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Primitive Living YouTube Is the Antidote to Our Detached Digital Lives

How to live like a caveman and still live well.
Primitive Living YouTube Is the Antidote to Our Detached Digital Lives
Screenshot via Tube Unique Wilderness

Societal collapse is a trend that just won't end. We've got endless sci-fi novels about the end of civilization, a whole season of American Horror Story, and an entire lifestyle dedicated to prepping for the end of it all. But if—or when—it all comes crashing down, there's one man who won't be fazed one bit—the primal as-fuck host of Tube Unique Wilderness.

The channel follows an unnamed host as he creates awe-inspiring homes, meals, and even exercise equipment, out of some pretty primitive materials—mud, sticks, bamboo, and tree trunks harvested from the jungles of Southeast Asia. He looks like a timeless figure, a tanned, muscular man with a scraggly beard, and unkempt curly hair who tears into an ant mound with no hesitation at all to harvest some mud he needs to cement up the walls of his modest forest home.


The only "words" here are grunts and howls. The only clothes, a single pair of well-worn boxers. The only tools, a few sticks and blades. But with such limited means he creates truly amazing habitats like this two-story villa with its own pool:

There's something undeniable primal about his wordless work. Watch in awe as this true man of the forest grunts and wrestles with a crocodile that he, for reasons known only to him and the forest gods, decided to catch in a bamboo trap:

Or here, where he lets out howls of ecstasy while bathing in his second(!) rooftop bamboo swimming pool:

These videos are part of a weirdly addicting subculture on YouTube. While other viral hosts use promotional giveaways and cultivate clickbait personalities, these channels are all about life before social media influencers, or, hell, even electricity. In Survival Skills Primitive, a similar channel, two shirtless men silently show you how to catch, cook, and eat some giant crabs in the forests of Vietnam.

What is it I find so appealing about these videos? We all live in an age of wonders like wifi-equipped sex toys and drones armed with flamethrowers, but, for some reason, I keep coming back to watch videos of jungle hermits chowing down on beetle grubs and acting like we're living all alongside neanderthals again. These videos feel like a return to humanity's roots, even though all these Ice Age skills are being recreated for the YouTube Age instead.

It's all basically an advanced version of what's typically called "bush-craft"—the kinds of survival skills made popular by men like the piss-drinking, ice wall climbing, living meme that is Bear Grylls. But these men often go beyond the sheer shock factor of life on the edge, showing you not only how to survive, but how to live like a king as well.

Now, if you're like most VICE readers, you're probably living a sedentary lifestyle behind a computer all day where the most physical you get is the odd Crossfit class or some Sunday morning yoga. And that's fine, we're all right there with you, trust us.

But that doesn't mean you can't live vicariously through the lives of these self-styled jungle survivalists. Because, I mean, when you really think about it, who needs smartphones, or shirts, or words, when you have you have jungle wine? Amirite?