How to Build an Igloo
The following is reprinted from
"The Complete Wilderness
written by Hugh McManners and
published by Dorling Kindersley.
| from Chapter Three, "Living In The Wild"
Provided temperatures remain below 32 degrees F, constructing snow
shelters is relatively easy. Sheltering from the wind is the first
priority, since the wind can drastically decrease the air temperature.
Temperatures below 14 degrees F become increasingly unpleasant,
so that it becomes necessary to construct shelters in which heat
can be retained extremely well. These can range from a simple, hollowed-out
heap of snow to an igloo, which can take a few hours to construct.
In a long-term shelter, such as an igloo, heavy, cold air can be
diverted away from the occupants by digging a cold sink to channel
the air down and away from the shelter. It is important to allow
for adequate ventilation in all snow shelters in order to prevent
||1. Cut blocks from dry, hard, hard snow, using
a snow saw or large knife. Each block should be about 3 ft. (1m) long,
15 in. (40cm) high, and 8 in. (20cm) deep.
||2. Form a circle with blocks around the hole
created where you cut the blocks. Cut the circle in a spiral from
the top of the last block to the ground ahead of the first block.
This will make it easy to construct a dome.
||3. Build up walls, overlapping the blocks and
shaping them so that they lean inward. Cut a hole under the wall for
the cold sink and entrance. Put several blocks along one wall as a
||4. The last block must initially
be larger than the hole. Place the block on top of the igloo, then,
from inside, shape and wiggle it to slot exactly into the hole.
||5. Hot air from your body and
stove rises and is trapped inside the dome. Cold air falls into the
sink and flows away to the outside. It is essential to cut ventilation
holes in the walls with an ice ax.
With warmth inside the igloo, the surface of the walls will melt
and freeze over, to form a smooth, airtight ice surface. The roof
over entrance tunnel prevents snow from blowing into igloo.
WARNING! It is vital to make at least
one airhole in the roof to avoid suffocation. The igloo will get
very warm inside with heat from your body, even if it is cold and
windy outside. Without ventilation, lethal carbon dioxide will build
up. Also, the use of stoves in an enclosed shelter is not recommended
due to dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide.
An igloo building kit