The Family learning to sleep in the igloo

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Joined:Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:48 pm
The Family learning to sleep in the igloo

Post by Fish36 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:53 am

Hi, Everyone

Looks like a good season

Finally, a winter with enough snow for an igloo over night. We have been making Ice Box igloo’s for 3 years now. We love them. Our plan, as of 2008, was to build a small compound with an 11’ igloo and an attached 9’ igloo and maybe another attached separate kids room as well.

Being in Massachusetts has its challenges. Our weather does not lend it self to long lasting igloos. This year was a little change for us with one of the best winters in many years. We still did not have long stretches of sub-freezing weather. Oh, and of course, you need that snow stuff. This year we got the snow.

The Igloos

We started by building the 11’. We got started late (3pm) after clearing snow from driveways for most of the day. This was on a Wednesday and we did manage to get 5 rows complete. On Thursday, the kids back at school, we managed to get 2 more rows done after school and fill the inside of the igloo with many “ice fishing sleds” worth of snow. Friday with warm weather and rain predicted for the weekend, I figured I better complete the igloo while the kids were at school. I completed it as a one man finishing crew. A party for 12 took place Friday night in the ig-bar. We had a great base of snow and figured this was going to be our year for connecting 2 igloos; the ig-bar (11”) and an attached sleeping igloo (9’). On Saturday with the help of a friend we build the 9’ igloo attached thru the ig-bar in 5 1/2 hours. While we built the additional igloo my son and 2 friends removed/carved a bench and table into the ig-bar. They did this by cutting and removing snow for your feet (18” trench+/- ) in a circle leaving the center for the table . As Saturday came to a close we had a few drinks in the bar and we were done for the evening.

The rain came down hard Saturday evening and the 9’ and ig-bar portion of the compound held through to Sunday. We had visitors come to see our igloos and things were going well, other than the 50 degree weather coming in through the morning. Mid morning the ig-bar began to sag and finally gave in to the heat. With all the work it was hard to have only 48 hours of the bar igloo(ig-bar). It is now 1 week 5 days for the 9’ and 50 degrees today, 60 tomorrow and still holding.

Overnight info.

It was Saturday night (9’ igloo hits 1 week old) and the temps are going to hit 13 degrees in the overnight. The boys and I got our winter camping gear ready. I am giving more info on our gear than needed and do not want anyone to think I am an expert. I give this info so others can see that there is no need to have thousands of dollars in gear. Just be smart and start by the house or a place where you can take shelter if you are cold. I added a 1 1/2 inch ventilation hole to the top of the igloo and a round sled for a door.

First layer of padding - “2 ft. x2  ft. Tiles, Anti-Fatigue, EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles,12mm Thick, Color: Gray, Diamond Plate Finish by Venture Products, LLC ” I purchased these at BJ’s for ($18 for8) added one from the house, I use them for work areas as well. The interlocking mat allowed me to build a 6’x6’ area that no one could roll off of during the night. They fit very neatly into the 9’ igloo and gave 3 crescent shaped areas of exposed snow. We used these areas as personal storage. Each of us got one of these areas for storage of our outer clothing, boots, water, etc.

Second Layer - We used our standard backpacking mats. The boys have a inexpensive mat made by Ozark Trail, ($10ea) purchased at Walmart. I use a Thermarest Ridge Rest.($30)

Sleeping bags - We all used the same bag. Ozark Trail, Arctic Mummy Bag 4lbs Micro-Tekk Z1 Performance Insulation, 0 Degree Temp rating. ($25ea) These were purchased at Walmart.

Clothing - The boys each wore top and bottom long underwear. Fleece pants and a sweatshirt. I wore #1 base layer and a #3 arctic layer, top and bottom. I tend to run cold.

We acted as though we were “car camping” (not backpacking into our spot) and had been outside for a while. We then went into the igloo and got ready for bed. We set up the interlocking floor earlier, but had not opened the bags or unrolled the sleeping pads.

Getting into our bags went smooth and comfortable. Even though it was cold outside the igloo warmed up quickly. We all were in our bags and noticed we were overdressed. I had to remove one of my tops and both kids removed their sweatshirts. This is how we spent the night. My bag spent most of the night with the top unzipped to help keep me from overheating. We all had a good night sleep and when morning came felt that warm “I want to stay in bed” feeling. We got a call from the house a little after 8am and coffee and breakfast was on its way. I was the first dressed and ready to go, so off I went for my coffee. My wife and I watched as each of the boys came out of the igloo with big smiles and stories for their friends. Our plans now are to travel north, build an igloo and spend the night away from home. I was amazed at just how comfortable and easy this could be.

It is looking like the end may be well on its way here in Mass. (February 17th 2:00pm). As I look out, the remaining igloo’s vent hole is expanding and tomorrow is the day it will reach 60 degrees. If we make it though today and tomorrow (Friday) we will try to spend one more night this weekend. It doesn't look good :-( But there is always next year!! :-)

Update - lost the igloo before the weekend, but a storm coming in on Monday may have enough kick to get use the second overnight during school break :-)
Bed room left after the ig-bar collapsed, platform ready for next igloo
interlocking mat.jpg
The mats we used purchased at BJ's
interlocking mat.jpg (54.28KiB)Viewed 25966 times
Kids in the bags
Getting ready - fleece blankets never used

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Joined:Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:45 pm
Location:Inverness-shire, Scotland

Re: The Family learning to sleep in the igloo

Post by Andy » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:56 pm

Well done! I have only built 9ft Igloo's and they do seem to be more robust than the flatter shaped Igloo's. It helps if you get a frost after building along with some steam from cooking to penetrate the snow on the inside to glaze the surface. It's certainly great fun and amazing how comfortable to sleep in, even in blizzard conditions. You can see our Scottish Igloos in the Organisations section of forum!
I hope to try a 10ft Igloo next year and eventually an 11ft just to see how it compares with the 9ft. Must try to get volunteers to help:-)

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Igloo Ed
Joined:Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:44 pm
Location:Lyons, Colorado

Re: The Family learning to sleep in the igloo

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:48 pm

I'm glad you got to finish your two igloo setup but sorry to hear it was so short lived.
The ten and eleven foot igloos do sag faster than all the other sizes but I suspect it was more to do with the snow conditions and the weather. I'm guessing that you built the igloo with some fresh snow that was still cold powder. If you've been building with the sugar snow you guys usually have it was heaven to pack.
That cold powder compresses a lot when it warms up. I recently built a nine footer that sagged 18 inches in a week and it was because the snow was cold and relatively light powder. The igloo looks okay though as it has the correct overall shape and is just getting shorter.
You've probably seen how the igloos built with sugar snow stand tall for a long time.
But the weather didn't help any either. I believe the igloo might have lasted a few days longer if you could have put a tarp over it to protect it from the rain. With the weather warming up right after the rain, the rain never got a chance to freeze. If it had frozen, it would have been a bomber igloo.
I'm glad you guys got to camp in the igloo and test out your gear.
Sounds like you'll have a good time going north and doing some camping. I hope we hear back from you.

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