What Kind of Vehicle Is Big Red on 'Life Below Zero'? Fans Will Never Guess

Brittany Frederick - Author

Nov. 14 2022, Published 9:34 p.m. ET

Big Red on 'Life Below Zero.'
Source: BBC Studios

Big Red on 'Life Below Zero'

The many fans of National Geographic's docuseries Life Below Zero have fallen in love with Big Red, the giant vehicle that star Sue Aikens uses. It certainly cuts an imposing figure as Sue maneuvers it through the Alaskan wilderness. However, there's not a ton of information out there about Big Red... making fans curious about this unique ride.

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Big Red has appeared on screen a few times over Life Below Zero's 19 seasons, but it's not as easily identifiable as your typical car, truck, or SUV. Keep reading for everything we know about Big Red and its role in the popular series!

Sue Aikens on 'Life Below Zero.'
Source: BBC Studios

Sue Aikens on 'Life Below Zero'

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What kind of vehicle is Big Red on 'Life Below Zero'?

Big Red is referred to by its brand name, Nodwell, during Life Below Zero. Nodwells are made by Foremost Industries, a Canadian manufacturer of various heavy vehicles, and Big Red appears to be a Nodwell 320.

Contrary to fans' belief, it's not a tank. Rather, the "tracked vehicle" is used for different kinds of construction and maintenance, including cargo transportation, tree maintenance, and excavation — all tasks that may come up when living in the Alaskan wilderness.

How much did Big Red cost Sue Aikens?

The company does not list a base price for the Nodwell 320 on its website, so it's unclear exactly how much Big Red cost. Used Nodwells of different makes and models have been seen online for between $21,000 and $26,000.

If Sue bought her vehicle new, depending on what options she chose for it, it's possible that she paid as much as double that. She could also have gotten the Nodwell used, since it's not like there are many construction vehicle dealerships in Northern Alaska!

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What does Sue Aikens do with Big Red on 'Life Below Zero'?

Big Red is practically another character on Life Below Zero. Audiences watched Sue use the Nodwell to move her tank full of supplies closer to the Kavik River Camp in Season 4, Episode 4, "Sink or Swim."

That plan proved to be a struggle as she dealt not only with the difficult terrain, but the engine inside the vehicle began to overheat. Sue had to use her ingenuity and resilience to literally power through.

More recently in Season 12, Episode 14, "Shock & Awe," Sue was seen making repairs to Big Red. The Nodwell is an important part of her continued survival in the camp, and it's become an important part of the show.

However, since it's a very specialized type of vehicle, it's also destined to remain somewhat of a mystery. One thing viewers know for sure is they can't get one from their local car dealer!

Life Below Zero airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on National Geographic.

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