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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. 
144 comments
Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

I'm tired of all the Andy bashing as well. Andy and Kate remind me of my parents, who were married 61 years, a marriage that lasted until my dad died almost three years ago. My father acted like Andy does to Kate at times, but only when they worked together (our family had a business). But when they came home, he was loving as anyone could be. And he made sure my mother knew he loved and respected her. My mother also knew the stress he was under to provide for our family. And don't think for a moment she was some cowering cheese of a woman. But as a full partner in their marriage (and business), she was intelligent enough to realize he loved her AND us. He merely put her on a pedestal and when she messed up, he took it personally. Of course, he took it more personally when HE messed up. Like Andy, he learned from his mistakes while beating himself up inwardly. I see Andy doing that, but you really have to look for it. Men like Andy and my dad rarely show emotion such as that.

Some people are judging Andy on a few minutes weekly, when Andy and Kate have been together for a long time. We don't know what happens behind closed doors/off camera, but I think I do. The love they have for each other is apparent; the respect they have for each other is equally so. Just stop the hate and look closer.


I refuse to judge anyone (except for one person on the show) so harshly because I've watched their on-camera relationship/actions for less than 3 hours TOTAL per season. Being on the internet does NOT give anyone the right to be rude, judgmental, or simple towards people on a series such as this. These are REAL people, not actors. Some of you should be very ashamed of yourselves. I doubt you'd act this way in "real life".

(Sidebar: Glenn really needs to keep his clothes on while being filmed. Please. He's annoyed me to no end since his first appearance, and his assault on our eyeballs while he prances about naked [even when his private areas are blurred] degrades the entire series. This is a show about people who survive and thrive in conditions most of us would die under. His nudity brings nothing to the show other than wondering if National Geographic wishes to do more cheap and brain-numbing reality shows such as exist today than doing what it normally does: educate the rest of us.

Cheers.

Kay House
Kay House

Frankly I am tired of all the Andy bashing. I am more concerned about the latest emergency, and it is an emergency.

Andy - Kate what are you going to do to feed the dogs since there are no fish left. I am concerned. I hope the government has stopped the commercial fishing also. If not he is just punishing the people that need the fish to live. The commercial needs to be stopped for several years at least.

I hope either one of you will answer me as I am deeply concerned about how you can give them the same water, calories, everything they need without the fish, which had everything they needed.

You both looked deeply concerned in the last episode. Please answer.

Pamela Day
Pamela Day

Hello Andy and Kate: I have been watching you guys on the show, and Andy you sure are one gifted man.  You and Kate make a lovely couple, and I envy your way of life.  God bless you guys.  Best wishes to you.

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

----Andy, you and Kate are by FAR my "favorites" on the show....The love and care you show for your dogs and your environment is wonderful....I also think your work ethic is truly inspiring...

----While viewers are forced to endure creepy, hippy Glenn, and animal abusing Chip & Agnes, it's refreshing to see you and your wife actually SUPPORTING your chosen lifestyle yourselves---and each other.... (and I'd LOVE to have your dog, "Jack!")....

Mark Steele
Mark Steele

This gentleman appears to be attempting to start his own industrial complex in the Arctic.


It's a little ridiculous for him to be using the energy required to run a small Midwestern city just in order to survive in a place he is manifestly unsuited for in a time of global warming.


It's also a little ridiculous for National Geographic to be supporting his madness.


JMO

Frank Lester
Frank Lester

You got lots of equipment ($$$) on your place.

I ask myself how you made your money prev. to the show?

Nancy Dooley
Nancy Dooley

I'd like to see more of what Kate does for food and inside to prepare for winter . I know when she is off camers she isn't setting around.

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.

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Teri: REREAD your posts, you are always "judging" people and your comments are rude and ignorant. Just ff when Glenn is on and you will not be offended. Simple solution. This is entertainment.

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Nancy Dooley I'd love that, too. I also think the series should come out with a cookbook, especially for those of us who are very curious about how to cook a ptarmigan or caribou.

I also would like if they had an episode about foraging for wild food such as root plants, mushrooms, etc.

Nancy Thayer
Nancy Thayer

@M M gotta agree with that! My husband was a ball buster as well and very hard to work with. He was an over road driver/owner/operator. Routine oil changes and routine maintenance was done at home. He needs some "niceness" somewhere along the line.

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Christine Hails They do not. I'd like you to explain how a dog, a species naturally afraid of boats, is terrified of his "abuser", yet cuddles up next to him for protection. Abused dogs don't do that.

Jack was afraid of the boat. His experience on being a boat was limited. When dogs are in a situation they've never been in (such as being on something that rocks and rolls and doesn't seem stable under their feet), they cower.

The love the dogs have for Andy and Kate is obvious. It's a shame you'd rather post unintelligent and hurtful nonsense than educate yourself about dogs. I've worked with abused dogs for decades. I see no signs of abuse here at all. I see love and companionship from both dog and human.

Your post is reprehensible at best and ignorant at worst. I suggest you school yourself about abused animals in the future before you make accusations such as you did.

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Richard Littleton That may be the most ignorant comment on here, but I have to scroll further down. However, I'm betting on this is it.

You can barely type intelligent English, yet you claim to "work in psychiatry". I'm assuming that means, from your post, you're a couch.

Kate has explained how they pay taxes, etc. Please try to pay attention instead of grousing about welfare. Your ignorance is showing.

Those on this series have lived as they do long before National Geographic arrived in their lives, re: "I wonder what the people are going to do when the bod wears out." Please try to stimulate your brain.

As for "not working", have you even watched this show? The people on it work very hard, harder than I'm sure you do. Harder than I know I do.

I rarely come in contact with an ignorant, ridiculous person in real life or via the internet. I'd love to interview you and find out what made you the way you are. Was it some sort of brain-eating bacteria? A fall from a 4 story balcony? I'm very curious. Thanks if you can answer.

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

@Richard Littleton: What, pray tell, do you "do" in a psychiatrist's office? Sweep the floor?? Aside from the fact that your observational skills are badly lacking (Kate and Andy are fairly well off from their guide business), you obviously also require a new pair of glasses. A "hot, new babe?" In case you haven't noticed, Kate is a very good looking woman....and tell me: what kind of young "babe" is going to live in the middle of nowhere with a 60+-year-old?

---I'd recommend another line of work (if you truly are "in" psychiatry---which I doubt)....

Cindy Sunshine
Cindy Sunshine

@Richard Littleton So Richard is it the small penis you were born with or the pea brain that makes you express such nonsense.  Psychiatry = a totally unproven field with Dr.s that push psychotropic drugs on unsuspecting innocents.  "I work in psychiatry"  What are you, the receptionist?

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.

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Thomas Giella Anti-white male liberal types? It's fairly obvious that Andy is white AND liberal (he believes in global warming and SCIENCE).

Please expound on what you're trying to say in that entire word salad you posted. Thanks!

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.

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Zippy Miller You can't go off the grid and live on, as you put it, "Govt money". It's impossible. If you receive any safety net money from our government, you're on the grid. Have you even watched this show? The participants make it very clear that they live on food they've harvested/killed themselves.

Your ignorance on the basics of the way our government is run is astounding. Your "conjecture" is worse. I suggest you shut off your computer and try to educate yourself about the basics of life before you ever decide to post anything again. You made a fool of yourself. And showed your ignorance. I feel very bad for you.

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? 

Nancy Thayer
Nancy Thayer

@Teri Santagata @Nancy Dooley Hi Teri, you say it all. I'm a 4 time cancer survivor. I made it thru colon cancer chemo for 6 months and ate a diet of venison that kept my cell count up so I could have all my treatments. I would live on wild meat if given the choice. I think there are some folks on line that have some good recipes. I know that I don't like to overcook it. As far as Andy and Kate are concerned, they are REAL people. My dad raised me to be tough. This is a rough world we live in. Nothing wrong with that...just sayin'!

Teri Santagata
Teri Santagata

@Pithole Hermit @Thomas Giella I'm assuming you're saying that because Andy believes in climate change and SCIENCE. You know: that real, actual, proven stuff.

I'm curious about your reference to "white males". That would make me assume you're a racist AND a sexist. Hmmmm ... how sad it must be to be you and/or anyone in your life. :)

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

So no one gets paid for the series? How do they buy equipment? How do they kill for shoes and hats? Of course money comes from elsewhere. Are you living in lala land? One cannot kill enough to provide for all the materials needed to survive unless you are IBP. Anyone over 65 gets Medicare, is this not a government safety net? Have you ever been to Alaska or lived there? I am not disagreeing with the government safety nets, but Alaska has an extremely high percentage of residents on these safety nets. So maybe no one is off- grid. Thank you for caring about me btw.