Furnishing and customizing igloo interiors

General discussion on winter camping.
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PineMartyn
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Furnishing and customizing igloo interiors

Post by PineMartyn » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:45 am

My wife and I just built our first igloo (a 9-footer) and it turned out quite well. We'd like to know how people furnish and customize the interior to make them more comfortable (apart from the trench for standing, raised sleeping shelves, ventilation hole).

What do you seasoned, igloo-using, winter camping veterans do about lighting? Do you use candles to light and heat the igloo? Where do you position them (on the floor, hanging, etc.)?

What floor covering for sitting on and put under your sleeping gear do you use or recommend? Right now we use large rolls of Reflectex material - the insulating material used for wrapping heating ducts. It works well to insulate you from the cold floor and it reflects your heat back at you beautifully, but it slides around on the snow like a crazy carpet.

Is there a recommended way to anchor a horizontal line or pole inside the igloo from which one can hang a light, lantern hats, gloves, etc? I have a spare tent pole (the folding kind with shock cord inside) that I could drive into the igloo walls at the desired height...unless someone thinks that's a bad idea.

What about your cooking area? Is there something you do or set up to make cooking and boiling water easier and more comfortable?

Lastly, what about a drip/cold trough? Whenever we have built quinzhees, we've always dug a narrow, shalllow, interior trench all around the base of the quinzhee where the floor meets the walls, so that condensing moisture runs down the walls and pools into that little trough. Does anyone do this sort of thing in their igloos?

Any other suggestions, recommendations or best practices are welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Martin
No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office".
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kealia
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Re: Furnishing and customizing igloo interiors

Post by kealia » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:21 am

Hey.. that was a great video! I am in Minnesota, so I am familiar with your type of conditions. Also, I am a former quinzhee user. I emphasize "former". The Icebox is much, much better, especially after you have made a few of them. I can whip out a quick 8' in about four hours, depending on the snow conditions. For the floor I use a tarp and a couple of eggshell foam pads. A trench is not necessary and the condensation runs down the walls and freezes. You will not get wet in an igloo. For light I use a hanging candle I bought from Campmoor. It is called a Candlelabra and actually has three candles. I use an 6 foot grounding rod and run it right through the igloo and then hang stuff with S hooks from the rod. I am sure you will enjoy winter camping in the igloo. this is the third year for me and I have had a blast.

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PineMartyn
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Re: Furnishing and customizing igloo interiors

Post by PineMartyn » Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:16 pm

Kealia: I am glad you enjoyed the video. I hope it conveys how much pleasure we experienced building it. I have been reading some of your other posts and I see you've now built quite a few of them and all in good time. May I ask how many people are involved in your builds? I'm wondering if my wife and I should be shooting for some of your build times or not. And thank you for your suggestions of what to do with the interior. I will likely try some of your practices.

I slept in mine last night for the first time, cooked in it, basically lived in it for 12 hours, just to get a feel for it, and I've already got a better sense of how to set things up when it comes to bedding, cooking/work space, etc. I'd welcome more input from any lurkers here before I get too set in my own way of doing things.

Thanks,
Martin
No one has ever been heard to say on a deathbed, "I wish I'd put in more time at the office".
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Furnishing and customizing igloo interiors

Post by Igloo Ed » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:57 pm

I've tried the candle lanterns and they seem to get knocked over so it is best to hang them. I find anything that hangs blocks ones movements in the igloo, I like it pretty much wide open. If the candle is hung off to the side, it ends up melting a hole into the igloo wall. I use a canister lantern. The lower the heat source is, the lower the warm layer of air goes. It's nice to set the lantern between someone's feet if they have freezing toes. They can also warm their hands or dry their gloves by wearing them. I stay dry enough that I just wear my clothes through the evening and they are dry by the time I go to bed.
A plastic or wood stake to hang things works well but a metal stake will melt out of the wall due to heat transfer through the metal. I've tried expanding the metal pole of the ICEBOX into the walls to create a clothes line but the metal melts the snow and the water runs out onto the pole where it drips onto you or your gear.
The best clothes line is a taunt cord strung through holes in the walls and pulled tight on some sticks across the outside of the igloo. The higher the better for heat but also the shorter the line becomes. Directly above the heat source is important too.
I use a 7' X 9' lightweight tarp to cover the floor, it is a bit larger than needed but it makes it pretty luxurious. I used to have a 5' X 7' tarp that was much heavier and it was just large enough to do the job. The extra size of my 7X9 gets hung down into the trench so the backs of my calves don't get wet when they are touching the trench wall. The other side of the tarp away from the trench gets pinned up against the wall with extra gear. This keeps the tarp off the top of your sleeping bag so your bag can dry out over night and the gear will stop you from touching the wall so you don't feel the cold wall if you happen to put your feet against it and compress the bags loft. I put my gortex layer by my feet and my insulating layers by my shoulders.
The extra length along the trench means I have tarp to pin against the wall below my feet and extra left over above my head to lay my small gear and food on.
When I first move into the igloo, I lay the tarp on the bed folded in half so I can stuff my sleeping pad and sleeping bag into it like stuffing a burrito from the side. This keeps snow from getting on my gear while moving in, the walls drop lots of snow at first until they warm up and become soft. When all moved in, I lift the tarp up so the snow on the tarp slides off the back against the wall. Then I pull the front of the tarp out so it hangs some ten inches down into the trench and then pin the other side properly to the wall with gear.
My boots set along my waist and pin the tarp against the wall if the boots are reasonably dry or if they are covered in ice, I put them behind the tarp so the snow floor gets wet instead of the tarp/gear if the ice melts through the night.
Foods and water that I don't want freezing, I lay close to my head so my breathing keeps them a little warmer.
I place both, my stove and lantern, on the sleeping level at the end of the trench. I always put them there so I am accustom to it and don't burn or melt my gear on them. If someone needs to sleep on the end of the trench, the stove and lantern are placed in the trench as everyone gets into bed and the person sleeping at the end of the trench lays his bag out.
And then of course you have to decorate the igloo some:
StayAway.jpg
Welcome to the forum, Martin. I loved your video and the song was... well, pretty appropriate. I bet you two are going to have a blast with the igloos.

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