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If I want to build an igloo to keep me warm in a snowy climate, how can I go about this?

  • What size blocks should I cut?
  • How big should the entrance be?
  • How can I mitigate the risk of the igloo collapsing?
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Building an igloo requires:

  • the right snow
  • training to know what the right snow is
  • a snow knife
  • some practice building the walls so that they taper in yet are supported as you go

In the absence of training and practice, which I would posit is very rare, go with a quinzy instead.

quinzy from wikipedia

You dig snow and throw it into a big pile. You let that sit for a bit to establish structure, and then you hollow it out. (Instructions on that wiki page and also at http://http-server.carleton.ca/~dmcfet/quinzy.html.)

While a properly built igloo (by someone who knows what they're doing, using the right snow) is solid like a house, a quinzy is safer when an untrained person without equipment wants to build a structure out of whatever snow happens to be on the ground.

  • Could you possibly cite somewhere to show it's safer? My understanding was that this type of structure was in fact more prone to collapsing than an igloo (though I could be wrong.) – berry120 Nov 2 '12 at 17:39
  • I've edited a little to make my point clearer. A well made igloo will be best. But a random camper is unlikely to build a well made igloo – Kate Gregory Nov 2 '12 at 18:04
  • Ah, good point - I see what you're getting at now, thanks for that. – berry120 Nov 2 '12 at 18:55
  • Btw, the picture shown is not very a good igloo/shelter... The entrance should form a kind of 'siphon', i.e. bend down such that it is lower than the floor of the shelter an will thus trap warm air inside. – fgysin reinstate Monica Sep 16 at 7:54

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