“Primitive Technology,” the YouTube series that has garnered over 7.7 million subscribers, stars a man foraging around an Australian forest. For the past three years, it has captured the undivided attention of people around the world for a reason that has also eluded most of them.
From chopping trees to making charcoal, the series’s host John Plant has provided an “extreme camping” experience similar to Bear Grylls, without the gore or commentary.
Plant walks around shirtless in the northern Australian forest, creating shelter and gathering food and materials sans modern technology. But who is this mysterious “John Plant,” or more accurately, “John Doe?”
Turns out, he is not as much of an enigma. In every video’s description, he posts an extensive “Q and A” section and describes who he is and what he does.
“Q. How did you learn all this? A. Researching books and internet plus trial and error. I’m not indigenous and have no army training.
Q. Why don’t you talk in the videos? A. When I watch how-to [sic] videos, I fast forward past the talking part to see the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration.”
While not the computer-animated spectacle that is Marvel’s “Avengers” or the hypnotically narrated “National Geographic,” Plant’s channel maintains the same level of mesmerization and “wow factor” … Without a single word being spoken.
Plant considers his channel a hobby but has spent dozens of hours in the wilderness, trying to recreate what life was like in the Stone Age. He somehow integrates the camera so seamlessly it makes us wonder how he finds the time to do so.
Critics say the videos are boring and hard to sit through. But it’s not just the visuals that contribute to the experience. It’s the fact that he’s a normal civilian, who doesn’t have the army training of Bear Grylls or the nearly unlimited resources of National Geographic, but somehow survives and thrives in the Australian Outback and shares his adventures with his seven million subscribers.
The videos won’t teach you how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse or make an emergency shelter. It’s unadulterated, pure, and lives by one simple rule: “Make things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools and materials.”