Snow Cave Camping — If you will be camping in your snow cave overnight, there are a many things you can do to make it more comfortable.
After you finish digging it out, leave a few inches of snow on the floor to help insulate you from the frozen ground. Also, the floor should be slightly higher than the door so the coldest air can naturally flow out of the snow cave.
Though not necessary, it is best to cover your snow floor with a plastic or waterproof tarp to protect all of your gear from getting wet.
Leave the holes you poked when measuring depth to provide proper ventilation or carve out a 2 inch ventilation hole near the top. You can also leave the door uncovered a crack. Balance between having enough fresh air and keeping the air inside warm enough to be comfortable (32-40 degrees Fahrenheit).
Next put a layer of sleeping pads 2-3 times thicker that you would normally use for summer camping. If you are using a 3 season sleeping bag, we recommend wrapping it in one or 2 blankets because the inside temperature will be around freezing.
Your head and feet may get cold so consider wearing a hat to bed along with socks.
Cover the door with a pack or snow blocks to prevent cold drafts. If the door is too large you can pack snow on the sides to make it skinnier. For our doors, we usually stuff a small 6×6 ft. tarp and a large chunk of snow in it to close it up.
For light and warmth you can carve a small shelf and place a candle in your snow cave. Only one is necessary in normal snow caves and they can raise the temperature up to around 50 degrees.
For some reason, cold and snow seem to accelerate ones biological needs so have everyone go before you close the door and make it easy to uncover so you can sneak out at night.
Finally, if a collapse is going to occur, it will usually happend while you are digging the snow cave out or if it is above 34 degrees. Keep at least two shovels inside and store them by the wall in case you have to dig your way out.
Back to Building a Snow Cave