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Creating a snow cave

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by Jezebella, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Jezebella

    Jezebella Newbie

    Okay, so an interesting thing that I learned about building a snow cave is that you should dig a hole near the part of the snow cave than you plan to sleep in. The coldest air will collect there, much like heat rising, cold sinks. Also, make sure the walls of the snow cave are thick enough. . .and create an extra vent in the ceiling. You'll want to close off the door with a backpack if you can. Anything you can lay on the ground between you and the snow is helpful. Also, after making your snow mound give it a bit of time to harden before you dig the hole out. You don't want your cave to collapse. If you're going to use a snow cave make sure you look up a tutorial on-line that can help make sure your snow cave is safe.
  2. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I didn't quite get what you meant by digging a hole for cold air? Isn't the purpose to stay warm?

    I would also highly recommend not sleeping in a cave hollowed out of a snow bank unless you absolutely have to. Not only does it sound rather uncomfortable (I would imagine the snow melting and soaking through your clothes from your body heat in the spot you are lying) but there is also a risk of the it collapsing and suffocating to death. Every year there are cases of kids playing in the snow dieing this way.
  3. Jezebella

    Jezebella Newbie

    A snow cave is an emergency shelter. Its not intended for anything else really. The reason you let the snow sit for a while is to help prevent collapse. I'm Alaskan so we pretty much all know how to build one, just in case. You don't lay in the hole you dug. You lay above it. The cold air goes into the hole, leaving the area you are sleeping in a few degrees warmer. If you can you lay things between the ground and you. A snow cave probably won't save your fingers or toes, but it may save your life.
  4. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Oh, thanks for explaining the hole. That makes sense.
  5. bigteeth96

    bigteeth96 Newbie

    Interesting, I don't think I will camp in the winter time, but very useful information!
  6. Jason76

    Jason76 Novice Camper

    Would this compare to an igloo? Is it the same thing?

    If it doesn't totally protect you, then it can't be an igloo.
  7. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    Pardon me for intruding in this topic. I was born and raised in a tropical country but I am very interested when it comes to snow and ice. In another discussion, I had related a documentary that I had seen on tv on how to make an igloo. Now this snow cave is new to me and I can imagine the cold temperature when you sleep in it. My most recent encounter with cold weather was last November in South Korea with temperatures ranging from 2 degrees C to 9 degrees. I don't think my body can withstand to sleep in that snow cave. But this added knowledge is good because who knows if I can experience a snow cave someday.
  8. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    -----> Surprisingly @Alexandoy it's very warm and a well tested way to stay safe in a frigid climate. It has been used for centuries.


    Snow is used because the air pockets trapped in it makes it an insulator. On the outside, temperatures may be as low as −45 °C (−49 °F), but on the inside the temperature may range from −7 °C (19 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F) when warmed by body heat alone.
  9. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    Maybe I can withstand the 16 degrees but the negative figures of temperature will surely kill me with hypothermia. That's why I have to move around in cold places like the zero degree in the Great Wall of China. I couldn't imagine sleeping in that temperature. Thanks for the added knowledge.
  10. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    This is one thing that I have always wanted to learn a little more about. I do not really plan on needing it for anything in particular, but in terms of a skill to add to the repertoire it would be nice to have. You always hear about how warm they are so I would be curious to experience it.
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