Now that winter is upon us, with a deep layer
of snow, it's a waste of energy trying to get to the debris underneath to build
a leaf hut. Therefore, let's discuss a snow shelter.
The safest kind is a snow pit because there is
more than just a layer of snow overhead that could possibly collapse. Start by
digging a pit in whatever shape best suits your needs. I think a rectangular one
is easiest to cover later. During the construction, it's important to stay as
dry as possible. Try kicking out the snow rather than carrying armloads of it
and wetting your upper body.
If it's feasible, dig all the way to the
ground. Leave at least enough room to prop up on one elbow while including space
for the bedding. Ideally, height ought to be around four feet, a little deeper
if you intend to have a small fire.
Place a minimum layer of six inches of
vegetation on the bottom (excluding the fire area, which is built on the snow or
the ground). Choose a location near your materials. Pine and fir boughs are most
abundant at this time, but be on the lookout for grasses and barks, among other
things. This layer will keep you above the snow and the build-up of water.
Roof in the entire trench with a thick layer of
branches and overlay this with snow. Remember to plan for an adequate air vent
through the brush and snow. Tunnel in on the east side of the shelter, and
through this opening stuff in as much insulating material as you can gather.
This provides that ever-so-important dead air space. You can plug the door with
a block of snow and bed down for the night out of the wind and cold.
From The Tracker magazine, Winter 1983,
published by the Tracker School.
For more articles from The Tracker magazine, visit the
Tracker Trail website.