In this segment, we take a look at a talented YouTuber, with a channel rich in valuable knowledge and information.
Not only do we discuss some of their videos, we get to know the YouTuber by inviting them to participate in a Questions and Answers (Q&A) session.
We encourage you to take a look at each YouTube channel featured in our Spotlight articles.
The Man - David Pearson
David was born in August of 1967, raised in North-West Georgia in the United States; where he lives today working professionally as a machinist and welder.
You may be surprised to hear that he didn’t spend all that much of his youth in the great outdoors.
He found his passion (and, in my opinion at least, true vocation) in the late ’80s, when he started camping with his colleagues.
Skip forward to today, and David is now a mainstay of the outdoor-related YouTube community; sharing his knowledge with the world.
The Chanel - ReallyBigMonkey1
While the channel name certainly doesn’t scream “outdoor education,” and perhaps indicates something more like a “Prank” channel, I assure you that there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from this YouTube channel.
A YouTube member since June 18th, 2010, David’s first video was uploaded on January 15th, 2011.
Starting, clearly, as he means to go on, David’s first video addresses one of the most prolific problems experienced by outdoor enthusiasts: starting a fire when everything is wet.
This video has over 40,000 views so far.
Since then, his channel has – deservedly – amassed a following of more than 86,000 subscribers; and, judging by the ever-expanding comments sections on even his oldest videos, his audience continues to grow.
While more than 86,000 subscribers and over 9.3 million views are certainly impressive numbers, one of the most unique and distinguishing things about David’s channel is that he responds to almost 100% of viewer comments.
This engagement with his audience makes David feel less like a presenter, and more like a personal friend to all.
Something I personally appreciate about the way David presents his videos is that he invests significant time to explain not just what to do and how to do it, but why he does things the way he does.
With that in mind, most of David’s videos are more than 30 minutes long; yet they never grow boring or slow.
Amongst his many talents, David is well-known as being a master of shelter design and construction. I doubt there’s any terrain within which he couldn’t build the bushman’s equivalent of a five-star hotel.
His outdoor shelters are legendary!
Far from a one-trick-pony, David is also a master of fire, water, food; indeed, every aspect of life in the great outdoors. I have personally learned more from him than any other two YouTubers combined.
He even designs and builds his own knives and other tools!
Back in April 2013, David was out testing his custom-designed “Dakota Pit Tent,” which was a carefully-designed, fire-heated tent.
While changing the battery on his camera, the tiny fire in the fire bowl drew vastly more air through its “Dakota Pipe” than expected, resulting in the tent erupting in flames.
The resulting fire destroyed the tent, leaving a visually-troubled David to decide whether or not to discuss the aftermath in the video, highlighting the design flaw to others whom may have decided to copy his concept for themselves.
The decision to share this with his viewers sets David apart as a genuine and honest man, not afraid to share his failures as well as his triumphs.
If for no other reason than this public honesty, I cannot convey the profound amount of respect I have for David; not only for his skills, but for his integrity.
Before writing this article, I contacted David Pearson, informed him that he and his YouTube channel would be the subject of the “YouTuber Spotlight,” and asked if he would object to answering a few questions so that readers could get to know a little more about him.
Graciously, David accepted, and so I sent him a small group of questions. Here are those questions, and David’s answers.
When and how did your interest in the outdoors begin?
I hadn’t spent much time outdoors.
In 1987, I got a job working third shift in a steel mill. The other guys would sit around and talk about their weekend camping trips.
Being the new guy, I went along with them to fit in. Turns out I enjoyed camping and the outdoors more than any of them guys, and I was hooked for life.
Where did the name “Reallybigmonkey1” come from?
“Reallybigmonkey” was an idiotic name given to me by my mentors because I liked tree shelters so much, and often used trees to cross streams.
It’s a dumb name, but one you just cant forget!
You’ve mentioned in your videos that you have mentors, and pointed out occasions where they would do things a little differently. Who were they and how did you meet them?
My mentors were the guys that everyone at the mill went camping with. At the time, they were a lot older than us.
Flat Head Ed had a son that grew up and moved off and didn’t have much to do with him.
Big Nose Mac had a grown married daughter that moved off too.
They didn’t have much to do at home, and they were both semi retired, so they camped every weekend and took all us young-uns camping to teach us how to do it.
They were smart but grouchy old guys. Odd and very secretive. No one called ’em by their real names, we all had nicknames.
Beyond your mentors, is there anyone else out there you’d consider to be an idol or inspiration?
How has your YouTube channel changed your life?
YouTube has changed my life by opening up the doors to friendships I never would have known.
Because of YouTube, I now have friends in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Canada, England and Italy.
You’ve taught a great many people on YouTube (myself included) a heck of a lot over the years. Have you also been learning new things from other YouTubers?
I have absolutely learned a lot from other YouTubers.
The other video makers have their own ways, and some ways are better than mine or ways I have never seen.
Even my viewers leave a lot of knowledge in the comments section. I almost always learn from folks’ comments.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in terms of the outdoors?
I guess my greatest accomplishment outdoors has been to conquer my fear of being completely alone in the wilderness.
Often times when a person camps solo every little sound freaks them out. I did it often until I got used to it.
In reality, there’s not much out there at night that isn’t there in the daytime.
I’ve always told myself that and it works.
What would you say is your worst (or most funny) mistake made in the outdoors?
My worst mistake I ever made in the outdoors had to be the time I drank out of a clear moving stream without filtering that water.
It was cold and running so I thought it was safe. I was sick for over a month. ALWAYS purify water.
Do you see your son following in your footsteps, and continuing to teach people the benefits of not only your outdoor experiences, but his own as well?
I honestly don’t see my son doing this on camera in the future. Once I quit, I bet he quits.
He will camp but he’s just not as into the whole social media thing.
If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?
I think if I could be any animal I would be an Eagle.
I could soar above in the skies, knowing no nuts was gonna shoot me down, haha.
Check out David's Channel!
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the sheer breadth of knowledge, across a truly vast spectrum of outdoor-related subjects, made freely available on David’s YouTube channel.
Whether your love for the great outdoors is new to your life, or you’ve been practising your outdoor skills for decades, I guarantee there’s a lot you can learn from David’s videos.
Beyond the invaluable knowledge on offer, David’s videos are remarkably entertaining. Some of his expressions are extremely endearing, for example “clear as mud,” and the way he says the word “fantastic” to sound like “fayuntastic.”
I’d like to finish by sincerely thanking David for taking the time to answer my questions, providing some of the photographs used in this article (the rest are screen-grabs I have sourced from his videos) and of course for sharing his impressive knowledge and experience freely with us all.
Do yourself a favour; go and check out David’s YouTube Channel right now. You can thank me later, once you’ve finished binge-watching his videos!