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Tips on Living in a Rural Cabin in Alaska

By Edited Jun 19, 2016 1 1

Living off the grid in Alaska can seem like a very great way to live. The thing is that people often do not realize how much work goes into living off the grid and in a remote cabin in rural Alaska. Here are some things to consider about living remotely in Alaska.

No Road

Rural Alaska living does not mean living near a small dirt road. Rural living in Alaska often involves living nowhere near anything that even remotely resembles a road. A game trail used by animals such as bear may be the only “road workers” you will ever encounter.

Homesteading Myths

Homesteading is no longer available in the Untied States. Alaska was the last State in the United States to offer free land in exchange for people to move there but it has ended. For some reason here is a continual myth that Alaska still has homesteading opportunities available for people. You can find cheap land and you can find expensive land in Alaska but nowhere in Alaska can you get free land give you you under homesteading laws. Alaska has not given away free land under homesteading laws since 1986.

Hunting

Yes Hunting can supplement your food supply but rarely do people live entirely “off of the land” when they live in Alaska. Most people bring in large bags of flour, beans, and other food commodities. Shooting a huge Elk can often help you to feed your family for a lot of the year, but rarely do people live entirely off of food they grown and hunt. This is now necessarily a bad thing because if you are not a hunter you may feel pressure from people who tell you that you cannot live in Alaska in a remote and rural cabin because you do not hunt. Even though you may not be a hunter you can still live in a remote cabin. It is highly advisable however to at least understand the basics of hunting and have the rifle necessary to hunt so that you can always find some wild game to shoot if your food supply get slow and you cannot restock for whatever reason.

Growing Food

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Yes you will need to grow some food. In remote Alaska you can grow anything you want including pineapple; however you obviously need to have a greenhouse for that. You need to understand what you can grow with your options and also how to grow things. Growing food meant for survival in remote Alaska s much different than growing some food in a backyard garden in the “lower 48”.

Meat Preservation

Just because you can shoot an elk does not mean that you can eat it. All of the meat you shoot will go to waste unless you understand how to properly prepare and preserve the meat. You definitely do not want to be wasting meat when you are living in remote Alaska.

I Don’t Need Civilization

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Some people hold onto this romantic notion of living entirely off the land and never returning to civilization. Even the most hard of remote cabin dwellers in Alaska still rely on shipments from town once in a while. How else are you going to get the medication you need? There is nothing wrong with getting a supply shipment flown in periodically that consists of needed medication, food like bagged beans, and anything else you may need or desire.

It is definitely possible to live entirely off the land and never restock your supplies with stuff from town but it is much more enjoyable to get supplies from town periodically. You may assume that you want to live entirely off of the land but what will you do when your coffee supply runs out?

Cabin Building

You need to know how to build a cabin if you are planning on living in remote Alaska throughout the entire year. Even if you have made a rustic pioneer style log cabin before you still need to be educated on how to do it in Alaska. The heavy snow loads can cause improperly built cabins to have the roof collapse. If it is 30 below zero in the wintertime and your roof collapses then you will probably die.

A sturdy roof and even sturdy walls are vital to surviving the harsh Alaskan winters. If your cabin is not able to hold the snow load then you will probably die if you choose to stay there throughout the harsh winter.

Fishing

If you live in the right parts of Alaska then you could potentially eat all of the fish you would ever need to survive on. If you want to live off the land in Alaska but hate eating fish because you are a vegetarian then you may struggle and have to bring in more shipments from town to get resupplied with.

Home Alone

May people who are otherwise successful at living alone in a remote cabin often begin to struggle with living alone. Living alone can try some people to go “nuts”. If you cannot live alone but still want to live in a remote cabin in Alaska then look for a partner to share the experience with. It may be a girlfriend or a wanted felon, but either way it will give you someone to talk to. You may also be happy with a dog to talk to. Many people do just fine with themselves in rural Alaska but other people thrive *on human interaction and need it to seemingly survive.

Wild Harvesting

In parts of Alaska you can gather tons of wild berries during the warmer summer months. Spend some time gathering and storing your berries. If done properly you can have wild berries as part of your diet year-round in Alaska. You may not always be able to eat fresh wild berries in the depth of wintertime but you can eat products made with those wild berries such as jams and preservatives.

In addition to knowing how to harvest wild berries properly you also need to know what to look for and what berries to avoid.

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Comments

Nov 26, 2012 10:32am
Marlando
Hi, loved your article. I worled for over ten years off and on for Alaskan Pictures but, guess what, I have NEVER been to Alaska. Your article has rekindled my desire to go there. Thanks and 2 big thumbs up from me
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