Best Outdoor Survival TV Shows Of All Times

If you are interested to anything related with outdoor survival, you might enjoy watching some of the best outdoor survival tv shows.

These TV shows are popular for streaming episodes of expert survivalists battling and gearing up to the forces of nature as well as trying to survive with just using maximum resourcefulness and minimum resources.

What are the Best Outdoor Survival TV shows?

Man VS Wild

Easily one of the world’s most recognizable survivalists, Bear Grylls has gone from a former British SAS member to a survivalist to an international TV superstar and a brand all unto himself thanks in large part to survival TV shows like this.

This show has Bear really testing his limits, dropping himself (and a small camera crew) into some of the harshest environments on the planet with very little supplies – and then he shows the viewer how to not just survive but to thrive and to self evacuate, too.

Man vs. Wild
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Bear Grylls (Actor)
  • Stephen Shearman (Director) - Hugh Ballantyne (Writer) - Nicholas White (Producer)

Last update on 2020-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

World of Survival

A short-lived TV series based out of the United Kingdom, featuring survivalist legend Ray Mears, the program wasn’t initially quite as popular as it would become years later – and today it enjoys an almost cultlike following that’s led to several sequels.

The initial episode had Ray surviving in Baffin Island with the native Inuit people, trying to figure out a way to conquer temperatures that can get as low as -40°F. Other adventures took Ray to Australia, Siberia, Western Samoa, Namibia, Tanzania, Canada, and other far-flung locales and really helped to kick off the survival TV genre.

Dual Survival

Source: Discovery.com

It airs on Discovery Channel and features 2 survival experts who were thrown into survival scenarios and challenging environments. 2015 saw Joseph Teti and Matt Graham using some survival methods and philosophies to navigate such scenarios. 2016 is the 7th season of the show and starred Grady Powell and Bill McConnell as the survivalists.

Running Wild with Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls is known as the master of wilderness survival and in this TV show, he takes various celebrities along on his adventures each episode. Some of the famous celebrities are Kate Winslet, Michelle Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, Ben Stiller, and Zac Efron. The second season’s final episode features President Obama as the guest where he and Bear Grylls hike through Exit Glacier.

Bear Grylls went survival with Barack Obama

Doomsday Preppers

This TV show feels particularly timely and poignant right now with what’s going on around the world, but it follows every day normal people – normal jobs normal lives, living in normal neighborhoods – with hidden secrets.

These people are called “preppers”, people that are certain that doomsday scenarios are just around the corner – storms, war, plague, famine, etc. – and have done everything they can to stockpile survival resources to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The focus on their double lives is what adds a lot of drama and tension to these stories, that’s for sure!

Doomsday Preppers, Season 1
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)

Last update on 2020-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Survival with Ray Mears

Survival with Ray MearsAnother of the “must-see” programs featuring Ray Mears, this particular series is spread out over three individual episodes and has Ray tracking predatory animals in their own natural habitat.

The tension in each episode when Ray finally confronts and comes face-to-face with many of these apex predators can be felt thanks to his storytelling and unique narrative structure. You’ll learn a lot about the natural world around us all through this show, but you’ll also learn quite a bit about what it takes to survive and thrive in the wild, too.

Extreme Survival

This Ray Mears television program was produced between 1999 and 2002 and is some of the most popular work done by this world-famous survivalist/TV host.

Far more educational than some of the other programs that Ray has conducted before and since this show was released, the bulk of each episode revolves around Ray teaching skills he honed while out in the wilderness while sharing funny stories and engaging anecdotes as well.

The show takes Ray and the audience around the world – from Costa Rica to the Arctic, from Morocco to Alaska and everywhere in between – to show viewers how to survive pretty much anywhere on the planet.

Ray Mears Northern Wilderness

Ray Mears Northern WildernessOver the course of six individual episodes Ray Mears shows viewers how to survive in the Canadian wilderness with a similar format to the same program rated a handful of years earlier about surviving in the wilderness of Great Britain.

The show starts with Ray in the Boreal Forest smack dab in the middle of Canada and then jumps around the wild of this nation before ending in British Columbia.

Alone

It is considered as the most competitive outdoor survival TV show. This features ten contestants that were dropped off in a remote area. Every contestant is placed in different isolated areas. They’re provided with limited cameras and equipment and they have an option to get out of the competition. The winner will be able to take home $500,000.

Photo Credit: History Channel

Dirty Rotten Survival

It is an outdoor survival TV show in National Geographic Channel, which follows Dave Canterbury, the former star in Dual Survival, along with former military colonel and engineer Dick Strawbridge and Johnny Littlefield, a home-builder. They set one another location-specific outdoor activities that are to be accomplished with the use of the limited set of tools. This outdoor survival TV show features resourcefulness, ingenuity, and survival skills at their best and it’s a good watch for those who are survival nerds.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Survivorman

It is broadcast on Outdoor Life Network or OLN in Canada and internationally airs on Science Channel and Discovery Channel. It aired a total of seven seasons and four specials from year 2005 to 2015. The title of the show basically refers to the host of Survivorman, which is Les Stroud, a survival expert and Canadian filmmaker who uses knowledge and survival skills to survive alone for 10 days in remote areas where he brings with no or small amount of food, equipment or water.

Based on the website of the show, every location was pre-planned and scouted extensively by Stroud along with his team who consulted with the natives of the area and survival specialists. The fact that the host isn’t accompanied by the production crew and performs filming himself is absolutely a focus of the show.


Ray Mears Goes Walkabout

This television series follows in the footsteps of World of Survival (a show featuring Ray Mears that premiered a decade before and), exclusively showing Ray as he tried to survive in some of the harshest areas in all of Australia.

Throughout this program, Ray adventures through the Australian outback to discover the people, animals, and culture that have made peace with this land – and all its dangers – for centuries.

Life Below Zero

Life Below Zero
Photo Credit: National Geographic

Life Below Zero revolves around a cast of unique characters – real world people – that have made it their life’s mission to live “off the grid” just above the Arctic Circle. This series focuses on the stories of these individuals, their day-to-day lives as they conquer the elements, as well as the back story that led these people to come to one of the most inhospitable places on the planet and make it their home.

Dude, You’re Screwed

In a very interesting twist on the traditional survival TV genre, this show has every episode beginning with a group of talented and experienced outdoorsmen “kidnapping” one of their own and then dropping them in the wilderness – forced to survive on their skills and their wits alone – until they are able to navigate to their extraction point.

Some of the drama in the show feels a little bit “made for TV” at times, but it is still one of the most interesting and engaging survival TV programs you’ll find out there today.

Man, Woman, Wild

Man, Woman, Wild
Photo Credit: Discovery UK

Originally airing on the Discovery Channel in 2010 through 2012 on US television, this program revolves around a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and his wife – a TV journalist – being dropped into far-flung locales and inhospitable regions to survive for a week or so with very limited supplies.

The husband and wife duo adds a bit of flavor to this format that is very fun and feels really fresh, making this “must-see” TV if you’re a fan of the survival niche.

Naked and Afraid

It’s one thing to be into a strange place – smack dab in the wilderness, for example – with all kinds of survival gear and technology (not to mention years of skills in survive under your belt) but something else entirely to be dropped into those same situations quite literally naked and afraid.

Naked And Afraid Season 7
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)

Last update on 2020-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Each episode has a man and a woman – complete and total strangers – dropped into the wilderness totally naked, with the exception of just a single item they are allowed to bring with them. The strangers are then tasked with surviving for a number of weeks on their own, living off the land and learning survival skills on-the-fly.

Ultimate Survival Alaska

It is another good competitive outdoor survival TV show from National Geographic Channel, which consists of 4 teams of 3 survivalists that were dropped off in Alaska’s wilderness. They use minimal gear to compete in some races against some teams while navigating the predators and unpredictable weather of Alaskan wilderness.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Famous Survivalists on TV

Mykel Hawke Pierce

Mykel Hawke Pierce
Photo Credit: IMDB

A legend in the US military as well as throughout the survivalist community, Pierce has reported that he has loved the outdoors and the military from the moment he entered this world – which isn’t hard to imagine, considering the fact that he was born at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

A combat veteran that served in the US Army Special Forces – the Green Berets – Pierce became a captain before retiring from the military. At this point he started his survivalist career, initially writing a number of books (the first published in 2000 and the latest published in 2019) revolving around survival skills before moving in front of the camera.

To date Pierce has appeared in more than 50 different television shows, including headlining his own programs. His first was done with his wife (Man, Woman, Wild), followed by One Man Army, and then moving on to Lost Survivors on the Travel Channel.

Ruth England

Ruth England
Photo Credit: rottentomatoes

Born in the United Kingdom, Ruth England was known throughout the majority of her adult career as a television presenter, a journalist, and an actress.

After marrying Captain Mykel Hawke Pierce, though, she began diving headfirst into the world of survival television as well. She starred in the Discovery Channel television program Man, Woman, Wild with her husband and would later go on to feature in a number of episodes of Lost Survivors on the Travel Channel with Pierce as well.

Ray Mears

Ever since he was a young boy growing up in the southern part of England (and North Downs) Ray Mears had a singular ambition – to become a member of the Royal Marines.

Unfortunately, due to a genetic condition that limited his eyesight he wasn’t able to gain medical clearance to join the military and Ray had to choose a different path.

After successfully completing is A Levels Mears worked (very briefly) an office in London before deciding to create his very own company focused on outdoor skills and survival. The company was called Woodlore.

This bushcraft company was such a success that the BBC approached him to create his very own survivalist focused television program in 1994, which turned into a lifelong collaboration between Mears and the BBC that kept him on television as a constant fixture almost every year since.

Les Stroud

Les StroudEasily one of the most recognizable names in the world of survival TV, and regarded as one of the best survival experts on the planets – not just in front of a camera, but across the survival world in general – Les Stroud sort of fell into this career on accident.

Originally striving to be a filmmaker and a musician, Stroud (born in Toronto, Canada) attended college and successfully completed a Music Industry Arts program before becoming a songwriter. A canoe trip after college turned him onto the outdoors, and after becoming disillusioned with the entertainment world – and working for a short time as a garbage collector in Toronto – he decided to dive headfirst into the school of survivalists.

Inspired in large part by the hit TV show SURVIVOR, Stroud approached have the Discovery Channel in Canada with an idea for show that focused on him – and him alone – filming himself trying to survive in the wilderness without the scripted elements that reality TV brought to the table.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Dave Canterbury


A former soldier with the U.S. Army, Dave Canterbury is well regarded throughout the survivalist community for his work as both an author and a television personality – as well as one of the finest educators and coaches in the survival world today.

One half of the host team for the show Dual Survival that was featured on the Discovery Channel, Canterbury has a number of best selling hits under his belt as an author. His first – Bushcraft 101 hit the New York Times bestseller list, and his follow-ups Survivability for the Common Man and Advanced Bushcraft were both wildly successful as well.

Bear Grylls


One of the people most responsible for bringing the school of survivalists into the mainstream, Edward “Bear” Grylls is a former member of the British SAS turned survival educator, trainer, and TV host.

The overwhelming majority of his training in the British SAS revolved around survival schools, with Bear himself becoming an educator at these specialist schools. Separating from the Armed Forces after a freefall parachuting accident in Kenya left him with a broken back, he rebuilt his body and grew an international business at the same time – all by becoming a TV survival expert.

Today Bear Grylls is recognized as one of the most famous survivalists on the planet, usually influential in this industry, and has brand partnerships and business relationships with a number of companies worldwide that produce outdoor and survival equipment.

His most recent television projects have been created in partnership with ITV and Netflix, with more projects already in the pipeline.

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