Bear Grylls is Back

<strong>Bear is Back</strong><br /> It's hard to talk about wilderness survival these days without the name Bear Grylls popping up. Bear (his real name is actually Edward Michael Grylls, Bear is a nickname) has reached one billion people worldwide in 150 countries through his television shows. His most popular show, <em>Man vs. Wild</em> is set to air its sixth season next week. Photos by: Discovery Channel
Bear has essentially become a living legend among survivalists. He's on television, he writes books, he's a public speaker and now he has his own brand of survival knives.
But Bear's extreme style and rise to international stardom has many people wondering if he is more hype than substance. He has camera crew with him on his expeditions and many of the stunts on his shows are clearly planned and produced …
<strong>Bear's Resume</strong><br /> However, a quick look at Bear's resume shows that the man can back up the hype. Here's a brief look at what he has accomplished.
From 1994 to 1997 Bear served in the British SAS (a revered special forces regiment) and was trained in unarmed combat, desert and winter warfare, combat survival, medics, parachuting, signals, evasive driving, climbing and explosives. He served in North Africa twice and shattered his back in a free fall parachuting accident.
In 1997 he was the youngest Briton to climb Mt. Everest at 23 years old.
In 2000 he lead the first team to circumnavigate the UK on jet skis.
In 2003 he lead the first team to cross unassisted the frozen North Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable boat.
In 2005 he lead a team through the remote jungles of Venezuela.
In 2007 he teamed up with Gilo Cardozo of Parajet Ltd and became the first man to fly a powered paraglider higher than Mt. Everest.
In 2008 Bear climbed one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in Antarctica.
<strong>Q&Q With Bear</strong><br /> Outdoor Life recently sat down with Bear Grylls to catch up with the man behind the legend. <strong>OL:</strong> How much of your show, Man Vs Wild, is planned ahead of time?<br /> **<br /> Bear:** We send a scout crew about two weeks before I get there. They know what I'm capable of. They talk to rangers, specialists, and so forth. Then, when I arrive, I get a briefing about everything–about a river being low here, about big cliffs there. It's a pretty mind-focusing thing.
<strong>OL:</strong> Who were you influences growing up? <strong>Bear:</strong> My dad was a great hero for me. He's no longer around, but he taught me how to climb, he taught me values.
OL: What's the one thing you'd like to do that you haven't done yet? Bear: I've got hundreds. I need 10 lifetimes.
<strong>OL:</strong> What would you be doing if you weren't hosting Man Vs. Wild? <strong>Bear:</strong> I feel like I've been doing Man Vs. Wild since I was about five years old, it just wasn't always on TV. I think I'd be guiding expeditions. For the rest of the interview make sure you pick up an April issue of Outdoor Life on newsstands.
<strong><em>Man vs. Wild</em> Takeaways</strong><br /> Anyone who has spent time outdoors knows there's a big difference between what Bear does on his show and what an average outdoorsman would do, or even could do, in a real survival situation. In fact, the main premise of his show (navigating out of the wilderness) goes against a primary survival principle: staying put when possible and waiting for rescue.
But if this is your train of thought, you're missing the point. While Man vs. Wild does have educational aspects, it's main value is entertainment. The show has reached millions people, many of whom are not outdoorsmen, and got them interested in the outdoors, if for only an hour. In that way Bear's been able to do what countless other outdoor media couldn't: make the outdoors relevant to non-outdoorsmen and women.
So as Bear runs, climbs and jumps his way through his sixth season take his show for what it is, an entertaining look at extreme survival situations with some useful tips mixed in every so often.
Season six hits the air on Feb. 17 on the Discovery Channel.

Bear’s sixth season of Man vs. Wild is set to air next week. The show has been hugely successful, but does it back up all the hype?