Fri 10 Mar 2006
At a party recently. Happened across a friend with whom the Mister and I sometimes do outdoorsy activities. “So,” says I, “How’s the wilderness treating you these days?” He says I should really ask the guy standing next to him, who had just returned from wildnerness survival training. One of those eco-adventure vacations I guess. The guy, by way of launching into his story, says, “So, do YOU know how to build an igloo?”
I hesitate for a moment. He isclearly proud of his survival skills, in particular building igloos, and I don’t want to burst his bubble. I haven’t even thought about igloos for years and years, but how often do I get to say this at parties? NEVER. It is probably my only chance.
“In fact, I do know how to build an igloo.”
It’s one of those quirky things that my Search And Rescue Leader parents taught me back in the day. I actually haven’t built one for about 20 years but I went through the steps with my dad on the phone and he confirmed that I had it right. He sometimes still builds igloos for snow camping because they are warmer than tents.
Here’s how, in case you’re wondering.
- Pack down snow using your feet and the backside of your tiny backpacking snow shovel. I think about 10 x 10 feet will do for a one or two person igloo. The well-packed snow needs to be a couple feet deep so when you cut the bricks out they will be nice and thick.
- Pack down a separate area where you will build the igloo.
- Use your backpacking snow shovel to cut out squares from the packed snow. Actually, they should be more like trapezoids– all the sides should angle inward slightly so they will fit together in a gradually smaller circle.
- Put the bricks in a circle. Then you just keep building upwards in slightly smaller rings until you have built a dome. If you’ve done it right, the last brick will fit perfectly into the final opening at the top.
- dig a little tunnel to get in and out of your igloo.
I guess they have special tools these days just for building igloos– this picture comes from a product review of such a one at www.kk.org