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Backpacker Magazine – October 2012

Bear Grylls: Master of Disaster

Q&A with Guest Editor Bear Grylls

by: Anthony Cerretani

Bear Grylls Master of Disaster (photo by Ben Fullerton)
Bear Grylls Master of Disaster (photo by Ben Fullerton)

You need a high fitness level to do your job. How do you stay in shape?

I train hard five or six days a week and consider it a key part of my work to maintain the strength, endurance, and flexibility to be able to survive in difficult places. I need a lot of core strength and explosive power whilst in awkward positions. I work out for about 40 minutes; it’s a mix of functional core body weight exercises where I do 30 seconds of hard work, then 15 seconds of rest. I’m also outside a lot, in the rain or mud. When I’m dirty, I train harder.

How do you stay cool in a crisis?

Calm in the storm is a key principle instilled in new soldiers in the British SAS. I have always remembered that, and it is true for survival. When things go wrong, people panic into doing stuff that makes the situation worse. The key is taking a few critical seconds or minutes to think calmly and clearly. As you get better at this, you can think and act clearly in seconds.

You have a dream job. But if you had to change careers, what would you do?

I’d maybe be a lifeboat guy in the small Welsh community on the mainland, near our island in the U.K. I often find it quite tempting to leave all the madness and go do this. Instead, I help out with a team called Global Rescue (globalrescue.com). In an international disaster, they go in first, ahead of the aid agencies, to set up communications and airstrips, etc. Cool guys and it keeps the edge.

You’re married and have three sons. What do you get out of backpacking personally and with your family?

It gives you that all-precious sense of freedom and self-determination, and that rare chance to escape the noise of the city and reconnect with who you really are. Time alone, unhurried, is rare nowadays—don’t underestimate what it can do for you on so many levels. I often go out alone when I need some space and time. It is also magic to take my kids out and show them the ways of nature. People form real relationships in the wild. It is hard to hide the real you, and that is a good thing.



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Chris Sanders
Sep 25, 2013

You guys need to fix this site, everything I want to add a comment and be a part of the conversation there's always a problem.

I don't mind the article it was funny because I know better then to listen to Bear G. What bothers me is the ads that have dominated over the content. I can't tell where the articles of useful information begins or where the ads end. I understand about paying the bills but you can do better then this.

rick
Nov 20, 2012

this is why i no longer buy your mag , promotion of things that i would wipe off my shoe!

meanolddog
Nov 20, 2012

Interesting, no matter where I go on the trails or the net, and this guys name is brought up, people mostly spit or the politically correct remain silent..and here we have dozens of people giving their opinion of this guy while the Backpackers Staff are idolizing him...Kind of says it all about Backpackeer and how far they have sunk, must be reaching new lows now...

Scott
Nov 20, 2012

RELAX people, Bears real message wasn't "go buy my knife," it was depend on the HUMAN SPIRIT of Determination. That Spirit is what we need more of in life, not product placement.

Scott
Nov 20, 2012

I don't doubt Bear's skills, but the way he presents them on his show is very irresponsible. Les Stroud, while not as flashy or dramatic as Bear Grylls, teaches real survival skills on his show, rather than engaging in stunts to demonstrate his awesomeness. Les is also a musician and lives off the grid, though his penchant for homeopathic remedies is troubling.

Mike Martie
Nov 18, 2012

The survival knife he promotes with his name on it is over priced and of low quality. he does not give or demonstrate good survial skills on his show. His show his harmful to people wanting to acquire real survival skills. Don't waste your money on this guy.

meanolddog
Nov 11, 2012

Bear is a danger to himself and others. He is basically a Marketing gimmick which of course appeals to everyone at Backpacker who are basically Marketing people or what we call Maggots, as in marketing maggots, because their job is to decieve people into paying high prices and buying gear they don't need to keep that Advertising dollar coming in. Sure wish for the days of Mr. Rodale himself being around, he was an honest man...By the way, Bear's Machete has been recalled because as with most of the equipment with his name on it,. it is junk or near junk. I have six Years in the U.S.Marine Corps and would not want Bear in my Squad, as I said he is a danger to himself and others..and I still question him finding a Bear Trap tied to a Hawser Rope in the Desert especially after I lived in and near the Desert for some 30 years. If you people had any brains, you'd snuggle up to a real expert, as in Les Stroud..But Les is not a marketing wizard so you probably don't like him, plus he is knowledgeable and safe and smart, attributes you folks do not seem to find valuable and honest too..For shame...

Bob
Nov 11, 2012

I was so disappointed in BP to see Bear Grylls featured throughout the Oct issue. I know that they know better. Just trying to pander to the masses, I guess.

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

john mayden
Nov 09, 2012

you should be ashamed to promote this fool or do you want readers to die?

bill arden
Nov 09, 2012

this guys a joke follow his show and see or die because of this idchit!

bill arden
Nov 09, 2012

this guys a joke follow his show and see or die because of this idchit!

Jeff
Nov 09, 2012

Is anyone else sick of this guy? The only thing he's master of is self-promotion. His former "survival" show was a joke and offered bad advice. (Example: if you're trying to get found, build a raft out of logs and float down a whitewater river to safety.)

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