IGLOO

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
1,626
McBride, BC
Give the boy some dry drifted snow and a real snow knife. He's got the idea but the door is far too big.
I like the overall size and shape.
The surface drifts in and the kudlik makes the inner surface melt and freeze. Ice or fish skin for light.
I should have 6'-7' drifts in the back yard to practice in but the grass is showing this winter.
 

petrochemicals

Full Member
Jul 30, 2012
3,559
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westmidlands
I reallu must get round to making a propper one one day, when it snows. I've seen mr mears make one with the Arctic folk of some variaty, I think I'll have to yse a saw instead of theknift at the local park. Now to knock up some snow compactors
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,656
700
Lancashire
We created a snow shelter out of what little snow was around one winter. We heaped all the snow we could gather into a huge pile then cut a space into it. We then both sat in and had our lunch out of the wind. It was the last bit of snow to go.

It was a desperate act after we had to back out of an overnighter in the lakes where we planned on making a snow shelter for real. With tent backup, we're not daft.

You can buy an igloo making kit. Can't remember the name of the company but tgo magazine did an article on it when the main writer went out to Yellowstone Park to try it out. They were skiing and pulling pulks. It looked a nice trip.

Anyway IIRC it was a lightweight, folding box but with some innovation I can't recall. It made it very easy to create solid blocks of a uniform size that you could just spiral up to create the igloo quicker than without it.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Is a "pulk" the same thing as a "toboggan?" If so, nobody uses that word here.

Google UBC/MOA then get into the online collection and search under "knife."
There's a bunch of ulu to get past but there are some genuine snow knives.
They look like they were carved from whale rib.
You could cut a dandy snow knife out of a ratty hand saw.
As you know, there's little value in a hand saw along the Arctic ocean coast.

We use only 5 or 6 different words for snow. The Inuit have 10 or more.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Thanks for the translations.
My toboggan was steam-bent ash and 96" long. With the added 1/4" plywood sides, it held a big load of supplies.
There are aluminum ones that hold as much but they are really hard to run in a line.
Positively "glamping" even waxed and over wet grass. I added 3 small keels for the last 24" to prevent jack-knifing.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulk

Yes, a Pulkka. It's like a tougher version of those plastic kids sledges you can buy for a tenner over here from petrol stations when the first hint of snow comes. Some years they don't get put out. Others you can't get them they sell out so quick. They don't generally last that long unlike the proper pulks (military term I think).

I've seen a few snow saws. You can buy them with snow shovels for winter mountaineering. Used for emergency snow shelters cut into a snow bank.
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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Pembrokeshire
When I did my "Winter Skills" training in the Cairngorms we played with loads of different snow shelters from snow caves to snow "graves" - the igloo took the most skill to get right and took the most time - but was worth it!
In the right conditions the snow caves were excellent and you could enlarge the shelter easily ("The indoor toilet is in the West Wing - next to the gear store....") if needed :)
Our specialist kit for the snow shelters comprised a snow shovel and what I recall as a giant bread knife (I guess it was a snow saw...) and we had to backpack everything - no pulks or anything. For some shelters we were only allowed to use our ice axes....
 

srod

Forager
Feb 9, 2017
111
59
argyll
Found this half finished one on the edge of town on a trip to NW Greenland a couple of years ago...


Sent from my SM-A320FL using Tapatalk
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,656
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Lancashire
As I mentioned before, for real backcountry winter action in places like America / Canada that have real snow you can get equipment that makes igloos more practical.

Those collapsing boxes I read about really speeds up block production. IIRC the action of shoveling snow into them compacts the snow and they open out to leave solid blocks the right size and shape to create an igloo. With practice I understand it can allow a shelter to be made in a reasonable time to make igloos viable as a shelter even on the move.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
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McBride, BC
Good description of a snow knife = "giant bread knife." Needs no more teeth than that.
The teeth just get hung up when you shave the sides of over-size blocks to fit.
If you don't find good drift snow, building an igloolik is more for entertainment than living.
It's the snow quality that you have to learn to read.
Then find a sloping wedge drift that you can cut into the starting spiral and use some of the middle for blocks.
Drifting in winter blizzards delivers much more snow up the middle of the continent that you find in the Arctic.
Dad cut several snow knives out of a hand saw blade when we were maybe 6-8 yrs old?

I get a big (7') 'hard' drift in my back yard. Not sugar. Would be really nice for blocks.
I keep waiting for the dogs to walk over the top of the 6' fence and into the neighbor's back yard.
I guess I'd have to walk over and haul them back. No snow so far this winter = all gone in the village.

Once you all get inside and get the door blocked, the temp comes up to freezing fairly fast.
Then you add the heat from a kudlik or some little fuel stove and the inner snow surface begins to melt.
Then that freezes as a solid wind-proof shell of ice covered with insulation.
 
Above the tree line or in wind swept places where the snow drifts the blocks cut real nice with just an ordinary carpenters saw. I was shown how to do this one fall many years ago by two innui hunters we met whilst out in the Northern Territories. They are fine and quiet to sleep in but we never use them.

My English friend does lots of winter stuff, and tells me he can build one in about an hour or so and has spent nights in them and in snow caves like John Fenna describes, in the Scottish hills.
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
In Sweden we use two techniques for winter
In forest: digging straight down, then covering with pine branches.
The cut is as big as your sleeping mat. We call this ’snow grave’

The other one, a kind of snow cave, we call it snöka, excellent in the tree less mountains, is to find s snow drift, deeper than your ski pole,.

First you poke the skipole (upside down) in the middle of your planned dig.
If it has a vertical side you dig a small entrance hole, slightly smaller than your backpack, then a tunnel maybe 2.5 meters long. For one person you then do a ledge a foot or so above the floor on one side. Two people - one ledge on each side.
You close the entrance by pulling the backpack towards the opening from the outside.
The pole that sticks down you use to create an airhole.

The idea with the ledge is that the cold air sinks down and escapes through the entrance.

The snow grave is quick, and can be used (without any branches) in the mountains.
You then let snow cover yourself and the sleeping bag inside the grave.
You place /wedge the backpack over your head.
Cold but you will survive.
The cave takes longer to make, but the temperature inside gets up to maybe -1C, which is perfectly fine.

In a snowstorm you can not build an igloo.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
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McBride, BC
petrochemicals: thank you very much for the video. I remember fishing under the ice like that at work, maybe 40+ years ago.
The igloo snow blocks reminded me of winter storms as a kid. That is "squeaky" snow, noisy to walk on.

Never thought of a kudlik made from scrap metal.
Easier to scavenge than to find sotf carving stone. All our snow is gone. I need new wick materials.
 

petrochemicals

Full Member
Jul 30, 2012
3,559
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westmidlands
Yep the powder snow (which i am assuming it is) sounds like cotton woll being rubbed, i have only experienced powder once, comes from arctic conditions, and blows like nobodys business like you describe Robson into huge drifts. Mostly we get big flakes that are wet and warm, or we get medium sized stuff thats comes when its been cold a while, that s5uff is good at settling and binding. I shold be able to make an igloo out of the medium i think.

One thing ray skirted around un the video was the roof, looks a bit more diffivpcult than he let on, probably why the one strod saw in swden was half finished.