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Igloo Shelters: How to Build the Cold Weather Protection

So you want to survive the cold, harsh winter? One way to do that is by building an igloo shelter. Igloos are perfect for those who want a quick and easy shelter option.

Igloos are one of the most effective shelters in cold environments. They are simple to build and will keep you warm when it is below zero degrees Fahrenheit outside. Igloos have been used for thousands of years by Inuit tribes, but they were also used during World War II by the United States military as a shelter on the Aleutian Islands and Greenland.

Igloo Shelter
The snow cave was built by a mountaineer climbing mountains for survival during extreme weather. Night, art lighting, starry sky frosty weather

In this blog post we will discuss how to build an igloo and give tips on what supplies you can use.

Are Igloos Practical For Survival Situations?

Igloos are a shelter option for cold-weather survival that many people think is viable because they have the potential to provide warmth and protection from the elements.

However, this isn’t always true when considering that an igloo requires both firewood or other heat sources available nearby and snow as insulation.

Building one takes time and resources which may not be available in certain situations of winter. A snow trench shelter is basically a smaller version of an igloo and significantly more practical in survival situations.

How Warm Is An Igloo? How Do They Work?

igloo and snow shelter in high snowdrift with mountains peaks on background

Igloos are warm enough for survival in most cold-weather environments. Even during the winter, an igloo will stay at about 35 degrees Fahrenheit inside. It’s because of all the snow that surrounds it on every side and acts as insulation.

However, if you’re living off your own resources with no heat source available to you, then an igloo won’t keep you warm for very long.

Building an igloo could be useful but only when using materials around you such as trees to make firewood and leaves to create bedding.

It won’t be too warm, but it will keep you alive.

How To Build an Igloo:

Step 1: Find a suitable spot to build your igloo. Look for an area with hard-packed snow – hard enough to make solid snow blocks. You can compact the snow yourself by tramping an area for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: Dig a hole or a trench so you will be able to reach the underside of the blocks to cut them free. Using your saw or knife, cut the blocks from the snow on either side of the trench. The blocks should be solid enough to be carried without breaking their own weight. The harder the snow is, the more solid the snow blocks will be. 8 to 10 inch thickness is good for the blocks.

Step 3: Smooth the edges of the snow blocks, and angle them depending on the position in the spiral where it will be placed. Start putting them in a a circle, working your way up. Stagger each row decreasing the block size as you work up to the top. Stack additional layers on top, each time situating the blocks slightly inward so that the walls form a dome. fill in any gaps as you go, pack them tightly with snow. To create your entrance, point snow blocks outward stacking them in the same way as the walls. You may prefer to make an “L” shaped entrance as it will block the wind better and help keep snow from blowing in.

Step 4: Once all of the blocks except the last one have been placed, cut a cap block that is slightly larger than the hole on top of your igloo. Wiggle the block into place and shape as needed to fit the opening.

Step 5: Shovel snow onto the igloo. Pack it gently into all the holes and crevices. Smooth out the interior walls, this will prevent dripping as the inside temperature rises above freezing. Shovel out any extra snow. Cut vent holes on the side of the igloo wall and roof to prevent suffocation and to vent carbon dioxide. You can cover your entrance with a back pack, bag of snow, etc. However leave several inches of gap on all sides in case your roof and wall vent holes get covered during a snow storm.

Better Alternatives To Igloos

Building an igloo shelter with snow is possible, but it takes time and can be difficult to do. This may not be viable for all people in certain situations. If there’s anything that will work instead of an igloo then try those first – building one isn’t always the best option if other options are available.

Igloos require insulation like leaves or blankets to keep out cold air from seeping through cracks in the walls- without this, staying warm would take more energy than most survivors could put towards sustaining themselves while also finding food and water sources day after day.

Snow Trench Shelters

A snow trench shelter is a temporary structure that you can build in the outdoors. It uses minimal supplies The snow trench shelter is an underground fortification that’s built to withstand the extreme cold and harsh conditions of a winter. The walls are made out of several feet of compacted snow, which makes them strong enough to hold up against high winds and heavy snowfall.

Thermal A Frame Shelters

A thermal a frame shelter is a structure that is built with two vertical frames and has an A shape. The bottom of the A-shape rests on the ground while the top section contains the door. After covering with branches, pine, and other materials, snow can be packed on top to help insulation the shelter.