Life Below Zero Challenge #5: Dedicate Your Time to Learn a Survival Skill

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].

When Andy Bassich came to Eagle, Alaska in his twenties, there was a whole network of young people living out there with him. But today, they’re all gone. “We’re a dying breed, we’re an endangered species, and we need young people to come out,” Andy says. He feels that today’s youth are losing the ability to develop the fundamental skills of human existence, and credits the computer age to shortening attention spans. To really learn a skill, he says, you have to dedicate time to it.

Andy and Kate are determined to teach the next generation how to survive in the bush, and tonight on Life Below Zero, they bring on a young apprentice, Cody Allen. From Oregon, primarily working in the construction and food industries, Cody was eager to escape the daily grind and learn a new way of living. But first, he must learn the basics. His first lesson? Master the essential tools for survival.

For this week’s Life Below Zero Challenge, we’re asking you to dedicate time to learn a new survival skill. Whether you want to learn how to start a fire like Cody with birch bark and a match, or maybe you finally want to crack open that tent you bought on clearance–this week, take one step toward self-reliance and learn a new skill.

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 #6! 


  1. Carla Meert
    Charlotte N C
    May 15, 2014, 8:54 pm

    WOW… I cannot believe the gumption of these guys and gals. I have been watching at least 2 seasons now and am so blown away. These are not some fake tv survivalists as I have seen in the past, I applaud them all. 45 years ago I was part of a group that would go into big cypress slough near Naples Fl. and camp out a week end or so every couple of months. We used a latrine cooked over a camp fire, communed with nature, but could always pack up and go back to civilization in a few hours. If/when the big one hits I wanna be with you guys !!

  2. Patty Carbert
    May 15, 2014, 11:24 pm

    I don’t forsee myself selling my things and moving to Alaska, I do enjoy watching LBZ. The addition of Cody to the program really is a great way for all of us to live our dream…no matter how it turns out. Andy seems to have a short fuse, so this is an invited buffer for me personally to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Andy and Kate. He is sometimes just too much for my ability to sit on the couch with his cross words. But know film clips might enhance that. Good thinking Nat Geo. Now for Sue….film her family coming to see her! She is PURE LOVE!
    Hailstones were more interesting this week teaching how to seal hunt. Don’t think that will survive on NGO without some family/homestead adventures as Agnus at the helm!

  3. Bonnie Shirley
    United States
    May 16, 2014, 1:01 am

    Just happened to turn on Life Below Zero for a fur trapper. Had a gorgeous animal, a fox, that worked hard to survive and live its life, and the a…h…. had killed it for money. Unless you need to kill something for survival, or because you have no other life choice, killing for fur is a crime against the environment and showing the program and the person doing it displays a huge lack of personal and programming ethics. I have found other ads for the program offensive, but this I accidentally stumbled across. Alaska has one foot firmly in the 18th century, and the other in the 19th. How about joining up with the rest of us?

    To see a hard working animal treated in such a disrespectful manner, and killed for no good purpose is offensive in the extreme. Animals “are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations”.

    Repulsive programming.

    Then he moved into snapping its legs off! How is this educational, informational, important. Is Natl Geo really that desperate for subjects?

  4. Don Hall
    May 16, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Love the show watch it every time it’s on

  5. ken pacheco
    mattapoisett ma
    May 16, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Sue is one strong badass lady,and i envy her stealth and
    resolve.she is my go girl.

  6. Sue
    Rochester Hills, MI formerly Corfu, NY
    May 16, 2014, 4:58 pm

    My friends live in Anchorage and Denali off the grid. While visiting we went to the Saturday Market. I purchased a fire starter made of manganese and a metal scraper with a deer antler handle to start a fire even in the rain. I bought one for sons. Our family property was off the grid.It just got electric last year. I’m past 55! We also had a two sweater outhouse. Love the show.

  7. Lee Shelton
    May 16, 2014, 9:26 pm

    it seems to me that all that time spent alone might have gotten to Andy with his non-agreeable attitude with his wife also where did he meet a women who will live with his attitude!? These people all have to have a reason to pick this life style! What is it that there hiding from? The law,the government,other people,or social situations? I mean what would make a person choose to live this way? No TV no computers no cellphones ?

  8. JeremyTesla
    Greenbow, AL
    May 16, 2014, 10:52 pm

    This show evokes something deep inside me. A part of me really wishes I had done what Andy did early in his life. At 55 it is too late for me. What a wonderful way of life these folks have. Freedom defined.

  9. Tracey
    Lummi Nation - Washington State
    May 16, 2014, 10:58 pm

    AGNES AND HER HUSBAND are beyond awesome! He lets his wife be her! That in itself is admirable. Agnes is my Hero. Don’t ever change dear. Your family legacy will touch and change many lives. My hope is that young mothers are paying attention and learning from you.


  10. Sunny Hemen
    Eagle, Alaska
    May 17, 2014, 3:45 am

    I swear the only reason I watch it is to be nosy and watch Kate and Andy’s lives since I don’t see them much XD

  11. Dot Diambra
    Northern Alabama
    May 17, 2014, 9:20 am

    I think the station should have a contest, someone will win a trip to Alaska. That would get lots of attention. Maybe for just a week, couldn’t stand it much longer. I’d like to visit Sue.See how she lives on a daily basis, when the film crew isn’t around. I checked her bookings, she’s booked all year, except for couple of nights. I wonder if the crew is staying there all the time, or going from place to place. Does she order cases of cigarettes along with the food? I know for a fact that you can run low on food, but, by gawd, you’d better not run out of cigarettes.None of them are really good at shooting, Agnes is really bad. What does her husband do? Seems she does all the work.Who am I to be judging? It just seems that they able to shoot better, since their lives depends on it. Have a contest, folks.

  12. Rebecca Dickerson
    May 18, 2014, 5:24 pm

    I would not be able to survive without my husband !
    Love the show !

    Sarasota, FL
    May 20, 2014, 10:05 am

    Terrific show, terrific people!! If bleeding-hearts, like one I read above, can’t take REALITY, then

  14. John Bixler
    Huntington Beach California
    May 22, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Would love to take the challenge I think I would fair real well I love the show

  15. lara albritton
    United States
    May 23, 2014, 6:56 pm

    iwould love to be codys wife in alaska ,living off the the land , cuddlinfg —p in the cold winter nights and watchgiong u take care of uis all year long would bring me sooo much happiness call me cody 1-850-445-5067 lara albritton lets chjat sweetie

  16. patsy olive
    Weimar,Texas 78962
    May 25, 2014, 4:33 pm

    I love this show, but I do not like the killing of animals unless
    they will be eaten. To kill for the fur and sell, I can’t see that.
    I am sure the people on this show is getting paid.

  17. phil
    b c canada
    June 5, 2014, 7:39 am

    i cant stand all the people against hunting furs for a living,they,re out of touch for the way it is there.