Sunday, October 10, 2010

Survival Library: Cody Lundin's Books

      My 'Survival Library' book's today are from a survivalist who has become more popular recently with his hit Discovery show "Dual Survival".  His name is Cody Lundin, and his approach to survival, survival prep, and environmentalism are interesting to say the least.  He bases his survival skills on the premise that the easier and more simplistic, the better.  Not only does Cody teach survival, but he has "literally" lived it for many years of his life.  From being homeless, to living in a yurt, to now living in a 'very low' impact, underground home in Arizona, he practices what he preaches. 

      His first book "98.6 Degrees, The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!" is about survival in an outdoor setting (i.e. getting lost while in the backcountry.)  As the name suggests, he really dives into the number one killer of people when lost in the bush; exposure.  He explains the importance of keeping your core body temperature at 98.6 degrees so that you don't succumb to 'hyperthermia' or 'hypothermia'.  Cody presents his books with a sort of comical approach.  Between his funny pictures, drawn skillfully by Russ Miller, and his uncensored print, it's definitely not The Army Survival Manual.  I really appreciate Cody's sense of humor, and love his simplistic style but, he ironically gets very technical (a.k.a. boring) when he starts explaining some of the more scientific aspects of survival.  It's almost like a brilliant doctor comes along, writes the meat of Cody's books, and then Cody comes in and puts in his snarky remarks here and there.  Not that I believe that's what Cody does, and doesn't know what he's talking about, far from it.  What I do believe is that he is obviously very intelligent, especially when it comes to the scientific stuff, and can get very technical at times.  I think it's ironic though, because Cody Lundin is known as a bit of a "bush hippie" in the survival community.  So to read his stuff, and realize that he sort of bores me when he goes off on a 'technical tangent', was a bit ironic.  

     Cody explains his preferred, and suggest survival kit in "98.6 Degrees", and its simplicity really sets it apart from most survival kits.  Because Cody lives, and teaches in a desert environment, his kit is based on a more arid survival environment, but that doesn't mean you can't use the items and ideas from it.  He suggests items that are functional, cheap, easily replaceable, and even easier to function in a stressed situation.  His kit covers the five basics; shelter, water, food, fire, and medical and is explained in detail in the book.

     On a side note, Cody prefers to use Mora carbon steel knives, and wears one around his neck.  He's not the first survivalist to really appreciated the Mora, and not the first to wear a neck knife, but he's the first you will see on a mainstream survival show use it.  I too have been a fan of the carbon steel Mora's for a while, and am real happy to see a TV survivalist use this simple, efficient knife.  Here is a link to a few of my posts on knives.

     Cody's next book; "When All Hell Breaks Loose; Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes", is suppose to be about how urban, and suburban peoples should prepare for, and how to survive a disaster.  It sort of misses this objective though, in my opinion.  Instead, it's more of a book on proper camping procedures, and what you should do if you were forced to long-term bug-out.  It's still a good read though, and shares the same artist, Russ Miller, and Cody's wacky sense of humor (which I thoroughly enjoy) from 98.6 Degrees.  It also touches upon many of the topics bought up in "98.6 Degrees", but gets into much more detail.  "When All Hell Breaks Loose" is also twice as long as "98.6 Degrees".  WAHBL's real strong points are in its explanations of 'very intelligent' homesteading techniques and, because Cody lives in a desert, its detailed information on proper storage, disinfecting, usage, and conservation of water.  He really drives home the fact that; humans really do waste this precious resource.

     You can tell Cody has lived an interesting life from these books.  You can also tell he has lived, not only taught, these lessons for years.  In truth, his books leave in me a real desire to read more about his unique life, and I prey he does something more autobiographical someday.  I would also love to read more about his home, and his everyday homesteading techniques.

     I really love Cody's simplistic/minimalistic style.  Whenever I find myself getting a little "gear crazy", thinking I need all the newest, and greatest survival gear on the market, I just pick up one of his books, look over his gear list, and relax.  Cody is my voice of reason, and reminds me that skills and knowledge comes first, and that complicated gear can be a nuisance, and is best left in the store.  I mean, the guy walks through the toughest terrain in the world barefoot, practically naked with a $15 knife.  If he is not a minimalist survivor, I don't know who is.

     Check out my Cody Lundin storefront page for gear that Cody uses in his survival kit. 


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