Primitive Technology Guy - Who Is He and Is He Legit?


Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

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At some point, we have all been fascinated by the imaginary scenario of getting stranded on an island or in a jungle and having to find ways to survive. Whether it is Robinson Crusoe or Cast Away’s Tom Hanks, stories of survival in the wild always excite us.

This fascination is why the Primitive Technology YouTube channel commands such a massive following. The channel publishes videos about building things in the woods entirely from scratch without using modern tools or materials.

But who is this man running the channel and showing us how to build these things? Is he legit? Let’s find out.

Who Is the Primitive Technology Guy?

Australian John Plant found interest in building natural stuff as a child. He built his first hut at 11. John never thought his hobby would make him famous worldwide. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in science and mowed people’s lawns for money, but the best was yet to come.

While doing his lawn-mowing jobs, John Plant would often escape to the nearby woods and enjoy his hobby of building shelters and tools. Even without army training or indigenous background, Plant became good at it. 

At some point, John decided to film himself building something, and that was when everything began to change. Now in his late 30’s, John enjoys making tools, bricks, and building huts and cabins. He lives in a modern house and eats modern food but continues his hobby – which is now his full-time occupation.

Primitive Technology YouTube Channel

John Plant, sometimes known as “The Man,” started his YouTube channel in 2015. It crossed the astounding 10-million-followers mark in just a few years, and its videos have over 1 billion views. The channel has videos about building things in the wild using only natural materials.

Primitive Technology’s John Plant

On the channel, you will find various fascinating items such as primitive bellows, hatchets, a kiln, a forge blower, wattle and daub structures, etc. The vids demonstrate John Plant’s exceptional primitive skills and are simple, to-the-point, and easy to follow.

Plant’s YouTube videos are very different from those on the “prepping” channels, such as Canadian Prepper, which still require you to rely on modern technology. They are, instead, a way to learn survival skills in the absence of technology, including starting a fire, woodworking, stoneworking, etc. 

On a broader level, according to John, the channel is about pyrotechnology, shelter, weapons, food and agriculture, tools and machines, and weaving and fiber. BBC’s description states, “It’s like hitting the reset button and seeing how advanced you could become if left to fend for yourself.”

The channel has captured the attention of all sorts of people and institutions. It was nominated for the Shorty Award for Best in Education and the AACTA Award for Best Short Form Entertainment. Over the years, Plant has been interviewed by CNBC and BBC. BBC has also called him the most successful YouTuber on the subject.

Primitive Technology Website

John Plant also has a WordPress website that goes by the same name as his YouTube channel, where he shares blog posts about his work. However, the site seems inactive since about 2018.

Primitive Technology on Patreon

Viewers and fans of the channel can support John and his work through Patreon. Currently, the channel has over 1800 supporters on Patreon, who also get exclusive access to some of Plant’s videos.

Primitive Technology Book

After the success of his channel, John Plant decided to share his expertise in the form of a book. Interestingly, the publisher Clarkson Potter showed interest in the project, and now the book is available to fans. 

Priced at around $20, the book “Primitive Technology: A Survivalist’s Guide to Building Tools, Shelters, and More” has over 2,000 ratings, nearly all of them 5-stars. The book’s description claims that fans will get a detailed, behind-the-scenes look into John’s process for the first time.

Primitive Technology FAQs

Where does Primitive Technology live?

The primitive technology guy, AKA John Plant, tells us that he lives in far north Queensland in Australia. He shoots his videos in Australia’s lush, tropical rainforest.

What happened to Primitive Technology?

After over four years of successful videos, the Primitive Technology channel suddenly went silent. Fans wondered where John Plant was and if everything was alright. A fan reached out to Plant, and he responded, saying that he was fine and working on a different project for a while and that he would be back soon. As promised, John Plant was back on YouTube 1.5 years later, and fans continue to flock to his channel.

Who is Primitive Technology Man?

As mentioned, “The Man” on the Primitive Technology channel is John Plant, an Australian with a bachelor’s in science but a keen interest and excellent know-how about primitive technology and survival skills

Primitive Technology Top Videos

Here are the three most popular videos on Plant’s channel:

  1. Tiled Roof Hut: How to build a tiled roof hut is John’s most popular video to date. The full video is over 14 minutes long and has over 86 million views.
  2. Cord Drill and Pump Drill: With over 78 million views, the video about natural-material drills ranks second on the channel.
  3. Bow and Arrows: Building a bow and arrows from plants is as interesting as it sounds, and with 72 million views, it is also the third most-viewed video on the Primitive Technology channel.

Besides the above three, several other of John’s videos about bushcraft, woodworking, using cordage, etc., are hugely popular. We also recommend the “Primitive Technology: Iron Prills” video that cleverly uses bacteria for metalworking.

Final Thoughts

On paper, the idea of a guy quietly building stuff from plants, rocks, and mud does not seem like a crowd-pleasing one. And yet, with incredible ingenuity, John Plant manages to entice millions of viewers every year. While the world is adopting solar power and space travel, John Plant takes viewers happily into the past.

Our take? Primitive Technology is not just another YouTube influencer channel – it is a legit, high-quality channel with awe-inspiring videos. 

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