View Full Version : Book Review 98.6 The art of keeping your --- alive

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-01, 23:39
98.6 degrees: The art of keeping your ass alive!
Author Cody Lundin

I read Cody Lundins book awhile back and thought I would attempt to give a book review based on what I remembered. I am not very good with book reviews but I will try to touch on some of the topics covered in the book. The book was fun to read and has enough humor mixed in to keep your interest. It deals with "short term" back-country survival situations and helps you to choose items/tools and learn methods that will increase your chances of survival. It also has a great deal of information that can reduce your chances of getting into a survival situation in the first place. It is geared toward the back-country adventurer so you will not find any information on building bomb shelters or burying food for long term storage in your backyard.

In the book you will find suggestions and information on how to put together your own back-country survival kit of tools and items that are tailored to fit "your" needs. It explores possible kit components and combinations in subchapters with titles like: The private, passionate, pleasures of purchasing pompously portly prophylactics. An excerpt from this subchapter reads "The best part about having a condom in your back-country kit, whether you're male or female, is purchasing the little booger. Finally, men of all ages and backgrounds and the women who have suffered can say, with no uncertainty and in complete honesty,' I want the biggest, strongest condom you've got........nonlubricated please.' You'll be the envy of all your friends." Another subsection is titled petroleum jelly soaked cotton: fantastic family fun for creating a cheap, compact, effective, and efficient flaming friend. There is not a dull title, or page in the book.

More importantly, this book not only outlines tools for your kit, it stresses the importance of learning how to use the various items in your kit. He explains that your back-country kit is not "your" back-country kit until you have field tested it and are proficient in using each tool. It gives a reasonably good description of each tool and how it can be used. Most of the items he suggests are multi-purpose so you can carry less while still having a kit that will get you through, or help you avoid a back-country survival situation.

The book also tells of the importance of the seven P's. Some of you guy's already know what they are but for those that don't the seven P's stand for: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. It explains in detail the importance of planning. It also covers the steps of the popularly used acronym STOP: Which stands for Stop, Think, Observe, Plan. Cody uses the Swedish word for stop which is stopa. In his book he explains that "the A added to the end of stop stands for Act because a plan no matter how good it is, isn't worth beans until it is acted upon". Basically it is a order of planning and execution that is helpful, if not absolutely necessary, when facing a harsh environment or survival situation.

He also explains some of the Psychological factors that are involved in a survival situation. You will learn how a positive attitude can make a difference. He calls it having a "party on" attitude and gives advice on how to maintain a "party on" attitude. He also talks about maintaining your will to survive. This is not a new concept as I was taught at a early age that the will to survive could be one of the two "tools" you will possess in a survival situation where you have no "kit". In case you are wondering, the second "tool" is Knowledge. You will also learn how fear can affect you and others around you, causing a bad situation to get worse in a hurry. Cody gives advice on maintaining control while calming down those around you.

A couple chapters of the book are dedicated to the importance of maintaining a body core temperature of 98.6 degrees, hence the name of the book. It addresses not only Hypothermia but Hyperthermia as well. It explains the difference between the two and goes into detail about what you can do to insure that you do not end up in the clutches of either. He covers everything from clothes to shelters and from water to calories, giving advice on how to conserve the latter two. For instance chapter 8 is titled "The most common way to push up daisies in the outdoors". It is follow by chapter 9 which is titled "How your body loses and gains heat: The physics of freezing your fanny or baking your bones". In these two chapters, and a couple more, you will learn in detail what happens and how to recognize when you or someone else is suffering from hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration and other threatening conditions. There is also instruction on prevention and treatment.

There is more to this book and I recommend that everyone read it. As with any book there will be parts that either you don't agree with or will determine that they don't apply to your needs. Beginners do not need to fear that the concepts are over their head like some of the other long winded survival books. This book explains the basics more thoroughly and give you instruction on not only surviving an ordeal but more importantly explains how to avoid the situation to begin with. I think this book would be a good place for beginners to start before they go out and spend a bunch of money on survival gear that is inappropriate for their use or experience. ****SPECIAL NOTE**** : This book does a good job of covering the basics, but there is more to learn before you run off naked into the back-country armed with nothing but your finger nails and attempt to survive. Do not think that after reading this book you are the reincarnation of Daniel Boone. This book is only for information and if you choose to play Rambo after reading it, don't blame me. If you go into the back-country and all you have to survive on is the knowledge from this book, leave a will conveying all your worldly possessions to me before you leave.

Experienced Hikers, Adventurers, Hermits etc. may not find a lot of new information, but the way Cody explains and approaches things could give you a different perspective on the knowledge you already possess. For me it was kind of like reading an informative outdoor version of mad magazine. Cody's original and novel way of explaining things makes the reading more interesting and the memory retention easier.

Maybe somebody else here has read this book and can give a better review. Please feel free to do so. If you have any questions about the book I will try to answer them. If you see any mistakes that need to be corrected, let me know and I will take the appropriate action. I hope this review is of some help to someone somewhere.

2005-04-02, 04:45
Cody uses the Swedish word for stop which is stopa.
The swedish spelling is "stoppa".

A "stop" (pronounced "stoop") is that big mug (usually with a lid) vikings and germans drank their mead from. Making a verb from such a word would be slightly strange, IMHO. :)

"Stoppa" means "to stuff" or "make something stop", if you wonder. Swedish uses the equivalent of "stay", instead. "Stanna!" is the correct thing to say to that unbelievable swedish blond walking away from you...

But then again, swedish really is a strange language... Not very american at all. ;)

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-02, 17:23
Perhaps Cody did not consider that someone would know the correct definition. I rechecked the book and that is the word he uses and the definition he gives. Oh well, maybe I will be fortunate enough to avoid a Swedish emergency.....:fisheye:

2005-04-03, 05:10
He gets the pronounciation right, and has one less "P" to explain. Good enough. Maybe he knows how nice some "emergencies" can be around here with our long summer days and winter nights, who knows? Sweden is more than the stereotype, that's for sure. You might not like it, but then again, you might. :)

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-03, 18:37
He claims to have family from Sweden. :rolleyes:
Yeah I ran into one of those nice emergencies one time. I often wonder what ever became of her. :biggrin:

2005-04-04, 12:14
"there is more to learn before you run off naked into the back-country armed with nothing but your finger nails and attempt to survive" (so stated Rage in a Cage)

Darn! Rage you just kill all the fun. And to think (I do it every now and then), there could have been alot of good laughs out there. :) But then again, I got my morning chuckle while reading your book review. The info is really good to know. It shall keep me from being one of those laughs I hope. When I started off thinking about hiking I figured there wasn't much to it. Lace up a pair of hiking boots, grab my soda and sunglasses - maybe even a walking stick, and off I would go. But now I have read enough to fully understand that if it's not a easy stroll around a park (which I will save for days with my granddaughter(s)) - I had better unscramble my brains (that's what all the info has done for me so far) and learn the right way to attack a hike. Guess I will locate the book and read it. Maybe then some of the things people talk about will begin to register with me. Once again, Rage, thanks for your input. Have you ever thought about writing a book? I want a signed copy. I

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-04, 16:31
Nite, If I ever wrote a book it would be full of useless info like how to make a blanket out of 2 trash bags, duct tape and some leaves. :)
Like I said codys book was fun to read and provides the basics to get you thru a compromising situation that is for a short term of 3 or 4 days. If you think about it, that is long enough to be rescued in the majority of situations that outdoor adventurers face. Not only is it a plus to come back sans body bag, it is also nice to be able to keep various parts of your anatomy before/after your return. There are other books on the market but most don't clearly and simply explain the basics. I have two books that I bought recently from a major book store. Both were difficult to read and understand. The worse part was both books claimed to be for the modern adventurer but the info was badly outdated, unless you are still carrying a canvas tent and 6 inch cast iron skillet. :)
And in case you are wondering, Yes I have made a blanket out of trash bags, duct tape and leaves. Trash bags and duct tape are two of my favorite items in my survival/medical kit. :)

2005-04-04, 22:50
Rage, did you say canvas tent? My dad still has one that he got from Sears years back when I was a kid. It is still in excellent condition. Heavy as all get out but served a camping family for many (and I do mean many) great years. But I did finally get it across to my mom that silverstone skillets could fry potatoes as well as cast irons minus the strain on the muscles. I could not even think of hiking (even in my dreams) with a cast iron. That would be a nightmare! As far as the blanket of leaves, trash bags, and duct tape, seems I've heard of that before. Most likely from my days of being in Boy Scouts (first co-ed Explorer troop). In Girl Scouts, we never camped. But while in Japan, my troop went all over the island camping. We even got stranded on top of Mt Fugi during a typhoon. Never knew just how good Deviled Ham could taste! :) Did you try the blanket out of need or just to satify your curiousity, Rage? Were the leaves dry or wet? The things I would like to pass down to my granddaughter(s) are the good ol' fashion ways of surviving. Like some of the things shown on the movie The Edge. It's the 'what if(s)' that happen that I would like to have alot of knowledge about. Granted I still want to gain as much knowledge on the more modern ways, but I don't want to shuck the old out and forget about it. Last Aug I went into WV for a weekend of camping and whitewater rafting. Even though it didn't rain, everything was wet from the heavy dew. Took a long while to get a fire going, but I finally did it. Hunger ruled! And while I was there, I pulled off the road to go view a waterfall. I followed the path to the fall, but on my way back . . . I got curious. I went rock climbing. I never gave thought to the fact that something could happen to me and I had nothing with me other than my Pepsi. I will be going back to WV in Oct for Bridge Day weekend. Only this time I will be horseback riding and exploring. I will be better prepared for those 'what if(s)'. If you think I am a hopeless case when it comes to hiking, you should see me trying to fish with my granddaughter. That would have given you a good laugh. Bass Pro and Sandy Bottom Nature Center will both be giving lessons or courses on various different outdoor activities. I will be attending alot of them. I will also get that book. I like humor mixed with simple. Now if it has pictures . . . I'm good for go. :) But you should still think about that book. You have a way with words and a vast knowledge of useful info. A good mix of old and new.

Rage in a Cage
2005-04-05, 02:41
My first tent was canvas as was my first backpack. Times change and so does the gear. I still have an old canvas military mess tent that I cut in half. Some friends and I used to go hunting every year and used the tent at base camp. It took 4 people to roll it onto a plywood platform and load it into the truck.

Nite asked "Did you try the blanket out of need or just to satify your curiousity, Rage?"

I did it to satisfy my curiosity. The leaves were damp but not wet. I piled up a mat of the driest one's first. I had a third trash bag that I put over these. Then I made my blanket for over top. While it is possible to stay warm by raking up the leaves and crawling inside, the downfall is the dampness may lead to other problems. The trash bags addressed this problem. I slept in my hunting coveralls and was comfortable down to 25 degrees. I carry three heavy duty trash bags in my survival/medical kit at all times.

I have learned most of what I know from others. I just put more time into developing that knowledge into usable skills and then practicing to see what works and what doesn't for me. (that is why I made the blanket from trash bags and leaves) For instance, building a fire using a match is not that unusual in today's society, but building one in the rain while using that same match can be a difficult feat. I practice in the rain and the snow to be sure that I "really" can build one when I need it. I do the same with other skills and methods. Practicing outdoor skills in adverse conditions is the only way that I can build up any confidence in my abilities. I recommend that everyone do the same.

I don't think that the modern ways of doing things are that much different from the old. There are just more expensive ways of doing the same thing. The human body has the same needs and is maintained by using the same principles that the earliest settlers used. The same basic goals--Stay warm, stay cool, stay hydrated etc are the same today as they were way back when. We do have better technology and means to accomplish these goals but without the knowledge and skills, the technology will only end up giving a false sense of security. Do you remember the two young people that died this past winter when they got stranded in the snow and were not able to tell their, would be rescuers, where they were? The poor kids had a cell phone and were able to call help, but died because they first made a bad decision to go out in the bad weather unprepared and secondly did not possess the simple skills that would have saved them. Technology is not a replacement for brains. :bawling:

If you venture outdoors it is best to be prepared to face the unknown. Build a small survival/medical kit and learn to use it. Make sure to keep it small and light and put it in something that you are willing to carry with you. You can also buy the kits premade but the down fall is they may not contain items that "you" need. The other downfall is that having the kit and knowing how to use it are two different things. If you build your own kit you will be more familiar with its contents and the use of those contents. I hope I have not confused you. There is more to learning outdoor skills than could ever be written here. Feel free to send me a PM or an e-mail and I will steer you to some sites and books that may be helpful. In the end you must find out what works best for you by actually trying things out and perfecting your own individual skills.

I am going to W.V. this weekend but I will not be able to do much more than look around a little. Have you been to bridge day before? My daughter lived up the gorge from the bridge for a while. I loved going up to visit and hike. I spent a considerable number of weekends wandering around the gorge.

Bass pro has some good fishing clinics and can be helpful for those that are learning or that want to advance their fishing skill. Don't forget that they also use the clinics to sale their gear. Don't be sucked into spending a big bunch of money on fishing gear until you decide what type of fishing and gear will best suit you. Start small and build as you learn your strength's and weaknesses. By all means pass on all the knowledge that you can to your grand daughter. I know from my personal experience that grand parents are almost god in the eyes of their grand kids. :adore: If you are patient and teach them, they will listen and your legacy will carry on long after you have departed. Best of luck :)