Top 5 Most Influential Survival Experts

Top 5 Most Influential Survival Experts

Whether it's a weather, disaster or war, you should prepare yourself to face emergency situations that force you to survive drastically outside of your day-to-day routine. It's okay if you're unsure where to start. There are numerous of survival experts that freely give out advice on how to get by in an emergency.

For this list we chose 5 of the most influential voices in survival expertise. We are in no way saying these are the best survival experts, just the ones that have had the most impact on the subject overall. 
These are five of the most influential experts in survival today (in no particular order). They bring everyone into their world of preparedness, teaching about survival through crafting, finding shelter, self-defense, and gathering food by hunting, trapping and other methods such as stocking MREs! 

Dave Canterbury


A famous survival guide, David Michael Canterbury boasts more than 20 years of combined military and civilian survival skills. He began his foray into the world of survival during his time in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of sergeant. His career grew into something more after he left service.

Canterbury is the author of a number of books surrounding the topic of survival. He published the likes of Bushcraft 101, a book that made The New York Times Best Seller list, as well as Survivability for the Common Man.

His influence is seen through his appearances on shows like Dirty Rotten Survival. One of his most popular gigs was on Dual Survival where he and his co-host Cody Lundin demonstrated helpful survival techniques. He didn't just stick to teaching the basics such as shelter and food, but he focused on health such as cauterizing injuries with gunpowder and fire.

Currently, Canterbury spreads his influence by serving as an instructor at the Pathfinder School found in Ohio as well as instructing individuals through survival-themed classes on his YouTube TV channel.

Les Stroud

Les Stroud In The Bush

Ever heard of a little television show called Survivorman? Canadian survivor expert and writer Les Stroud is the mastermind behind it, and he has produced a number of other survivor-themed programming.

Initially, Stroud embarked on a music journey, entering Fanshawe College in London, Ontario after high school to complete their Music Industry Arts program. He spent years in the music industry, working as a songwriter as well as working for the likes of MuchMusic, a music video channel based in Toronto.

However, a canoe trip urged a career change for Stroud. In the early '90s, he soon became a guide for the Black Feather Wilderness Adventures, leading people through canoe adventures throughout the North Ontario wilds. His drive for adventure and survival only escalated from there.

Since then, Stroud has gone on to become an outdoor instructor, teaching a variety of people such as individuals with special needs how to survive outdoors. Though much of what he knows is self-taught, Stroud did learn under other survival experts such as David Arama and John "Prairie Wolf" McPherson.

Stroud is notorious for bringing others into his world through TV survival guides like Survivorman and One Week in the Wilderness. He teaches many aspects of survival such as living off the grid and growing your own food.

Ray Mears

Ray Mears in the bush

British woodsman and instructor Ray Mears is notorious among survival personalities. On TV, he mainly covers several different survival techniques as well as bushcraft, having appeared in numerous of series branded with his own name such as Ray Mears' Bushcraft and Survival with Ray Mears.

A native of Southern England, Mears aspired to join Royal Marines. He already participated in the naval cadre of the Combined Cadet Force, a youth organization in the United Kingdom that promotes self-reliance, leadership, and more. However, he never made it into the Royal Marines due to eyesight requirements.

That didn't diminish Mears' enthusiasm for survival, however. In the '80s, he founded Woodlore, a company offering bushcraft-related paraphernalia and courses. His career took off from there as he trademarked his name and began his television appearances.

Mears' put his survival skills to the test on many separate occasions from performing first aid to a crew member after their helicopter crashed, to tracking dangerous animals like bears and leopards, to even being asked by Northumbria Police to track a fugitive killer named Raoul Moat.

There's no denying Mears' incredible survival skills and useful instructions on keeping yourself safe no matter what condition you face.

Mykel Hawke


If anyone knows about having a healthy supply of MREs, it's Mykel Hawke. He's a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, having reached the rank of captain after 12 total years of service since '82. During his time in the Army, Hawke underwent numerous of different situations from fighting rebels to performing search-and-rescue missions.

Hawke has learned a total of seven languages, he even wrote a book to help others, The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast. On top of the skills he needed for war from his use of weapons to mastering various martial arts such as judo, Hawke is an undeniable prolific survivor guide.

He's made appearances in more than 50 television shows, including being the star and host of popular ones such as Man, Woman, Wild and One Man Army. His guest appearances on the likes of The Bachelor and The Simple Life helped root him as a household name among people who never considered learning about survivor training.

After decades worth of training and instruction, Hawke continues showcasing his influence by not only appearing on TV, but establishing a combat medic school in Azerbaijan.

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls

Ok, I guess it's time to break out the memes! Few survival experts are more well known than Bear Grylls. Love him or hate him Bear has become perhaps the most of famous of all TV survival guides. Bear Grylls is a highly recognizable man. Born Edward Michael Grylls, this British adventurer is a former Special Air Service serviceman. His drive for adventure and survival was stemmed from a young age as he was known to sail and climb with his father.

As a teen, Grylls even went on to earn a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate. His skills continued to grow from there as he speaks three languages, English, French, and Spanish, and honed techniques taught during his time as a trooper in SAS. This includes survival, parachuting, unarmed combat, and more.

Though his time in SAS ended when his parachute failed during a free fall experience, the fall breaking three of his vertebrae, Grylls healed and pushed his ambition to explore the world. In fact, 18 months after the incident, he scaled the summit of Mount Everest.

Grylls has gone on a countless number of adventures in the wild, many of it documented in books like Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography as well as TV shows such as Man vs. Wild. His popularity only continues to expand as he brings the likes of celebrities into his survival world on his show Running Wild with Bear Grylls.


Wrap Up

It's no easy task learning what it takes to survival in a world where disaster can strike at any given moment. Thankfully, survival personalities such as the ones addressed above make it their mission to instruct and train others around the world.

One of the best ways you can begin your survival prep beyond learning from these five influential survivalists is by prepping your home. Food is one of the most important important resources to possess. Having a good supply of MREs is a great first step. They provide just what you need to last in an emergency situation.

Check out what a good MRE kit should contain and let us know who your favorite survival guide is.


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