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Importance of Survival Skills

How to build an igloo for overnight snow camping

Hello there! Welcome to the Northwest
Sisu Outdoors YouTube channel! I hope you are doing great today, and I hope you will enjoy this video about building a real wilderness igloo! if you have trouble understanding my accent, you can always turn on closed captioning It is winter here in the Pacific Northwest and that means, it is time to build an igloo! The last two winters I have built igloos in my front yard, very cool ones, with features such as windows made of ice, and cozy little stoves. But those igloos were more a type
of recreational igloos and not really suitable for wilderness conditions. This time we are building a real igloo , in which you can actually sleep well and survive even the coldest nights! We don’t get much snow in the valley where I live, so we had to drive up to the mountains to build the igloo. We skied up to higher elevations, carrying everything we needed in our backpacks. We found a nice open spot in the forest, with an about five feet snow cover. In the days prior to our snow camping trip the days have been well above freezing, and the nights have been below freezing, creating a four-inch hard crust on the snow surface. We cut up and removed the crust from our building spot. The snow below the crust was soft and just perfectly wet for making blocks for the igloo. We compacted the snow and let it sit a while, so it would harden up so it can be cut into blocks We decided to build the igloo with an eight feet inner diameter, just right for two people. We used one of our ski poles as measuring stick to maintain a consistent four feet radius through the building process. The saw is a basic 15 inch wood cutting saw. It is lightweight and perfect for cutting snow blocks an firewood. The walls were going to be about a foot thick, which was easy to keep consistent, when cutting the blocks with a 15 inch saw. A one foot thick wall also gives plenty of insulation. First, we used the cut-out crust blocks to build a base. We then cut the first set of actual blocks from inside the igloo, lowering the floor to below the snow surface. Once one floor layer of blocks was cut out from inside the igloo, we left the sleeping areas at that level and continued cutting out the trench from the center of the floor and out through the entrance opening. The entrance would ideally be a fully below the snow surface for better heat retention. But not being that cold this time, we built it a little higher to make it easier to enter and exit the igloo. Music: Sequence of Art, by Origen Music. The blocks need to be cut and shaped so they lock in smoothly to the mating surfaces, and any gaps between blocks need to be filled, in order for the blocks to stay in place. Also, make sure that you smooth out the inside walls. You can do this during the construction, or once the igloo is completed. This is to prevent any melt water dripping on your sleeping bags and other gear. When compacting the snow for the blocks, it is much easier when the snow is wet, as it was today. Last time we built a wilderness igloo, it was below freezing and the snow was dry and powdery. After packing the snow, we had to wait much longer for the snow to recrystallize and harden up, and the blocks were still fragile and more difficult to handle. Today it took us three hours to build this igloo, but we started early in the day, and we were in no rush. If you are building an igloo with dry snow, be prepared to spend much longer time completing it! I had my GoPro 4 camera recording the process but the batteries did not last as long as I thought they would So I didn’t get any video footage of the final part of the construction. We were both able to work independently for most of the construction. But once the walls started leaning inward at a steeper angle, we worked together block by block, completing the ceiling. One person holding the block while the other person locked it in. The ceiling ended up being more than six feet off the floor, tall enough for us to stand inside. Ok, we completed the igloo, let’s take a look inside! We added a vent hole off to the side, up in the ceiling. Igloos require some air circulation, to prevent suffocation. We stayed warm and dry, and slept well all night in our zero degree sleeping bags. Thank you for watching our wilderness igloo construction video! Hopefully you enjoyed it. Have a great day!

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