21 Prepper TV Shows | Survivalism Worth Binging

As a general rule of thumb, preppers do not watch much TV. When we do, we like to make it count. Television does not have to be a mindless drain turning you into a couch potato- you can actually learn plenty of things from TV if you are selective with what you watch. That is where this list of prepper TV shows comes in.

After a long day of work or knocking out projects, you can unwind in front of the TV but still learn. There are plenty of entertaining and educational survival shows that are easily available thanks to Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube. Kicking back, relaxing, and watching some people struggle through survival situations or explain their bunker strategy can be a great family activity.

Take a spin through our comprehensive list and let us know your favorites in the comments.

1. Doomsday Preppers

Doomsday Preppers ran from 2012 to 2014 on National Geographic and introduced most of America to prepping culture. One of the more interesting takeaways I had from this show is the wide range of SHTF scenarios the featured preppers were preparing for. From natural disasters to nuclear winters, the ‘doomsday preppers’ are thorough in their preparedness, if lacking in their risk analysis.

The show also brings in a group of practical preppers to assign arbitrary ‘scores’ to the preppers so that their survival readiness can be compared. If you have not seen the show, it is worth watching simply due to the impact it has had on how preppers are viewed.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on Netflix? No.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on YouTube? Yes, most episodes.

2. Survivorman

Les Stroud may be Canadian, but he is tough as nails. When other shows were filming segments with film crews, costumes, and gimmicks, Les grabbed a camera and went to remote areas on his own for a week. The show spanned a decade, from 2004 to 2015 on OLN, Discovery, and the Science Channel.

Les understood the mental stamina that a camera crew would provide in a survival situation. Removing this ‘crutch’ made for some compelling TV and set the stage for a slew of other shows that would follow suit over a decade later.

Is Survivorman available on Netflix? No.

Is Survivorman available on Amazon Prime? Yes.

Is Survivorman available on YouTube? No.

3. Dual Survival

Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin are an odd pair. They join forces on Dual Survival to demonstrate how there are many different approaches to survival. The show ran from 2010 to 2016 on the Discovery Channel.

The divisiveness in America today makes me reflect on this show fondly. Two guys, in the middle of nowhere, often having to work out their differences to get $&%# done. Unfortunately, the showrunners had their own share of drama, with some misunderstanding about Dave Canterbury’s background. Hosts were replaced often after season 3 and the show suffered for it.

Is Dual Survival available on Netflix? No.

Is Dual Survival available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Dual Survival available on YouTube? Yes, a few episodes.

4. Naked and Afraid

A phenomenon since 2013, Naked and Afraid is a reality-type show that typically puts a male and a female contestant together in a remote area with only a few select tools. Oh, and no clothes. How might someone lose their clothes prior to a survival situation? It does not matter- it is just a test of skill with plenty of blurring effects in post-production.

Episodes are still airing on the Discover Channel, and the show is entertaining to say the least. The tools that the survivalists pick are sometimes questionable and their strategies can be too. One gripe is that they stay at the location for 21 days, so some contestants opt to just ‘endure’ rather than ‘survive’. Watching someone lay around for 21 days to conserve calories makes for some of the more boring episodes.

Is Naked and Afraid available on Netflix? No.

Is Naked and Afraid available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Naked and Afraid available on YouTube? No.

5. Alone

Alone, another reality show, is similar to Survivorman in that the contestants record themselves alone, without a film crew. The History Channel offers up half a million dollars to the winner, which has drawn out some skilled survivalists. The survivalists attempt to out-survive each other to collect the giant check.

The contestants that try to conserve calories often have a rough go of it, since the competitions go well past 27 days (unlike Naked and Afraid). The Alone contestants get to bring only 10 survival tools from a predetermined list, which can allow for different approaches.

Is Alone available on Netflix? No.

Is Alone available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Alone available on YouTube? No.

6. Man vs. Wild

Bear Grylls is one of the most widely recognized names in survival, and this show made him a household name. Man vs. Wild aired from 2006 to 2011 on Discovery Channel and frames survival as an adventure, filled with bug eating, action stunts, and re-enactments.

Man vs. Wild is one of the earlier and most popular of Bear Grylls’ shows. Like most of Bear’s shows, it gets mixed reviews from the survivalist community. No one can deny, however, the exposure that Man vs. Wild has given survivalism.

Is Man vs. Wild available on Netflix? Yes (With Sunny Leone hosting).

Is Man vs. Wild available on Amazon Prime? Yes.

Is Man vs. Wild available on YouTube? No.

7. Marooned

Ed Stafford was the first person to walk the length of the Amazon River, so they gave him a TV show. Marooned is known for Ed going without his clothes to demonstrate his survival skills. Since the show started showing in 2013 on Discovery Channel, he has chosen to put on some clothes while filming to make it less of a ‘shock factor’ and more of an educational show.

Ed attempts to survive 60 days in remote locations with very little equipment. This highlights his resourcefulness pretty well.

Is Marooned available on Netflix? No.

Is Marooned available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Marooned available on YouTube? No

8. Man, Woman, Wild

Mykel Hawke Pierce may not be a household name, but he is well known in the survival community. His pairing with Ruth England, his wife, is pretty good and provides some quality entertainment without as much drama as you might expect. The show aired from 2010 to 2012 on Discovery Channel.

Mykel is former Special Forces with the US Army and it shows in his approach to survival. They chose to end the show because they claimed it was too hard on them and their family.

Is Man, Woman, Wild available on Netflix? No.

Is Man, Woman, Wild available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Man, Woman, Wild available on YouTube? Yes, some episodes.

9. Ray Mears’ Bushcraft

Ray Mears is another mainstay in the survivalist community and specializes in bushcraft. The aptly named show only lasted from 2004-2005 on BBC and Discovery Channel, but allowed Ray to show off many of his skills.

Ray has had many shows over the years, and Bushcraft was not the first. IMDb credits him with 32 appearances since 1997, so he is no stranger to the limelight.

Is Ray Mears’ Bushcraft available on Netflix? No.

Is Ray Mears’ Bushcraft available on Amazon Prime? No.

Is Ray Mears’ Bushcraft available on YouTube? Yes.

10. Dude, You’re Screwed

Take a group of five Special Forces and survivalist guys, and have them play a game where one gets kidnapped by the others and dropped in an unknown remote location. The ‘screwed dude’ has 100 hours to get out or they lose the game while the other four provide commentary. Call the series “Dude, You’re Screwed” and you have an entertaining show.

The show has been airing on the Discovery Channel since 2013 and provides a good blend of entertainment and information.

Is Dude, You’re Screwed available on Netflix? No.

Is Dude, You’re Screwed available on Amazon Prime? Yes.

Is Dude, You’re Screwed available on YouTube? No.

11. Primal Survivor

Hazen Audel takes on some treacherous challenges in this show. He uniquely pairs his survival skills with the local’s knowledge to navigate the Artic Circle, survive jungle treks, and cross crocodile-infested water. Since 2016 he has been traveling the world followed by National Geographic film crews. He has learned from natives in Indonesia, Panama, Nepal, and Tanzania to name a few.

Is Primal Survivor available on Netflix? No.

Is Primal Survivor available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Primal Survivor available on YouTube? Yes, most episodes.

12. Lost Survivors

Mykel and Ruth join forces again with pretty much the same format as Man, Woman, Wild. They are a little older and accustomed to the cameras in this series. The main twist is that they are somehow not clued in to what locations they are being dropped off in. It has been shown on the Travel Channel since 2013.

Is Lost Survivors available on Netflix? No.

Is Lost Survivors available on Amazon Prime? No.

Is Lost Survivors available on YouTube? Yes, some episodes.

13. Survival with Ray Mears

This is one of the smallest installments on our list, since the series is only three episodes long. Ray Mears spends the show tracking three different animals in their natural habitats:  Leopards, Bears, and Wolves. While tracking them he is also showing off his abundant survival and bushcraft knowledge. The show aired in 2010 and is a great pick for those that are not looking to get absorbed in a long series.

Is Survival with Ray Mears available on Netflix? No.

Is Survival with Ray Mears available on Amazon Prime? No.

Is Survival with Ray Mears available on YouTube? Yes.

14. Fat Guys in the Woods

Creek Stewart puts his survival skills on display in my backyard, the Appalachian Mountains. The show spanned from 2014 to 2015. Lucky groups are brought in by Creek to be taught primitive survival skills for an entire week. The teacher-student aspect of this show makes it very educational and great for picking up tips or new skills.

Is Fat Guys in the Woods available on Netflix? No.

Is Fat Guys in the Woods available on Amazon Prime? No.

Is Fat Guys in the Woods available on YouTube? Yes.

15. The Island with Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls returns to the list for his second and final time. He stars as a host and the series follows a group of British survivalists that are dropped in remote areas with minimal gear. The show still airs on Channel 4 and was launched in 2014.

Is The Island with Bear Grylls available on Netflix? No.

Is The Island with Bear Grylls available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is The Island with Bear Grylls available on YouTube? Yes.

16. Extreme Survival

Ray Mears makes it back on the list with one of his earlier shows. Ray goes to Costa Rica, Morocco, Belarus, and New Zealand (among other places) to demonstrate his survival skills. The show aired from 1999 through 2002 on BBC and the Discovery Channel.

Is Extreme Survival available on Netflix? No.

Is Extreme Survival available on Amazon Prime? No.

Is Extreme Survival available on YouTube? Yes.

17. The Colony

The Colony was an experimental show where ‘colonist’ contestants are dropped off in abandoned areas to rebuild a small society. The show is great at showing group dynamics after a SHTF event, but the production does seem heavy-handed. Producers introduce traders, marauders, and other post-apocalyptic interventions throughout the series that makes the show seem less convincing. Even still, the show is worth watching to see how ingenuity, great survival skills, and resourcefulness can easily be compromised in a group setting.

Is The Colony available on Netflix? No.

Is The Colony available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is The Colony available on YouTube? Yes.

18. Out of the Wild

In 2008, Discovery Channel thought it would be a good idea to drop four groups of ordinary people in the Alaskan wilderness to see if they could survive for three months. The volunteers are easily out of their element, but seemingly eager to learn.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on Netflix? No.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Doomsday Preppers available on YouTube? Yes, most episodes.

19. Doomsday Castle

What is better than a medieval castle to survive the apocalypse? Not much, according to this North Carolina family that let National Geographic document their preparations for an EMP. The castle itself is a labor of love by the patriarch of the family, and a project for almost two decades. He enlists the help of his five grown kids where, naturally, infighting and power struggles affect their progress.

Is Doomsday Castle available on Netflix? No.

Is Doomsday Castle available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Doomsday Castle available on YouTube? No.

20. Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End

This 10 episode show goes into pretty good detail on some of the more abrupt ways the world could end. It covers:

  • Asteroid
  • Black Hole
  • Rogue Planet
  • Solar Storm
  • Nuclear War
  • Gamma Ray Burst
  • Mega Eruption
  • Earth Out of Orbit
  • Alien Invasion
  • Deep Sea Disaster

Although these look like a collection of science fiction themes lumped together for shock value, the episodes are approached very analytically. They discuss how mitigation or preparedness could help, and the probability of each scenario.

Is Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End available on Netflix? No.

Is Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End available on YouTube? No.

21. Naked and Afraid XL

On the original Naked and Afraid, when the ‘survivalists’ that just conserved calories to endure the 21 day limit, it was aggravating to watch. Naked and Afraid XL addresses this by bumping the day goal from 21 to 40. This effectively weeds out all the ‘calorie coasters’ and requires more survival skills to be used. The format changed since 40 days does not fit well into a single episode, but the show has seen pretty good success since starting in 2015 on the Discovery Channel.

Is Naked and Afraid XL available on Netflix? No.

Is Naked and Afraid XL available on Amazon Prime? Yes, but not for free.

Is Naked and Afraid XL available on YouTube? No.

Survival Shows on Netflix

A few years ago, Netflix had a wide selection of survival shows. Many of the shows listed above were available on Netflix, but they don’t buy rights for the shows forever. They have let many of the popular survival and prepping shows lapse, so they is not a large library of survival shows available.

Instead, Netflix is focused on developing original content. You can find quite a few survival movies made by Netflix. Unfortunately, these are mostly fiction. There are some pretty entertaining options, but not as much to learn from these made up scenarios.

The Final Word

Television does not have to be a drain on your brainpower. There are plenty of educational shows, especially with prepping and survival topics. You can learn a good deal on the couch, and as a matter of fact- we have listed out plenty of other things you can learn too! Check out 9 Survival Skills You Can Learn Sitting on Your Couch.

Do not let all the prepping TV shows keep you planted on the couch, though! Be sure to get out there and try new things you learn. Preparedness skills and survival gear are not worth a damn without some practice. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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21 Prepper TV Shows

Rusty

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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