Sometimes when I get really into stories, I get on little jags and want to be more like the characters I’m reading about. For example, The Hunger Games made me want to learn archery and survival skills. The Rise of Nine made me want to learn karate and get in good shape so I could kick some ass. Twilight made me want to have sex with Edward Cullen.
You get the picture.
So, in going in the same vein as survival skills, I picked up 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by renowned survival expert Cody Lundin. I figured anything with the word “ass” in the title couldn’t be boring to read.
Lundin’s book mostly goes over what to bring with you if you were suddenly stuck in a “survival scenario.” He’s not talking about surviving a plane crash that dropped you in the middle of the desert or something extreme like that. The book delves more into being fully prepared for anything to happen on a hike or wilderness excursion that you choose to go on. I thought that meant we were going to learn some skills, like knowing the time based off the sun’s position, or how to find water in a random environment. Shoot, even how to build a shelter out of branches would’ve been cool.
But instead, half of the book was devoted to learning about regulating body temperature and staying hydrated. Seriously, is half the book necessary? The other half was devoted to what to keep in your “survival kit.” This was an extremely long and boring section on all the little knick knacks to bring with you in case of an emergency. I get it. Those are things you need to survive. But rather than making a bullet point list of the things you’ll need and a brief description of how to use them–Lundin rambled on in huge paragraphs or chapters for each tiny object. It wasn’t pretty.
I just wish he hadn’t gone into scientific description about temperature regulation and hydration. Yes, tell us the warning signs for hypothermia, hyperthermia, and dehydration. But we don’t need to know what it means on a cellular level.
Honestly, I don’t know anyone past the age of five that isn’t well aware of these things.
And (although this was good advice) he reiterated multiple times about telling someone where you’re going and what time to expect you back before you venture off into the woods alone. Tons of people have died because they’ve tripped along the trail, broken their leg, and died of exposure. Or one of a million other stupid, pointless reasons to die.
Does anyone really go off alone without saying anything anymore? I think Aron Ralston would’ve cleared that whole thing up for us by now….
I’m going to sum the whole book up for you right now: Drink lots of water, stay warm or cool as needed, tell someone where you’re going, have a small survival kit to bring with you–even on a day hike.
I’ll say it again…
Don’t go off alone in nature, stupid.
(Plus, as a side note, the whole thing reads like a guide your hokey, completely un-hip dad would write. Down to the crazy, 80’s reminscent cartoons. Also, Lundin apparently lives in a tent all the time and doesn’t shower too frequently. I guess that speaks volumes about his love life…)
1 arm you cut off yourself out of 5