Shelters in snowy and polar areas, features of building shelters from snow, a dugout, a cave in the snow, a house from snow, an igloo, life in shelters and shelters from snow.

In the snowy and polar zones, the simplest shelters will be those that already exist in the western caves and indentations. If you have something like a tent, then you can put it up, and throw snow on top and around it, how much it can withstand, for additional protection and insulation. 

Shelters in snowy and polar areas, features of building shelters from snow, a dugout, a cave in the snow, a house from the snow, an igloo, life in shelters and shelters from snow.

To process hard snow, and at very low temperatures the snow becomes hard, you will need some kind of tool in order to make a cave in it or cut out building blocks. Snow shovels and saws are important equipment on polar expeditions. Caves in ice or snow are easy to see, but the cavities under the overhanging branches of conifers in the northern forests are not so clearly visible when the snow has already covered these branches. A medium-sized tree may form a closed space directly around the trunk. Similar cavities can form under the paws of large trees..

Try to dig out snow under some sprawling tree on the leeward side. Even from soft snow, you can build a windproof barrier. If there is appropriate equipment, then you can cut snow blocks. Get minimal shelter with minimal effort. Press the lower edge of the poncho, cloak, cape, etc. to the ground with blocks of snow, and fasten the other edge with the same images on top of the wall of snow blocks. Close the sides of the shelter with the same blocks..

Features of the construction of simple snow shelters in snowy and polar areas.

The type of shelter you have to do will depend on the available materials and tools, as well as on what you want to shelter from wind, cold, snow, rain, etc. How long are you going to stay at this place? Caves in the snow and natural cavities in the snow are ideal when you are on the go and do not need permanent shelter. The size of the shelter will depend on the size of the group. Do not rush if you are making a rather complicated design. Avoid sweat stress.

All shelters must be adequately ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and allow moisture to escape. Two holes are needed, one at the top and one near the entrance. In shelters made of snow, these holes should be inspected regularly to make sure that they are not clogged with snow or ice. Regularly remove snow accumulated in the entrance tunnel so that it is not blocked. The smaller the shelter, the warmer it will be inside, but since it cannot be heated significantly above zero, it will take some time to get used to the ambient temperature.

Construction of simple shelters and shelters from snow.

In order to cut blocks of dense snow, you need a saw, knife, shovel or machete. Ideal for construction snow can withstand a person without the formation of deep prints on it and at the same time it will be soft enough so that a probe easily passes through it. Make the block size 45×50 cm and a thickness of 10-20 cm. It will be easy to handle with them, they are massive enough for good thermal insulation and at the same time pass a decent amount of light.

Shelters in snowy and polar areas, features of building shelters from snow, a dugout, a cave in the snow, a house from snow, an igloo, life in shelters and shelters from snow.


Building a snow dugout.

In this way, shelter can be made much faster than building from snow above the ground. But it is suitable only for one person and at the same time for a short time when you are in motion or while organizing something more capital, for example. Mark a place the size of a sleeping bag (including a place for a backing under the head) and cut out blocks the entire width of the trench. Make at least 60 cm depth. Make ledges about 15 cm wide and the same height along the side edges of the trench..

Put the ends of the snow blocks on the ledges and close their other ends above the trench so that you get a roof. Place your property under a sleeping bag so as not to lie directly on the snow. Windward the end with a snow block or cover it with snow. On the other end, on the leeward side, put an unsecured block as a door or make an entrance in the form of an underground snowy passage. Seal all the cracks with snow. It is best to shelter on a slight slope with the entrance down, so that cold air collects at the entrance, and warmer remains in the sleeping compartment.

Building a cave in the snow.

Dig a cave in the designated snowdrift to get a comfortable shelter. Take advantage of the fact that warm air rises and cold air falls. Make three levels inside. At the highest lay a fire, sleep on average, and the lower one will collect cold air. In the roof, make a chimney, as well as another hole for appropriate ventilation.

Use a snow block as a door, let it snugly fit and be outside so that it does not freeze and seal the entrance. If this happens, then the unit located outside will be easier to release. Make the inner surfaces smooth to prevent dripping, and along the inner perimeter of the cave, dig a channel in which water will accumulate from melting snow and will not get on your equipment or on you.

Construction igloo, home from the snow.

Building an igloo takes time, but centuries of use by the Eskimos prove their effectiveness. First, build the shelter itself, then dig the entrance or make the entrance tunnel large enough to crawl along. The entrance to the tunnel should not look to the side from where the wind blows. The tunnel can be made curved or a windproof screen can be built so that it does not blow out.

Mark a circle about 4 meters in diameter on the ground and tamp to compact the floor before building on. Cut the blocks and lay out a circle around them. Prepare digging the tunnel, leave space for entry. On top of the first row, lay the second layer, but as with brickwork, put the middle of the upper blocks above the joints of the lower row. Lay down subsequent rows, shifting each subsequent inward by half of the block, so that the needle narrows to the top or is domed. In the process, make an entrance arch. Close the top with a square block.

Make ventilation holes above and below, but not from the prevailing winds and not so low that the snow quickly clogs the hole. Seal all other cracks with snow. Smooth internal surfaces to get rid of drip points. As a result, all condensate will drain down the walls, and not drip on you and your property.

Spiral type construction needle.

Lay the first row of blocks, and then cut it to the desired spiral shape. If the first row is made with the upper surface inclined downward and inward, and the upper and lower surfaces of the blocks of subsequent rows are inclined inward, then the subsequent blocks will not have to be displaced. The last few blocks in the middle may have to be supported by something until you put them back in place.

The whole process will be easier if the first row is cut in an even spiral shape. Make the top edge slightly sloping down towards the center. The last block must be cut to the shape of the remaining hole, if the hole is not so small that you can leave it as a ventilation hole, but this last block helps to keep the whole structure intact.

Equipment space inside an igloo.

Make a place for lying higher than the floor, or during construction, deepen the floor to form a lower cold level that can be used to store food. Cut the entrance to the bottom row of snow blocks or dig a tunnel under it. The center hole can be used as an entrance if you are too tired to complete the construction..

Construction of a snow house from a parachute.

This is a useful design if you find yourself on sea ice, where it can be difficult to find enough snow to build one or more igloos for a group of people. Look for snow or suitable ice among the hummocks raised by the movement of ice. Mark a circle and build a circular wall about a meter high from snow blocks. If you are on ice, digging up the entrance tunnel is quite problematic, so leave a passage in the wall. In the floor, make an area with a deepened level that will collect cold air. Make a central column from the blocks 1-1.5 meters high above the wall.

Put a parachute on it and on the walls, securing it with a block on the column and a number of blocks on the wall. The very construction of such a roof from a parachute makes it a snow accumulator, which can create dangerous weight over your head. Remove snow regularly from the roof. If you want to make a small bonfire inside, provide adequate ventilation. Place the fire on the outside, where it will not affect the roof-cover, and not at the central column. Secure the stretch marks from the parachute lines with blocks of snow or ice, or make holes in the ice in the form of a tunnel and pass the lines through them to secure the parachute.

Life in Shelters and Snow Shelters.

In bad weather, there should be a sufficient supply of firewood or liquid fuel in the snowy house. Do not bring loose snow into it; brush off shoes and clothes from snow before entering inside. Mark the entrance clearly so that it is easy to find. Keep the shovels and tool inside, you may have to dig out. Drops inside the needle can be stopped if you close this place with snow. Send your natural needs inside the shelter, this is a common practice for such conditions, which helps to maintain body heat.

Use plastic bags, cans or other containers and empty them whenever possible. Try to accustom yourself to relief immediately before leaving the shelter in the morning and throw away the results of the vital activity of your body along with the rest of the accumulated garbage. When several people are in the shelter, distribute and consolidate responsibilities. It is important that someone constantly monitors the fire. Others may check air vents, engage in fuel, hunt if possible, cook food, etc. Remember that more food requires more food at low temperatures..

Regardless of the degree of cold outside, the temperature inside a well-made snow house will not drop below minus 10 degrees. A simple burning candle raises the temperature by about four degrees. The traditional Eskimo method of heating an igloo is burning a wick dipped in a cup of fat. In a large shelter with a hearth, the temperature is quite comfortable. An oil (fuel oil) burner or fat on bones are alternative sources of fire when there is no firewood or their supply is limited.

Based on the book Complete Survival Guide for Extreme Situations, in the Wild, on Land and at Sea.
John Wiseman.

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