Quick Igloo

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Introduction: Quick Igloo

Make a big igloo in 3 hours using a snowblower, some trash cans and a tarp.

Step 1: Make a Pile of Trash Cans

get about 5 trash cans with lids together and tie a loop of rope onto a few of the trash cans for easy removal from the igloo

Step 2: Create a Plug for Building the Inside of the Igloo Part 1

Lay the bottom row of cans their side on soft snow, don't pack the base down or it will be too hard to dig out the cans. Put the lids on the cans and have the wider top part of the first can pointing toward the door. You will dig in to find the wide part of this can and pull it out first. The tapered shape will make it pull out easily.

Step 3: Build the Plug Part 2

Pile up more cans, and the upper row needs to have the rope loops accessible so you can pull them out easily.

Cover the cans with one or more tarps, I used a big tarp folded in 4. You can pack down the snow a bit around your pile, but

Step 4: Blow Snow Onto the Plug, Then Start Digging Out the Cans

You need about 18-24 inches of thickness over the whole thing, preferably of light, powderey snow. Heavier, packing snow is not as good , it won't last as long.

Then, dig out the trash can at the bottom.

Step 5: Finish the Igloo

Use a toboggan type sled to carry snow out of the igloo as you dig it out.

Smooth out the walls and ceiling so that any meltwater runs down the walls instead of dripping on you. Put a small chimney hole straight up through the top of the ceiling, this allows CO2 and candle smoke to exit safely.

To gauge wall thickness, put some 18" long sticks thru the walls from the outside, and then dig out the interior till you get to the sticks.

It won't collapse suddenly, but over a matter of days it may slump and eventually cave in. You can use the snowblower to add more snow on top and then dig out the interior more.

Make the center floor area higher - with gutters around the edges to cach meltwater and to get you up into the warmer air.

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    50 Discussions

    a while back i saw one of teose ultimate survival programs where the contestants went and did teh norwegian army snow training (the british army still send troups to take this course) part of teh training was to build a snow cave after a gruling hike. their principle was to build two bed shaped shelves either side of a trough and then a dropped down entrance like @orangewood mentioned. This made the chance of sufforcating less as the excess CO2 went out of teh doorway and the heat was kept inside. I cannot remeber if they built in an air hole above the door but this would seam logical to me as you would neeed a new supply of air as you were converting it to co2.

    Did you know that German "Gebirgsjaeger" (military montain special forces, trained to fight in the icy mountains) use a technique thats nearly the same? Well instead of barrels the use 5-6 six Soldiers wo "form" the inner part with a Tarp over them. I think if your in war, your probably gonna be short of barrels ;)

    5 replies

    We just pile our backpacks and put a tarp over them :) I'm not sure I'd like to have snow piled on me!

    Ditto that here.Same basic method I learned as well. Pile up whatever equipment you have plus any convenient filler in the local area (usually more snow). Never considered using people and not so sure I'd be keen on being buried either. But whatever works in a survival situation I guess :)

    if there are multiple people and something goes wrong, it would be a simple matter to just busty out of it.

    Thank you, that is the coolest idea ever. Remember if you ever need to survive outdoors your best rescue device is a piece of mirror to signal aircraft

    you know what i think would be waaay easier then this, just take a tent, a normal camping tent, right, and then leaev it out over the winter, and the snow falls on it and presto. but youd need some supports cuase tents arent that strong at all.

    1 reply

    actually, if the snow builds up on it slowly, the snow would hold itself up so long as the tent is kind of small.

    I do believe what you made is a Quinzhee, not an igloo(the differences are marked on wikipedia). Just putting that out there

    But still very cool, if you want to have more "fun" you can just skip the garbage cans or gear and just hollow it out all the way.

    I think i will try this method the next time I build one.

    3 replies

    Well, when there are specific meanings on words and people don't know then and use the words wrong, it's not an opinion, it's stupidity or laziness

    No, actually Quinzee and Igloo are very specific words which describe to very different structures. The Igloo is made up of cut blocks of naturally set, and much more dense snow, whereas the Quinzee is made of loose hand piled snow. Also, the Quinzee is a mound which is then dug-out, and the Igloo is built with an internal cavity. Igloos are also far more structural and do not sag like Quinzees do.

    I am getting 3-6" of snow right now.  in the morning I will try this! :}

    1 reply

    yes it works but BE FAST....you need to be spraying water nearly constantly or the hose will freeze

    i only have 2 trashcans will that work??? What else can i use to replace the trash cans

    cool! too bad i don't have a snow blower, or snow for that matter something i'll have to try!