YouTube isn't what most people think of when talking about the great outdoors. If anything, we usually head out into nature to get away from modern technology. However, in reality YouTube is one of the greatest resources ever created for survivalists, outdoorsmen, preppers, and anyone who wants to really explore untamed spaces. Some of the most adventurous people on earth have taken the time to record their experiences and share it with the rest of the world. While there's a wealth of worthwhile channels, we'll take an in-depth look at five of the most unique and informative survivalists on YouTube.
1. David Canterbury
It's no exaggeration to say that David Canterbury is one of the defining voices of survivalist videos on YouTube. He covers just about everything someone would need to know in order to thrive in any outdoor setting. One of the things that sets Canterbury apart from similar channels is his refusal to simply accept conventional wisdom. It's clear that he isn't just learning factoids and tossing them back out to the public. When he hears about survival information, he really puts it to the test. If the survival strategies are lacking, then it's almost a given that Canterbury will work on refining it or creating a better alternative.
Another part of his charm comes from an ability to turn complex situations into easy-to-understand strategies. For example, in his "Hygiene from Fire" video he lays out how a tiny lighter can provide everything from antibacterial protection to dental care. And his "10 C’s of survival" teaches people how to create the perfect 10-item survival pack.
2. Sensible Prepper
Prepping channels pose a particular challenge. There's really no set limit on how well prepared someone should be. Should we have enough MRE and other essentials on hand to survive for a year, or would it be better to prepare for half a decade or more? Some channels don't show nearly enough foresight, while others hit the opposite extreme and envision scenarios that are unlikely at best. This is where the Sensible Prepper comes in.
This channel is all about taking a balanced, practical and sensible approach to prepping. One aspect of this philosophy involves looking to the historical record to better predict the future. The channel often touches on real-world survival challenges from the past such as the Oregon Trail.
The channel also examines survival issues that often go under the radar. For example, the channel looks at economic issues like inflation and concerns over an upcoming economic crash. This isn't presented in a fearmongering tone either. When potential issues for the future come up, the channel usually offers practical plans to ensure people's safety.
3. My Self-Reliance
My Self-Reliance documents how Shawn James has made a life for himself within the calm tranquility of a log cabin. Most people have dreamt of creating just such a life for themselves. What would it be like to just head out into the wilderness with little more than a dog, a dream for a new life, and some practical experience?
A description like that brings up a lot of assumptions. People typically assume a channel like this would detail a step-by-step recreation of Henry David Thoreau's famous experiment in solitary contemplation, and it's true that Shawn James has a similar appreciation for nature. But make no mistake, James is very much a product of the 21st century.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the My Self-Reliance channel is how well James builds on the basic concept of a cabin in the woods. It's an age-old concept, but he adds in quite a few modern elements, and in some cases he even pushes past the technological or sociological limits we see in our own cities. For example, imagine weaving through the woods without seeing a soul. But then, in the distance, we see the oddly rounded edges of a geodesic dome.
A futuristic dome in the wilderness might seem like something out of science fiction, but it's just the reality which James has constructed for himself. And his geodesic greenhouse is only the tip of the engineering iceberg. James has made something truly unique, and anyone interested in off the grid living or survivalist philosophy will find a treasure trove of inspiration in these videos. The channel certainly provides a lot of ideas which we can implement within our own lives, but perhaps the greatest tool is his can-do attitude and ability to make seemingly impossible ideas a reality.
4. Vagrant Holiday
Vagrent Holiday is a very different take on survivalist strategies than most of the other items on this list. At first glance, it might seem more like a travel channel than something focused on surviving in difficult environments, but the unnamed host sets himself up against environments just as — or sometimes even more — dangerous than seen in channels focusing entirely on the wilderness. The vagrant travels in unfamiliar countries while forgoing niceties like hotels, restaurants or hostels.
The Vagrant instead sleeps under the stars or in any abandoned buildings he might stumble upon. The format balances outdoor survival in the periphery of towns and cities while also teaching a lot about urban survival. This also helps to show how other humans can factor into survival situations. For example, he not only needs to keep his supplies hidden from animals but other people as well.
This sociological element is often touched on in videos from various preppers. But the way other people impact survival concerns is usually just a mental experiment. We can wonder about what we'd do if everyone we saw wanted to take our MRE rations, but in the end it just comes down to our own assumptions and theories. Vagrant Holiday takes theory into practice as the host enters into situations where his possessions, and on occasion even his own life, are put at risk from other people. The channel as a whole does a fantastic job of showing how the entire planet can be seen as an experiment in survivalist adventure.
5. Ghost Town Living
Ghost Town Living focuses on one man's experiences living in the town of Cerro Gordo. Now, living in a town might not seem like much of an exercise in survival. But the twist comes from the fact that this town has been abandoned for over 100 years. Living in an abandoned ghost town would be difficult enough. But it's even more fraught with danger thanks to the fact that it borders Death Valley.
Brent Underwood's self-appointed mission is to bring the town back to life. Part of this has involved restoring or improving the 1860s era utilities. He's also needed to bring in animals to help control pests and contribute to his basic supplies. On top of this, Underwood is also intensely curious about the area.
Brent's videos document explorations ranging from testing flashlight strength in the depths of abandoned mines to finding some of the world's oldest trees in the neighboring desert. Not to mention how often he's found himself trapped or lost in the midst of dangerous conditions. We also see how precious and tenuous such basics as water can be for someone living alone in an intensely hot environment. These concerns ramp up even further as more living beings come to depend on him.
It's true that the basic infrastructure of a 19th century town is in place. But bringing it back into a working state is both an adventure and a labor of love. It takes the idea of building a wilderness habitat on one's own to a whole new level. Brent isn't just trying to construct a building. He's essentially trying to build, or rebuild, an entire town. It's a daunting prospect to be sure. However, his channel highlights just how powerful raw enthusiasm and a love of the natural world can be.
If there is one thing these survivalists have in common, it is staying calm and preparing for the worst pragmatically. MREs (Meals Ready To Eat), have a 5-year shelf life and can be prepared anywhere. They have long been one of the optimal choices for survivalists and the military alike. To learn more about our premium 12-pack MREs visit our shop page for detailed information including nutritional details and full menus.