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Andy and Kate Bassich

Andy Bassich and his dogs take a break while deciding how to proceed with the jumble ice.

Andy Bassich (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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Andy Bassich and his wife Kate live on the Yukon River, where the only way in or out is by boat or snow machine. Andy moved to Alaska from Washington, D.C. after coming to explore the area, which he knew little about at the time. He spent two years living in Anchorage before moving to the Alaskan bush. When Andy first arrived, this was raw land. He built his life from scratch from a vision he had. To live and survive in the Alaskan bush, Andy learned to make something out of the raw materials provided to him from his environment.

Living miles off the grid, Andy and Kate run a survival and dog mushing school. They have 26 sled dogs. Together, Andy and Kate hunt, harvest, grow, and brew 80 percent of what they eat and drink — moose, black bear, caribou, wolf, salmon, mountains of vegetables, and beer. Andy’s nickname is MacGyver. Although they have solar power, they bathe in an outdoor steam bath and sauna that is heated by wood.

Andy's survival knowledge is largely self-taught and he will turn his hand to anything, whether it is making his own bullets, knives, brewing his own beer, or building his own house. Andy can skin and butcher a moose complete with just his Leatherman. His goal is to live off the grid with class, style, love, and comfort. Andy finds it satisfying that he develops, builds, and lives the life he wants.

Andy measures his quality of life by how much free time he has to do what he wants. To Andy, living in remote Alaska is the best place to be. He is passionate about his lifestyle and feels that he has achieved his dreams... and there is nowhere else he would rather live.

Dive Deeper:

See how ingenuity plays a major role in Andy and Kate's Life Below Zero.

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 

More of Andy and Kate's Life Below Zero

Photograph by National Geographic Channel

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 
124 comments
PJ Nelson
PJ Nelson

you two remind me of my husband and myself. He agrees!!LOL

James Carter
James Carter

what brand/model is the bassich's silver boat?? it looks pretty durable  thanks for any info

James Carter
James Carter

what brand/model is the silver aluminum boat??

J K
J K

Nice rock toss. Seriously dude. Passive aggressive much. 

J K
J K

Nice rock toss. Seriously dude. Passive aggressive much. 

M M
M M

Argh... Andy we are all rooting for you - you were improving so much - less yelling and cursing at Kate... Now she bangs her finger and you have to act like a -----..... Here's a rule of thumb (speaking of 'fingers')... if your bed is warm at night, you're doing something right during the day. If your bed gets cold, check your attitude and actions when the sun is up...

Me personally, If someone reacted like that when I hurt myself (whether or not they were involved, and even if it was a total accident), I'd want to kick them to the curb - and I sure would not be motivated to show them any loving.

It takes but a moment to show some concern and caring. She's your wife, not your ranch-hand. And laughing... Yeah - see how it goes for you after that little display - you may think that the other person doesn't care or shouldn't care or will get over that kind of sh!tty treatment - but it will reduce any motivation to show you love and affection....

Like I said -we're rooting for you but it's like two steps forward and (in this case) three steps back.

darrin coffee
darrin coffee

Andy, you have a wonderful woman. I wish I was so lucky as you. Be good to her. I was impatient once upon a time an finely she had enough and left. it was a shock, and my loss for sure.,

Regina Patton
Regina Patton

My favorite couple Andy and Kate. I would definitely choose Andy and Kate if I had to take someone with me to survive somewhere. Love the display of true independent living. An American living. And for those who criticize Andy, please. This is a choice of independent living with each person having their own personality. No one says you have to like them. You can always choice to watch something else.

Nat Geo has done a great job bringing REAL reality TV with a great diverse choosen group of residents. I as everyone else should appreciate each individual for what they bring to the TV show. Theses residents don't have to be on the show. They have opened the doors of their lives and allowed us to be part of their way of living. I appreciate this. Great going Nat Geo for bringing us a great show. Keep bringing more of Life below Zero.

To Andy and Kate. Great job, love you both.

Christine Hails
Christine Hails

Just watched "the Harvest'. When Jack jumped out of the boat and Kate got him back in, she went to pet him and he hit the floor of the boat...they hit their dogs as discipline.

robert dunn
robert dunn

I love watching this show, but I always fast forward the scenes with Andy. I took a dislike to his arrogance and his impatient, critical demeanor towards his lovely wife early on. I can handle his dogs, his toys, even Kate- but surely Nat Geo can find someone to film with a little more humility.

Richard Littleton
Richard Littleton

I love watching the series, but I wonder what the plans are when we get to old to do all the work? Does the show include a retirement plan? Andy must have some serious cash stashed away. Kate is falling apart already (I know back pain), and it just gets worse. Are we gonna see some  hot new babe beside Andy, while Kate gets packed off. I say this, because I work in psychiatry, and have noticed a few tell tale signs in the relationship. Also Kates (he pisses me off) sounds deeper than what some people might take as a one time frustration bleep. There are many of the shows on Nat Geo, that I wonder what the people are going to do when the bod wears out. I guess they will have to move into town, and collect welfare. Do they pay taxes I wonder? How, if you don't work?

M M
M M

Yes, I know he's gotten a bit better, but he still talks as if it's only him doing the work 'I'm going to this, and I'm going to that' with nary a word about all of Kate's work.

And he still curses at her the minute she does something that he does not approve of, while he gets to make mistakes all the time...

Some improvement  - but a heck of a lot still to go...

M M
M M

a) Andy mis-cuts a large log and has to trash it. Without a word he goes and cuts a new one.

b) Kate drives a peg in too far. A single small peg. Andy curses at her and takes her off the task.

Huh?

Charles Vann
Charles Vann

Dear Andy & Kate,   I am always impressed by people who have absolutely no reservations about showing how much they love each other.  When I feel down I watch an episode with you guys in it.  P.S. Andy I share your emotions (cursing fits) when things don't go precisely my way also whatever they may be but mostly work based.  Doesn't it suck when a plan doesn't come together.  I hate doing stuff over even though thats the way you really learn to do it right.

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

I am NOT an aunti-white male liberal. I'm not a liberal at all. But in the seasons I've been watching life below zero I have never seen Andy treat kate very well. I am sick of listening to him swear at her. please excuse typos as a voice type. That would make me a disabled conservative.

kenny white
kenny white

i would like to come out there and improve my primitive survival skills how can i get ahold of Andy and Kate

Kathy Candler
Kathy Candler

I love Kate and Andy. You treat your dogs so good. Great family....Can I visit? LOL 

Michael Crossley
Michael Crossley

Im here to say I love you guys! I love the show ... you are wonderful.. You guys keep up the good fight!!  REally really really good...  Thank you so much! :)

Janet Culp
Janet Culp

I wanted to know how you went about installing your solar panels.  I'm wanting to have some installed where I live because electricity is becoming outrageous back here.  I enjoy the accomplishments you and your wife Kate have made at your homestead.  I had planned over 40 yrs ago to move to Alaska an train sled dogs also but fell in love and made my life here in West Virginia.  If you ever want to know what's going on back here, let me know and I'll send you some info.   Thanks,  Janet

Thomas Giella
Thomas Giella

It looks like the anti white male liberal types are after Andy Bassich. These folks live their lives differently than the way that the show's producers present things by piecing all of those film clips together.

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

I think Andy has read the blogs as his maltreatment of Kate has visibly lessened. Good on ya! Andy, Yes many have said Kate has chosen her lifestyle but some personalities get caught and many partners are good at finding victims. Andy Andy, why do you seemingly never maintain anything? Your estate looks like a bunch of unfinished projects, yet you keep building more. This is not being a good steward of the land. Why keep building toward the river when you know it will come back and bite you? Having all the rusting machines and tools lying around is a waste of resources. This is materialism at it's worst and in no way environmentally sound. In all fairness I have never heard you say you were an environmentalist or care about the environment.

Many bloggers have applauded Andy for his skills and Macgyverism, yet I constantly see him make errors when bldg. on one episode he could not even take an accurate measure before making a simple cut. From my view he has few skills. Siding is not on his buildings and the craftsmanship is nonexistent. If you think he has skills, you must have no construction experience!

This is just conjecture, but does anyone out here feel that Andy has gone thru Kate's money? How has he made money prior to being on LBZ? All this junk he buys cost mucho in Alaska. I know I lived in Barrow for a short time. His little survival school brings in very little. I cannot say for sure, but a lot of the people who go off-grid live on Govt money. So while we may all want this lifestyle why should others pay for it? Just a thought. On the pos side, Andy can be sweet at times.

Stuff McBudley
Stuff McBudley

 I don't get the dogs, I could see having one or two for pets, protection, warning, hunting... But good lord, that is a lot of dogs to keep fed... So why all the dogs? Why not have a couple snowmobiles and not have all those mouths to feed? For what you get out of the dogs, it just doesn't seem like a good return on the time and money you invest in keeping a hoard of them around, fed, exercised, etc.

troy bryant
troy bryant

with the resources you are In command of if you struggle in anyway its your a failure. you know the time frame of winter and all the natural recourses your provided no excuse you cant live comfortable thru the year what u running from in alaska

Christian La Salle
Christian La Salle

Kate is NOT a victim. She Chooses to be.there! What she Is a.victim of is the aweful.climate. Send her some moisturizer and hair products, for the love of God. How old is she? He is 54, her skin makes her look 70 !

Jacob VanBuskirk
Jacob VanBuskirk

Does anyone else just fast forward through this guy's segments? Just wondering if I'm alone. Haven't watched since he pulled the greenhouse wall down and blamed Kate. He's just so arrogant but such an idiot at the same time. And Kate displays classic battered spouse tendencies. Anyways, maybe he'll fall in the river.

Linda Brennan
Linda Brennan

I  wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your latest episodes on training Cody to survive in the Alaska wilderness.  It was really neat to see the different types of things you taught him, and he seemed to be very appreciative of it also.  I am anxious to see your upcoming episodes of training the sled dogs...... that should be another interesting and educational episode(s).  It's amazing how well you have adapted and survived as well as you have.....keep it up!  It's great to see you succeeding so well!

Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner

Andy, I love winter gear, your pull over shells/ coats look awesome. What is the manufacturer?

Rob

Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner

Andy, who is the manufacturer of the parkas you wear for your winter gear.

Thanks,

Rob

M M
M M

It does bother me to see Andy being so kind and supportive to the new dude that he is teaching, but totally ignore Kate and never say a kind word to her for all her hard work...

F Herald
F Herald

Of course, one might start by saying we should all mind our own business re Andy's temper, but what the heck ... Kate herself said she has never found anyone that makes her laugh harder or makes her feel more loved than Andy, so if she wants to take the very good with the very bad, that's clearly her prerogative. I know someone just like Andy, and I personally agree with Kate; I think it's all worth it. Fabulous show; enjoy all the people that are letting us live vicariously through their lives cuz frankly, I'd never have the guts to take it on!  All the best and continued success with the show.

Debbie Boyce
Debbie Boyce

ANDY. Abusive husband of Kate. So many Viewers complaining about his treatment of Kate, now threatening to Stop watching the Show! Hear that Producers?  When has Nat Geo ever had another Show, that a single Person on it, is so Disliked, that it becomes it's own Subjuct?! LOOK at how Many Comments on nearly EVERY site that discusses this Show! Andy needs 'Help'. Kate needs it MORE! Maybe- as one person commented, Andy will 'see' how Absuive He IS--and Kate will 'see' People Support Her and want her to Know, How Andy Treats her is WRONG/ABSUIVE. Yes. Really. As someone said:  If Andy had DIED when he fell through the Ice a little while back-Would He be 'Missed & Mourned'? -OR-Would People, esp Kate, Be 'Secretly' Relieved-the 'Abuse', 'Walking on Egg-Shells' Life, 'Putting on a Daily BRAVE, Smiling '-'Face'...be FINALLY--OVER!?  I think the last Question really says it all.  So SAD. So True.  I am PRAYING Kate will find Herself-Stronger & Healthier SOON, Andy will Reform and Everyone who 'Defends Andy ' and other abusive People-Get to walk in the Shoes of the 'Victims' for no less than a Year. THEN come back and let's see if Your 'Views' have Changed.   GOD bless those that Need HELP. 

Ron Van Dyke
Ron Van Dyke

AtAt first I thought Andy was just a hot head. But after seeing the last program with the new guy you are teaching .I see a whole different side t you. Patient, and a good teacher. And also so cleaver and smart. I never miss a program.  OH how do your dogs survive outside in the cold? I know the get heavy coats but what about their paws? Good luck and stay warm and dry. 

M M
M M

Andy says stuff like 'when you live alone...' and 'when you have to do things by yourself' - when Kate is standing right next to him, working. It's surreal...

Nancy Meeks
Nancy Meeks

While I abhor abuse of any kind, I'd rather someone scream obscenities at me before I cut my arm off with a chainsaw than after ... wouldn't you? And after 3 years of watching this show, I have never really found Andy's behavior that objectionable. He obviously loves Kate and together they take on a very difficult lifestyle under extreme conditions in which he exhibits greater experience and therefore the one to lead in the various projects they take on. This show allows me to fantasize about living this lifestyle, but if I'm realistic, it is something I could never do.  More power to everyone who appears on this show - a pleasure to watch, something to dream about!

Jon Kaplan
Jon Kaplan

Hi Andy,

Just saw the show for the first time…fantastic!!!!!

I have a question: In the episode you were wearing a OD green anorak with a fur collar…..just like the one I've been searching for!! Who is it made by???

thanks

Jon

Jon Kaplan
Jon Kaplan

Hi Andy,

Just saw the show for the first time…fantastic!!!!!

I have a question: In the episode you were wearing a OD green anorak with a fur collar…..just like the one I've been searching for!! Who is it made by???

thanks

Jon

Pamela Smith
Pamela Smith

It's clear Andy is a know-it-all, my-way-or-the-highway jerk and abuser.  Ever notice how everything he says is "me" and "mine"?  Rarely does he say "us" or "kate and I".   Totally the opposite with Kate.  She's great.  Can we PLEASE have less of Andy and MORE of Kate?  This season has TOO much of him and TOO little of Kate.

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

Love Kate and Andy, he is amazing but would like to see more of Kate's contributions to their life. Great show, we never miss an episode.

Pete Pemantell
Pete Pemantell

Really looking forward to you building your new home in the future, 

Christine Martucci
Christine Martucci

@Richard Littleton you are wicked ignorant, and probably a reason why some people live off the grid, so they dont have to be around idiots like you,,[psychiatry??  I dont think so...

Kate Rorke
Kate Rorke

@Richard Littleton We are working hard now so we don't have to work so hard when we are old.  As for the rest of you comment you are way of the mark.  Watch the show and would see how we earn money and pay taxes.

Pithole Hermit
Pithole Hermit

@Thomas Giella Actually if you have watched the show, Andy IS very liberal.  AND he is a jerk to anyone with open eyes regardless of what politics you think are involved.  And I am very conservative and Andy's behavior is just wrong and hopefully he is not representative of white males.  Not like me or anyone that I know.

Kirsty Buckley
Kirsty Buckley

@Stuff McBudley Er...they run a business and teach people to mush their own team. Plus it's maybe enough dogs for 2-3 teams? If they feed them and treat them right, which they do, what's the issue? 

Christian La Salle
Christian La Salle

Nobody is a victim here. Kate Chooses to be there. More importantly, feel bad for that woman's Skin and.hair !, Dear.God send her some moisturizer and hair products ! Anyone know her age? He is 54, that arctic climate makes her look 70 !

N. Wesner
N. Wesner

Jon that is a us army issued Artic Coat just google that and you should be able to find one. Look at some online surplus sites they range in price and make sure there are no issues with it before u pay BC most will be used.

Nick