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Survivorman Fake or Real You Decide

Updated on October 6, 2012

Alot of Discussion Out There About Is Survivorman Fake or Real

With the popularity of the TV show survivorman there has been a lot of discussion and debate online and in the wilderness survival forums about is Survivorman fake or real? This page strips apart the controversy and only looks at the facts. Some sites claim survivorman is a fake and then give some explanation as to why but never really back it up. So we've taken a hard look at these discussions and then way the discussion and what can actually be verified.

So hopefully this page will clear up once and for all for you to decide is Survivorman fake or real?

Survivorman Season 3 - The Final Season of Survivorman on DVD


Gerber 31-000701 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Kit

Gerber 31-000700 Bear Grylls Survival Series Basic Kit

4 Person Survival Kit Deluxe - Perfect Family Bug Out Kit

Inside the Stories and Discussions on is Survivorman Fake?

The Truth Is Les Stroud a Fake?

Ok, let's get right down to the point. There are many discussions and debates out there surrounding if Survivorman is a fake or not. By fake we mean does he actually do what he says he does? Does he actually film the show himself once the safety and film crew leave him on Day1? Does suvivorman cheat by going back to the hotels to spend the night and then continue his show? All these questions seem to heat up the debate about whether survivorman is a fake so let's look at these one by one and answer these questions based on Facts. In other words if a story cannot be backed up then in our opinion it is only a rumor.

First does Survivorman Actually Film The Show By Himself?

Yes! There are many debates going on and people picking apart the show about this scene or that scene and whether there actually is a film crew shadowing Les Stroud? Anyone who has actually watched the show knows that Les makes many comments about his film and safety crew. The truth is yes they actually do leave Les alone once they drop him off on Day 1. So what about all those extra shots and editing that seem like there is no way Les Grabbed those pictures?

Les himself describes in this Behind the Scenes Video that the job of the film and safety crew once they drop him off are to get beauty and nature shots. After all they are filming a show and a lot of these shots get mixed and spliced and edited into many of Les's shots to help give the show more visual appeal. We have nothing to verify otherwise.

Does Les Cheat and Go to Hotels each Night?

There is one website out there suggesting that in the Lost at Sea episode Les went back to a hotel each night after filming, which has lead many to discuss that survivorman is a fake. Truth is this website has never verified its story and claims and so far as we can tell this is mere rumor and cannot be verified, so the short answer to this question is No.

Les Stroud Survivorman Interview

Great interview on Canada am with Les Stroud on survival how to survive in the woods how to avoid bear, etc great interview.

survivorman fake
survivorman fake

How Does Survivorman Les Stroud Film His Show?

How Does Survivorman Do it?

When the show was first released, in it's first season and long before Les became a celebrity I had the good fortune to have an email discussion back and forth with Les Stroud on exactly how he filmed his shows. Well not really on how he filmed his shows, but it led me to learn and understand exactly how Les did it.

You see I'm a big wilderness survival fan, and a few years was experimenting with portable power in the bush, you know a way where I could supply myself and my camping trips with enough power to actually run things for an extended time frame. I knew the answer was going to be solar power but however the problem was in coming up with a portable solar power solution and one that can actually be carried inside a backpack. After seeing survivorman and being a Canadian myself I decided to contact Les and ask him how he solved the problem.

Les was very kind to help me out and we had a great email discussion back and forth about how exactly Les manages to shoot his show and have enough power to last him the whole week so that he can film his show. I knew that he would need substantial power needs and filming by oneself would be difficult and that Les must have experimented with the same problem I was trying to solve.

While there is no way in just one little post I can describe exactly what I learned from Les I can summarize for you exactly how Les films his show.

The Basic Idea of How Les Films His Show

Gel Cell Battery

Foldable Solar Panels

The idea is that the solar panels can charge a small Gel Cell battery which will then supply his power needs while filming the show. On really clear sunny days he can charge his camera directly using adapters from the solar panel, or on cloudy days the gel cell battery can be his backup source of power and he can charge up his equipment directly off the battery.

Save on Foldable Solar Panels - Best Choice for Power in the Bush

The Multitool "Leatherman Wave" Favored by Survivorman Les Stroud - Review of the multitool preferred by Les Stroud

One thing that chaps my hide is a cheap tool. I don't like 'em, I don't buy 'em and I avoid using them if I don't have to. Leatherman is well known for their quality and they don't disappoint here.

Good Points:

This New Wave is extremely well built.

Resists torque/twisting that some other multi-tools don't.

Nice heft, but not too heavy to slip in a pocket.

Smooth and comfortable finish in the hand.

A really nice selection of functional tools.

Great tool locking, easy to release (but only when you want!)

Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool with Leather/Nylon Combination Sheath, Silver
Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool with Leather/Nylon Combination Sheath, Silver

User Comments: Leatherman consistently delivers high quality products that live up to my expectations. The wave is no exception to this. I use this daily and it stands up well to the abuse I subject it to. Have tried many other types of multitools and found them to be inferior.


Quick Vote, Is Survivorman Fake? Cast Your Votes To See

Is Survivorman Fake or Real? What Do You Think?

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Entire Collection of Survivorman on Sale - Save Big on Les Stroud DVD's

The Survivorman Fire Starting Tool That He Used in Alaska - Ever wonder where Survivorman got that fandangled fire starting contraption in the Alaska Episode?

If you have ever watched survivorman you know that in most episodes he brings along one "sole" match to start his fires and if that fails well then Les Stroud goes cold for the night.

However in the Alaska episode during season 2 Les introduces a new tool he brought along called the fire piston. Ever wonder what a fire piston is or where you can get one? Well here ya go links to some great deals on getting this ultra cool fire starting gizmo. Great for scouters or anyone interested in wilderness survival. A great way to amaze your friends at your next camping trip

What Do You Think is Survivorman Fake? Share With Us Your Thoughts - Whether you agree or disagree we would like to hear what you think about if survivorman is

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    • profile image

      JD 2 years ago

      This cannot be binary, true or false. In my opinion there are a few things they are real, others obviously don't, mainly the fact he claims to be alone and without any kind of assistance in such dangerous places. If it would be that way, he would have already been killed by the environment, it's just a common sense matter.

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      Don 3 years ago

      Rumours in his hometown and from people who know him well, Peterborough, Haliburton Ontario Canada

      There's always a crew not far from him

      It all fake, which sucks because I use to love that show, my girlfriend is friends with his girlfriend and confirmed by her,

    • profile image

      Cliff 3 years ago

      Ya I think he is the real deal. True survival is not entertaining but very boring and monautonis at times just like the show. But to me this is what makes the show interesting and believable. Unlike Bear where it is fast paced and filled with all kinds of stupid risk. Any man who can sleep in bear, lion, (well the list goes on and ) infested areas by himself is one real brave trus survivor man to me.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: They may be bigger but he doesn't use them. Full crew plus his own personal survival experts at each location and he's still staying in hotels and getting medivac'd out of locations? A let down for sure. He just seems like one of those whose ego is bigger than his balls.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Are you serious? Seriously, are you? Bear is the biggest fraud out there. As the other poster stated, he has a full crew with him at all times, including experts on survival at each location. What's worse is even with this crew and his own personal survival experts he still has gotten flown out of a location at least three times and has admitted to staying in hotels. Bear is more zero than hero.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You do know that Bears actually does have a whole crew of experts with him filming each day? He also admits to staying at hotels during shooting. Plus anyone who eats deer pellets in just plain wrong.

    • Infohouse profile image

      Infohouse 5 years ago

      It's real in that Les has to do the things he needs to do to survive on his own. It's fake in that he does things for the show that shouldn't be done in a real life or death situation because he knows that he will survive at the end.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


      Love this show, that's how I ended up here!

      I believe it would be crazy for him or anybody else to risk there life,

      no matter how experienced they are, just for a TV show!

      There's no doubt in my mind that this show is for the most part, real!

      I think he would have taken water (and perhaps emergency food rations),

      everything else is found on site!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: In the Canyonlands episode, if you watch closely at the shadow of the camera, you will see that the time elapse movement of all the shadows in the picture are the same, therefore the camera shadow is most likely from a camera that Les set up and not that of a "cameraman". I believe that Les does film the show himself and does the seven days alone, but with a production crew not far away, as shown in the Lost at Sea episode. After all, it wouldn't be that interesting if he were to actually NOT survive now would it? I find this show very entertaining, which is the point.

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      habitatfranklin 5 years ago

      Bear Grylls is way better at eating bugs,

      but Stroud's experiences on the show seem more real to me.

      have you seen his appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast a couple months back? It's worth watching

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great show and no doubt it's for real. Keep up the good work Les!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm a camera operator and also an avid outdoorsman. If he is legit, he is using technologies not currently on the market. 7 days filming with multiple camera battery types and recording mediums means he is somehow backing up the video he has made (laptop batteries) and charging the batteries for at least 3 different kinds of camera and laptop.

      I read somewhere (maybe here) that he uses solar panels and 50 batteries. If that were true, with technology currently available on the market (not to mention technology he used years ago) it would take him 3 different days of noon sun to charge a single battery. I know, because I have used one too. It's just not possible to do this without a real power source and computer to dump footage on. Think about the episodes where he was in the jungle, winter, or constant rain.

      What about the footage dump? 7 days in the wilderness and he has never had a total loss of footage? I work in a controlled environment and can't say the same thing.

      Lastly, he drinks right out of the puddle while pointing out the mouse poop. That's the most irresponsible thing I have ever seen.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      While I think he does show many survival skills and stays in remote locations for seven days in episode "Canyonlands" 11/24/2004 about 15 minutes in he is setting up camp if you look in the lower left hand corner you see the shadow of a cameraman as plain as day. How you quantify fake... Not sure.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have mixed emotions on this guy after watching the episode how survivor man was created because every place he goes he has a professional of that area show him how to survive. I wouldn't say he is professional but a wannabe film producer showing other people's techniques on how to survive in certain areas. None of this knowledge is actually coming from him. He has only basic skills just like anybody else and that's about it. But also I'm sure he is better now than when he started but still anyone could go and learn all these survival skills then make a tv show to teach the viewers. He just wishes he could be like bear grylls. There's a guy that actually knows his stuff. Bear grylls is a freaking hero!

    • SecondSally profile image

      SecondSally 5 years ago

      I don't know if it is fake or not, but I end up sitting through the entire episode every time I happen upon this show.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: He stopped doing the show for a while because he got so many parasites. He said he had one that ate holes in the lining of his mouth and throat for months. I did wonder if the norway episode with the cabin and the deer head was planned ahead. Because he had 10 days to go with an orange and a small piece of beef jerky. If he hadn't found the deer head what else was he planning to eat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Here's how we can solve the whole dilemma. Take what les says on his show and you can confirm it with survival manuals. Then you take grylls stuff and half of it survival manuals tell you NOT to do it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      les does his homework and knows what he has to do to survive he and his wife did go out for a year and survive so he is the real deal hands down bear just wants ratings

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like Survivorman and Man vs Wild. What's with all these people hating on bear and calling him a fake. I guess him being in the special forces in the past is fake right? Special forces training and ops must've been real fake. The guy knows what he's talking about and is a fearless bastard. I think they're both legit in their own way. Stop complaining because bear's balls are bigger than yours.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You need to add Les' choice of knife to you equipment list. The Helle Temagami.

      I spotted this on the Norwegian episode.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Les Stroud is the real deal. He is well trained, and very professional, he has great respect for the wilderness, life itself and his viewers, as he shows legit techniques that could save lives, if anyone was unfortunate to be in a survival situation.

      Unlike a real fake called Edward Grylls( I'm not calling the prick bear), Fame hungry, spoilt little rich boy with a head full of lies, That guy has a full team with him, survival experts telling him what do do and say, showing the viewers, ignorant. life threatening ways to deal with situations eg: jumping in rivers(even tho you can see his bouyancy aid under his clothes) jumping down cliffs etc ( he wears climbing equipment Harness, ropes etc) pole vaulting down a mountain!!. The list goes on and on. The guy has a lot of young impressionable followers, who, unless they had some intelligence would copy his idiotic ways and probably end up dead.

      Two groups, one studied Survivorman, the other Grylls. and went off in the wilderness for a week. I would put money on all of the Survivorman group to return intact, and the Grylls group to be dead or dying. That is unless they followed him to a T and stayed in 5* hotels, the guy is a joke. Long Live Les Stroud.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It depends on what you mean by fake. goes he really drink the water, NO, being alone and drinking bad water can be a killer. Not all water is good to drink with just boiling alone. Plus he sometimes drinks water he doesn't boil, once again, fake. Trust me, he knows better. I mean if you were truly alone and lost, its one thing, but not for a show. Is he by himself, well, yes and no. He film crew is never very far away and he is in contact with them in case something really bad happen, once again, this is just a show people, no one should put there life in real danger for a show. So, the answer is, yes and no. Remember, this is just a show and a business. Les is going to take all the precautions to be safe, and to make a realistic show.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think many parts of his show are fake, drinking very dirty water and only using a boiling if not good, In fact he should not be telling people that some of the water he finds is safe to drink, all water in the wild should at least be boiled.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes its as real as it gets

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      l think Les is as real as it gets the other guy is a fake he has a film crew with him and as far as eating weird food that's just for ratings l'd like to see a challenge between the two and Les would kick his ass!!!!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      The few shows I watched, it did seem to be real.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      it was man vs wild australia if i remember is where gryls shows us how to build an off the ground basic shelter, then comments how he is not staying there that night, but going to the hotel.

      notice in man v wild, when gryls is hanging off cliffs branches or buildings, the shot often has some large portion of his body off screen, where the safety gear is hidden. he does give some legit advice, but any true survivalist would tell ya most of it is what NOT to do. don't risk injury(sliding down shale hills), freezing (crossing frozen rivers), or possible entrapment (climbing down an abandoned well) among others when trying to survive a bad situation.

      things to note about survivor man, he isn't successful at fishing, he notes he has done research, or reading on plants for the areas he was doing his show, and he uses common sense rules other people can tell you are true but not foolproof, like running water, its often safe but never 100%, and it has made him sick.

      he openly gave up on the portraying of situational injury in the canada crashed plane scenario, where the weather and harsh conditions made it too hard to portray a broken arm.

      he openly used a lighter in at least one episode, but has demonstrated the ability to successfully make fire in many different ways.

      he talks about his camera work in several episodes, and even shows how he has to do extra work to move the cameras,(going back and forth) to show travel efforts, the walking along or away shots.

      he isn't some skinny dude, when he does the work, and likely bulks up before hand to minimize risks to his health.

      survivor man does it best, real and set himself apart, he gets my vote.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Les is definitely legit and full of useful information. Pay attention to what he has to say, it's very useful. Fan of the show since the very start.

      P.S: Man Vs Wild is clearly scripted but the information Bear gives in the show is useful and most of the time accurate. Some of his methods are a bit odd, but it's good information for people who are just trying to learn survival skills.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Survivorman is real. it is the looser man vs wild whos a fake.. this guy goes out 7 days alone by himself and gets stuff done people who question it are just jellous ive met him my self and asked

    • profile image

      jbeeker6801nc 6 years ago

      No one on this earth has gotten sick and hurt as much as Les has on TV trying to survive. He has gotten hurt on every episode that I have seen, sorry but it's rather comical sometimes. I know that's not very nice to say but I do enjoy watching the show for that reason. I commend him for his efforts and wish him no harm. Thanks for the entertainment you provide us Les, you are awesome.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I believe he is the real deal. I love these survival shows and feel I have learned valuable tips for staying alive. Considering where I live, and where I explore, it's important to have these skills. Interesting lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I vote that its real.

      I'v watched the whole series and it didn't even cost me anything.

      Great series, oh and to those that think its fake.

      Ai Gamisou!

    • moskit profile image

      moskit 7 years ago

      I have just started season 2 and so far it looks real to me.

      Unlike Bear Grylls, Les actually does sleep out on his own, regardless of how cold, wet or dangerous it is.

      Great show.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Les Stroud is one of the best survival experts out there today. I've been watching the show since it came out and loved it. Survivorman is legit. There is absolutely no evidence that proves otherwise.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 7 years ago

      I think real! That guy is pretty hard-core.

    • profile image

      bobtyndall 7 years ago

      Great site. I watch Survivorman all the time. I don't see much fake about it. Also a lot of good info for anyone wanting some survival ideas.

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 7 years ago

      What an interesting topic. I had no idea there was any controversy at all about whether he was legit or not.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 7 years ago

      I think it's real, and it's definitely entertaining. I also enjoy Man v. Wild, which is another great survival show.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      I've never seen the show but you've done a great job of making me want to go look for it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Fake or real, I believe Les does a great job delivering his messages and passing along helpful information. Who can define fake or real when it comes to an instructional program that also must keep the attention of the viewers?

      Used some of the lessons Les shared on various episodes. I recalled an episode which related to my situation, used some of his shared knowledge and also my own common sense. Got me out of the tight situation.

      Les, keep up the good work, your program proves knowledge is power and sometimes you also must dig deep to survive. This goes for non-survival situations in your daily life.

      The people that bash people like Les are the same people that will find fault in their coffee maker if the coffee is not perfectly brewed every time.

      People said "BackDraft" and "Ladder 49" was fake. Both are movies, meant for entertainment, but also provide some realism. I'm a Firefighter and I enjoyed both of those movies, just like Survivor Man.

      Great Job Les

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I think that the shows are entertaining and he is trying to teach you what to do if you were stranded real or fake who cares? its entertaining and informative that makes a great show.

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 9 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      I love this show