5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster

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Editor’s Note: This post contributed by Laura. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.

We’ve pondered the question before, can preppers benefit from watching reality TV shows? Sure there’s a lot of editing involved, producers are on site in case things get really ugly and there’s a medevac on call in the event there’s a worst-case scenario. Despite all of the unnatural intervention, there are some reality shows that preppers can get more from than strictly entertainment. These reality shows can help you prep for a disaster.

If you choose DIRECTV or another reliable television service provider, you can use it as a resource while you still have it. There are a variety of shows that are designed to provide insight on living without modern-day luxuries and how to survive after a disaster. Here’s a list of current TV shows every prepper should watch along with a few past shows that are still on demand and streaming.

Doomsday Preppers

5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster - The Prepper Journal

Hope Mills, NC – With looming weather in the background, Mike Evock shows off his assault ready ATV. Coupled with new defensive strategies, Mike believes he will be able to fend off marauders. Mike Evock is preparing for a biological or chemical attack on the United States. He sees a nerve agent or chemical agent going airborne, and wrecking havoc on the masses.

(photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Bryan Regan)

This is the show that originally drew us into reality show disaster prepping. So much so, frequent contributor Capt. William E. Simpson appeared on the second season of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers. The show walks the audience through one prepper’s setup and how they are preparing should a wide-scale disaster strike.

While the spin-offs are somewhat silly, Doomsday Preppers provides a lot of practical knowledge. It’s beneficial to get an up-close look at how other preppers have accounted for things like water and safety in various situations. Practical Preppers, LLC also gives a detailed score at the end to provide viewers with an objective rating for how the prepper would fare in an actual disaster.

The Wheel

5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster - The Prepper Journal

The Wheel recently premiered on Discovery Channel. Now that there are a number of survivalist reality shows, each new one has to do something to set itself apart. The unique angle of The Wheel is that it takes place is six dramatically different locations across South America.

In this first season, four men and two women will each spend time alone in the six zones. They have no idea when the “wheel” will turn, picking them up and dropping them off in a new location. This show really pushes people to the extremes by exposing them to frozen tundra, dense rain-forests, and mountains in very short order.


5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster - The Prepper Journal

This was the first show to really put people in the middle of nothingness to see how they overcame the struggle of survival out in the wild. The formula obviously works since Survivor will soon be on its 34th season – although the earliest seasons are the best suited for survivalists.

Even though it’s more of a competition with obstacle courses and rewards you’d never get in a disaster-stricken area, there are some nuggets of gold. For one, you can see the psychological breakdown that comes with extreme stress and loss of resources. It’s also interesting to watch how leaders step up in a group and how others fall in line. It would be nice if they showed more of the players learning to make fire and fishing with spears and less social strategizing.

The Colony

5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster - The Prepper Journal

The whole premise of this reality show is built around a group of strangers trying to survive a disaster situation in an urban setting. In other words, it’s every prepper’s worst nightmare. But in a real disaster, you could easily find yourself in this situation.

The Colony first aired in 2009 when prepping was starting to become a more mainstream concept. Over the course of three months, the group tries to rebuild a semblance of the reality they once knew. It really helps that among the group are usually at least a few people with mechanical and science backgrounds. Even though there were only two seasons, The Colony is worth watching since it’s among the few survivalist shows set in a city center.

Naked and Afraid

5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster - The Prepper Journal

The interesting twist on the Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid is that people really start with nothing – not even clothes. A man and a woman are put into a rather extreme environment like a swampland where they must work together to survive for 21 days.

The show gets very, very real at times and is one of the best examples of how animals in the wild pose a real threat. Throughout the three weeks, the man and woman must find and make everything for themselves – food, water, shelter, and clothing.

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I love all the shows…I learned a lot.


I would have to comment, that yes the shows are scripted and not really “reality”, there sometimes is some knowledge to be gleaned. However, simply watching a tv show does not make you any better at outdoor survival. It’s up to you to explore that tidbit of info and get out and see if you can make it work. Try starting a fire with primitive means and then come talk to me. It looks easy on tv. You will find out differently in real life. Oh, and I completely disagree with survivor as that show sucks. In the list above… Read more »


Survivorman is excellent. The Island season one with Bear G is okay compared to these.
No Alone mentioned? That’s okay entertainment. Jericho season one is worth a watch. I tried watching NAA but it was utter tripe and the naughty bits are blurred!


America’s Got Talent is missing from the list. Shows how insane it is to watch tv. Interesting concept for an article but these five are total bs. DDP is a trip into the dark and mindless side of paranoia. Prepping with Dollars for the terminally antisocial. The others are just silly fluff. Even Bear has better shows, from a Shtf prepping viewpoint! Colony was okay but series two repeats series one and didn’t they kill someone? Mind you someone on youtubby was saying The 100 is a good show for tips. Worlds gone mad! Going to watch Contagion to learn… Read more »


Agreed. Not sure about the author, but probably a “lifestyle” blogger padding her resume to include “prepping crazies” to her tags.

Silent Earth

I think I prefer stuff like the Bush Tucker man, Bear Grylls and Ray Meers for wilderness survival insights, and probably the Discovery / History channel documentaries on disasters and how people survived them, topped by article from guys like Ferfal in Brasil, that dude who survived in Bosnia and wrote of his experiences and never forgetting the MD who survived H Andrew and finally the guy from 911 who survived escaping from the towers. Other shows like NEW LIVES IN THE WILD are quite good. I have been in discussion with assorted TV producers / film makers who have… Read more »

Silent Earth

If you can access them the series BEN FOGLE, NEW LIVES IN THE WILD are well worth watching. He goes to live with assorted people who have turned their backs on main stream society and convention , sold up and moved to remote locations in places like Chile, Alaska, The South Pacific, Remote Utah, Mid Australia, Top of Finland etc


i find these shows interesting. my friend and I watch them and critique them and hash the scenerios out on what we think would work or not, or a workaround. obviously these shows are scripted and outlandish for tv effect, but there are some good ideas of what to do and not to do..

paul crosley

A very good Urban Survival show was Rudy Reyes’ Apocalypse Man. A lot of good advice crammed into less than an hour. Although the part about using a grappling hook to climb a bridge was a little over the top.


You are not a true Prepper unless you have a grapple hook and two hundred yards of climbing rope in your bug out bag :-). Yes it was fun. Much better than the BG episode on urban

Terrarium TV

Doomsday Preppers is my all time favorite TV show. I love enjoying this show. Pretty cool.

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