Posted by: Jack | July 2, 2007

Man Vs. Wild

I recently heard about a new series entitled Man Vs. Wild and decided to see what it was about. The basic premise is that this guy named Bear Grylls who is pretty well trained in wilderness survival, is dropped off in a location unknown to him with nothing more than the clothes on his back. He then has five days to reach civilization. Obviously a camera crew is with him the entire way–wouldn’t be much of a show otherwise–but they are instructed to not interact unless there is imminent and life threatening danger.

This premise interested me because I thought it couldn’t hurt to pick up a few survival tips considering my interest in backpacking and other such activities. But after watching the pilot episode, I have some pretty serious concerns about the ethics of this show.

The series begins with Grylls in a small airplane flying over the Rocky Mountains. He is then instructed to jump from the plane (wearing a parachute) and this will begin his first challenge. While attempting to land he gets his chute caught up in a tree and is left hanging 60′ in the air…supposedly. He unpacks his secondary chute and uses it to lower himself down but explains that he still has a 20′ drop to the ground. This is clearly exposed as a lie since we never see an angle with both him and the ground and when he does drop, its obvious that he fell from no more than 5′. Since this occurred in the first five minutes of the show I was immediately worried that the whole series might be a huge disappointment.

Grylls proceeds to make a nice camp, fire and dinner (rattlesnake) but spends the night worrying about grizzlies which he believes he hears nearby. The show jumps to the next day and we find him descending down a slope of loose dirt and rock by jumping, sliding and skidding. This is where I first felt that this show might not only be questionable in quality but also in its ethics. Surviving alone in the wild is dangerous enough on its own. Taking unnecessary risks which could easily lead to severe injury is just plain stupid. I know some individuals who had first hand experience with this recently and they agreed that what they did was a really bad idea.

Things only got worse when Grylls reached a large river. While standing on a cliff ~35′ above the water he speaks about the dangers involved in jumping from a height of 70′. He then proceeds to jump even though we as viewers can see numerous places where he could have easily scrambled down to the water’s edge. To make matters worse, he made the jump with his backpack securely strapped around his waist and shoulders. One of the first things I learned about entering the water in any situation is to loosen all straps and undo all buckles on anything attached to your body. This way if you lose control you can get rid of anything that might drag you under. By jumping into this river he also soaked everything he had with icy water immediately after explaining that most deaths in the Rockies occur from hypothermia.

We join him again a few hours later and all of his clothes (including jeans and a sweatshirt) are nice and dry. The next day he decides that he needs to start moving faster as his five days are passing quickly so he jumps in another river, explaining that his backpack will act as a decent flotation device allowing him to just flow with the river for about ten miles. As the cameras follow his progress we can clearly see that he’s wearing a massive PFD under his sweatshirt and is floating very high in the water as a result. Aside from this blatant cheating, this is just about the dumbest thing a person could do in this situation. Of all possible outcomes, the most likely include a serious injury sustained from a rock, hypothermia and drowning. And while laying in a tube and drifting down a tame stream may be very relaxing, keeping yourself alive in a freezing and raging river is far from energy-efficient as a means of transportation.

Well I’ve got to run off to work and probably won’t feel like continuing this later so I’ll just stop here. But my overall point is simply that anyone looking for survival tips should avoid this show.


  1. […] other TV reviews, I recently criticized the show Man Vs. Wild for it’s questionable material after viewing the pilot episode. I’ve since watched a […]

  2. You are an idiot. The reason why he does these “unnecessary” risks is to show the viewers what to do if there is no possible way around it. And I don’t know if you know anything about Bear Grylls or not, but hes climed Everest and served in the special forces, I think he knows a little more about survival than you do.

  3. […] 11th, 2007 by rziedreo145 Recently I posted regarding the show Man Vs. Wild starring Bear Grylls. My original skepticism was based upon the pilot episode and I have since […]

  4. yeah, i found this site when i hit the internet after something just didn’t seem right. the pfd is blatantly obvious. i like this show, but it has definitely lost some credibility with every unsafe thing this guy has done during this episode.

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