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How to build an igloo

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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.


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35 Comments on How to build an igloo

  1. that looks awesome!!!

  2. lego man 22222222222221 // November 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm // Reply

    cool looks fun !!!!!!!!

  3. I am soo going to use this for my school project!!!

  4. i want winter to come now!

  5. It barely snows in Houston.I live in Houston!!!!:(

  6. question is can you make it bigger

  7. magicfreak // July 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm // Reply

    get around more, peeps! just look in the archive!

  8. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Nobes Lite // March 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm // Reply

    I have also always wonderred this. Thanks😀

  10. i have a yard of snow in MA

  11. we just had 8 inches of snow here in missouri…and we built a big ice fort probably 5 feet tall with a diameter of 5 feet…never could get the roof tho. so you can do it with less than 5 feet people.

  12. I am a sith // January 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm // Reply

    I wish I knew this before it snowed!

  13. look’s good I’ll trie it

  14. It hasn’t snowed here yet so I cant build it,but it looks really cool! I can’t wait to build one!

  15. Swamp Thing GO SAINTS // November 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm // Reply

    i wish i was able to at least build an igloo where i am at lol

  16. it is hard, takes lots of snow, but i think you will like the outcome.

  17. Absolutely fantastic!

  18. a fat hamster // November 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm // Reply

    cool

  19. I wish I knew about this in the Febuary snow storm 2010.

  20. square knot // October 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm // Reply

    even though I’m not claustrophobic, thats how I would feel crawling through that little opening going underground! wouldn’t you?!?!

  21. one time me and my friend made a little igloo and when we got in it it fell apart on us😮 so we couldn’t breath in the snow and we climbed out and gasping for air. shocking isn’t it.:)

  22. ninja man sam // September 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm // Reply

    i wanna make one and start a fire in it and roast mashmallows

  23. like,awsome!!!!!!!!!!

  24. people have died from building entrances like that

  25. actioncircus // August 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm // Reply

    iv always wanted to know how to build an igloo

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