The Pack Report

How to Build a Winter Survival Shelter; The Igloo

How to Build a Winter Survival Shelter

In case you haven’t heard (or seen), it’s snow season. The arrival of the white flakes is hardly subtle, bringing the usual concern about traveling or being unable to. If you happen to find yourself deep in the woods this winter, as we do, it’s crucial to be prepared for the elements and what could come. Whether you’re an experienced outdoors person or are a newcomer in the winter season, you should acquire the basics of survival, including how to build a shelter, especially in the winter. Or maybe you just want to have some fun in the backyard. Here is your guide.

It’s hard to imagine a winter survival shelter without thinking about an igloo, an iconic snow structure used by people in absurdly cold conditions in Canada’s Arctic as well as Greenland. Usually, a basic dome shape with an open hole for an entrance, igloos are temporary and are most commonly used by the Inuit/Eskimos for hunting trips in frigid temps. These structures are incredibly efficient at blocking the wind and keeping the temperature inside more manageable. The base temp inside an igloo ranges from about 20-60 degrees Fahrenheit, while factors such as outdoor temperature and the number of people inside play a notable role in that base.

To build an igloo, start from the ground up. Ideally, the snow should be hard and packable, allowing the building of rectangular, flat, snow “bricks.” A long knife or a mold can help to streamline this process. It may be useful to draw a rough circle around the area you intend to do your building. Start with the igloo entry point as your reference and begin laying the foundation of the snow shelter. The blocks of snow traditionally should be about 3 feet long and just over a foot tall. You can use a shovel to clear the future inside of the igloo and use that snow to build upward. Consider a popular snow shelf on the interior that goes around the structure.

Note: Make an upward, spiral-like shape for your igloo. Start with some low and flat blocks of snow, then gradually work up and inward to achieve the dome shape. The coiling will give the igloo strength to withstand the elements.

The entry point for the igloo should not be large. A hole that is big enough to crawl through is all you need and will not sacrifice the strength of the structure. Along with that, you can choose to keep a small opening at the top of the igloo for more air ventilation, allowing for a small fire inside the igloo as the smoke can flow out through the top naturally.

Survival shelters are an essential piece of the winter puzzle. These structures can provide safety from cold temperatures and windchill. The basic knowledge of building an igloo presents better opportunities for survival and withstanding the elements that come with the season. Furthermore, building an igloo is a great way to spend some time outside on a snow day with your friends and family.

It’s time to embrace winter, don’t let the cold temperatures stop you from getting outside and enjoying the beauties of the natural environment. A Duluth Pack hoodie or beanie is a perfect way to gift (or enjoy for yourself) some layering essentials to stay warm out there. Also, those links are sales: check it out!

Enjoy the weather, friends!

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