View RSS Feed


Regarding Cody's book: "98.6 Degrees..."

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
I've decided to post Rick's Review of Cody's book here as well as the follow up that transpired between Rick, Myself & Cody Lundin Himself. Somethings need to be kept out front where they can be seen at any given moment.

"I just completed 98.6 Degrees. The Art of Keeping Your *** Alive by Cody Lundin, I told Sarge I would provide a review so here it is.

As the title suggests, this book looks more at the physiology as well as the psychology of keeping you alive rather than the best type of shelter to build or the types of fire pits you can fabricate.

Mr. Lundin explains in detail the mechanics of how your body reacts to stressful situations, hypothermia for example, and what the impacts of those physical changes are on your chances and ability to survive. He also explains how you can counter many of those changes when an otherwise nice afternoon outing turns into a life and death struggle. Maintaining a core temperature of 98.6 degrees is, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, the fundamental law of the book and of nature.

Whether you have completed a Wilderness First Responder medical course or have trouble with the directions on how to open a band aid, his explanations are thorough enough for anyone to understand. As he suggests, “Don’t freak out on the big words; just understand the simple principles behind them.” And he does an admirable job explaining those principles.

He also spends time explaining the components of his survival kit and offers some innovative ideas with regard to a good many of the components. For example, “One of my (water) bottles has a short piece of parachute cord…(that) forms a loop that allows me to tie on cordage and lower the bottle into a crevice, wash, or windmill casing to retrieve water.”

Not a profound, earth shaking revelation but a simple addition that could provide you potable water in an otherwise dry situation. The loop and the windmill casing were both items I had never considered.

I found the book to be an informative compilation of the do’s and don’ts of outdoor survival as it relates to the human anatomy and allowed me to observe another dimension of outdoor survival. It’s yet another tool in my mental toolbox and an overall good read."

OK, listen up!
How many of you own Cody Lundin's book: "98.6 Degrees: The Art Of Keeping Your A$$ Alive."? Well, last night I fired off an e-mail to Mr. Lundin using the e-mail address listed in the back of his book and got a very fast response. I'd asked him about the possibility of showing up here and sharing his knowledge with us. He had happened to be at his computer writing up the finishing touches on an article for "Backpacker" magazine on his Mora knife(more on that later as the facts come out) otherwise I might not have caught him. He turned me down as he hates to be "desk-bound" using the computer when he'd much rather be outdoors enjoying nature. However he did extend his thanks to everyone here for buying and reading his book and asked if there were any questions anyone here had that I could pass on to him and he would answer through me back to you as his schedule permits. 1st off, he doesn't care for any "new" survival equipment as he's obviously into "Primitive" skills. 2nd, he doesn't want to "debate" and would answer only serious concerns. So how about it? Any Questions for Cody?

(From Rick)As a matter of fact...
First, if anyone has not read it. READ IT. Outstanding book. I'm almost finished and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The one thing I don't see in his book (and I've poured through it looking) is something to boil water in.

It's super cold, I've built this mongo fire and I'm kicked back enjoying some much needed long wave radiation. I could pull out my trusty dusty stainless steel cup, fill it with H2O and boil it to make my insides toasty warm, too; staving off hyporthermia for a bit longer. It would require little fine motor skills so I could do it when I'm really cold, and not use up my energy reserves trying to find something else to warm water in.

It could be used to hold other survival gear when not in use (so it doesn't take up much room) and I could use it to bang on to make noise after I sat on my pealess whistle and crushed it or my cold hands dropped it off that 500 foot cliff I nearly found. You could even drill a small hole in one side of the lip (if it doesn't have a handle) to attach a line so it could be lowed into hard to reach water sources as a backup to my water bottle with it's loop of paracord.

Just curious why he doesn't include something to boil water in.
(From Cody Lundin)
The question is “why don’t I include some sort of container to boil water (the intention was to deal with hypothermia via drinking warm or hot water) in my book 98.6 Degrees”. First off, containers, usually metal, that can be put directly onto a fire for whatever the intent, are amazing. I’ve dealt with primitive pottery, gourds, animal stomachs, etc. and they require a bit more finesse. I adore metal pots and such containers as they have many remedial and advanced survival and living applications, and I go into detail about how to get the most bang for your buck when using one to cook or boil water in my newest book When All Hell Breaks Loose. One of my courses, on its gear list, is a metal sierra style cup for many purposes.

The questioner rightly relates that boiling water in his metal cup is not a fine or complex motor skill… but creating his mongo fire is, and I talk about this in 98.6. Fire requires many variables such as an ignition source equal to or better than the skill level of the “lighter”, dry fuel, a safe place to build, protection from the weather if its crappy outside, constant adjustment, etc. The entire principal of the book in dealing with hypo and hyperthermia is to use clothing and water to thermo regulate core body temperature, simple gross motor options that won’t make the news or the Discovery Channel. (If you have forgotten that you will be scared sh*tless during a survival scenario, and what will happen to your ability to perform even basic skills, re-read the fear chapter) If you are properly dressed for the elements, you don’t need the fire for the statistical three day scenario, (usually much less), much less the need to drink hot water to fend off hypothermia. The book is based of course upon my opinion, but also on the experience of being with hundreds of students for many years from all different skill levels deep in the back country in all climates and weather. As I write this it is raining and blowing at about 30 miles per hour with 45 mile per hour gusts, not very fun mongo fire weather. The vast majority of my students, when they enroll in my classes to train, don’t know sh*t about building a fire, even if they think they do. My responsibility as an instructor is to deliver the most razor sharp SIMPLE truth as I see it, and I realize from direct experience that many people, even with some training, will choke when trying to light a fire, which again, is a serious, serious complex and fine motor skill, especially when someone is cold and scared and looking at a loved ones worried face. This is not a game. Survival situations by nature will kill you and those you love if not mitigated. It’s not the dumb sh*t stuff you see on TV and read about in desperate outdoor magazines that wish to sell another copy. Proper clothing is the “cake”, fire is “icing”, and drinking heated water are “candles”. If you had to choose one out of the three, which would you choose when threatened with a cold weather survival scenario?

In 98.6, I state over and over again that there is no Gods gift to a survival kit. There is no one size fits all survival kit, and readers are encouraged to modify their kit as they see fit, and I give reason after reason why I don’t like store bought kits. A metal cup would make an awesome addition, (entire hunting and gathering cultures revolved around the use of the container) and they have a variety that fits around the base of that Nalgene bottle. You can always add more sh*t to carry in a back pack or a survival kit. My kit has several “containers”, yet none that can be put directly over a fire, hence were back to my fire talk. Simplicity is the key to staying alive, and even though the questioners question is based in rock solid physiology, it is not a priority if other bases are covered. It’s really that simple, but to each their own, that’s what makes it YOUR survival kit. Regardless of the off-the-wall presentation style of 98.6, (as most Americans would rather be entertained than informed) there is much information that should be re-read. You will answer many of your own questions with some serious and prolonged introspection, not to mention getting off the computer and getting dirty. Find out what works for you, not just one or two weekends, but what works dozens of times, for you, in various weather and locales, not basing your life off my or anyone else’s opinion. Good luck and happy training!


(The following comment from Rick nails this shut. Ranger Rick had visited us awhile back with a lot of "negative garbage" & it was nothing like this.)
That, my friends, is how an expert should address the forum, IMHO. Factual, well written, and informative. I had assumed in my question the basics as Mr. Lundin described them above. Meaning I was adequately dressed and with it enough to get that fire going. But I did not communicate that. My error. However, he reinforced very well the basic precept of his book in a friendly and educated way bringing me back to a less desirable point. Namely, the basics. I like that. He did well. And it is a great book.

That's it gang, hope it helps! SARGE.

Submit "Regarding Cody's book:  "98.6 Degrees..."" to Digg Submit "Regarding Cody's book:  "98.6 Degrees..."" to Submit "Regarding Cody's book:  "98.6 Degrees..."" to StumbleUpon Submit "Regarding Cody's book:  "98.6 Degrees..."" to Google

Updated 07-28-2008 at 03:09 PM by Sarge47



  1. Justin Case's Avatar
    I had read this before but was worth reading again, Thanks !