Igloo Construction Kit Web Page
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Fri, 26 Dec 1997 12:42:22 -0800
In re the igloo construction thread and where to find plans for making
Disclaimer: I haven't tried their product. I don't own stock in the
company. The concept seems quite sound, however.
Polar Dome evidently has sold at least one kit to Sandy Bridges, founder of
the Okpik program, and they say that some of their kits have been used
there on an ongoing basis.
The idea is simple in concept. The kit is essentially a set of polyethylene
panels, lacing, lacing needle, a fiberglas rod, UPVC probes, and a bag to
carry it all in. A door is an extra cost item. The kits run about
US$275-$325, depending upon size, and the door costs US$49. The kit comes
with an instructional videotape and the prices quoted include shipping
Polar Dome has this to say about the traditional quinzhee:
"For all the improvements we feel the Polar Dome has over the Quinzhee, it
should be noted that a Quinzhee is an 'unaided' shelter and has immense
value as a survival method. We do not wish for the Polar Dome to take the
place of the Quinzhee in totality, though to a large degree it is appearing
that it will."
I quote from the instructions on the Polardome website:
1) With 2 probes and the circle tether, a circle is drawn in the snow.
The line is cut down to the ground with shovels. Snow is shoveled from
outside the circle line into the centre.
2) The Panels are Fastened around the mound of snow.
3) Snow is added, the EDGES ONLY are packed by walking, and the panels are
4) The process of adding snow, packing and lacing higher continues until
the panels are full of snow.
5) The Crown is Formed and Packed with Shovels.
6) The panels may now be packed in the carry case or used to make another
7) Using a small shovel and the 12 Probes(Wall Thickness Gauges) provided,
the Dome is Caved.
8) STEP 8 - The Polar Dome is now Ready for the Door
A quote from the Polar Dome webpage as to how it came to be:
Personal Story (of invention)by Randy Buhler
"I have always had a fascination with snow. Every winter I would construct a
snow shelter of some sort. Over the years the various types of shelters I
have made included an igloo, a quinzhee, tunnels, snow caves, ice-house,
However, I was always frustrated at the length of time it took to make these
shelters. I was also unimpressed with the irregular shapes, low-ceilings and
small living area that were the results of my efforts.
One night, I was up far too late, driven to create a new shelter. I sat at
my desk sketching various methods to create the perfect dome. I re-hashed
some existing ideas, bladders of air, collapsible interior panels, snow-brick
making molds, etc... But the existing ideas were problematic from a weight,
cost or Achilles heel perspective.
The biggest problem looking back, is that everyone including myself was
thinking of how to create an interior form ONTO which snow could be piled
easily, then to be able to easily remove the form. The answer lay however, in
creating something INTO which snow could be piled easily. I still get
suggestions from well-meaning individuals to use a bladder on the inside. But
a bladder is costly, heavy and subject to tear. Plus, the time it would take
to inflate and deflate a bladder is longer than shoveling the snow necessary
to fill and remove the snow from the same space. Also, a bladder would not
allow the packing of edges that currently can take place.
Back to the story. I conceived of an idea of a form, or girdle in which snow
could be shoveled and the edges packed. Instantly I knew it would work. I
have invented many a gizmo over which I have had doubts, but not this time!
I showed the concept of collapsible fabric panels to my father, Dick Buhler,
who also recognized its potential success, and agreed to fund a prototype.
Within a week or two, we had a prototype, with zippers along the edges of the
panels.(Now we use a lacing system to fasten the panels.) It worked so well,
that to this day we have yet to get a better snow structure. We have greatly
improved on the panels themselves, but we still use a picture of the first
Polar Dome in part of our promotion.
I am constantly amazed at how well the Polar Dome panels work. Often I get
comments from people saying "why didn't I think of that".
My brother Richard Buhler, while initially scoffing the idea of the Polar
Dome, has become a true advocate of the Polar Dome and has contributed
significantly in the invention of accessories, in production, promotion and
in business planning.
My mother, Esther Buhler, for the first few years allowed her basement to
become a sewing factory. Way to go MOM!
Our biggest initial break came from Ely, Minnesota. Sandy Bridges from the
Boy Scout Northern Tier National High Adventure base invited us to
demonstrate the Polar Dome to a leadership group. We flew out in a little
plane for one afternoon to build a dome for them. They have been using Polar
Domes ever since."
I hope that the foregoing information will be of some assistance.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <email@example.com>
Asst. Scoutmaster, Troop 808 Wood Badge 416-18
Ventura County Council at Philmont, 1973
Camarillo, California, USA "I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City