Igloo camp out
January 2006 this igloo was constructed in the front yard. It was about seven feet in diameter on
the inside and about five feet high inside.

Building the igloo
We started with a cardboard shipping box that was 14"x14"x6" and made bricks of snow sand
castle style.  The trick is to pack the snow in the box, dump it out and wait 5 minutes.  During the 5
minute wait the block of snow becomes stronger.  A snow shovel was used to pick up the blocks
like the guy picks up pizzas with the long wood spatula a the pizza place.  After a while the box
came apart from all the handling so we switched to a Rubbermade container.   

Sleeping in the igloo
Once the igloo was completed I decided I had to sleep the night in it.  While I camped out lots of
times in the warmer months, I never camped in the winter.  I contacted all of my friends who I
though might have experience with winter camping with my questions...Do you wake up before you
freeze to death? ...Before the tip of you nose freezes?  Can I seal off the entrance and not
asphyxiate myself?  And on and on.
I gathered an insulated pad, an air mattress and two 40°F sleeping bags. I slept in my sweat
pants, turtle neck, wool hat and knit gloves. Of course I had to bring my indoor/outdoor
thermometer so I knew how cold it was. I decided to close off the entrance with towels to ensure
there was sufficient airflow to keep me alive.  I put one towel on the outer end of the entrance
tunnel and the second one on the inner end of the entrance tunnel.
As it turns out I was too warm, but that was solved my removing some layers.  It wasn't the most
restful night of sleep since I was still a bit concerned about frost bite and asphyxia.  The
temperature inside the igloo in the morning was 33°F and the outside temperature was 10°F.

What did I learn?
  • It takes me several hours to build a good igloo.  If I had to build one and there was no other
    choice...I would have to start at about 11am to ensure enough daylight and  I needed snow
    that was pack that could be packed.  
  • Don't use cardboard as a form, it doesn't last long.
  • None parts of my body froze and I didn't asphyxiate myself.
  • I had a lot of fun and plan to do this again.  Maybe I can convince my family to spend the
    night in an igloo too.
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