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The Alaskan Bus Made Famous From ‘Into the Wild’ Moves From Museum to Storage

The historic bus, known as Bus 142, is now in storage. The vehicle became widely known from the movie and book Into the Wild, which focused on the story of Chris McCandless and his outdoor adventures and controversial death.

The plan is to eventually display the bus as an exhibit outside the Museum of the North, located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. However, since 2021, the bus has sat in the university’s engineering build, visible to the public, staff and others, and on a 24/7 live stream.

The Army National Guard removed the bus from the Alaskan wilderness in June 2020 over safety concerns. Bus 142 was in the woods for hunters to use as a base. Chris McCandless lived in the vehicle in 1992 after exploring the American West. Hunters found his body in September of that year, and most believe he died from starvation.

McCandless inspired a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in the vein of Jack Kerouac and John Meir. However, he’s also a controversial figure, as many believe he was misguided and ill-prepared for the Alaskan wilderness. The concerns of others following in McCandless’ footsteps led government officials to fly the bus out of the woods.

Regardless of your standing on the story of McCandless, many associate the bus with outdoor history. Whether that’s humankind’s need to connect with nature or a monument of the importance of being prepared.

The UA Museum of the North, along with an organization called Friends of Bus 142, are working to raise funds for the permanent exhibit. The plan is for the bus to be on display in the woods just north of the museum’s parking lot.

prepared for the wild

Correction: This article has been updated for clarification.

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