Alaska life

Rural Alaska Life Hacks

Sewing mosquito net material on a cap is a great way to keep the bugs out of your face and neck. Here is one I made a few years ago.
Sewing mosquito net material on a cap is a great way to keep the bugs out of your face and neck. Here is one I made a few years ago.

I’ve been intrigued by life hacks in Alaska, especially from the bush. As Alaskans, we have tons of life hacks. One big one is the use of duct tape to fix just about anything. Heck, we even have a Duct Tape Ball. Alaskans have a unique way of doing things and surviving. Some life hacks are done out of pure necessity. When you are out in the wilderness or rural Alaska, you have to make modifications to just about everything when you do repairs. There is usually no store that you can go to to buy parts in the village.

Here is a survival technique from my Great Uncle Bill Williams of Hughes. I guess it could be what some people would call an ‘old Indian trick’. It is really about survival when you are out in the wilderness with limited water.

I want to ask Alaskans and people in general about the subject. What are your favorite life hacks? How has it saved you? What are the simplest ones that make the most difference? Does it have to do with cooking or a food gathering/preservation technique? Does it save you time? How does it make your life easier?

Comment below with your favorite or most useful life hack. Upload your photo on Facebook, Twitter or other social media with the hashtag:  #alaskalifehack. Describe your ideas and story behind the life hack. I’ll share it here.


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4 thoughts on “Rural Alaska Life Hacks”

  1. Not sure if this qualifies as a ‘hack’ but it is something I’ve learned to do since taking up residence in rural Talkeetna. Most locals keep a supply of cash on hand – usually $300 to $600 – in their homes as a back stop against the failure of modern infrastructure. A strong enough earthquake or a major wildfire could destroy the hard line links between this area and Wasilla/Anchorage area which would then render credit and ATM cards useless and even checks couldn’t be verified. This could make it tough to purchase food and fuel. One wouldn’t think of doing this in the lower 48 as it would attract burglars but up here everyone has firearms and knows how to use them. In addition living rural means most everyone knows everyone else so any ‘bad seeds’ generally leave for Anchorage or the lower 48 where they can retain some degree of anonymity.

  2. Wanted to leave a ‘head’s up’ regarding issues with WordPress and compatibility with Firefox running under Windows 7. I cannot post comments to your blog when using Firefox although I can access your blog and I have the most current version (Firefox 31.0) although I’ve seen this same issue with earlier versions as well. I can type in a comment but when I hit the ‘post comment’ button I immediately get a; ‘Sorry, your comment cannot be posted’ error message. I know other bloggers are seeing this same issue and the WordPress staff has been notified. This is disappointing because you may well have seen many other comments but if the folks were using the Firefox browser and they weren’t a bit technically savvy they probably just gave up. While researching this issue on my own I discovered ‘Chrome’ seems to work virtually 100% (that’s what I’m currently utilizing) of the time and IE works maybe 90%. Just wanted to share…

  3. Okay, this one is indeed something peculiar to living in Alaska. I do a lot of on-line shopping and I’ve discovered that in many cases the shipping on an item from the lower 48 can be as much as 50% of the cost of an item if using UPS, Fed Ex, DHL or similar private carriers. Being a Prime member of will get you free shipping although the two day guarantee those in the lower 48 enjoy doesn’t apply in Alaska. But what if you want to order from some place other than or the item you want from them doesn’t qualify as ‘Prime’ and the dealer will not ship via the USPS? I’ve learned I can have items shipped to my friends in the lower 48; they, in turn, relabel the package and ship it via USPS to me. While this is a bit convoluted and does impose on said friends it does mean I’ve managed to get items from the lower 48 at a fraction of what the shipping costs would have run if the company shipped direct to me. Not an ‘elegant’ solution but it does get the job done…

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