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Thread: snow shelters ever try them?

  1. #1

    Default snow shelters ever try them?

    i just wanted to know if anyone has ever built a snow shelter with pine branches and tryed to sleep in it.
    i wll build one out back but i will admit for the sake of expidiency i will use the tractor to build the snow pile.
    though i will shovel out by hand the trench. and see if i can post a photo when i'm done.


  2. #2
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Yes, I have. On Mt Rainier.
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    Senior Member Pennsylvania Mike's Avatar
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    Winter Shelter Web small.jpg
    I have never ever built a snow shelter with pine branches, the ambient air temperature was about 9 degrees the coldest as I can remember, the year was about 1983 during the BSA Klondike Derby, we didn't have enough snow, and if we did I felt it was very labor intensive, so I used plastic and good ventilation. No fire, but the shelter was plenty worm. Late on I learned that Mors Kochanski had experimented with this kind of shelter extensively.
    I had a great experience with this shelter, the Scouts were amazed that I did not bring a shelter with me, I had a 20 degrees North Face sleeping bag, a ThermaRest air pad; my attire was a polypropylene top and bottom, wool past, wool shirt, and a Wooldridge parks, the boots was a pair of Sorel Klondike with wool socks and a plastic liner between the boot and the socks, which kept my liner dry, and feet warm. Later on it snow about 6 inches, but most of the snow slid off the plastic, it was sort of windy, no idea of the wind chill factor. Sorry this does not answers your questions, but it may gives you a different perspective for snow shelters. By the way the shelter construction took about less than 30 minutes and did have a floor of pine bows the entire area frozen like an igloo, and a half of the Scouts were cold that night, great lesson learned the first night, the second night they all slept better.
    Mike

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    Senior Member Pennsylvania Mike's Avatar
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    My apologies about that lousy picture.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Not since I was a kid.....back then we build many, many, snow shelters.....one was 2 stories....
    Snow so deep it drifted up the side of my folks garage.....so you could walk up and ski down the other side.
    Two large locust bushes as frame work.

    Only sleep in one, as a Frozen butte camping trip in my teens....
    The was a hollowed out drift....like the examples given in the snow cave vids.....

    As I recall wasn't bad in there at all........I lived.
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    Large bipedal Primate Billofthenorth's Avatar
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    I've slept in a hole dug in the snow with a poncho over the top. I've also slept out in my bag with no shelter except a poncho draped over the bag. I've never made one from branches though I can see the value. I slept under a bush once and that seemed to shield me from a large part of the frost that formed over night.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Have spent a few really cold days in a shelter made from the snow drooped branches of a "Wayward Pine" crawl in ,this out enough room to sit or lay comfortably...then pile snow around the outside to weight down the branches....keep out of the wind...

    Small twig fire....right toasty......

    I have a few pines at "The Place" that are able to do this with....but are along the driveway, and the dogs come and see me when I'm in the shelter.

    Heard about this from the Novel Series, "The Sword of Truth....".....actually works pretty well.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billofthenorth View Post
    I've slept in a hole dug in the snow with a poncho over the top. I've also slept out in my bag with no shelter except a poncho draped over the bag. I've never made one from branches though I can see the value. I slept under a bush once and that seemed to shield me from a large part of the frost that formed over night.
    Nope. Not gonna do it....too easy.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I was wondering about that too. 'Cause if it was a blackberry or raspberry bush those things have stickers.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    They do. Also, be glad it wasn't a George or Jeb.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Well, those are just poisonous.

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Hunter said the dogs would check it out. Would that be the monkey chasing the weasel? Bush dependent of course!
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    So...are you calling Hunter the monkey or the weasel?

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Call me anything you want except late for supper.....lol
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  15. #15

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    Here is one we dug this year. Snow was 5 feet deep in the Grahams.
    HPIM2493.jpg

    Check out the man-portable electric power station I built and tested on that trip. It is so I can power devices up to a laptop or so indefinitely (up to 200w devices) totally on solar power.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    That looks like an overworked fire pit next to the tent. You know you can build a fire on top of the snow, right? You don't have to dig down to dirt to build it.

  17. #17

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    Woops, grabbed the wrong pic.
    Here is the snow cave being dug:
    HPIM2507.jpg
    HPIM2505.jpg
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    I spent a lot of hours in snow forts as a kid and don't really recall being to terribly cold. I don't think I ever slept in one but could be mistaken.
    I moved to texas in my early 20's and since then my only snow accomplishment has been a snowman with my kids once........took 5 acres and ol frosty was smaller than a 15 gallon drum.

  19. #19

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    In theory they should stay right around 32 degrees while outside temps may fall much lower. Dunno, I passed out in my Catoma that night and never slept in the snow-fort. According to witnesses I had a lot of fun that day.
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  20. #20

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    I'm a junior member and not well versed in computery skills, but I just made a video on staying warm in snow shelters. The big problem I have here in Maine is that you will get wet constructing them. Ideally we want to remain dry and comfortably cool in winter. The design is pretty straight forward and there are neat tricks to minimizing tunneling, but with temps rising and falling above and below freezing multiple times a day, snow shelters are normally a last resort. In the rare times we get "Alaska Cold" weather, where the snow is dry and squeaky, they are a charm. The trick is to keep the top of your door opening below the level of your sleeping platform, much like the interior of a beaver lodge. A small quinzee or igloo just big enough for two rarely drops below thirty four degrees with the radiant body heat alone.

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