Life Below Zero Challenge #7: Ditch the Thermostat

For the Arctic residents of Life Below Zero, complacency is not an option. Lack of preparedness means certain death. The stakes are high living on the outskirts of humanity, and for many in the lower 48, life can be pretty sedentary, pretty comfy and cozy… until now! [Cue Life Below Zero Weekly Challenges].

Last time on Life Below Zero, apprentice Cody Allen wakes up to the sight of his own breath in his tent only to find he’s resting in negative 40 degree temperatures and his fire has gone out. With his heat source stifled and no more wood to fuel his fire, Cody has made a grave mistake. “You have to be in a certain mindset out here. You gotta think ahead, and I wasn’t thinking ahead.”

New to this lifestyle, Cody is quickly realizing how convenient life’s little luxuries back in Oregon were to him.

“I’d say right about now I’m kind of missing my thermostat. You know, ‘get out of bed and oh, it’s 65. I want 70 degrees. I’m gonna go turn that thing a quarter inch.’ And out here it’s, ‘I wake up and oh, I can see my breath and I can’t feel my hands. I’m gonna get dressed, go spend 20 minutes walking through the forest, freezing cold, find a tree, drag it back to camp, cut it up, try and get my fire going again, and then hopefully get it back into my sleeping bag and get warmed up again.’ I’m freaking freezing. It’s definitely a different world, and I’m kind of missing some of the amenities right now. It’s just a dumb mistake. I don’t need to be attempting to get frostbite at all. Which can very easily happen in these temperatures.

But Cody doesn’t give up, and he sets out to find birch wood to re-start the fire. He realizes his situation could have gone much worse, and that big mistakes in Alaska can have much higher consequences. It was certainly a reality check for him, and he realizes his knowledge isn’t where it needs to be. At least not yet.

For this week’s Life Below Zero Challenge, we’re asking you to ditch the thermostat. Sometimes you don’t realize how nice something is until it’s gone–so see if you can get comfortable without switching that dial. Like Andy says in Alaska, “When you get cold out in this country, you gotta get up and you gotta move.” So give it a try and tell us how long you can last without full temperature control to the degree.

Tell us! What inspires you about the way these folks live off-grid and on their own? Think you can try giving up some of life’s little luxuries and live a sliver of the Arctic lifestyle? Let us know if you are going to partake in the weekly challenges, and share your stories and experiences. We’d love to hear from you.

Don’t miss new episodes of Life Below Zero, Thursdays at 9P… and be sure to come back next week for challenge #8!


  1. vivian mrosko
    United States
    May 30, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Several of us would like to know why Dr Pol is no longer being shown in Texas. We would like to know if it will be coming back on the air soon. Very popular in Texas!

  2. Glenn Martin
    May 31, 2014, 12:01 pm

    I don’t think I could. I live in Arizona where it gets over 100 everyday during the summer months. Got to have that AC or we could die from heat stroke!