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How to build an igloo

The best-known snow shelter is the igloo. A brilliant use of engineering and resources, this simple dome made out of snow blocks is both strong and versatile.

THE MOST FAMOUS SNOW SHELTER

Arctic cultures such as the Eskimo and the Inuit developed it, and over time they came up with a hundred tricks to make the shelter more comfortable and sturdy, including making the entrance small (to help keep heat in) and melting the inside of the dome and letting it refreeze (for increased strength).

The earliest reference of igloo use came from the Vikings, who settled parts of Greenland and explored the eastern Canadian coast about a thousand years ago. They found natives living in igloos, but didn’t use them themselves because they considered the technology inferior.

History has proven otherwise, as the Vikings lasted for only about four centuries in the harsh climate of Greenland, while the native peoples are still carving igloos from the landscape today. Six hundred years after the tough Vikings were defeated by the tougher weather of the Little Ice Age, Boy Scouts still use the design of the igloo to keep warm.

BUILDING AN IGLOO

igloo1Diameter: Not to exceed 10 feet. Anything bigger would require a perfect dome, which is next to impossible to construct in the field.

igloo2Materials: Top layers of dry powder won’t work. Pack mounds of snow until they harden, or cut blocks of snow from the depth where your feet stop sinking.

igloo3Entrance: Build a door in the ground, about 18 inches lower than the ground inside the igloo, and tunnel below the wall into the igloo. For proper ventilation, never seal or close the entrance.

igloo4Walls: Cut the blocks into a spiral layer, leaning one block against the next. Keep the interior wall smooth so moisture can run down the side of the wall, instead of dripping from the ceiling. Include a vent hole to allow for better circulation.

216 Comments on How to build an igloo

  1. wow this is awesome

  2. looks awesome, but real hard. (plus, when will you get that much snow?!)

  3. ive heard of making one out of plastic milk bottles

  4. NEED GAME!!!!!!!

  5. my dad and i built a huge igloo last week we put a blanket in side and my two dogs used it like a dog house

  6. its confusing

  7. it is cool

  8. I thinks it’s really nice to have 5 feet of snow on your lawn to practice building these snow shelters!

    That’s right: 5 feet!

    BE JEALOUS!!!

  9. A really helpful thing to have is a snow saw. They really help when you build an igloo, or any other winter camping shelters. Igloos are kind of harder to build, but are pretty cool.

  10. I started mine yesterday

  11. i`v never made an igloo but i made a snow cave out of really large snow balls

  12. in ohio my back and front yard is like 2 feet deep!!!!!!!

  13. its winter in il but its to dry

  14. works like an angel

  15. i am gonna try that but without the underground tunnel
    lol lol
    thanks

  16. igloomasrer525 // January 9, 2010 at 10:53 am // Reply

    i am trin 2 make one but i cant

  17. me and my mum have started our igloo

  18. I’m building one right now. And they are hard. But funnnnn. :)

  19. scottish boy // January 7, 2010 at 11:36 am // Reply

    it was snowing lots in scotland and i had about 1 meter of snow in my back garden and i cleared a big space in my back yard and i managed very easily and im only 14 when ever you have snow do it it didnt take me long about 30-60 mins.
    i found it very fun but cold lol

  20. i done it

  21. i watn to try one of these

    • so do i. i just make a big pile of snow and dig a hole then ho-lo it out

      • burntboy#1 // February 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm //

        Thats what I do.

      • majestic manflower // February 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm //

        who doesnt do tht? lol tht how simple ppl like us feel like weve actually acomplished sumthin

      • My friends and I did that but, when we came back from winter break the entrance had colapced just enogh so we couldn’t get back in! And we still have some stuff in there! We tried to break the wall down but, it had turned to ice! Gotta wait till spring!

  22. you need a lot of snow to do that

  23. um sounds cool but hard so i started one and these tips will help me later i guess (:

  24. how much does it need to snow before i can make a proper igloo? (feet)

  25. bsa life scout // December 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    I really want to try it!

  26. If only I was able to get that much snow at home!!!!

  27. It sounds impossible!

  28. cool dude5000 // December 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm // Reply

    my brother thinks its boring.

  29. cool dude5000 // December 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm // Reply

    its sounds cool!

  30. I WANT SNOW

  31. confusing, but cool;)

  32. so awsome

  33. kool

  34. cool

  35. were it slants put an even block even to the one to the left of it

  36. Can’t wait for it to snow.

  37. cowntdowgylaw // August 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm // Reply

    I really want snow

  38. sounds confusing

  39. I’ll make one as soon as possible and use it in a snowball fight!

  40. Awsome & lil chily

  41. It will make a great fort.

  42. the best swimmer // August 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm // Reply

    and about how long does this take

  43. harderhusky // August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm // Reply

    im gonna biuld this in camp

  44. awesomedudeiceman479 // August 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    i cant wait to try this the next time there is snow

  45. I prefer quinzees

  46. I would probably get claustrophobic if I had to sleep in an igloo.

  47. snowboardman // August 25, 2009 at 9:03 am // Reply

    i wish it was winter already

  48. fun!!!!!!!!!!

  49. cooi but not cool a nuff

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