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Bushcraft Shelters-Sleeping in a Snow Trench.


In this video, I show how to make a natural shelter out of snow, called the snow trench.

I also show the northgate bushcraft winter students' bushcraft shelters made of natural materials, and man made.

Bushcraft Courses http://www.northgatebushcraft.com/

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Video Transcription

hey guys Joe here how you doing I'm up teaching a course my school Northgate bushcraft we're at our North Bay location and I'm going to everybody's building their shelters right now and I'm going to build a snow cave and I thought that I take you along with this part of it I'm not going to make a video for the full course I just can't do that but for this little part I can make it make a video so what I'm going to do is definitely what I'm going to do is shovel down into the cell we got about a good 4 feet three feet of snow here and make a trench so I'm going to make a rectangle and then we can entranceway into it I'm going to labor edges on top and then cover with snow I'm using my aluminum MSR collapsible shovel telescopic I guess goes down that small to pack it away on your sled and you get a decent sized shovel I picked this location because it's the flattest spot I found in the area with the deepest snow we have a big open sky above us other than this tree here and the snow is very crusty and hard it got down to like negative 18 last night so it's pretty crusty

I'm able to get the snow shoes off now because I'm down here I can I can probably walk on top of this because it's crusty later on the day once it warms up it won't be won't be able to but now I'm down here I'm at the ground now so it's up to my thigh I'd say two and a half feet three feet easy so I've been pretty lucky because I haven't come across too many logs and stuff on the ground like as you can imagine you know what's under the snow like we down tree there could be a tree this big under here I would have no idea and if that's the case I either have to solid up would you be tight quarters or move because he'll be right in the middle of my shelter so I'm doing lucky so far I've got two and a half feet done this way I'd go quite a ways long still but now that I'm down in here it's easier I can just kind of cut it out toss it out keep it up oh and there's the log not too big I can definitely cut it so it's just a small branch I got to get rid of it I try I try going back as far as I can but I have to come this way now I don't want it leave sharp edges because my sleeping bag and with sleeping powder gonna be down in here so I gotta clean it up pretty good there we go well he's briar raspberry bush I'm here to warm it up oh it's warming up weather-wise and I'm warming up body heat wise from digging this thing I'm almost done I've got it as long as I need it to be I'm just creating like a good entrance that I'm not going to cover up I'm not making this for any other reason that I just have made one before and I'm going to spend the night in it because all the students are making a natural shelter in spending the night in it and I want to too so that's the gist of how big it is there's where I step in a gradual step this is like docking area and then into the sleep quarters proper right there got to go get some spruce boughs to line the bottom so I spent last night in this wickiup up that was a group build from the students and was super comfortable and I really enjoyed it something about sleeping in the natural shelter like around a natural shelter was really really appealing to me nobody's gonna sleep in it tonight though so I want to strip it cannibalize it of its boughs I'm taking vows from it so be good so my camping gear in there my sleeping gear oh well you can see it there you go so I have a grabber blanket therm rest new air and two sleeping bags so only I'm only using the small horns small tips of the spruce boughs for my bed

cuz I don't want no places even almost too big this big jagged one that's all I'm doing is snap them off and using the finer soft tips for my bed I don't really need to worry about layering them on like in the feather bone powder herringbone pattern because I am going to use a sleeping pad as well I'm not too worried about it you definitely could just use these but half my sleeping pad I'm using it so you can see I've lined it with my boughs and it's actually quite comfortable this is my view clear sky spruce tops well Jack pine there somebody's sneaking up on me who goes there next stage in the shelter building process is I need to get myself a substantially big in diameter piece of wood dead tree I'm gonna fine and cut down and then I'm going to lay it across the top of my shelter and I'm just going to put boughs a bunch of boughs on top I thought about it and I don't need an extra foot of snow on top of me I was planning on putting the tarp down and staking it down and putting snow on top of it either still need it the bowels will be more insufficient so and I have the boughs to use from the wickiup so off to find a tree to cut down this tree perfect it's dead I think it might even be the top of a tree that fell off it's stuck into the snow alright I'm gonna get one more like that I think just to be safe they'll cut it up into pieces I'll show you where to go from there see me walking on top of this snow and like it's all good but every now and then you learn these postholes going on and it's not fun it's like a jarring I can't even do it I guess only in the Sun let's try ok whatever


so you can see what I'm gonna do here where's my head I'm going to cut these into two for each I'll probably use some more lay them across and then that's gonna give me an extra head room you know what I mean so as opposed to a small stick just leaning little ones across I'm not getting any extra Headroom there I'm getting like four inches or something extra which is gonna be helpful in all honesty so I just want to make sure that if I cut them in half it's gonna be long enough but I put that there it's fine my silky gone boy the old trusty and this wood is pretty decayed so happy happy to be able to cut through it nice so nice then go on there yeah this will work well update I got the four logs in and four is all it's going to take because this is just my entrance and I don't need to be covered there I don't want it covered there so I can get in my head will be between these two logs and now it's time to put the boughs on I kept the big long ones for the top I didn't want them on my bed anyways because they're pokey I don't want to sleep on pokey things you know firstworldproblems boys and girls this is just going to be a matter of laying them on knocking it's not going to rain and it's not going to snow through them so it doesn't matter if it's flat what I'm getting at we're expecting negative 11 or negative 12 tonight

so everything will be good I'm putting this grabber blanket in first this is not this is not that easy so my gear bomb exploded I got my sleeping bag out in the Sun trying to draw off a little bit of the condensation that I had but it's not too bad someone go put it in the shelter over there all right boys and girls shelter is done I'm going to clock a temp to climb in there so after I crawl in I'm gonna have everything that I need for the night or that I may want for the night here in this duffel bag I'm gonna put the duffel bag at the entrance myself bag here prop up a duffel bag there have a nice little door slash wind block not that I need it yeah not too shabby guys Oh can't forget the old trusty pillar BAM I thought it might be kind of cool to go around and check out the other guys shelters let's go do that how's it coming along nice little super shelter action going so I've built a small long fire a bit of an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp so this is the small long part the super shelter of the Morris Kohan ski design the reflective mylar barrier is going to go in the back right basic nine dollar tarp for the main shelter and polyethylene clear polyethylene on the front under pads and the US Army three bag system to try to survive the night nice everything's good you're gonna be luxury tonight man Neil Young here has made a nice what would you call it debris slash tree debris slash tree there you go yo cabinet is going inside and he's got a lot more room than I do in there it's kind of smoky wish in there dug it out a bit

it's mylar on top and and but spruce boughs and he's wrapped tarp on top it's really cool that's gonna be a nice warm shelter and you're gonna have your fire here you son yeah right there and you're gonna sit here soak it up it's gonna be nice nice what do we got here another nice lean-to bow bed with two stick two logs in front pounded steaks in right there really impressed with these guys all these shelters are coming out really awesome very comfy I think fines the worst here we got Barnabas set up nicely to Sol bivy kinda thing protection looking good ooh fancy cab fancy cab coat who do we have here is this mr. bushcraft North East himself whoa Oh guys falling over check out Barmes channel bushcraft North East very cool channel these are the remains of our group shelters the first two nights we had two super shelters parallel to the wind so one there one behind me humongous fire but over the course of two nights it gets that big so big bow bet on that one and they had a raised bed some sizable pieces of wood actually they did a really really good job on it too so many shelters right give them all I got them all so I think the the award for best shelter goes to mr. Brad here this is a pretty fancy shangri-la it's got a nice tripod sturdy sturdy tripod good base for coals swearing in the background nice big old fire reflector like this thing is a tank man and a first-timer too so very cool no cordage no cordage on the on the shelter at all just propped up on these old sticks there sorry hollow limbs there's some cordage on the tripod and just to hold the fire reflector together but very very very cool I am jealous everybody's done their shelters we're not kind of hanging out in the communal area going to eat supper and then after supper when everybody feels like they're going to retire to the respective shelters like there are long fires and be alone he'll play on words alright boys and girls and make them away over to my shelter nighttime well hung up by the fire communally and a few hours ago everybody switched off to their respective shelters and now I'm off to mine and there she be alright I'm gonna attempt this now my pee bottle so I don't have to get on my bag socks on

wish me luck boys and girls oh man alright guys not gonna lie took the better part of 10 minutes to get in here yeah it's a cold night but already laying in the sleeping bag for two minutes my feet everything's starting to warm up so I'm expecting a good night's sleep and then it's up and out of here really early in the morning because I got out like an eight hour drive home so I'll get with you in the morning and wish me luck good night good morning slept great last night and we got first light here so it must be around 6 a.m. not too sure on the watch on but yeah a warm night manis up great the real winner for last night was the the pea bottle I brought into bed with thee cuz I got up to pee three times last night and if I had to get her to bed to go do that shimmy over this tomb I would not have been a happy camper look at you toasty boy over here just steaming up a storm no doubt trying to get how'd you sleep like baby yeah good to hear man everything went good then only had to wake up once to restart the fire cuz I slept too long in there what a bad problem to have it steam those boots why so my verdict on the snow trench it was fine I think I actually stayed warmer than I had the previous two nights I'm not sure what the temperatures got to but everything's frozen my water bottles frozen my cameras but I think he put in the battery in my pocket and all that stuff so it must've got cold and I stayed warmer than the previous two nights ago saying so pretty cool not convenient to get in or out the way that I did it and really not probably not needed but again I different just a different kind of thing that I hadn't done before so I'm going to end this video everybody's been here since Thursday and it's Sunday now and I got to go driving home I've been driving for her I don't know a few hours now it's 1 o'clock left at about 9:30 so a really good time glad those guys came out for the course was a really good course group of guys and some cold weather

I guess my sipping shelter money my snow tracks worked really well because a couple the other guys said they're cold that night and they said that it got down to about negative 15 and honestly my sleep system didn't change the whole trip and on the last night I was sweating I had to take off all everything some of my boxers was so hot so I knew insulation for us and it was a good insulator but I thought because I didn't have snow on the top and a little channel going into it that it might not be that warm or even give me anymore what he did so that's really cool I learned something and I'm happy for that so thanks for watching guys hope you enjoyed it see you next one bye

About the Author



Joe is a very talented bushcrafter. He has a "straight" approach to bushcraft life-style. His videos reach a very high quality, both for the shootings and for the content. He took part on the History Channel show "Alone"

You can find all his videos on his YouTube channel.

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