Note: Jeep® Owner’s Bible™ author Moses Ludel has taught 4WD technology, mechanics and four-wheel driving skills. As a technical consultant to 4WD vehicle manufacturers, he was one of the original Tread Lightly 4×4 Clinic instructors and presented annually at the Camp Jeep® Mopar Tent workshops…Cody Lundin’s lifestyle is much like that of aboriginal people. As he counsels in his books and the Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survival”, Cody believes that prepared folks can keep it together under the most challenging survival conditions.
Moses guides this Jeep 4×4 across a fast-moving stream crossing. Cody Lundin occupies the passenger seat during this segment of their survival workshop. Participant Dan Patterson steers his Wrangler Rubicon TJ into the swift water.
Cody Lundin demonstrates natural fire starting. The native fuel is a safe, consistent fire source. Ample oxygen keeps an ember burning steadily. When it’s time to grow the fire, you add more of this fuel.
Imagine getting stuck in a blizzard—not your ordinary winter storm, something more like the fury of a blinding, sub-zero whiteout in the Grand Teton Range. Or maybe your four-wheeling adventure, just outside Death Valley National Park, has turned into a scorching July nightmare when a rock punches a hole in your engine’s oil pan—the engine chucked a connecting rod, and every water sighting for the last fifty miles was a mirage. Wouldn’t this be a good time to have a Paleolithic hunter or aboriginal survivalist as your wheelin’ buddy?
At the Branson, Missouri, Camp Jeep 2003, my Mopar/Jeep Accessories workshops included a colorful guest. He was easy to spot, the only attendee at the event who wore cut-offs, a tank top, braided pigtails and no shoes. For a Middle America crowd and corporate sponsors from Detroit, this was an unusual sight. Given the climate, Cody Lundin got a lot of glances!
Before we hit the 4WD trails, I explain a Full-Traction 4” Ultimate Suspension package. Participant Dan Patterson (standing at left with his daughter) and I had just installed this system on his 2004 Rubicon TJ. In my workshops, I place each participant’s 4×4 on the hoist, describe its overall design and pinpoint the vehicle’s vulnerable areas…Can you spot Cody Lundin?
At my Mopar workshops, Cody asked earnest questions about Jeep survival and how to keep his 300,000 mile CJ-7 running on its original engine and geartrain. I recognized Cody Lundin as a genuine Jeep 4WD enthusiast, and we hit it off immediately.
Soon thereafter, Cody’s book, 98.6 Degrees: the Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!, earned rave reviews and rocketed to the forefront of authoritative works on the art of aboriginal survival. Among its many insights, the book addresses human physiology in the face of life-threatening stress. Recently released, Cody’s When All Hell Breaks Loose has earned acclaim.
Cody and I became fast friends, and he remained busy with his Aboriginal Living Skills School, LLC, located near Prescott, Arizona. Despite Cody’s ability to thrive off the land in tranquil solitude—fishing by hand, grubbing or brain tanning—he has spent a good deal of time either training hosts or hosting significant outdoor survival programs like Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survival” as a co-star with Dan Canterbury.
Cody brings out materials for his segment of our workshop. We’re about to head afield. Cody is ready for any challenge, sharing details with workshop participant James Langan (at right). He knows we’ll survive; barring special dietary needs, there are plenty of crawling and scurrying critters out there to feed the group! My angle: I plan to get us home by meal time—driving the Jeep 4x4s!
Cody Lundin is fully capable of entertaining himself, yet his public appearances and credits include the Today Show, PBS and Discovery Channel specials on survival. For the History Channel’s “Digging for the Truth: The First Americans,” Cody spent a frigid January training host Matthew Bogdanos at winter primitive skills in the Grand Teton National Park near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The training included constructing snow shelters, primitive fire lighting and butchering a mule deer with a stone knife—all on snowshoes!
More recently, Cody Lundin has co-hosted the Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survival“ series with military-trained Dave Canterbury. Cody is the real aboriginal deal, and when we partner to conduct a workshop, my four-wheeling and vehicle preservation skills dovetail with Cody’s ability to emulate a 40,000-year-old Paleolithic lifestyle. Cody could easily survive a widescale drought, Global Warming or an Ice Age.
Cody knows many ways to create a cooking or warming fire! Here, he explains the virtues of cotton balls saturated with petroleum jelly, the mini-fireballs that can get your fire started in the dampest and most dire conditions. Combining Paleolithic skills with compact, easy-to-carry modern fire starting materials, you can be cozily warm while the search-and-rescue team inches its way up the mountainside.
Cody teaches any level of survival short of motor vehicle fixes—he confesses that his lifetime accumulation of automotive tools would fit into a fishing tackle box! That’s where we complement each other, bridging technology from the Stone Age to the Motoring Age.
If a wilderness, on the ground survival school sounds appealing, contact Cody Lundin through his Aboriginal Living Skills Survival School website: www.alssadventures.com. If enough Jeep 4WD owners like the idea of an off-pavement, 4×4 driving workshop—coupled with survival skills training—Cody and I will co-host a course!
Here is where our workshop begins. My shop/studio doubles as a 4×4 technology lab. At the shop, I discuss vehicle dynamics and four-wheeling demands. We inspect vehicles before hitting the trail.
Participant Dan Patterson points out the dual battery system on his TJ Wrangler Rubicon. A new Warn winch encourages the high-amp backup system. This assures safe winching with plenty of engine starting current in reserve. Cody sees survival differently—given the right terrain and water sources, he can readily walk 20 miles a day!
My instructing reflects forty-five years of rugged backcountry four-wheeling experience. Beginning with the Jeep CJ-5 I drove over the Rubicon Trail in 1967 with stock, 30″ diameter 7.00 X 15 tires, my aim has been safety and vehicle preservation. At this stream crossing, I have each vehicle create a “bow wave” to keep water from reaching the engine-driven cooling fan.
The advantages of a four-inch suspension lift can be seen here. Avoiding sinkholes, the Rubicon made a simple task of crossing this spring creek. I had drivers probe the deep, dark water with branches before plunging into the creek. While we focused on driving technique and avoided the sinkholes, Cody contemplated fishing—without a pole, bait or line. I’m reasonably good with a fly rod, while Cody catches trout by hand!
James Langan’s stock Rubicon TJ Unlimited did fine, avoiding ground clearance issues while staying away from the dark water areas. The Wrangler underwent a 2-inch suspension boost just weeks after our workshop and stream crossing. Trips like this help owners determine equipment needs for their Jeep 4WD.
Here, I discuss the virtues of a PullPal anchor and how to winch in the middle of a stark, treeless landscape. Cody prefers building shelters and gathering food. The idea of four-wheelers scorching themselves while winching through desert washes in broad daylight amused Cody. Air conditioning only works if you’re inside a running Jeep!
Shelter involving your 4×4? Why not? At the same time, this space blanket and the orange distress signal atop the Jeep might attract a search aircraft. Hydration is a constant theme. Cody helped the group understand that the old Boy Scout notion of digging holes to condense water with a canvas tarp takes more water out of the human body than the amount of water that might accumulate beneath the tarp. Cody notes that we didn’t make it to the 21st Century with lame ideas like that! Cody’s books provide better ideas.
A modern military signaling mirror and a Paleolithic sighting method can attract a search party. While I targeted the proper use of a 4×4 to avoid this need, Cody emphasized how many people actually find themselves in such dire conditions. This conjured up visions of my days as a 4×4 search-and-rescue team member. One chilling, late October night, we left our warm beds after midnight to scurry up Oregon’s Willamette Pass in search of two lost kids. They had ridden their bicycles into the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area at dusk, wearing T-shirts; it took us eight hours to find them. Fortunately, they did not have hypothermia!
With dry bark around, Cody emphasizes, one is never without a fire-starter source. In minutes, he formed this nest-shaped bowl and illustrated the range of techniques that kept human beings alive for the last 100,000 years. From pre-tool, low tech flint to a single modern match, all this bark needed was the slightest spark to ignite!
This may look like an ordinary Juniper tree, but to Cody it’s Motel 6! Midday, you need to get out of the heat and conserve energy. This shelter could also serve through a night of chilling, high desert air. Cody emphasized the value of such a setting, the resources available nearby and why the world looks so different from outside your 4×4. Try it!