Winter fun would not be the same without some good old fashioned snow cave camping! A snow cave is basically a temporary shelter dug into the snow…used to protect winter campers from wind and freezing temperatures. Winter survivalists use snow caves to shelter them from exposure, and can be made by anyone as an excellent shelter for winter camping trips or just for the fun of it! You could always use a snow camping tent, and there are plenty available… but the snow cave is something you don’t want to miss. Snow cave camping can be done in your back yard, as well as your nearest wilderness preserve.
Choosing a location and building For Snow cave camping
When snow cave camping, you will have to make a decision of where to build, first and foremost. The most important thing is to make sure the area is free from avalanches or other dangers. There are three main ways to build a snow cave, so you will have to make sure what your area calls for.
The three main ways are: Piling the snow and digging it from a mound, digging within a large snow bank, or digging deep down into heavy snow. For any of the three ways to build listed above, you will need a snow accumulation that is at least 4- 5 feet in height and at least 8 feet wide at its’ narrowest point. When snow cave camping, you will have to choose your tools and get prepared!
Some of the tools you will need when snow cave camping are as follows: Shovels, with long or short handles, ski poles or sticks, something to use as a door cover, large tarp to cover the floor and provide insulation, and appropriate camping gear. You will want to wear waterproof layers to prevent getting wet from the snow, and you will want to have some things to bring in your snow cave, such as a portable radio or camp-stove to boil hot chocolate.
Conditions and Safety During Snow cave camping
While snow cave camping has been with us a long time, there are certain things that you should always do when building your snow cave to make sure that you are safe and comfortable while having a blast!
If you are piling a mass of snow to do your snow cave building, make sure that you wait at least two hours from the time you build until the time you start to carve out the interior. We touched on avalanches, just make sure there is no way anything else can fall on your cave and pose a threat.
You can count on piling snow for at least three hours and an additional three hours to dig it out. Make sure also that while snow cave camping, the outside temperature is at least 1 degree Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.