How a YouTube star gained 5.4 million followers by mimicking the Stone Age

Key Points
  • Primitive Technology is a YouTube channel and blog that shows a man creating tools, shelter, clothing and other items completely from nature.
  • The channel is run by John Plant from Australia and has 5.4 million subscribers.

Ever wonder what it would be like to go back to the basics? A YouTube channel called Primitive Technology shows one man's journey into the Stone Age as he makes weapons, clothing, shelter and other items — without ever uttering a word.

John Plant, an Australian in his mid-30s, started Primitive Channel in May 2015. With 5.4 million subscribers and more than 359 million views, the project generates enough in ad revenue to fund Plant's frugal existence in far north Queensland. He also has a blog to further explain his work.

"I went to university and got a bachelor of science, but didn't do anything with it," Plant said via email. "Instead I mowed lawns for a living (self-employed) while doing Primitive Technology on the side as a hobby only."

Plant said he's now doing videos full time because they supply "more money than mowing."

Plant's obsession with subsisting off of nature started at age 11 when he would make small huts by a creek behind his house using only things he could find in the wild. He honed his skills and by age 18 could kindle a fire with sticks and leaves.

"People are naturally wired to be interested in this sort of activity because in the past those who weren't probably died out or didn't pass on their genes," he said. "This hobby also keeps me fairly fit and active, which is good for health."

Plant doesn't talk in his videos because he found when watching tutorials that he would usually fast forward to the demonstration.

While he embraces the Stone Age, Plant lives a relatively normal and modern life off camera.

"When I'm not in the wild I spend most of my time on the internet researching primitive technology" among other subjects, Plant said. "I don't live in the wild. This is just an interest, though I camp out in the huts some times."