Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Terrain Training Tuesday: The Arctic Part 2

As previously mentioned, tents are a colder option to snow shelters, but if this is your choice try to do your cooking outside the tent flap as fires and tents do not mix.

Snow shelters come in all shapes and sizes. Whichever one you build will depend upon your time and how much effort you want to put into it, an important consideration if you are solo. The type and depth of snow will also put limitations upon your shelter.

Planet Hoth, the perfect place to set up your snow base and make friends with the local inhabitants...

The Snow Trench

This is an emergency measure, as it is basically a hole in the snow. This could be improved by a roof either of snow (if the snow is hard enough) or of branches or sheeting if it is not.

The Snow Cave

For this one you’re going to need at least 2 metres of snow depth. You may also need some tools to dig through the snow and sometimes the snow will be too hard. However the most important thing to remember when digging a snow cave is to always make sure that the roof is domed, otherwise you will wake up with it on your head in the morning and no one wants that.

The Snow Igloo

Now making a snow igloo takes time and effort to construct, as well as a bit of skill in the placement of the blocks but they are also super cool. You will need cold, compacted snow and tools, such as an axe, a knife and a saw or a spade. Cut out the blocks and build it from the base up, in a spiral that is angled inwards. Awesome!

If this is too much work, there is an easier (and faster) way. Firstly, stamp down an area of snow, then build up a mound of hard, packed snow. When you get it to the required size simply dig a tunnel into it. Alternatively, arrange some branches or sticks into a frame and pack snow on top of it. Whala! Snow igloo! Note: take care to make your entrance hole on the less windy size. The cold wind will still come in but it will stay at the base of the igloo, so make sure your bed is raised, just like in the Jungle.

In tree country, wood for heating and cooking fires is no problem. Various types of fires and fireplaces can be used as seen below. Shield your fire from the wind and don't build it directly on the ice or snow. The melting snow will wet the wood and reduce the heat of your fire. Build it on a crib of wood or metal.

And if all else fails just place a candle in the centre of the shelter to drastically increase the warmth of the shelter without all the meltiness (is that a word?!).

Next week we finally get to eat!


  1. As far as I am concerned I don't know how on earth I would find myself in a situation like that, but even then, everytime I read your survival stuff, I feel like I am learning heaps and not wasting my time. You're feeding the cavewoman in me. :P

  2. haha and I like the "friendly inhabitant". cute.

  3. Oh El Capitano, you primitive cavewoman you! Who knows when things are going to turn nasty, it's best to be prepared, after all even going to the supermarket can be a question of survival....