Have you been watching?
There have been so many ‘survival’ reality shows over the past few years but so many of them are ridiculous situations that the average person is never going to find themselves in or are scripted and edited to the point that what is seen on TV is completely different from what happened when actually filming. I mean, what average person is going to need to rappel down a 60 ft waterfall with a vine that they pulled down from a tree while in the rainforest? If you are going to be putting yourself in a situation where you may need to do that, you should be better preparing yourself for your trip and have the right gear for the environment. Drinking your own piss? Uh, no thank you.
So when I saw that Creek Stewart was doing a new “survival” show on The Weather Channel, I figured it was more of the same junk not worth watching. Creek is well known in the survival, bushcraft, and preparedness communities for his training school, store, and related books so I was hoping that this was not going to be more of the same BS. And actually, I am glad I tuned in – I like the premise of the show and how it is actually based around teaching these guys useful skills.
If you haven’t seen “Fat Guys in the Woods“, the idea is that 3 “fat guys” go into the woods with the host for a week. They are usually just given a backpack, a knife, a full water bottle, and a cup. They spend a couple days together as a group learning to build a shelter and start a fire the first day. The second day becomes all about getting water and trying to find food and the same on the third day. Then they spend a day without Creek but still as a group to be able to work together on food and water, with the final day being a solo day. On the solo day they have to leave their base camp and build their own shelter and start their own fire to make it through the night.
The guys usually have some reason for coming into the woods and want to have an experience that will kick start a change in their life when they get home. So for some it is being overweight and wanting to find themselves again and realize that they can adapt and make changes for the better in their lives, or it may be that they have a tough family decision to make and want to have an experience to help clear their mind and be able to really think about the consequences of a decision to make. For others it may to be show themselves that they can do anything they set their minds to and can be successful. No matter the reason, Creek does a good job of working with them to help them get what they are looking for out of the experience and also teach them useful skills at the same time – half therapy half outdoors/survival training.
The reason I’m ‘totally digging’ the show though is because of the basic skills taught – shelter building, fire building, water collection, and trapping/hunting. All are essential for making it out in the woods or if you get in a rough situation and have to spend a night outdoors. How to safely glissade down a glacier is probably not a skill the average person needs to have…unless you are putting yourself in that situation of hiking glaciers and not the wooded trails outside your city.
Watching the show makes me want to get back out there to build my own shelter and start a fire like I had done in Boy Scouts many years ago. The demonstrations of building lean-to shelters, building fires with magnification, and trapping rabbits looks like a lot of fun after watching the first episode. The fact that the show teaches survival skills that anyone could learn and use, but also help bring about personal change in the people that sign up for the show is just awesome. So nice work to the producers, Creek, and The Weather Channel for keeping true to the original concept of the show and not running it into another bad reality show or a show to get a couple laughs at the expense of guys who have little to no experience in the woods!
What do you think about the show? It’s on Sunday nights on the Weather Channel.
Check out the Willow Haven Outdoor website to learn more about Creek Stewart’s background and his survival school.