How to Make a Simple Igloo

How to Make a Simple Igloo
Whether you're looking to build an igloo to provide shelter in the wilderness or seeking a fun, educational activity to do with your children, some simple knowledge and practice will help you build a snow shelter. Igloos are easiest to build in a field of hard-packed snow that can be cut into sturdy blocks. Assuming you have access to the right snow, building an igloo can be fun and functional.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hard snow field Snow saw Small shovel or snow spade Snow knife
  • Hard snow field
  • Snow saw
  • Small shovel or snow spade
  • Snow knife
Step 1
Find good snow. You need a snow that is hard packed and capable of creating stable blocks. You don't want something that is going to collapse. Probe the snow with a stick or saw to get a feel for the composition.
Step 2
Designate your circle. You'll need a circle big enough to fit whoever will be staying in your igloo. It should not exceed 10 meters in diameter and needs to be as circular as you can make it. For a simple igloo, keep the circle as small as possible. Mark the circle with a stick or the heels of your feet.
Step 3
Begin cutting blocks out of hard snow using a snowsaw. Make the blocks 2 or 2 feet long, a foot or 2 high and half a foot deep.
Step 4
Remove the blocks from the snow using your shovel or spade.
Step 5
Using the circle that you marked, create a full circle of blocks to lay your foundation.
Step 6
Angle the blocks.This is the crux of the igloo. Cut the top of the blocks so that they're angled slightly inward and also slope upward gradually. In other words, the first block should be the lowest block, the one next to it slightly higher, in a smooth continual angle. The block on the other side of the first block (the last block in the first layer) should be the highest block, but still angled upward. Your goal is to create spiraling layers of snow blocks that converge toward a single point.
Step 7
Continue to stack blocks, being careful to properly support each block. You may need to angle the blocks with the knife to make them fit together better. Remember that each block should be angled inward and upward.
Step 8
Stack blocks until they spiral to a small opening on top. Push a block that is bigger than the hole through and cut it to size, using it to seal the hole.
Step 9
Fill in the cracks with snow to further bond the blocks together and prevent drafts.
Step 10
Create an entrance. You can dig an entrance by digging away a channel in the snow in front of the igloo, or cut out a small block of the front. Dig a ventilation hole or two.

Tips & Warnings

Delegate work. If you have two or more people, have one or two work on cutting blocks and one or two laying down the blocks and securing the structure. If you're alone, cut a number of blocks at once, then proceed to build the igloo.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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