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Chip Hailstone how much they get paid from LBZ. Side Hustle and other income sources.

Life Below Zero

“Life Below Zero,” the popular National Geographic show, offers a raw and unfiltered look at the lives of individuals living in some of the most remote areas of Alaska. The cast members, including Sue Aikens, Chip and Agnes Hailstone, and others, demonstrate incredible survival skills and resilience as they navigate the harsh and unforgiving Arctic environment. However, one question frequently arises among fans: how do these individuals afford expensive gear and maintain their way of life without traditional jobs?

Chip Hailstone, a well-known cast member, recently addressed this question in a Reddit discussion, shedding light on the financial realities of their unique lifestyle.

Truth about Payment from Life Below Zero

In response to the question about affording a $1500 KLIM outfit, Chip candidly explained, “Of course, we get $ from the show, but it ain’t gonna make us rich. The side opportunities are where we make good money—rentals and property access fees, product endorsements, and people buying artworks. If you work every day, you see the benefits pretty quickly.”

Earnings from the Show

The show does provide a source of income for the cast members, but as Chip mentioned, it is not enough to make them wealthy. The visibility and popularity gained from appearing on television open up various side opportunities that significantly supplement their income.

Side Opportunities

  1. Rentals and Property Access Fees: Living in remote Alaska means owning and managing valuable land and resources. The Hailstones, for example, can rent out equipment and charge access fees for property use. This can be a substantial income source, especially given the demand for such resources in isolated areas.
  2. Product Endorsements: With their increased visibility, cast members have opportunities to endorse products. This not only provides them with free or discounted gear but also offers additional income streams through sponsorships and partnerships with brands.
  3. Selling Artworks: Many cast members, including the Hailstones, create and sell traditional Alaskan artwork. These unique pieces are highly sought after, and the revenue from art sales adds another layer to their financial sustainability.

The Reality of Hard Work

Chip emphasizes that maintaining their lifestyle requires constant effort: “If you work every day, you see the benefits pretty quickly.” This sentiment reflects the industrious nature of the cast, who continually engage in various activities to support themselves and their families.

The Advantage of Remote Living

Living in such a remote location has its perks. Chip notes, “If your face appears on TV, there’s a lot to be done to get it there, and we’re in a very remote place, so we have the equipment to rent and the places to stay. Maybe not so down south, but we are lucky here.”

Family Involvement

The Hailstones’ children, now adults, also contribute to the family’s income. Chip explains, “Our kids are all adults now, and they too do side stuff for more money than the show pays out.” This collective effort helps sustain their way of life and ensures financial stability.

Misconceptions and Myths

Chip also pointed out the many misconceptions about their lives: “Look up anything on the internet about us and it’s 99% wrong. We watch to get laughs, ’cause of the crazy crap ‘they’ come up with about us.” He debunked some specific myths, such as Agnes being named after a hurricane or their meeting in Noorvik, illustrating the frequent inaccuracies in public perceptions.

Cultural and Technological Adaptations

Chip further elaborated on how their culture and lifestyle have evolved with changing times: “The seas, lands, good and bad weather, as well as the animals, birds and fish that folks eat make up their unchanged culture. Food is a major part of any culture. Materials and transportation have changed and so has society, so they change with it, as they should to survive. Whatever makes your world more secure in food and health is the way to go.”

He shared historical insights, noting that outboard motors arrived in the Kotzebue area in 1917, and guns were sold to locals from 1819 onward. International trade and modern amenities like post offices and airstrips have made life easier, allowing people to obtain what they need more efficiently.

Wisdom from the Elders

Reflecting on the wisdom of the past, Chip recounted a conversation with his father-in-law, Joe, born in 1903. Joe observed, “People can move faster now, and sleep in their beds, so life on the trail and camping were going away and that a lot more children lived to adulthood.” In the early days, without modern medicine, 50% of children died before the age of five.

Embracing Modern Life

Agnes encapsulates their adaptive lifestyle beautifully: “It’s not ‘living in two worlds,’ it’s ‘living Eskimo in 2024, and loving it.'” She highlights the importance of using high-quality gear like KLIM outfits, which, while expensive, offer durability and essential protection against the harsh Alaskan climate. “If you’re going to be warm and depend on your clothes for your life, it’s best to get the best if you can.”


The cast of “Life Below Zero” demonstrates an extraordinary ability to adapt and thrive in extreme conditions. While the show provides some financial support, it is the myriad of side opportunities and relentless hard work that enable them to afford the necessities and luxuries of their rugged lifestyle. Chip Hailstone’s insights reveal the complex and multifaceted nature of their financial sustainability, dispelling myths and highlighting the real-life strategies that keep them afloat in the wilds of Alaska. Their story is not just about survival, but about thriving in a modern world while maintaining a deep connection to their cultural heritage.

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