loading

In this Instructable, I will give you the steps to build a snow cave that can protect you for many nights in a winter environment.

Items needed include:

Snow - If you live in Costa Rica, you probably wont be building a snow cave in your back yard.

Snow mobile - or some sort of transportation to get you to a good area. Snow Cat, snow shoes and ski's are all good options too.

Shovel - I like the small aluminum shovels that are collapsible.

Saw - The kind that works best is an old wood handled hand saw. The ones we use are about 36" long. Shorter ones would work but these long ones work great. Lightly coating it with oil before you leave will help.

Ski poles - Sticks and branches will work too but you really need something straight and smooth.

Tarp - We just used a light blue one that you can get anywhere.

Disclaimer: As always, common sense must be used in this or anything you do. This is a SNOW cave. Snow melts!. If the cave starts to collapse, crack or melt at any time during or after the build, abandon it immediately. This is just a guide on how to build a snow cave that has worked for me on two different occasions. I cannot be responsible for the way you build your cave.

OK, lets get started.

Step 1: Get Out There

I am a volunteer on Search and Rescue (SAR), Fire Fighting and Dive Rescue teams in Colorado. All year, we train on a large variety of topics. In the winters, we train on winter (surprise) survival techniques. I have successfully built and spent nights in two snow caves in different years. We have also built other types of field expedient shelters that are usually less work and can work just as well. The snow cave is my favorite.

My team has a fleet of snowmobiles. This is how we get to our overnight location.

We like to wait until about February or March depending on the snow fall that year. Usually, it takes most of a winter to get a good drift built up. I have been to other areas where drifts build up quickly.

<p>Very cool.</p>
<p>:-D Literally.</p>
<p>This is so cool! Keep up the good work.</p><p>Voting!</p>
<p>Very interesting and helpful to anyone who lives in this type weather - with loads of snow. I've always been interested in igloos and snow caves so this instructable gave a lot of information.</p><p>Unfortunately (or not), I live in the south and for several years barely get enough snow to build a snowman or have a snow fight! </p>
<p>cool. i have to try this.</p>
<p>Some people are more claustrophobic than they realize. Having an MRI does not bother me at all, but sleeping in a quinzee (one type of snow cave) or a backpacking one-person tent are both impossible for me. I have slept most of one night in a two-person quinzee and vowed that it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I prefer a well-dug trench with a tarp on the bottom, then a couple of closed-cell foam pads, then my sleeping bag; I've slept very comfortably this way with my Scouts at -39. On another camp-out we had a warm front blow in, it began to rain, and I finally loaded my soggy sleeping bag into my pulk and trekked the mile back to my van and slept comfortably all night in my dry spare sleeping bag. We had perhaps 60 Scouts and close to two dozen adults on that camp-out and one other adult was aware that I was returning to the parking area. Be sure if you follow the excellent suggestions presented in this outstanding 'ible that you are actually capable of sleeping all night in a very confined space. All manner of snow shelters have saved lives for millennia.</p>
Nice instructable. here are a few comments/ suggestions to build on this. If you are in a wooded area take footlong twigs and fully insert them in the snow prior to digging out your living area. This will indicate when you're getting too close to the outside. <br>Once you have dug out the inside dig an 8 inch moat around the perimeter of your living area. This is for two reasons. It acts as a cold sump...colder air will settle there as opposed to your sleeping ground. Also as your cave heats there will be some interior melting. The moat will collect the water so it doesn't get all over you and your gear.<br>Personal preference. I like a smaller door/ hole where you slide down then up..where the entrance is below your sleeping platform..this helps with wind and as additional cold sump....you can also use extra snow to build a wind wall to help protect you.<br>Last thing to consider, if you will be making once of these with some friends close by... Carve a shelf and light a candle at night. This will help you keep an eye on each other. If you wake up in the middle of the night and go outside and their candles not lit, it's time to wake them up. They may be suffocating due to bad ventilation ( that's why the ski pole hole is so important) if the candle can't burn, means there's not enough oxygen to breath.<br><br>Hope these comments/ suggestions help<br><br>If for fun or survival being able to think divergently will increase your longevity.<br><br>Cheers<br><br>Steve
Nice instructable. here are a few comments/ suggestions to build on this. If you are in a wooded area take footlong twigs and fully insert them in the snow prior to digging out your living area. This will indicate when you're getting too close to the outside. <br>Once you have dug out the inside dig an 8 inch moat around the perimeter of your living area. This is for two reasons. It acts as a cold sump...colder air will settle there as opposed to your sleeping ground. Also as your cave heats there will be some interior melting. The moat will collect the water so it doesn't get all over you and your gear.<br>Personal preference. I like a smaller door/ hole where you slide down then up..where the entrance is below your sleeping platform..this helps with wind and as additional cold sump....you can also use extra snow to build a wind wall to help protect you.<br>Last thing to consider, if you will be making once of these with some friends close by... Carve a shelf and light a candle at night. This will help you keep an eye on each other. If you wake up in the middle of the night and go outside and their candles not lit, it's time to wake them up. They may be suffocating due to bad ventilation ( that's why the ski pole hole is so important) if the candle can't burn, means there's not enough oxygen to breath.<br><br>Hope these comments/ suggestions help<br><br>If for fun or survival being able to think divergently will increase your longevity.<br><br>Cheers<br><br>Steve
<p>sweet</p>
<p>Some cross-section illustrations would be helpful. Otherwise. nice job.</p>
<p>Sweeeeet! I don't have snow like that where I live... I really like the cold and I don't like when it's hot so I would love to go where you are. I also love building things out of snow, but the best I've ever done was a little snow cave kind of thing, but I used snow off the ground. Not like this snow cave. That was when I lived in Missouri...</p>
<p>the problem is in the middle of winter in a survival situation you don't what to sweat, and building these things makes you sweat... A LOT. but if your just having fun then these things are great. </p>
<p>Everything worth having is worth working for. Sure, if you expect to be rescued in the morning, building a cave might not be the best option. If you survived a plane crash and expect that you may be there a while, the snow cave is a great option.</p>
What if people walk on top of it?
<p>you really want to make sure that doesn't happen. I would suggest using some sort of markings to keep anyone off. I like the pink flagging tape. It works great. A small animal would not affect it. Now if a bear was in the area, you might be wishing you hadn't survived the plane crash. lol.</p>
<p>Cool! I want the same snow in New Jersey!)))</p>
<p>hi garg. I've never been in NJ in the winter but from what I've seen on the news, you guys get some pretty good snow. You could probably build one in downtown A.C. :-)</p>
<p>I've lived in South Florida form almost 60 years and I found this very interesting. I had watched an Eskimo build an igloo on TV but this is the first for building a cave.</p><p>Naturally I have a lot of silly Florida questions like how do you heat it and where is the bathroom/shower... but I won't ask them.</p><p>You rescue guys are great even though the only one I've used is the tow truck guy that delivered some gasoline. </p>
<p>Hey Jack. The heater is the fat guy laying on the other side and the lavatory is in the corner by the yellow snow. Baahaa. Just kidding.</p>
<p>That is awesome. It looks so cozy.</p>
<p>Very cozy. With thick snow you'd never know if there was a storm outside. Just make sure the air hole is clear </p>
<p>Cool, but the snow can't fall on you? :Z</p>
<p>Hello n&quot;byb. (am I close?, lol) anyway, the snow does not fall because of a few reasons. This snow has been building up all winter and is packed pretty well. The more it builds up the better it packs due to the weight building above. Also, this is pretty much a big dome. The dome and arch are naturally some of strongest structures. As long as it stays cold and does not melt or receive any kind of physical damage, it will stay for a very long time. Thanks for looking :-) </p>
I live in northern Canada. My husband and I have grand plans for him to show me how to build a Quincy (give or take spelling) but somehow it's never happened. This is an awesome instructable if you are in an area where the wind builds this sort of drift but the trees here prevent that. If you have a chance this winter to make an instructable for a Quincy that would be awesome!<br><br>If you guys don't use them in Colorado let me know and maybe I'll make sure this is the year we go out...
<p>If it ever snows in california again. This drought is hitting us hard.</p>
<p>https://www.instructables.com/id/Quinzee-Building/</p>
<p>Hey Bastian a and bizzycrafter, I had not heard of a quinze before. That looks like a good way to make a snow structure in a drift free area. </p><p>I like it because you could bring snow from the surrounding area if needed.</p><p>Have a great winter.</p>
<p>Quinzee - - this is the simplest / most <br>basic instructions. Even easier?? Pile up a bunch of stuff (sleeping <br>bags etc, if you're camping) inside a tarp, build the snow pile around <br>the stuff, pack it down a bit, and pull out the 'filler' through what <br>will be the door. This does not look snazzy and classy, but it will be <br>warm inside!</p><p>http://boyslife.org/outdoors/outdoorarticles/2992/how-to-build-a-quinzee-snow-shelter/</p>
Looks like huge marshmallow blocks! <br>Great instructible!
<p>So cool!! </p>
<p>Thanks guys, I appreciate the positive comments.</p><p>Aaron</p>
I'm glad that I only have to know how to build a palapa, I'm getting cold by only watching your instructable but what a great job! Have a save winter!

About This Instructable

57,651views

342favorites

License:

More by aaron81006:How to Build a Snow Cave for Winter Survival Hide your tv wires in the wall 
Add instructable to: