How to Build Snow Caves and Winter Shelters

Learn how to build safe, snug snow caves and winter shelters in winter wilderness, plus helpful information on winter camping.



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You can build a snow cave even in shallow cover. Here, a winter backpacking group has made artificial drifts by pushing the snow down a slope to form deep mounds.
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How to build a snow cave, Step 2: Then block up the entrance with snow “bricks” and “mortar” made from the material you scooped out of the cavity.
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A finished snow shelter. This winter wilderness home is as safe and snug as any bunny’s burrow.
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How to build a snow cave, Step 1: First, dig a large construction hole into a snow drift or mound, and excavate the dome-shaped area that will be your living quarters.
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How to build a snow cave, Step 4: The snow cave entry should be barely body-size. Remember: Practice makes perfect!
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How to build a snow cave, Step 3: Use a small shovel or makeshift implement to open up a doorway in the snow wall.
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Figure 1. Snow cave front view.
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Figure 2. Snow cave cross section.
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This igloo was built the Wilkinson way. A snow “overcoat” creates a cozy, weathertight nest.
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