How to Keep Warm in an Igloo

How to Keep Warm in an Igloo
Igloos were the traditional winter homes of the Inuit who live in the arctic tundra. The Inuit would live in animal skin tents during the summer, but during the winter igloos actually provided better shelter and more warmth. Although it may seem baffling that igloos stay warm, the principles are actually fairly simple. The blocks of snow an igloo is made from have tiny pockets of air inside which act as an insulator. Air leaks out very slowly and the bodies of those inside create enough heat to keep things fairly comfortable.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Igloo
  • Eskimo clothing
  • Tarp
  • Pine needles
  • Dirt
  • Candle
Step 1
Wear Eskimo-style clothing that traps warm air. According to Time magazine, Eskimo outfits consist of a fur parka and pants, both with the fur on the inside. The clothes are designed to trap body heat in an air pocket, preventing heat from leaving. They insulate much more effectively than layered European outfits from breathable fabric.
Step 2
Dig the entrance tunnel below floor level so that it slopes down as it leaves the igloo. Warm air naturally rises, so the tunnel will allow ventilation, entry and exit while loosing very little heat.
Step 3
Insulate the bottom of the igloo. Use a tarp or natural objects such as pine needles and dirt to provide a dry layer on top of a snow, which will prevent the snow from melting and soaking your clothing.
Step 4
Bring a friend along into the igloo. Twice the body heat in the same area will keep your igloo considerably warmer. Burn a candle to add more heat if you are still cold.
Step 5
Wait. As your body heats up the igloo, it will melt a thin layer of the inside. When this layer refreezes, the igloo will be even warmer and more airtight.

Tips & Warnings

Cut a small ventilation hole on the downwind side of the igloo to vent carbon dioxide and let in oxygen.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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