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Is Alaska a Good State to go Off the Grid?

Updated on September 4, 2014

Alaska is the go to state when most people think about pulling up stakes and living an independent off-grid life. It is the largest state in the union and it borders no other state. It is chock full of natural splendor and magnificent wild life. However, there are downsides, namely it's way up on the top of the world so it is very remote, it's very cold and in the winter it's very dark. So is Alaska a good state to go off the grid in? Let's take a look and see.

1. Weather:

Alaska can get below to -65 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and has an average annual snowfall of 74 inches, so you had better like cold weather if you move to Alaska!

Annual high temperature is 43.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Annual low temperature is 30.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Average temperature is 37 degrees Fahrenheit!

2. Precipitation and Snowfall:

Average annual precipitation is 16.57 inches.

Average annual snowfall is 74 inches! That's a lot of snow!

3. Building Codes and Alternative Housing Materials:

It would seem that Alaska is free of building codes but that is not the case. While its true that a lot of people do build without getting building inspections or permits, selling a home that has been built without them can be problematic. Banks will not loan on a home that does not have the proper permits and this can greatly affect your resale value. Even if you never plan on selling your heirs might and they will be stymied if you did not go through the proper channels when building your home. If a home did not get the proper inspections after July 1, 1992 it will not qualify for the majority of financing in Alaska so unless you are able to get an all cash buyer it will be difficult to sell.

Most of the housing is made from wood as I don't think cob would do very well in Alaska's climate. There are, however, some straw-bale homes in Alaska.

4. Cottage Businesses:

Alaska allows cottage food operations that are direct to consumer only sales. The products must be non-potentially hazardous foods. There is a sales limit of $25,000 and labeling is required.

5. Homeschooling laws:

Alaska is one of 11 states that require no state requirement for parents to initiate contact or give any notice to the state whatsoever that they are homeschooling their kids.

6. Rainwater Harvesting:

There is no information that says that rainwater harvesting is illegal in Alaska so I would assume that it is legal.

7. Taxation:

The tax burden in Alaska is lower than any other state!

Alaska has no sales tax.

Alaska has no income tax.

Alaska does not tax social security benefits

Only 25 municipalities in Alaska impose a property tax.

Alaska does not have an inheritance tax, gift tax or an estate tax.

8. Gay Marriage:

Same sex marriage is banned in Alaska. However in April 2014 the Alaskan Supreme Court ruled that same-sex “married” couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex married couples regarding property taxes. In May 1996 statute section 25.05.013 was implemented. It makes same-sex marriages and civil unions performed outside of Alaska unrecognized in Alaska.

9. Gun Laws:

Alaska is a gun enthusiasts dream. Alaska does not require a permit to carry a handgun concealed. It is second only to Wyoming in gun owners per capita and has no restrictions on gun owners or ownership.

Over 57 percent of the population owns a gun in Alaska.

10. Garden and Food Laws:

Raw milk herd shares are legal by statute, regulation or court decision in Alaska. There are no prohibitions against gardening.

11. Raising farm animals:

In spite of the cold, dark winters people do have livestock that live outdoors year round. The challenge is to feed them. If you can grow your own feed you can save a lot of money. All farm animals must have access to warm housing and fenced pasture.

12. Property Prices:

In general the average price for property is more expense than the average price for property in the lower 48. Additionally, the cost of utilities, food, transportation and health are also much more expensive than the average in the lower 48 states. Utility costs alone are 65% higher in Alaska than other parts of the United States. However, if you are off the grid you wont have to worry about cost as much as time, as you will be spending a lot of time chopping wood!

Would you like to go off the grid in Alaska?

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13. Growing Season:

Alaska has a long winter when temperatures can often drop to below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However during the summer months many places have as much as 24 hours of daylight. Consequently the growing season is short but the days are long in the summer so it is possible to grow your own food in Alaska. A greenhouse would really come in handy and knowing which vegetables do well in this type of climate is key.

Even though Alaska is the least densely populated state and has a lot going for it when it comes to freedom loving laws and low taxes many people would not recommend Alaska as a state for retreat purposes in a crisis situation foreseen by modern day Preppers. The reason for this is because of Alaska's remote geographical position. Should a crisis occur you would be virtually stranded. Many areas of Alaska are only reachable by plane or boat and should a crisis occur supplies may be cut off. In addition, Alaska is prone to earthquakes and has a high crime rate which is surprising considering the low density. Barring a crisis, Alaska's benefits would have to be weighed against the harsh climate, isolation and long dark winters. Consequently, I'm not sure if it would be a state that I would choose to live off the grid, but hey, to each his own! Many people do make Alaska their home off the grid and they do so quite happily!


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    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      I'll have to check out that video, thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      off gridder 

      6 years ago

      After watching the straw bale video I have to comment. My first thought when I clicked play and saw the house, was " OMG" a huge house with huge windows? He was correct, the benefit from the r 54 walls is lost by his windows. and I might add by the amount of space that needs to be heated. That person had lots of money , but by the time they leave or die they will be broke. I had to stop the video halfway through it, just can't tolerate watching stupidity.

      A SMALL low ceiling well insulated window deprived cabin with a resident that doesn't need much more than a few lights and maybe a summer time fridge/freezer will be a successful off gridder. Still will need about 4 200 watt panels and 12 200 amphour batteries with a good charge controller. Use wood to heat your cabin, and prepare to wake up at 4 am to stoke the fire. Use oil lamps to light the cabin in the winter when sunlight is scarce. Use the same wood to cook with on the same wood stove or have both cook stove and wood heater. Entertain your self, don't go into town much. Be prepared to fix and improvise every thing in every kind of weather. Dick Preonekes life in the wilderness is about the only Alaskan Video I have seen that shows a Real Off gridder who is sustainable. All the rest including myself needed the on grid society many times to continue life in the wild.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks gridder for your words of wisdom.

    • profile image

      off gridder 

      6 years ago

      Check out the real estate sales going on in Alaska, Some how there are people still buying and selling without a bank financed home loan.

      While certain crimes are high in Anchorage and Fairbanks , the off grid areas experience crimes dealing with Alcohol and Domestic Violence. Lumping the whole of the state together when calculating crime is a mistake. I would say ," the areas that are not off grid experience high crime rates while the off grid areas are low in crime".

      Should a crises occur , the majority of those receiving a check from the government, or those addicted to expensive fly in supplies will leave in droves. Making the state very cut off and unappealing to NON off grid prepper types. Would be a real Off gridders dream.

      Having lived off grid in Alaska and in another state, I can say the most important factors of living off grid are easily met in Alaska.

      1) Water

      2)food in the form of animals and rich but short growing season.

      3)wood for homes and heating

      4)lastly seclusion away from the types of people that a prepper wants to avoid when shit hits the fan.

      The state has enough in the way of a tether , for those who need goods services and support in making an off grid life. For others who think off grid life is even remotely similar to life down in the lower 48 or think they can buy " little house on the prairie" and live it ? You will eventually leave.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      Each state that I research has pros and cons and all of them have beauty in some form. I've found the research fascinating myself. I'm glad you enjoy them as well.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      We have family members who have lived in Alaska for many years. We have visited once. Very distinctive place. Thanks for sharing these particular insights! ;-)

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks Rachael..yeah I don't have to think about something to write about for the next 47 days!

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 

      6 years ago from United States

      I love this series you have going on. Keep it up. I am reading, although I may not be commenting on each one. I'm enjoying each immensely.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      Yeah, it's definitely not for me but some people really like it. To each his own!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If you like the wilds then this is the state for you. I taught in a remote native village 150 miles west of Anchorage and it was brutal. It's safe to say I won't be returning there soon. :)


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