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Make Your Own Gear: Igloos
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Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Make Your Own Gear: Igloos on 03/05/2012 09:12:40 MST Print View

Good article. I've built many quinzies, snowholes and snow trenches over the years (I used to teach snow shelter building when I led and taught Nordic skiing). Trenches are by far the fastest if you need an emergency shelter. For the last five years I've used an IceBox and I think it's worth the weight as you can build shelters in any type of snow (you can with quinzies too but may have to wait quite a while for the snow to firm up)and the resulting shelters are strong and roomy. It does take a bit of practice but once you've got a bit of experience it's quite easy to use.

I wouldn't use an IceBox or build a quinzie or dig a snowhole on a trip where I was moving on every day. A tent or tarp is much, much more convenient. But if you'll be based somewhere for a few nights then a snow shelter is much more pleasant to live in if the weather is at all stormy.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Igloos on 03/07/2012 14:39:00 MST Print View

I agree with Chris. We did an igloo camping trip together back in 2007 and we learned a lot about the utility of igloos. If you plan to basecamp in a nice area for several days its worth building an igloo, but an igloo doesn't work well when you are traveling because it takes too long to build.

In the wintertime its hard to get an early start, travel to a destination, and build an igloo. So you end up taking a tent for shelter until you get an igloo built. Building a larger 11' igloo with the Icebox tool can take up to 6 hours, so you have a large time investment. However, Tad's method requires less carry weight and takes less time.

All that said, an igloo is worth the effort if you are going to base camp for several days. An igloo is wonderful for winter camping in really cold, windy, or snowy conditions.

Here are links to past articles we have published on igloo building:

Matthew Hoskin

Locale: Kanangra-Boyd NP
Igloos on 03/08/2012 01:05:58 MST Print View

Actual word for igloo is called iglu.
Here are some pics from up in The Canadian Arctic I took.
They are not used by Inuit now, except usually when commmunities have their little community games, and they have iglu building competitions. So easy up there as the snow is so dry, like cutting blocks of styrofoam!Iglu and Inuit woman - Taloyoak,Nunavut, Canadame inside an iglu

alex newman
Snowcamp location on Rainier on 01/28/2013 12:00:19 MST Print View

Tad -

Thanks for the great article. I was wondering if you'd be willing to share the location of your igloo building on Rainier as well as the time of year you were there.

I've wanted to do some snow camping on Rainier for a while and igloo building sounds like a fun adventure - I'm just not sure about location.



Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Snowcamp location on Rainier on 01/28/2013 12:49:28 MST Print View

Thanks Alex,
I usually winter camp on Rainier in February and March. The pictures in the article of my daughter were taken in February and most of the pictures of the boys are in March (they use to have a Friday off school in March, so we that weekend to go).
The snow in March seems to be more conducive to Igloos, in February the temp's can get colder so the snow is "fluffier" making it harder to build blocks but I wouldn't put too much stock in that because the weather up there is always variable.
If you are in a small group/by your self you could go any time between December and mid-April.
Location- If you are is a group of any size (13 to 100) you need to use the group camping sites in the paradise area. Otherwise you just need a back country permit.

Please review the Winter Camping information from the Rainier NPS Site.
Also, Winter Group Camping

If you are from the middle or north Puget Sound areas there are many other places to also go. Look in the Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass areas, there are a bunch of places to go.

I hope this helps.

Edited by bestbuilder on 01/28/2013 12:56:01 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Make Your Own Gear: Igloos on 01/13/2015 23:14:15 MST Print View

I hope we get enough Snow this year to make igloos