Grand Shelters ICEBOX - Igloo, winter camping tool  
Grand Shelters ICEBOX - Rewriting the book on winter camping

The ICEBOX Igloo Tool


building igloos with the ICEBOX Igloo ToolThe ICEBOX® igloo construction tool is used for igloo building by creating sequential blocks in place. You set the clamps on the form then fill it while packing. after you have filled it you unclamp it and slide it to the next position. A pole with 8 adjustments, 1 for each layer is used to build igloos with the correct catenary shape and to help support the weight of the snow and form while packing the snow. After finishing 6 rows of the igloo you remove the outside of the form as the wall is now leaning in far enough so the snow can be packed from the outside. The snow only needs to hold its form well enough to stay in place until you start the next block. 8 total rows are built including the final cap.


winter camping trip with National Ski PatrolAfter a few years of camping in mountainous country in the summer we found ourselves wanting more and decided to get into winter camping. The pristine serenity of the woods while skiing or snow shoeing was very rewarding but using tents for our winter shelter left us somewhat wanting for a warmer more comfortable environment. We had always known that a snow shelter was warmer and quieter than a tent and we started making snow caves and hybrid igloos (half snow cave half igloo) using many different construction techniques.

Winter camping turned into snow camping as we advanced in our methods of snow shelter construction. We started building walls of snow under rocks so the snow cave wouldn't sag while we were gone for weeks or more. We tried using snow blocks and found they would compress and separate from the rocks drastically overnight. Then we tried forming walls using our sleeping pads and packing the snow into blocks as we went. What we found is, snow that is packed rather than blocked did not compress much if any over time. Old snow cave photo

winter backpacking trip with National Ski PatrolIt appeared we had found the perfect snow camping shelter. But after years of using the same rocks we started wanting for new areas and the right type of rocks were hard to find. We wanted to camp anywhere there was snow. After seeing how solid a wall of packed snow is, it led us to a self supporting structure like the igloo that could be built in any area accessible by snow shoeing or skiing. There were two advantages to packing the snow rather than blocking. We could use any kind of snow and these igloos lasted up to 3 months or more.

The ICEBOX® igloo was born.

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