5 Survival Experts You’ve Probably Never Seen On Television

If you own a tele­vi­sion and you fol­low this blog, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a sur­vival show and are at least famil­iar with names like Les Stroud, Cody Lundin, and Bear Grylls. But there are many renowned sur­vival experts who nev­er became tele­vi­sion per­son­al­i­ties and who you may find just as infor­ma­tive and inter­est­ing. If you’re stuck in the mid­dle of nowhere with few sup­plies and you’re run­ning out of day­light, chances are you’re in much bet­ter shape if one of these five folks are with you.


John Wise­man
John “Lofty” Wise­man was the youngest mem­ber in the his­to­ry of Britain’s elite Spe­cial Air Ser­vice unit (SAS for short), get­ting in at 18 years of age in 1959. After retir­ing from the ser­vice after 26 years (and hav­ing reached the rank of Sergeant Major), he began writ­ing books on sur­vival skills, and has had sev­er­al books pub­lished includ­ing his first, “The SAS Sur­vival Hand­book” which is a stan­dard for any­one want­i­ng to enhance their skills. Oth­er pub­li­ca­tions include “The SAS Self-Defence Man­u­al,” and “The SAS Urban Sur­vival Hand­book.” He has also served as a con­sul­tant for sur­vival schools, and behind the scenes on tele­vi­sion shows.


Lar­ry D. Olsen
Lar­ry D. Olsen is a pio­neer in the field of teach­ing sur­vival skills. After immers­ing him­self in nature at a young age by hunt­ing, trap­ping, and explor­ing with only prim­i­tive­ly made tools (he mod­eled his ear­ly philoso­phies around the ways of the Anasazi), Lar­ry went on to teach out­door sur­vival class­es at BYU in the 60s. His approach to teach­ing was that one should learn to live with­out pre­vi­ous­ly pur­chased, built, or man­u­fac­tured gear (the guy is pret­ty hard­core). In the late 60’s, he start­ed a pro­gram for kids that had got­ten in a bit of legal trou­ble, tak­ing them into the great out­doors and teach­ing them sur­vival strate­gies. The idea behind the pro­gram was to teach them per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, courage, respect, and com­pas­sion, and he was wide­ly rec­og­nized for the approach. He also wrote the book “Out­door Sur­vival Skills” for his class, and it was lat­er pub­lished wide­ly. In fact, the actor Robert Red­ford enjoyed the book so much that he hired Olsen to be a tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant on his movie “Jere­mi­ah John­son.” 25 years ago, Lar­ry expand­ed upon the idea of youth reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams by found­ing the Anasazi Foun­da­tion with his friend Ezekiel Sanchez, and it became the first licensed and accred­it­ed out­door behav­ioral health­care provider.


Lisa Fen­ton
Few are bet­ter exam­ples of out­door hard­core­ness than Lisa Fen­ton. Lisa spent four years work­ing under famous sur­vival guru Ray Mears, and has trav­eled to some of the world’s more des­o­late, unfor­giv­ing areas. She is one of the co-founders of Woodsmoke, and school that teach­es a vari­ety of bushcraft and sur­vival tech­niques. She has led con­ser­va­tion-moti­vat­ed expe­di­tions in search of wolves, lynx, leop­ards, chee­tah, and many oth­er seem­ing­ly dan­ger­ous preda­tors in unfor­giv­ing cli­mates all over the world, often liv­ing in the wilder­ness for sev­er­al weeks or even months at a time. She has a laun­dry list of close calls that she has had to work her way out of dur­ing her trav­els (check out the Woodsmoke web­site at www.woodsmoke.uk.com and read her biog­ra­phy to get a full grasp on the crazy sit­u­a­tions that she has sur­vived), and she hangs out with indige­nous peo­ples for fun. Fen­ton is the real deal.


Mors Kochan­s­ki
Mors Kochan­s­ki is anoth­er sur­vival instruc­tor from way back. This guy learned his skills the right way, through per­son­al immer­sion in nature (it helped that as a kid he had to walk 7 miles each way back and forth to school on a bush road). You’ll notice that most all true sur­vival experts have a pro­found love for nature and Kochan­s­ki was no dif­fer­ent. In 1986, he wrote “North­ern Bushcraft,” and it became a Cana­di­an best­seller. He had oth­er pub­li­ca­tions, such as “Bush Art,” and a num­ber of book­lets on quick-hit tips, like “Wilder­ness Skills in Deep Snow” and “Sur­vival Kit Ideas.” His phi­los­o­phy is a clas­sic one. “The more you know, the less you carry.”


Tom Brown
Don’t let the com­mon name fool you, Tom Brown is an uncom­mon guy. Learn­ing sur­vival skills and bushcraft from a child­hood friend’s grand­fa­ther at a young age, Tom went on to spend ten of his for­ma­tive years liv­ing alone in var­i­ous Unit­ed States wilder­ness areas using almost exclu­sive­ly prim­i­tive tools. Ten years vir­tu­al­ly alone and rely­ing on no one but your­self in the wild will turn just about any­one into a fine-tuned, hard-ass sur­vival­ist. After return­ing to his home state of New Jer­sey, Brown began using his track­ing skills to assist author­i­ties with find­ing miss­ing per­sons, fugi­tives, and ani­mals. Brown is also a pro­lif­ic author, hav­ing 18 books pub­lished thus far, and served as con­sul­tant for the film “The Hunt­ed.” He found­ed Track­er School in New Jer­sey, where he teach­es stu­dents about every­thing from flint-knap­ping to prim­i­tive shel­ter building.