The host of the Man Vs. Wild reality show on Discovery Channel is a former British soldier and the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest. He combined that experience with a natural on-camera delivery to forge an unlikely TV career building impromptu jungle huts, eating grubs and catching fish with the waistband of his underwear a bit of thumbnail.
Since his show became a hit, he’s managed to build his onscreen personae into a cottage industry of survival. He’s now lending his name and seal of approval to a new iPhone app (Bear Essentials), clothing, knives, outdoor supplies and other outdoor essentials.
During a recent press tour to advertise the new season of Man Vs. Wild, the ongoing DVD releases of the show and his new app, Grylls talked the finer points of not dying with Crave Online.
Crave Online: Whether it’s an animal or an environment or any factor, which is the most dangerous situation you can face?
Bear Grylls: Survival is not about the external threat or situation. It’s a question of the individual responding to the situation. The line between life or death is determined by what we are willing to do. Our fate is determined by how far we are prepared to push ourselves to stay alive – the decisions we make to survive. We must do whatever it takes to endure and make it through alive.
Crave Online: How do you know what the right decisions are?
Bear Grylls: To some extent it’s training and education – preparing properly. That’s the concept behind the line of survival items I put my name to now. But, you also need to have a good sense of your body and feel the difference between the voice from your body – the voice that says what you can’t do – and and the voice from your mind and will that leads you to make the right choices.
Crave Online: You mentioned the products you’ve put your name to survival tools and other products. Where are they?
Bear Grylls: I’m working with Gerber, the Survival Gear manufacturer. I had many opportunities to get behind products in the past, and I was always careful to evaluate all of them. I will not put my name to shoddy items.
Gerber is a company dedicated to making knives and survival tools with the best materials and designs. I’m confident to put my name to that – confident that the tool will be there and useful when the need is there in the field.
Crave Online: And you have your first iTunes app – The Bear Essentials. What led to that?
Bear Grylls: Again, I wanted to make sure I got involved with something that would be genuinely useful. You can read the SAS Survival Guide on an iPhone or iPad, but it’s not a useful reference tool in that moment of need.
Like the description says, The Bear Essentials is a hands-on survival tool. I present the elements myself, and it’s a blend of survival hands-on advice, interactive instruction manual, games and a photo gallery tool. We use film, photos, step-by-step guides and other tools to show the essential secrets as I do on the show. There’s 18 individual chapters, 40 films and more than100 photos. We throw in a weather predictor, compass, watch and survival light.
Crave Online: So, it’s everything we need – technologically speaking – to survive out in the wild?
Bear Grylls: No. As I said, your mindset – your will – your drive is what keeps you alive and keeps you going in any situation. In the wild, or anywhere else.
Photo credit – Discovery Communications, LLC