewarned is forearmed.
2. Man vs. Wild
Have you heard of Bear Grylls? No, we’re not referring to a newfangled barbecue, but a rugged individual who’s traveled to some of the most dangerous environments on Earth.
His mission is to teach people how to survive in worst-case scenarios.
Grylls began his career as a territorial army reservist for the British Special Air Service. At age 23, he became one of the youngest climbers to scale Mt. Everest.
His exploits gained him media attention, and he went on to create several shows. “Man vs. Wild” goes by the name “Born Survivor” in England and “Ultimate Survival” elsewhere.
If you never had the opportunity to learn military survivalist insight, you should tune in.
Although the show gained early critics by suggesting Grylls was alone in the wilderness when he had a crew, Discovery Channel has since edited the controversial episodes.
They now indicate when he is intentionally putting himself in danger to demonstrate specific techniques. Of course, if you’re out in the wilderness, it’s up to you to practice the proper safety techniques as well.
Whether you’re on the water or in the woods, study up on the protocol.
3. Surviving Disaster
It’s vital to know how to fend off an attacking alligator, but what should you do if you find yourself amid civilization — and a bank robbery?
Navy SEAL Cade Courtley made it his mission to teach you how to live through such scenarios in “Surviving Disaster.” Watching this show could potentially save your life if someone hijacks your airplane.
Cade doesn’t act alone — he typically enters scenarios with five others. Occasionally, one or more of these folks fail to heed instruction, which makes survival more problematic.
The show also features interviews with experts and survivors of similar disasters, and often covers various circumstances you may encounter.
For example, what should you do if obedience with orders doesn’t stop a violent individual?
While Bear Grylls openly admits to the support of a crew, Les Stroud, aka “Survivorman,” flies solo for the filming of each seven-day episode.
Before heading into the wild, he consults with local experts on the plants and animals indigenous to the region and brushes up on area survival techniques.
What makes this show unique is that you experience how Stroud copes with the physical and psychological impact of poor decision-making.
With no crew to bail him out, he must battle exhaustion and isolation along with the elements. He also emphasizes the critical nature of staying calm in a crisis.
5. Man, Woman, Wild
When you read this list, you might be thinking, “Are you saying women can’t hack it in the wild?” You don’t need a degree in evolutionary biology to understand the absurdity of that idea.
Someone had to live long enough to perpetuate the species, and she probably fought off a few bears while pregnant.
“Man, Woman, Wild” features Ruth England and Mykel Hawke Pierce to balance the XY influence on the genre.
Although the final episode of the original series aired in 2010, the Discovery Channel resurrected the series. It now features a variety of couples in harrowing situations.
If you’re planning an extended backpacking trip with your sweetie, tune in to learn how to cooperate in desperate situations.
Bonus (Reader Addition): Alone
As suggested by our readers, the show Alone on the History Channel is an enjoyable, intense survival thrill ride. It’s touted as one of the most difficult survival series on the television and features a number of twists.
Participants take on a 100-day survival test for the chance to win one million dollars. Currently, no one in the past six seasons has been able to accomplish this task.
Survivalists are forces to contend with the harsh conditions and fierce predators of the arctic. This is certainly one show that displays some of the harsh realities of survival and emphasizes some real-world dangers.
Conclusion: Survival Shows
After watching these shows, how do you think you’d do in the wild? Few would recommend going extreme. However, if you feel inspired, why not test your mettle on a camping trip?
Do you have any favorite survival shows? Let us know in the comments below!