Hey reddit, I’m back! Let’s make this AMA even crazier than the last one.

Proof: https://twitter.com/reallesstroud/status/431493900117622785

I’m Les Stroud (you may know me as Survivorman) -- a filmmaker, outdoor adventurer, singer-songwriter and performer.

Since I was last here, I’ve created and released 16 new Survivorman shows (the highest rated show in the history of OLN Canada, Science Channel US and Discovery Channel US) which are airing now on Discovery and Science in the US and Travel + Escape in Canada.

My new book, Beyond Survivorman, was just recently published and is getting rave reviews.

Iʼm also always songwriting and I have an albumʼs worth of new material ready to rock. My love for the planet and my concern for its well-being is at the forefront of my life now and that's what this new album is all about. You can access behind-the-scenes video content and check out rough mixes at my PledgeMusic site at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/lesstroud

You can find out more at LesStroud.ca, Twitter.com/reallesstroud, www.facebook.com/thereallesstroud

goodbye all - i gotta go run and pick up my daughter from school!!!! thanks again for a fun AMA!!!!

Comments: 3613 • Responses: 85  • Date: 

Sprad052123 karma

What are the chances of there being a contest to spend a week or days surviving with you in the bush?

reallesstroud2641 karma

id like to set that up actually

stinkybuttpoop1635 karma

Hey Les! I'm a huge fan. You are a true expert. My question: Would it ever be possible to have an episode or two where you take a novice 'survivor' with you during one of your trips? So, you would be faced with the challenge of keeping yourself alive and helping this other person stay alive while teaching viewers some two man survival techniques. I would love to join you on one of your expeditions. I'll carry all the cameras!

reallesstroud2521 karma

i take my son out on the next two shows in fact

reallesstroud1620 karma

goodbye all - i gotta go run and pick up my daughter from school!!!! thanks again for a fun AMA!!!!

esox48001255 karma

Hello Les, I always wanted to know why you don't take sponsorship money from the clothing companies and gear companies?

reallesstroud2459 karma

they haven't offered heh heh

matman881235 karma

Les, Recently a Mexican man washed ashore after being lost at sea for 13 months. He mostly thought of tortillas, chicken and suicide. Did any of these thoughts cross your mind while you were adrift at sea? I saw how tough of a time you had surviving a only a week. Can you Imagine what it must be like to survive 13 months?

reallesstroud2448 karma

pizza beer and killing the person who suggested i do it

faultysynapse593 karma

I hear that. The few times I've voluntarily gone without food in the bush for a few days, it's always come down to beer and pizza. I don't really know why. There are plenty of other foods I like more than pizza. Something about pizza though. Maybe because even when it's not the best, it's still pizza.

reallesstroud907 karma

its because its melted chess = fat = what your body is needing

MrMcKonz1125 karma

Was there ever an experience which you almost regretted becoming a survivalist?

reallesstroud3024 karma

tv network contract negotiations

ForeWarning277 karma

Does Discovery, or Science channels not let you show everything you want? Do we not see extreme survival? Are there places you would like to survive in but cannot due to legal reasons?

reallesstroud548 karma

no thats not it at all - i control my show in its entirety - its all the other behind the scenes crap that one must deal with for tv contracts

RedDawn0976 karma

I was watching the episode of Survivorman the other day in which you were surviving in the Canadian woods. In the episode you mentioned that you no longer welts or bumps from mosquito bites. Is that a permanent change in your body and how long did it take for you to get this immunity?

reallesstroud1386 karma

yes permanent - i think it took about 4 years of constant summer trekking

notimeforidiots898 karma

What was your biggest "Oh, Shit." moment?

reallesstroud1576 karma

norway mountainside

CowsCanBark723 karma

Hey Les, just saw the episode where you are in Grenada and you use the life straw. How did you like the straw and what did water with turtle poop and dead birds taste like?

reallesstroud1180 karma

it was great but the water tasted like it sounds - turtle poop and dead birds

DeleteTheWeak723 karma

Joe Rogan always mentions your experience with a bipedal creature in your campsite. Is this true? Do you think it was a squatch? No proof or evidence of this creature from that night? How come there wasn't an investigation in that location for this creature that you saw/heard? I feel it would have answered a lot of questions if scientists or researchers were sent there to search the area.

reallesstroud682 karma

working on it!

BobertJaratheon180 karma

Working on what? Providing proof?

ediboyy313 karma

He said on a podcast (probably Rogans) that he was trying to get funding to film in the same location again for the pure purpose of trying to see if he can capture what he heard. I just hope discovery channel doesn't turn it into another bullshit "finding Bigfoot" bullshit

reallesstroud780 karma

i would never let that happen

tech410697 karma

Some of my favorite Survivorman moments are watching your excitement after catching fish. What was the most memorable moral-boosting thing to happen to you during a survival ordeal?

reallesstroud1113 karma

it was the fish - the arctic char

amelander691 karma

Which is more difficult to deal with: extreme temperatures or being totally alone?

reallesstroud1287 karma


Loki3050647 karma

Nothing but respect for you Les!! My whole family loves you Show.

Have you ever considered opening a bushcraft school or having classes to pass on some of the skills you've learned over the years?

reallesstroud870 karma

yes - as soon as i can manage the time i will be doing that again like i used to

brucedonnovan607 karma

Hello LES! I teach an outdoor education class for 7th & 8th graders and my kids love your show.

What are some activities that young outdoor enthusiasts can do to practice their survival skills without trekking out alone into the wild? I'd love to give your ideas to my students for practice. Thanks man and keep rocking that harmonica.

reallesstroud837 karma

have them build shelters together - snow forts are awesome for this too

ZabCos599 karma

What was it like getting high in Papa New Guine?

reallesstroud1327 karma


andcoup537 karma

What got you interested in survival and the outdoors?

reallesstroud933 karma

jacques cousteau - tarzan - my cottage - the love and passion for nature and adventure

kmja512 karma

What does a survivorman fear?

reallesstroud1620 karma




TheSheeshKabob490 karma

Hey Les I'm a really big fan.

My question is, where is the most preposterous place TV producers have wanted you to survive in?

reallesstroud1075 karma

side of a volcano

TKisfun485 karma

Hi, Les. In addition to the survival, I love watching the show from the perspective of a filmmaker. What percentage would you say you allocate time for filmmaking versus survival? Are there certain shots you always look for (time lapse, insects crawling, water flowing, etc)? What's your favorite film equipment to use on your adventures? Thanks!

reallesstroud619 karma

60/40 survival film making

chuvering470 karma

What is the least manliest thing about you?

reallesstroud2530 karma

there isn't anything unmanly about me

ababcock1458 karma

When you go camping, do you do the whole survival thing like on the show? Or do you camp like most people do with a tent at a public campground and so on?

reallesstroud1256 karma

ha! i pamper the hell out of myself - canoe seats - wine and fondues by the waterfall

Wakbrdn453 karma

Hey Les! Is there anything you can think of that may be damaging to the environment but is also the best way to survive a given scenario?

reallesstroud934 karma

burning rubber to signal a rescue

Mc2sand3s448 karma

Would you ever try to survive a week as a homeless person in a metropolitan city?

Secondly, you should challenge man tracker!

KorranHalcyon779 karma

discovery wanted to do a Les vs Man tracker episode, but Les said no when he demanded it be real and not staged.

reallesstroud1282 karma

thats right

Jenluvsfalls446 karma

Being a father, how would you suggest to motivate a 15 year old to do schoolwork that only gets thrills through wilderness activities and gaming?

reallesstroud846 karma

get out there with him - he wants that

Enjoir3444 karma

What's the most unexplainable thing you've seen in the wild?

reallesstroud960 karma

i found a stubby beer bottle in the middle of nowhere one day - couldn't explain it unless it was thrown out of a small plane window

wirsteve414 karma

On the show you always seem to know what is poisonous and what isn't. Have you ever come across a situation, where hunger is top priority, and you end up taking a gamble on food, hoping it is okay to eat?

If so what was the food?

reallesstroud626 karma

actually no - simply because that is too big a gamble to take - i generally make sure i know - but i suppose i have cut it close a few times

cykovisuals382 karma

When will the Survivorman & Son episodes air? I can't wait to see those, thanks!

reallesstroud487 karma

i think i n a couple weeks

Xethrops378 karma

You stay classy, Les Stroud.

reallesstroud855 karma

ok - if i have to

InvincibleVIto333 karma

Hi Les, big fan, been watching you for years. My question is what is the worst illness you ever contracted while on your survivor man "sets"?

reallesstroud872 karma

parasites that ate the lining of my mouth for a year

wirsteve322 karma

How much do you play harmonica while you are on a survival mission? I would probably play myself to sleep every night...

reallesstroud507 karma

yes i often play myself to sleep

picabuser307 karma

Hi Les, I'm a big fan of your work throughout the years. The most recent episode of survivorman in the Temagami was the most visually stunning episodes I've ever seen. You used to lug around these huge cameras with bad quality compared to now. I'm wondering how the change in technology has affected you since you started?

reallesstroud474 karma

it has just gotten better and better - lighter and higher quality - it really is much better now and i love the remote hell shots we can do now

luckyflipflops306 karma

Hey Les, My 6 year old son LOVES Survivorman. I told him you were doing an AMA today and he wanted to know if, in the recent Temagami Forest episode, what you initially thought was wild cucumber, really was?

reallesstroud502 karma

i still dont know

kwsaxman290 karma

what is the one most important thing to surviving in all climates and conditions?

reallesstroud600 karma

ability to make a fire

Ryanhedum277 karma

Do you carry an emergency GPS transmitter when you are in the wild?

reallesstroud445 karma

on some occasions

tattedspyder273 karma

Les, I absolutely love your shows and really respect what you do.

When you are shooting your show, and deciding how to handle situations, do you feel any burden of responsibility to your viewers?

Does the idea that others will follow your advice affect your choices?

Have you ever done something in a show that, in hindsight, you would consider bad advice?

With all of that in mind, what are your thoughts on the other "survival" shows that seem to lean more towards excitement and entertainment than solid survival advice?

reallesstroud482 karma

yes i do feel that responsibility

yes- it makes me make sure i am doing the right thing

possibly - but not really - there are always so many variables its impossible to be black and white about it

i dont like what they do to the name of real survival

apadden266 karma

I just watched your episode where you were stuck in a shack with two horses (sorry I forget the exact place, although it started with an 'A') and noticed you became imprisoned as it snowed for 25 hours straight. My question is, how do you remain calm and concentrated in a situation where you have absolutely nothing to do for such a long time?

reallesstroud411 karma

not easy - and i dont always succeed at staying calm - but meditation helps

Chris_4ever260 karma

Hey Les, I can't get over the idea of pooping in the middle of nowhere. Does it get easier the more you do it, or is it still weird as heck?

reallesstroud442 karma

gets easier

CruelMelody243 karma

Hey Les, the boyfriend and I are big fans and just wanted to say thanks for coming back for another round of questions.

I know you've survived some pretty hairy places, and I was wondering if you ever had any hostile encounters with natives or local authorities?

reallesstroud530 karma

nope - only friendly encounters - one time the town of inuit people kept coming by and asking em to autograph their snowmobile windshields - they were very sweet and offered me scotch and trout - which of course i had to say no to

mpclardy237 karma

Have you ever entertained the thought of a survival-off with Bear Grylls? I think it would be interesting to see both of you video yourselves on GoPros surviving a popular vote determined location. Plus, it would be cool to see the different survival techniques used. You each get a week to survive in the place and then on the last day, you must have reached civilization. Thoughts?

reallesstroud1000 karma

he doesnt survive - he is only a tv host and i am told by members of the crew that he 'hates' survival


FlyingPickledHerring217 karma

Who were your most influential bushcraft/survival teachers?

reallesstroud342 karma

fred rowe - doug getgood - dave arama - john and geri mcpherson - mors kochanski (just through his book) larry dean olson (book) dave westcott (book)

helladc216 karma

Love your show man. I watch it all the time. So if i were to be camping/backpacking in an area with a lot of bears, how likely is it that I will be attacked/mauled? Is it an irrational fear, or is there any serious possibility of getting my ass mauled?

reallesstroud422 karma

irrational fear - no worries about bears other than polar

PercolatingFish214 karma

Hi Les! Any plans to make more Beyond Survival shows? They fascinate me more than I can tell you.

reallesstroud285 karma


GinandJinger211 karma

Honestly, I just think you're the bees knees. * swoons *

reallesstroud275 karma

you too!!

buenhombre26204 karma

Greetings from Temagami, Les!

I've been camping and watching Survivorman for my entire childhood, and you have been one of my biggest heroes growing up.

Just one question: what is one piece of equipment that you always have on you when you're "out there" in northern Ontario?

reallesstroud368 karma

a foolproof way to light a fire

shortymcsteve195 karma

Hey Les, has there been any times when filming a show that you've had to be pulled out early by the crew?

Also, I noticed with the latest series you've been shooting quite a few aerial shots. Do you carry some kind of drone with you to achieve those?

reallesstroud371 karma

for my rescue - never - in labrador the crew who were 50 miles away had to be pulled out

i have a team that is using them many miles away to get the beauty shots as we call them

Josh-vh187 karma

Hey Les big fan. And I was wondering in all of your years of loving the outdoors, have you ever been out hiking or anything like that and found someone lost and helped them to safety?

reallesstroud329 karma

yes a few times actually

KGSquared185 karma

The last time you did an AMA, you recommended not to drink your own urine when surviving in the wilderness. Has your outlook changed at all?

reallesstroud316 karma


parker_dub181 karma

Hi Les!

Who was the most unexpected person or group you have been asked for survival tips from?

reallesstroud392 karma

canadian military elite

WayOffTopicStory177 karma

1.) How long do you believe you will continue making new episodes of Survivorman?

2.) I know there is going to be an upcoming Bigfoot edition of Survivorman. Did the filming of the episode increase or decrease your belief in the legend?

reallesstroud284 karma

hmmmmmm - you will have to watch to find out!!! heh heh

lets just say - i remain the same

DrexlDennett173 karma

From what I understand you spent a year living a paleolithic lifestyle in the Canadian wilderness. What was the most difficult part of living like that and what would you do differently if you were to try again?

reallesstroud261 karma

not having a comunity of people to work along side of

Dragonsven161 karma


reallesstroud223 karma

no - i had to sell

Geeklat153 karma

Salutations Mr. Stroud,

I always find the noises of nature fascinating.

My questions for you are what is the quietest place you ever had to film at, and what was the noisiest?

reallesstroud307 karma

Northern ontario - in the depth of winter - minus 45 degrees

noiseist was in the georgian swamps - i could here the trucks on the highway

coolfriday150 karma

Hi Les! What survival books would you recommend for a good reading?

reallesstroud698 karma

well - uhmmmm - mine?

helpmefindnemo5150 karma

What is one situation you got yourself into that you were genuinely scared for your life?

reallesstroud307 karma

norway mountain side - getting chased by a moose in northern ontario - heat stroke int he kalahari

somethin_else148 karma

Hi Les, I watched Survivorman when I was in high school. Like, all of it. Multiple times over. So much so that my mother banned me from watching it and told me to "go outside and actually try surviving at something". Suffice it to say, I'm a big fan. (I still talk about harmonicas attracting certain curious (and possibly dangerous) animals.)

I have a few questions:

  • I have spent years defending you saying, "NO! He really did do all of that by himself! He had no help! Because he's THE Survivorman and those are the rules!!" and I would just like to know, so I have a first-hand account of it, that really was you doing everything by yourself, right??

  • What was the easiest VS. the most dangerous time you had while filming the show? I know in one of the episodes (Lost at Sea, I think) you had to be rescued by a crew about halfway through.

  • My high school self HAS to know, because I always wondered...what did you do in between filming episodes of Survivorman? Someone told me that you would post up in the nearest 5-Star hotel and just hang out until your next episode came around.

Thank you for doing this! You're one of the coolest people I look up to!

reallesstroud242 karma

yes it was absolutely just me doing it all alone

play concerts - write gbooks - go on adventures and hang out in 5 star hotels

RickGervs143 karma

Has anyone ever returned one of your message in a bottle?

reallesstroud187 karma

not yet

Artxvandalay131 karma

I am someone who never had the opportunity to go camping when I was a kid. I've gone on short hikes locally now that I am older. Any advice to someone who wants to learn to go out and camp for a few days out in the wilderness?

reallesstroud204 karma

actually college courses on camping can be quite good

bugdog124 karma

From my husband:

I've seen you use your branded Camillus knives on your show before, but not always. Do you switch up brands to see what works best?

Thanks for all your shows (from both of us). They've made me (bugdog, not Mr. Bugdog) quite popular at work because I can bust out with a number of ways to make fire or acquire drinking water - very important IT skills!

reallesstroud150 karma

yep - its a great way to try them all out

adbruni119 karma

Hi Les, A somewhat deeper question here: As a 25 year old in Canada, I've noticed that a lot of my peers who want to see the beauty of the world skip Canada and head to Europe, Australia, etc. These people have typically never seen the country beyond their hometown. I'd say that we have everywhere else beat in terms of our natural landscapes. As someone who has experienced the outdoors all over the world, how does Canada really stack up? Do we, as a country, need to do a better job of promoting the spectacular areas within our own land so people can realize how lucky we really are and spend their time/money here before going elsewhere?

reallesstroud309 karma

canada and the states - north america is by far the most beautiful place in the world - much of the other places do NOT stack up to what we have here in our own back yards

toymachinejt17111 karma

How many networks did you pitch the show to before your series was picked up?

reallesstroud229 karma

first call was a sale

SpartySparty111 karma

I've always been curious, what is your daily routine when you are not "surviving?"

reallesstroud293 karma

chauffeur my kids around

Larry_Sellers_Hmwrk108 karma

Les - Big Fan. Thank you for Survivor man, it's one of my favorites. A few questions:

  1. Will you ever do a Survivor man in the Everglades?
  2. What are your thoughts on Big Foot/Skunk Ape, real or fake?
  3. Have you ever met someone who made it through a survival situation because of your show(s)?


reallesstroud158 karma

yes i would love to do an everglades show - someday!!!

ajrief103 karma

Les, I always try to channel you when attempting to play harmonica for my band's cover of "When the Levee Breaks." What are your big musical influences?

reallesstroud172 karma

classic rock

AcesAndEights21101 karma

Outside of the TV show, has there ever been a time when you were unintentionally in a survival situation where you felt your life was in danger?

reallesstroud235 karma

in john ducks tavern - 1978

wholikesmacandcheese100 karma

Hey Les, I love your show! While you are filming for Survivorman, you always talk about how lonely your experiences are. What do you miss the most while you're secluded? When you get home after filming, what is the first thing you do?

reallesstroud153 karma

my kids

eat and sleep

muroidea90 karma

First of all, I want to say that I've been a big fan of yours for years. I've seen everything that's been broadcast on Discovery, as well as Snowshoes and Solitude, Off the Grid, and some others. While I'm a big fan of Survivorman, the show that really blew me away was Beyond Survival. Please tell me, will you ever do something like that again? Thanks for everything you do, Les!

reallesstroud141 karma

i am pushing for that right now

Anglo_Prussian84 karma

Hey Les, when you were traveling with the horses in Argentina did you actually know where that shelter was or was that just a lucky find? And was it really that windy?

reallesstroud139 karma

i knew it was there and that i would eventually find it - and yes that wind was INSANE

thewanderinguser67 karma

hey Les, big fan of the show, what key of harmonica do you bring with you on your travels?

reallesstroud89 karma


Da_Car63 karma

You've been stranded in the Pacific Northwest for 2 months, when you finally encounter Bigfoot. He offers you the chance to ask him one question but first you must make a choice, choose correctly and you get to ask him but if you choose wrong he kills you. The question is, pancakes or waffles?

reallesstroud143 karma

easy - pancakes

RusTii-36 karma

1) What happened to "Surviving Urban Disasters"?

2) Are you ever going to consider doing the show again?

When i saw the first Episode i absolutely loved it and was disappointed to see that was the only one.

BTW congratulations on the new show, loving it so far.

reallesstroud60 karma

i would love to do more - i was always very disappointed in that show as it was not my production company that produced it - and i knew i could do much better and would still like to

UncleLabs32 karma

Les! You're brilliant! Question: when raising your kids, are you exposing them to technology, or raising them with more of a 'off the grid' approach?

reallesstroud77 karma

regular run of the mill life

yogurtandgranola29 karma

Hey Les, two harmonica related questions here:

  1. What kind of harmonica do you usually bring out with you?

  2. Aside from a moral boost, in what kinds of situations could you see yourself utilizing your harmonicas in a survival situation?

Love, Tom

reallesstroud45 karma

hohner special 20

to play while walking helps to scare away predators you might otherwise surprise

olderfart66625 karma

Les,have you seen the documentary of Dick Proenneke "Alone in the Wilderness" I enjoy your show and music immensely,keep it going. The addition of your son into the episodes was brilliant,wish my son showed an interest in the outdoors. Thank you. W.Burke

reallesstroud31 karma

yep - i own it

SpartySoup17 karma

Thanks Les! You've said that over the years you've become more or less 'immune' to mosquito bites. What other uncommon traits have you developed throughout your endeavors?

reallesstroud29 karma

withstanding the cold - but not my fingers - they suffer horribly

KniVEs416 karma

I just recently gave Survivorman a shot, and I have now seen every episode Netflix has had to offer.

You have been to numerous places around the planet and survived unfathomably harsh conditions for the enjoyment and education of many. Thank you for all that you do.

My question for you is: Is there any place on the planet that you absolutely could not survive the week? Have you ever had to turn down a location?

reallesstroud25 karma

not really - although i thought the side of a volcano was a stupid suggestion

kuzndave15 karma

Hey Les! I told you I'd be here (on facebook). It's great to see you filming again, and hopefully one day we can meet in person. My question for you, Do you think you'd ever be able to permanently Live in the wild? To go all "Robinson Crusoe"? If so, where would you live?

reallesstroud31 karma


but it would have to be in the tropics on a beach

JoeLittlehorn13 karma

I might be asking a little early, but I was thinking of going on ten mile winter survival expedition, what do you think?

reallesstroud27 karma


0takuSharkGuy13 karma

Hey Les! Great to have you here!

First off I just wanted to say that you're a great inspiration to me to become motivated and challenge myself so thank you for that.

I do have two questions.

  1. Was there ever a time where you got a shot but didn't (or almost didn't) go back to get the camera due to the difficulty?

  2. When are we gonna get a competition between you and Bear?!

Haha. Either way, you're a great guy so thanks!

reallesstroud37 karma

well i have lost a few cameras over the years - that is destroyed them


no competition

satty12 karma

My son and I really enjoy watching the show. Do you do anything the week before shooting to help during those days out in the elements?

Also can you say Happy Birthday to my son Gavin, he turned eight on Monday?

reallesstroud20 karma

happy b day Gavin!!!!!

ProfessionalDoofus9 karma

1) Your show is one of the very few my girlfriend and I can enjoy together. So thank you for that.

2) A lot of the areas you survive in are very similar (desert, tundra, forest). Is each survival experience unique or are two of the same areas similar?

reallesstroud12 karma

i try very hard to make them entirely unique

New_Pheightz3 karma

I heard you talk briefly on Rogan's podcast about what you believed to be a big foot encounter. Were you more terrified or excited at the time you heard the sound?

reallesstroud6 karma