Tag Archives: survival

Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere–Alive by Les Stroud

I was a little trepidatious to start Survive! simply because I’d read 98.6: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin not too long ago and I hated it.  It was longer than necessary and super boring, and I all really learned from it was to bring a bunch of survival objects with me, cover them all in neon tape, and DON’T GO OFF ALONE IN NATURE, STUPID. A long pamphlet would’ve sufficed. 

So it was a pleasant surprise when Les Stroud’s book was written in a much smoother format and he actually told me things that would help me survive.

Uh… Isn’t that the point? Survive-9780061373510

I actually learned things while reading Survive! and on a recent trip to the camping section I recognized several things he’d mentioned in his book–and I knew how they could be used. (This is no mean feat for me because I HATE camping, tools, and fixing anything).

I liked the fact that he included real life anecdotes about people that had used his techniques to survive–like the couple whom, when stranded in their truck in a blizzard, ripped up the seat cushions and fashioned snow shoes out of them. They then used the shoes to walk many miles to safety (and didn’t lose any toes to frostbite!)

He also mentioned some things that I would’ve never thought of until my “survival moment” happened. Like don’t get all emotional about destroying the environment if it will help you live. I could totally see myself not wanting to rip down saplings to build a shelter or feeling horrendously guilty about burning rubber to generate a signal fire. He makes the point that you can use your bleeding heart for nature’s benefit at a later date, right now you are trying to live to see said later date.

Good point.

Stroud reiterated several important pieces of advice throughout the book, including staying hydrated and being extremely careful about eating any unknown plant matter. He said that many people will die of thirst rather than drink from an untreated water source, but really, when it comes down to it, shouldn’t you be willing to take that chance if it’d save your life? He stated that someone’s irrational fear of stomach upset/diarrhea/parasites outweighs the much more realistic fear of dehydration. He argues that if you make it out of your situation alive, you’ll be able to get treated for parasites later. But you’ll never get treated for anything if you weaken and die because you were unwilling to drink from the puddle beside you.

He also said that many people fear starving to death above anything else. They are convinced that by not getting three regular meals a day they are on their way out. This leads them to make stupid decisions about eating native flora and that in and of itself has caused a number of deaths. You can survive for a LONG time without eating, but not very long without drinking. This means don’t go eating that pretty mushroom or strangely-shaped leaf because your stomach is growling. Be smart about it.

This is a must read for everyone, because you never know when you may need some survival skills!

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Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts

Seeing as it’s freshly October, some scary books are in order… Rage Within, sequel to the ultra-creeptastic Dark Inside. (DI was a great book. I’d be reading it next to the sleeping boyfriend and still jump out of my skin every time the house creaked.) 

Roberts’ post-apocalyptic world is less zombies and more terrorist attacks meets natural disaster meets rage virus. It follows the lives of a handful of teens as they try to overcome the insurmountable odds against surviving in their deadly environment. The people that have caught the rage virus are known as Baggers and in book two they are more intelligent and more organized, therefore much more dangerous.

Obviously it’s easier to run from mean but stupid things–like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park–but much harder to run from mean but smart things–like the raptors. (I seriously still have nightmares about them!)

While RW wasn’t quite as scary as DI, it was still an enjoyable and sufficiently creepy read. I was less scared out of my wits and more on the edge of my seat, if that makes sense. There was still plenty of action, gore, and suspense–just not as much utterly horrifying mental imagery.

In this book, we get to find out what the Nothing infecting everybody really is. We also learn that the Baggers may not be as easy to read as previously imaged. Scary, huh?

I am pissed off that the character Colin has lasted this long, and once you read the story you’ll get what I mean. I’m sorry, but if I had a group of friends together in a safe house and one little jerk was beginning to compromise our safety… Well… let’s just say he’d have another thing coming. Marshall law for the win!

Roberts has definitely left an open ending for another book, which I’ll be eagerly awaiting. I’m not sure how well things will turn out, however, because things aren’t looking so good for the humans these days…

Definitely worth the read, especially in honor of Halloween.

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98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin

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.

I guess I was wrong….

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…)

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