Living off the grid in Alaska is unlike any other state; self-reliance is essential, and tiny errors may be costly. People that live off the grid in this area are often self-sufficient, know how to survive off the land, and have at least some survival skills.
Although I have lived in Alaska for most of my life, either entirely off the grid or semi-off grid, it is not an ideal state for off-grid living. The truth is that Alaska isn’t ideal for off-grid life for various reasons:
- The climate is harsh.
- The expense of living is high.
- The cost of property is high.
- It is exceedingly dangerous for those who don’t know what they’re doing.
Most of the individuals who live off grid in Alaska were born and raised there. If you’re coming from another state to live off grid, you’ll be shocked at how difficult life can be.
General Statistics for Living Off Grid in Alaska
Alaska, in my opinion, contains everything you’ll need for off-grid living, but it isn’t for everyone. Alaska is the country’s largest state and has one of the lowest population densities. Currently, there are barely 730k people residing in this state, and people are leaving at an increasing rate.
Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, with 297k people, followed by Juneau with 33k, Fairbanks with 32k, Badger with 19k, and Knik-Fairview with 18k individuals. The state has many small settlements accessible by road, but the bulk of which can only be reached by plane. Newcomers who desire to live off the grid in this state will be in for a rude awakening in their first year, and the majority of them will forsake their plans.
Most people who live off the grid in this state were born and raised here and have spent their whole lives off the grid. Alaska is a lovely state with everything you need to live off the grid, but it is also one of the most dangerous places. You have to be concerned about the severe temperature and wild creatures. Still, you also have to be concerned about other people, particularly in rural locations.
I’ve met a few nutjobs in the middle of nowhere. The abrupt revelation that you’re in the middle of nowhere and a shady person is approaching you will make you reconsider living here. Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful individuals here, but you must exercise caution. Check my latest article on Off Grid Living in Maine if you’re interested in another state.
What’s the Climate in Alaska?
Due to the state’s size, Alaska offers a variety of climates: arctic in the north, subpolar oceanic in the south, and subarctic in the middle. The average summer temperature is around 70°F, while the average winter temperature is around 5°F. The northern regions of the state are, on average, substantially colder than the southern parts.
Check read my article Off Grid Living in Wyoming for information about a state with a less extreme climate.
What Type of Crops are Grown in Alaska?
Although the local climate is not ideal for growing crops, a greenhouse can be used to grow potatoes, oats, barley, and some vegetables. If you want to cultivate your own food near your homestead, you’ll certainly need a greenhouse to get the most out of your growing season. In addition, because the terrain is not particularly fertile, most individuals who live off grid in Alaska generate their own compost.
What’s Freshwater Availability Like in Alaska?
Alaska has no shortage of fresh water; the average annual rainfall is roughly 37 inches, which may not seem like much, but the average annual snowfall can reach 270 inches. Rainwater harvesting is also legal in this state. Some people who live off grid in Alaska either harvest rainwater in the summer or let the snow melt. Keep in mind that you will largely melt snow during the winter, as even huge water cisterns tend to freeze.
What Kind of Wildlife Does Alaska Have?
Most of Alaska is undeveloped wilderness. Large creatures such as Dall sheep, mountain goats, moose, caribou, bison, black bear, brown bear, and even polar bears call it home. Polar bears have been popping up in Alaska in increasing numbers in recent years. This is due to the gradual melting of their natural habitat, which forces them to migrate south. Freshwater and saltwater fish such as king salmon, silver salmon, sockeye salmon, steelhead, pink salmon, and rainbow trout abound in Alaska.
Both hunting and fishing require a license which can be found here.
How to Generate Off Grid Power in Alaska?
Solar power: Although not the best method for generating electricity, a couple of solar panels will suffice. Using solar panels to generate electricity is not the ideal option because some regions get so cold that the panels begin to malfunction. Whether you utilize solar panels or a tiny wind turbine, don’t expect to create a lot of energy. The State Energy Credit is available in Alaska, and you can apply for it once you’ve installed the system.
Wind power: You won’t see many wind turbines in Alaska because they tend to break down once winter arrives. However, they are rather popular in some locations.
Note: Most people who live off the grid do not generate their own electricity, primarily because it is meaningless because they have no cell service and, in most cases, cannot even listen to the radio. As a result, solar panels will be abundant in smaller off-grid settlements and towns.
Does Alaska Have Any Living Off Grid Laws?
Living off the grid is allowed in Alaska, and many people and towns do so because they have no other option. Because the building regulation is lax, you’ll likely come across many seasonal cottages built in the middle of nowhere; try to avoid these as they’re usually “owned” by seasonal hunters or trappers.
Many parents choose to homeschool their children since homeschooling rules are very permissive; nonetheless, you must notify the local authorities.
What’s Road Access Like in Alaska?
Several areas in Alaska don’t have road access, and other places can only be reached by plane. Snowmobiles are commonly used by residents of off-grid communities and small towns. However, snowshoes are also used in some locations.
What’s the Price of Land in Alaska?
Although owning a tiny homestead in Alaska is roughly 44 percent more expensive than the national average, the land cost in Alaska is rather high. Many materials must be imported from other states. This makes the housing cost very expensive.
What’s the Property Tax in Alaska?
The property tax in Alaska is higher than the national average; it is now around 1.19 percent, while the national average is 1.08 percent. Anchorage has the highest property tax rate in the state, at 1.31 percent.
What’s the Cost of Living Off Grid in Alaska?
The cost of living off grid in Alaska is greater than the national average. Housing is 44 percent more expensive, groceries are 22 percent more expensive, healthcare is 13 percent more expensive, and utilitiesare 70 percent more expensive. Because Alaska doesn’t produce enough food to feed its residents, much of the food and other necessities must be transported or flown in. Utilities are also exceedingly expensive due to the hard climate, especially in winter.
What’s the Job Market Like in Alaska?
Alaska now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. 5.8%, is compared to the national average of 3.6 percent. Alaska’s minimum wage is $9.89, much lower than its Canadian neighbor Yukon. Natural gas, crude petroleum, coal, gold, zinc, seafood processing, commercial fishing, forestry, and tourism are the largest businesses in which most people work.
Want to live off grid in a state with a better job market? Check out Washington State.
What’s the Crime Rate in Alaska?
Alaska has one of the highest crime rates in the country. Approximately 8.85 crimes are committed per 1000 people. This is compared to the national average of 4 crimes per 1000 people. It’s important to remember that the crime rate is significantly greater because many crimes go unreported, especially in rural regions. The areas around Hyder, Cooper Landing, Tyonek, and Iliamna have the lowest crime rates. Hooper Bay, Throne Bay, Anchorage, Kenai, and Tok are the places with the highest crime rates.
Is Living Off Grid in Alaska Affected by Natural Disasters?
In Alaska, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, landslides, wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, and winter storms are all common. Storms are the most prevalent natural disasters, and they can quickly become rather violent.
Is Living Off Grid in Alaska Possible?
Although I adore Alaska, I cannot suggest living off grid in the state. If you forget to buy something in another state, you just go to the nearby town or city and get it. Nevertheless, even minor mistakes can be quite costly in Alaska.
Frankly the climate makes living off grid in Alaska possible, but for only the most rugged.