Picture of Quinzee Building
Quinzees are much faster & much easier to build than igloos. We built this one just for fun, but we've also made them for sleeping in while winter camping.

Step 1: Find a spot & start shoveling

Picture of Find a spot & start shoveling
Where you build your quinzee is pretty important. If we had needed quinzee to sleep in, we would have found a nice sheltered spot, on level land. We opted to build ours on a lake instead. Now, frozen ice conducts heat much better than frozen ground, so sleeping on a lake will draw your body heat away much faster. That really sucks. Not a good choice for over-night campouts, but were just building this one just for fun, so it wasn't an issue.

Where ever you choose to build yours, start by digging out all the snow from the area that your quinzee will sit. Then shovel it all right back. Moving the snow like this will cause it to settle out and give your quinzee a good solid base.
1-40 of 106Next »
antioch8 months ago

Ohmygod, they killed Henry!

JerryG18 months ago

RE: the smell , When ever I had made a "snow cave" a hole big enough for your fist , was made at the high point . This allowed all the flatulance (!) a way to escape

sweerek9 months ago

Much time & effort is wasted on hollowing out the center of a Quinzee. This method uses less snow too.

Instead, make a hollow area before you pile snow. Use 6-10 old fiberglass tent poles and a heavy blue or silver tarp to create a dome. Duct-tape the centers of the poles together. Do not let the tarp edges extend too far from the dome. Keeping the tarp tight is the trick — use logs/rocks/ice to roll the tarp inward. To start, a person inside helps. PIle snow >2 feet deep, using sticks to measure depth. Let solidify for >2 hours. Tunnel under dome, remove tent poles, remove tarp, add an airhole, and then create another dome. Use a backpack for a door.

If you’re packing large shovels, might as well take a tarp & poles too.

ischweetz1 year ago

I feel so angry that I have to show Instructions to someone! He/She should know that we know how to build a snow quinzee! we just don't remember how!

Magpie155 years ago
 I have built and slept in quigloos (same idea as quinzees) for several nights with three other people and never had a problem with the smell. Granted, we weren't very good at patching the hole on top from how we hollowed it out, and I think that could have helped air it out.

Another tunneling idea: have one person start at the top, and one at the door, and have them dig a chute until they meet. It should follow the slant of the quigloo wall, and be a good foot thick (at least). Once the top and door person's tunnels meet, the top person hollows out the quigloo from the top down, sending the snow down the chute. The door person then clears it away from the door, making new mounds that can be carved into walls (or a kitchen, if winter camping.) The top gets plugged up with snow blocks before the quigloo is too unstable, and the top person says inside hollowing out until it is big enough for someone else to come in the door and help hollow. It took us less than two hours to hollow this way, and make a space big enough for four people to sleep comfortably. 

another building tip is to put the hollowed out snow on top, then dig it out again.

sparky123455 years ago
you could use it for nerf 

no matter what, ANY structure can be used for nerf, as long as the owner is okay with it. saying the obvious is unnecessary. also, if you have ever tried to do nerf in cold weather, you know that it's hell on earth, so quinzees in nerf are a BAD idea.

o ya for sure.
me and my friends do it all the time. we actually got a 5 foot fall once all the way around and we were able to sit upright in are quinzee. and for fun we laid in some plywood and a tarp. we even got a torch (i dont small torch i mean this thing shoots a 4 foot flame) and made an ice layer on top and bottom.
nerd17011 year ago
I've made these before. A good trick to get uniform walls is to put sticks that are the same length into the snow hill. When you are digging and you hit a stick stop digging. This way all the walls are the same thickness.
emehollin4 years ago
skrubol has it right. My kids and I built a 3-man version in Michigan back in the 1980s after reading a how-to article in the local paper. We piled all the snow out of our backyard (we had 19 feet of snow that year), let it sit over night to crystalize, stuck in a bunch of twigs and started hollowing it out. As soon as we came across one of the twigs, we stopped digging and changed direction until we came to another twig. It lasted for weeks and was strong enough for my son, age 5 at the time, to climb all over the outside.
sweet. Michigan isn't getting much snow over here... i tried building a quinzee this year... i tried
That winter we had 19 feet of snow. I shoveled my driveway twice a day from Thanksgiving until Easter. Maybe you'll have better luck next winter.
19 feet!!! That ridicules!!! You could make tunnels from your house to your freinds house! Man i wish Kansas got that much snow.
Isn't that the truth!
Those pics of the green and blue light is beutiful!!! Nice work! I will try this, but since i live in Kansas it might be hard.
powercow2443 years ago
michigan and minnisota are the only US states with real snow
And Utah
What about Colorado?
farmerboyk3 years ago
Ha...it only snowed TWICE in Ohio this year, and hardly any snow both times. When the year BEFORE we had like a TON my sisters built like 3 igloos with snow left for more. 
legodanny4 years ago

dont mean to be a bother but it says that he built the fire outside the quinzee. he built it within the walls. XD
ciaran544 years ago
Thanks for the instructable ;) I just made two quinzees IN ENGLAND with some friends and family, and connected them with a tunnel about two meters long. Great fun with our two feet of snow. Thanks, very rewarding :D
wrique (author)  ciaran544 years ago
Cool! Do you have any photos of your creation that you'd care to share?

Nice to know you're getting to enjoy some snow in the UK!
Jynx.4 years ago
About how much feet of snow is needed to make one of these?
wrique (author)  Jynx.4 years ago
For the quinzee we built here, we probably had about six to ten inches of snow on the ground. You certainly could make a quinzee with much less snow if you are willing to shovel in snow from a larger area. Typically if you can't throw your shovelful of snow onto the pile you are building, you are probably too far away.
legolass696 years ago
CO2 is heavier then thin air. When you breath it stays in the shelter. So holes does not not work. You should make a drainage channel both sides of quinzee. They must be gradient through the gate and if the gate is higher then the ground level CO2 will be flow outside of the quinzee. And remember it is not only the smell, lack of oxygen cause not only uncomfortable sleeping...
True. I have made snow shelters in which you sleep on a raised platform and that way you're warmer and you can breathe clean air.
CO2 is indeed heavier than the rest of the air, but the normal movement of air due to wind and thermal differences do not allow CO2 to settle. Trust me: I am a Chemist. The drainage channels are a great idea, especially to allow colder air to sink out a little, keeping the warm, stanky air inside. They also allow liquid water to pool away from sleeping bags if the shelter gets too warm. I still prefer igloos, but great instructible!
I never trust anyone who says "Trust me"... o.O
wrique (author)  romedeiros19706 years ago
Well stated, romedeiros1970. I agree, the convective movement of the air certainly does negate the subtle differences in the densities of the various gasses. Don't forget, there are warm bodies in the middle of the quinzee and cold ceiling & walls on the outside. The air does move around quite nicely. Now in my initial write-up, I did neglect writing about poking a small hole (1 inch or so in diameter) in the wall of the quinzee. It was an oversight on my part, but a good number of people have made comments about it already. However as I've commented elsewhere already, most people don't appreciate just how porous snow is, and much air exchange can take place through it.
One idea for the stench problem is to leave a vent hole about four inches wide at roughly the halfway point on the side of the quinzee. You should have this anyway so that you can glaze the interior with a candle or something without suffocating. It actually doesn't let out that much heat, and you're at the bottom anyway. In the long run, it may make you warmer because now you can block the door and still be able to breath. Another heat-saving technique is to dig down, across, and then up to begin hollowing out the inside.
flamesami5 years ago
another version is this: make a pile of branches on the base part, cover it with a tarp, then shovel on the snow and stamp it down. This makes it a lot easier to hollow out and gives a more compact wall to your quinzee
Speedmite5 years ago
Built half of mine today. got like 5 inches with 2 more comin. Its gonna be big. And have to hollow it out. Its just that it was melting a little today, but now its dropped down to 13, -3 with windchill, so Idk if It will pack tommorow, or if we will be able to dig tommorow. May become a block of ice. Fun.
runrun2655 years ago
 This seems very well done, but being a boy scout myself, the one problem I can see is you don't have a vent hole on the inside so that you can't suffocate while sleeping inside (I have heard stories of this happening) and you should have a rise up to the sleeping platform so that cold air can't sweep right in. Very well done having the ice window and the fire in the centre.
skrubol5 years ago
Another thing to keep in mind with snow shelters is that you want to keep the temperature below freezing inside, or else the humidity is going to go way up, the wet walls won't breathe as well, and you'll feel colder.
skrubol5 years ago
A trick I've used is to get a bunch of 1 foot long small sticks and poke them through the surface of the quincy just after you finish piling up the snow.  Then when you're shoveling out you have a good indicator as to when the wall is the right thickness.
=SMART=7 years ago
Interesting instructable id never heard the word "quinzee" before also a clever design with the ice windows and tunnels.
wrique (author)  =SMART=7 years ago
Glad you like our quinzee "innovations"! As for the word itself, there are several different spellings: quinzee, quinzy, quinzhee.... There are even a couple ways people pronounce the word. In my opinion the correct way is kwin-zee. On the other hand my friend Carl always pronounces it kwin-see, but to me that's a 1970's medical examiner.

By the way, there's even a band called Quinzy!
=SMART= wrique7 years ago
haha yea as i was saying i have watched days worth of bear grils, ray mears and other survival programs but never seen anything like this! im going to try it next time i go skiing! ill tell you how it goes when i do.
Unfortunately Bear Grylls gives quite a bit of incorrect information on his show. Les Stroud gives a much more accurate depiction of survival in "Survivorman."

1-40 of 106Next »