‘Running Wild’ Star Bear Grylls on Skydiving With Alex Honnold, His Essential Gear, and Exploring the Jungle With Brie Larson

Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic
Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic


Bear Grylls is back again. The adventurer and all-around outdoorsman spent the last year traveling around the world to incredible destinations with some of Hollywood’s top celebrities for the new season of Running Wild.

This time around, Grylls brought together some major names, including Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, Free Solo star and climber Alex Honnold, comedian Joel McHale, actor and former Marine Rob Riggle, and Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista, among others. For this season, Grylls took his guests on some wide-ranging adventures, like cliff climbing in Italy, river rafting in Norway, helicopter jumping in the Panamanian jungle, hiking in the Arizona desert, and skydiving in Switzerland.

“This season is a huge one and it has the true adventure DNA running through it,” Grylls tells Men’s Journal. We were able to get extreme and push the envelope with our guests, like Captain Marvel herself. It was incredible to see these stars in a raw environment and face their fears and endure on these journeys.”

After airing on NBC for the first four seasons, Running Wild with Bear Grylls is moving over to the National Geographic channel for Season 5. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 10/9c.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic
Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic

Grylls spoke with Men’s Journal about the new season of Running Wild, his essential gear for expeditions, and where he might explore next.

Men’s Journal: Can you give a preview about some of the adventures you and your guests took this season?

Bear Grylls: We start off the season in the Panamanian jungle with Brie Larson, and we explored a remote, deserted island that was in some very tough terrain. There were sharks, mosquitoes, plus all the unknown that was in the jungle. She’s such an amazing person with an amazing story, and she was just so positive and hard working the entire time. With Cara Delevingne, we visited Sardinia in Italy, and she proved to be a truly resilient young woman. We also went there with Armie Hammer and he had a full-on journey; we went scuba diving and he had never been in water like this. We went into some caves under these amazing cliffs, squeezing through tiny holes, his heart rate was through the roof.

What was it like teaming up with Alex Honnold for an episode?

Alex was amazing to be with. He’s one of the greatest adventurers on planet, and he refused to use a rope on almost everything. “No I’m fine, I have a good grip,” he’d say to me. It was great to learn his story and see how he operates and moves around when he climbs. He was such a fun guy, and he went totally out of his comfort zone to go skydiving. There was some raw terror there before doing that, and yet here’s a man who we think probably can’t experience fear, but he did something new and overcame that. We traveled to Switzerland and rappelled off of a cable bridge while climbing mountains together. It was an incredible experience.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic
Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic

Where were some of your favorite destinations you got to explore this season?

With Rob Riggle we explored the Arctic, these incredible glaciers on the tip end of Iceland. We went through some huge crevasses, had freezing-cold nights together. It was amazing to hear his story of being a Marine and what role that has played in his life and his humor. With Dave Bautista we traveled to Horseshoe Bend in Arizona and explored Grand Canyon National Park. We climbed mountains and rafted across the Colorado River, spent time in freezing cold water and going across these massive cliffs.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic
Running Wild With Bear Grylls / National Geographic

For someone who hasn’t watched before, why would you recommend they watch this season?

You’re getting to see some of your favorite stars in a way you’ve never seen them before. People like Brie Larson, or Channing Tatum and Dave Bautista, they’re raw and speaking in-depth about their journeys and the triumphs and failures in their lives. It’s a unique type of show and the backdrops are simply amazing. We’re out there working hard and facing fears together, and I think people can take a lot from our experiences.

What are some of the essential pieces of gear you use on your expeditions?

It’s traditional, but having a really good knife and a water bottle is always essential. I always take a little down jacket that I can scrunch up, even during the times I’m in the desert. You always think you won’t need it, but a number of times I’ve found that when nighttime comes, or someone gets wet, it comes in handy. Also, a pair of spare gloves—the rookies always lose at least one glove [laughs]. We plan our journeys as well as we can, always making sure we have good communications, like satellite phones, and good medical supplies, like anti-venom for bites that may happen along the way.

How do you keep yourself in shape and train for these adventures?

I take the training very seriously. In between trips, I’ll do a lot of short, but very sharp workouts on a regular basis. It’s a lot of functional training, a lot of high-intensity interval training, like Tabata workouts. Those short bursts and high-intensity workouts really help.

After airing on NBC for the first four seasons, Running Wild with Bear Grylls is moving over to the National Geographic channel for Season 5. The show airs on Tuesday nights at 10/9c. See the full schedule and watch clips and episodes at the Nat Geo site here

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