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Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center







Winter Survival Shelter

If you were ever in a situation that you had to stay warm in a wintry snow environment for survival,  you could make a shelter out of a snow cave. A den in the snow confines the body heat like a blanket or overcoat. It is a snug place, no matter how the wind may blow. The deer use this technique to keep warm by bury themselves in drifts, lying a half day or more with just their heads sticking out.  Kind of the same situation of a bear going  in a cave to hibernate where its much warmer.

By making a snow cave you want to take the cautions of making it safe to be in. There are those that have suffocated in them for not being built right, either from a lack of oxygen or being too cold inside and couldn't survive it.

To begin building one, first, dig a four foot diameter tunnel into the hill, piling the snow down hill. When you have your tunnel mined about eight feet horizontally into the snow, start excavating up and out until you can sit up on the snow that will become your sleeping platform for your two or several sleeping pads, bags and bivys. Create a smooth arched chamber for the cave that will allow the melting snow to run down the sides and not your sleeping bag bivy. Then excavate an eighteen inch wide trench about eighteen inches below your sleeping platform out to the doorway for the new cave floor . When you have dug out the cave interior and moved all the excavated snow out of the way, go outside and completely close the entrance to your four foot tunnel with blocks of snow cut from the disturbed consolidated snow you have depositing down hill. Be careful not to break your shovel by prying too hard. Wait until the wall consolidates. Try to keep warm by drinking something hot and then cut a two by two foot pit or larger and a new eighteen inch tunnel entrance into the trench you created.

This technique will place the sleeping platform just above the top of the new entrance tunnel. This design will trap the heat from your bodies and keep the inside temperature at a constant 32 degrees.

Make good steps into your pit, many people have been injured slipping into the cave pit. Make a cooking area and seats around this outside pit. Build walls to break the wind that will come down the mountain as evening cools to air. Create a potty area complete with blue bags.

Other Snow Caves:



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