Cody Lundin is easily recognized and hard to forget. He has broad shoulders, long blond hair in braids, a bandanna and bare feet. Cody is a survival instructor with more than 29 years of teaching experience. The Aboriginal Living Skills School, founded by Lundin when he struck off on his own after being an instructor at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, is ranked by some as one of the best survival schools in the country. During his courses, he emphasizes primitive skills like building shelter, fire, and finding water. He feels the more you know the less you need. This is not to say, however, that he eschews modern equipment and techniques.

For Lundin, survival is what matters. “Why spend hours building a debris hut if you have a thermal tarp available,” he said in a pre-Y2K interview in 1999. He has starred in the survival reality show, “Dual Survival” on the Discovery channel for four seasons, where his primitive living skills as well as his patience were tested against the military survival training of his co-stars. Lundin’s Prescott home was profiled in this magazine as an example of how proper construction can create a home with a small environmental footprint.

Lundin’s second book “When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes” is at its core a reference book which focuses on preparation for urban and suburban dwellers. The book is not written in a way that invites one to read it cover to cover any more than you would read an encyclopedia that way. That said, start at the beginning. The first chapter is titled, appropriately, “How to Use this Book.”

Lundin structured his book in such a way that it is easy to find exactly what you need. If you can’t commit to reading a whole chapter, each section has a “Super Simple Summary.” Let’s face facts, as important as field hygiene is, not many people are up for reading an entire chapter on how to deal with defecating after a disaster (including ever-helpful illustrations).

The “Head Candy” sections get down to the nuts and bolts about material goods. This emphasis of the book is about knowing what you truly need to survive and Lundin recognizes that every person and family is different. What some people can’t conceive of doing without is considered a luxury by others. It is your state of mind that more often than not determines your prospects for survival. When all hell breaks loose you’ll be glad this book is in your library.

MSRP: $16.99 paperback on Amazon.com $8.49 on Kindle.


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the August 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.