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Winter Camping in an Igloo!

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Winter Camping in an Igloo!

Postby firsttracks » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:01 am

I've been following some of the winter camping threads, and thought I'd start my own to pass along some advice.

Several years ago, I started using the ICEBOX igloo maker. I have absolutely loved it. I've made igloos for my winter camping in the Rockies, Sierras, and Alaska. Although it takes some practice, you can learn to make one in several hours. The shelter is bombproof. Some benefits:

1. Absolutely quiet (no flapping tents in the wind)
2. Surprisingly warm (never colder than +15F in my experience, with an outside temp of -30F)
3. More spacious than a tent (you can stand inside it, with crampons)
4. You can cook inside it, from the comfort of your sleeping bag (if you build a chimney to vent carbon monoxide)
5. Lightweight (under 5 lbs, similar to an EV2 tent)
6. Cheap! ($170 instead of $600 for an EV2)
7. Fun (earn extra style points from fellow mountaineers)

Igloos make a lot of sense if you'll be spending more than one night in the same spot, or if you need a windproof shelter (and would be building snow walls, anyway).

ICEBOX Website
For sale at REI

Here are some pics of what they look like:

Igloo on Denali (7,800')

Image

Making an Igloo in the High Sierras (North Palisade)

Image

Inside an Igloo

Image

I hope this is helpful!

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Postby Matt » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:54 am

That's a solid option for long winter trips. Thanks.
Your igloo looks like a snow-covered horno over in Jemez or Cochiti. Can you bake bread inside?
http://laurelrose.com/MORN/pueb1.jpg
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
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Postby firsttracks » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:11 pm

robinmtns wrote:Just might have to try this this winter. Are there other options on igloo-makers? did you shop around before choosing this one?

Thanks again.


This is the only igloo-making option I've come across (perhaps because it is patented), other than cutting blocks the old-fashioned way. The problem with the traditional way is that the snow doesn't always work, and you have to eyeball the angle of the blocks. I spent a miserable night in an open bivy on Mt. Shasta several years back when my old-fashioned blocks kept crumbling! This tool works amazingly well, and takes all the guesswork out of it.

I'm planning on numerous winter 14er outings. I'd be glad to show people how to use it at some point this winter. Let me know if you are interested.

I'm just trying to spread the word on a great piece of gear.

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Postby JB Allen » Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:56 pm

Seeing that brings back memories of building an iglu the old fashion way by cutting the blocks. I haven't done that since the kids were very small...
JB Allen...

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Postby firsttracks » Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:19 pm

JB Allen wrote:I haven't done that since the kids were very small...


It's so true... every time I build one of these, I think back to my first old-school igloo. Pick one of these up, and give it a try! You won't be disappointed.

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Postby skier25 » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:26 pm

If anyone hasn't seen this thread already, here it is:

http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t ... sc&start=0

Cool pictures. Makes me want to go out and build an igloo, too!
Carry an ice axe and a clear mentality; they can both save your life.
I get acute mountain sickness when I am away from the mountains.

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Postby Igloo Ed » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:00 pm

firsttracks wrote:I'm planning on numerous winter 14er outings. I'd be glad to show people how to use it at some point this winter. Let me know if you are interested.

Are you interested in Longs?

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Postby upndown » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:18 pm

firsttracks wrote:I'm planning on numerous winter 14er outings. I'd be glad to show people how to use it at some point this winter. Let me know if you are interested.
I'm interested. What are the numerous outings you are looking to do?

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Postby upndown » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:24 pm

One more question - can this be done with only one person or does it take two to make an igloo with the ICEBOX?

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Postby Couloirman » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:30 pm

upndown wrote:One more question - can this be done with only one person or does it take two to make an igloo with the ICEBOX?



To quote the REI catalog:
Leave your heavy four-season tent at home and use the ICEBOX to build a durable, custom-sized igloo for cozy, comfortable and fun winter outings.

* Designed to build igloos in any snow conditions--including powder, granular ice, depth hoar and spring slush
* Produces a self-supporting shape that will not sag or collapse like other snow shelters can
* Lightweight and durable block form can be adjusted for custom size igloos ranging from 7-11 feet in diameter--sleeps 2-6 people depending on diameter
* Intelligently designed to take 50% less effort to build than snow caves--builder stays drier and less fatigued
* Build time is approximately 1.5-3 hours depending on snow quality and quantity
* ICEBOX has large snaps allowing builder to wear gloves during assembly and usage; brightly colored to prevent loss of small parts in snow
* Durable plastic and aluminum materials have been tested to -70 deg. F; supplied straps and buckles make attaching to backpack a cinch
* Adjustable support pole and spike ensure identical construction every time, eliminating guesswork
* Great for groups or solo use; practice required before first time use
* Tutorial video and illustrated instruction manual included



Looks like solo works, but it'd definitely be easier to share the work if it takes 1-3 hours.


EDIT: damn, I just ordered one :D Looks lie your shameless advertising plug worked...
Couloir than you are

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Postby Igloo Ed » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:30 pm

upndown wrote:One more question - can this be done with only one person or does it take two to make an igloo with the ICEBOX?

It takes me 2 to 2 1/2 hours to build a seven foot igloo by myself but do consider that I've built over 300 igloos with the tool.
Read the manual on our web page and see if you are willing to learn that much. There are a lot of blocks in an igloo and a few seconds shaved of here and there saves a lot in the overall time.[/img]

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Postby Igloo Ed » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:42 pm

Couloirman wrote:Looks like solo works, but it'd definitely be easier to share the work if it takes 1-3 hours.

Whoa, I've never claimed to build them any faster than 1 hour and 40 minutes.
It's just like any snowshelter, the more people the bigger it needs to be. I do advise building with someone at least until you figure out just what's going on. We've had customers go up and build them solo on their first igloo but the odds are not in your favor solo the first time. Do take a tarp along to cover the roof if you can't get it done.
damn, I just ordered one :D Looks lie your shameless advertising plug worked...

"Just the facts"... Sargent Friday.

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