Although Bear Grylls is a bit over the top at times, its hard to ignore his background and the fact that he was a survival instructor for the United Kingdom Special Forces. The fact that his TV show can be a bit much (which is probably down to the producers anyway) shouldn't cover the fact that this guy has some serious skills and a knowledge base that would make us all envious. Yes lots of the scenarios are artificial and he has a big TV crew following him but once you get past that then there are lots of little gems of info.

Survivorman with Les Stroud is more authentic and I have nothing but respect for that man. Les actually carries all the camera and gear with him and films himself which must be a lot of hard work. The fact that he live with his wife for a year off the grid primitive style (no metal, plastic or anything manufactured) amazes me, talk about walking the walk! There is a documentary they made during that year called Snowshoes and Solitude if anyone's interested.

What are your opinions? Are these just media hype riding the wave of ratings?

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IMHO Bear is a showman, who puts himself into entirely manufactured and un-necessary situations in order to shock.
He has a rep in the UK for staying in posh hotels while filming his series.
personally i think the guy is a bit of a knob.

Les Stroud is great,
Les Hiddens a real hero
but my personal fav is Mr Mears.
Met him on the west coast of scotland once and he is a real gent and has an amazing knowledge and respect for the natural world and the cultures who inhabit it.
I imagine Ray would be very nice and down to earth, very cool that you had an opportunity to meet him. I have just watched his 3 part mini series and loved them.
I also especially enjoyed the episode in series 3 of Extreme Survival where he came to NZ and explored Maori techniques
link to ray mears in nz on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seoX5ISLWZ4

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