Surrey-born woodsman, bushcraft, and survival expert Ray Mears is a TV personality that first hit the UK screens in 1994, having launched his bushcraft course company over a decade earlier. Born in 1964, virtually all of his career (save a brief stint working in London) has been focused on survival techniques.
His extensive body of TV works includes several highly popular shows. The biggest and best were Ray Mears’ World of Survivor, Ray Mears’ Extreme Survival, Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, Ray Mears Wild Goes Walkabout, Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness, Survival with Ray Mears, and Wild Britain with Ray Mears.
Mears is a keen bushcrafter, often using a fascination and knowledge of the world’s various indigenous people to find ways of living off the land. This can manifest as building shelters, finding safe food, and defending himself against the surrounding threats.
While his appearance ticks the ‘gentle giant’ box, Mears certainly boasts a strong survival gene. In 2005, he survived a helicopter crash in Wyoming, Canada. Not only did he escape, but we managed to save his colleagues. This example is backed up with several others where his survival mode has kicked in.
Mears is particularly skilled with a knife, using it to build shelters from wood, vines, and other materials. Many of the skills he teaches are ideal for campers in the wild, either as a backup for when their tents rip or to handle additional tasks like starting a fire.
While some focus on extreme situations that viewers are unlikely to encounter, Mears’ work is far more accessible to the general trekker or adventurist. As well as the knife skills, his understanding of how people should react when a fellow explorer gets ill is very strong too.