NatGeo's 'Life Below Zero': 10+ Behind-The-Scenes Facts That You Definitely Didn't Know

Ever wanted to know what it was like to live completely off the grid with miles of snow and ice in every direction?

Well, Life Below Zero claims to offer that. It follows the lives of people living in rural Alaska as they live off the land.

But is it all as real as it seems?

Native Alaskans actually have an issue with it.

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There is so much misinformation about Alaska and it's indigenous populations spread through reality shows including NatGeo's 'Life Below Zero'.

Alaska isn't as cut off as they make it seem.

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The state is, in fact, overrun by reality TV crews.

According to Anchorage Daily News over 60 different reality shows have been filmed there over the past decade.

Sue Aikens doesn't live in paradise.

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The show presents Sue Aikens as extremely isolated but Kavik River Camp is open all year round.

A camp with wifi, phone reception, and a dining hall is still a camp I guess.

The Hailstone's are not isolated.

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It's not accessible by road but if you've got any of the other conventional Alaskan vehicles, such as boat plane or snowmobile, then you're right as rain.

It's not actually below zero often.

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Parts of Alaska can reach negative 30 but only a few times per year.

The summers can get as hot as 80 too!!

It's actually very hard for them to film.

"There are times where it’s so cold that the LCD screens on the cameras freeze, and the crew has to just take their best guess on what footage they are getting." the showrunner wrote.

Chip Hailstone went to jail!

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Some may have wondered about Chip's absence from Life Below Zero.

He was actually convicted of perjury in 2012 and served 15 months of jail time in 2017.

But not a lot of people liked him anyhow...

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He cannot legally hunt on the land as he's not a native Inupiaq.

He was exploiting his wife's Inupiaq heritage for the sake of the show.

Rob Gower says the show is quite realistic.

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Aside from "just not letting them die", the crew doesn't give the cast any assistance.

They just live out their lives.

The problem with outhouses.


Because of the terrible Alaskan winters, it's actually too cold to use an outhouse.

So how do they go? They use a bucket.

Some things are scripted.

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Real-life isn't as glamorous or dramatic as anything on reality TV.

So sometimes producers tell the cast members what to do or say. For the sake of good TV of course.

But a scripted stunt let led to a lawsuit.

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Sue Aikens sued the show because one of their scripted stunts got her seriously injured.

Anything for that perfect cinematic shot I guess...

And it gets worse!

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They even prevented her from getting medical help!

Instead of getting airlifted straight to the hospital, Sue was forced to drive to the airlift and land far from the hospital.

The crew has gone through some pretty serious injuries.

Between broken bones, frostbite, and being prey to predators, I can say that I do not envy them whatsoever.

The contracts are very tight.

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So much so that Sue Aikens faced many difficulties trying to get compensation from the show's producers after they endangered her life.

There are also some happy moments!

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When they're not filming they tend to eat together and even play games!

A crew that films together stays together.

Amazon delivers everywhere!

Unsplash | Christian Wiediger

Life Below Zero shows Alaska as dangerously isolated but did you know that Amazon delivers to most parts of the state?

Turns out that crime does pay!

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It was revealed that State Troopers turn a blind eye to the cast of Life Below Zero, like when they tried to feed the foxes which isn't allowed.

It may only be feeding foxes but crime's a crime.

Sometimes it's too cold to even light gasoline.

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"One of our coldest days was filming in a blizzard with temps as low as -100 with wind chill. Imagine trying to focus the lens or adjust camera buttons wearing three layers of gloves!" wrote the showrunner.