Igloo Block Building Tool


The ICEBOX® igloo block building tool is great for Winter Camping, Building Snow Shelters or just plain fun with the Kids!

Our ICEBOX® Igloo Tool consists of a lightweight, packable tool for building an igloo style snow shelter in any snow conditions.

The ICEBOX® igloo block building tool is engineered to be affordable and easy to use. The tool will allow you to build igloo structures that are strong, stable and comfortable for whatever the purpose. Winter camping, snow camping, or just for fun through the winter in your backyard.

Less energy spent is the main benefit of our tool design. Snow shelters and igloos are much easier to build utilizing our tool and method versus building traditional Quinzee or snow caves.

Enjoying Snow With Igloos
The ICEBOX® Igloo Block Building Tool gives a new and fun way to experience winter camping. Igloo/Snow camping is an adventure rooted in ancient traditional winter lifestyles. Just the nostalgia alone can make a lot of winter fun in your back yard. Building an igloo can be a lot of fun for both adults and kids having winter snow fun in your back yard.

You may already know the advantages of snow camping. (No crowds, peaceful, beautiful.) If not, you may be missing an exhilarating and visceral experience. No noise, no crowds, the incredible beauty of the winter backcountry/wilderness, and the peace and serenity of nature are nearly overwhelming. There is really nothing quite like camping in an igloo in a picturesque backcountry winter landscape.

The ICEBOX® Igloo Tool assures setting up a winter base camp is easy and durable in any weather. Great for snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, or just camping in the snow.

The ICEBOX® Igloo Tool can be used to build a primary shelter for backcountry winter camping/snow camping or as an awesome toy for backyard snow camping fun with the family.

Igloo Instruction Manual


Once you have built your first igloo, you will probably never need the igloo instruction manual again. First of all, the process of building block layers is easy to remember because the product is simple, even if you have not done it in a while. However, we have also made it easy to download our manual, therefore it is available for future reference when in the back county. Cell phones have made this easy, simply load the pdf on your phone and you have the manual anywhere you go. If you would like to see a manual translated in other languages, just let us know. Translations and editing are expensive, however if we get enough requests we will have a tranlation done.

Winter camping can be another fun activity but it is even more enjoyable in an igloo. We are also happy you have become part of the Grand Shelters family. Henceforth, we invite you to give us feedback on your experiences with our products. We have been building our products and igloos since the 70’s, we certainly have our tool dialed in.

Igloo Instruction Manuals

The PDF igloo instruction manuals below require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print. Adobe Reader can be downloaded from the link below.

English Icebox® manual


English Icebox® manual (bindable)


Finnish Icebox® manual


French Icebox® manual


Book Bindable PDF and Printing Instructions

  1. Open PDF and select to print.
  2. When the print page comes up for the igloo instruction manual, select to print in landscape mode.
  3. Set to print all even pages and select to print in reverse order.
  4. Flip the paper end to end and print only odd pages.
  5. Uncheck reverse order and print, this will make it print on the other end.
  6. Staple in the middle and fold. If everything was done properly, the page numbers should be in the correct order.

Why Igloos Make the Best Winter Tent for Snow Camping

At first, many people scoff at the idea of spending the night in an igloo. It might seem like a far-fetched, outdated idea. However, with a little research we learn that there is a very good reason why the Inuit have been building them for centuries. It’s not because they didn’t have any other options. It’s because igloos are actually the best option for a warm, winter shelter! Far better in fact than any snow tent you can find.

This fact was recognized by Ed Huesers in 1975 when he moved to Colorado. Years of winter camping had taught him that real snow shelters were warmer, stronger, and quieter than other tents designed for winter snow camping. However, since snow caves could only be built in places with deep snow, his choices were limited.

That’s when he thought of building an igloo.

The Inuit have always used blocks of hard, compact bricks made of snow to build igloos. However, the snow in Northern but non-Arctic regions, including Ed’s beloved Rocky Mountains, was too soft and powdery to build with. Ed needed a solution! As it turned out, he owned a plastic company and he began to experiment with plastic molds. His goal was to find a way to hold the snow together and prevent it from crumbling. That was how the phenomenal ICEBOX® igloo maker was created!

The ICEBOX® igloo maker weighs just 2.3 kg, which is much lighter than a 4-season tent. It’s also a fraction of the cost of a winter tent and far superior! Read on to find out how it works.

Igloos Are Rated Best Winter Tent: 3 Reasons Why

Stable Structure: Unlike winter tents that flap around and may even been blown away by strong winds: igloos don’t budge or become uprooted. That’s because they are supported by a stable catenary curve. This ensures that the blocks of ice do not collapse in on themselves. In fact, Ed Huesers is so confident in their strength, that he claims that igloos made with the ICEBOX® igloo maker are strong enough to support the weight of three people! Even though building an igloo takes longer than setting up a winter tent, it lasts much longer too. An igloo built out in the open can last for several weeks. An igloo built near the shelter of the trees, away from direct sunlight, can last for an entire season.

Warmth: Tightly packed snow is filled with air. This trapped air serves as a great insulator and is definitely not something a winter tent can do. The inside of an igloo can reach as high as 40 degrees, sometimes even more! Compared to this, winter tents are only 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Not to mention how the temperature drops if you open the flap and the cold air rushes in!

Space: Since an igloo is shaped like a dome, it has more space than a winter tent to stow your gear. It can also pack in more people than a tent can. The ICEBOX® igloo maker can make igloos of varying sizes with the help of an adjustable pole, which can give you a maximum space of 95 square feet. An igloo is also big enough for a person to stand up and stretch. Another feature that tents don’t have!

For everything you need to know about winter camping gear and how to use the ICEBOX® igloo maker, read our article HERE.

There are so many practical reasons to opt for an igloo rather than a winter tent. Stability, warmth and extra space are all logical choices to do so. But there’s even more than that…it’s the sense of adventure and survival that come with it! It’s knowing that you have created shelter for yourself and your group with your own hands. It’s the confidence of being able to survive in the wilderness, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!

Snow Caves | Why ICEBOX® Igloos Are Better Than Snow Caves

The ICEBOX® built igloo for winter camping is easier than building snow caves or quinzees in snow country. It may not turn you into a winter survivalist but an Igloo is a superior alternative to building snow caves or quinzees. The three most beneficial aspects of building igloos using the ICEBOX® Igloo Tool over the dogged shoveling involved with building snow caves are work, work, and work. It takes 50% or less time and effort using the ICEBOX® to build a snow shelter. An igloo can be left in place for the winter camping season. It is much easier to find when you want to return during the season. It is much less resource and physically taxing to set up your season long winter camp.

No Sweat –The effort required to build snow caves or quinzees expends calories causing fatigue and sweat. While a person’s internal body temperature heats up from the exertion inside a cave or quinzee, external skin gets cold and damp from the wetness of sweat and melting snow. This moisture easily soaks into gloves and coats making the cold unbearable. People digging out a snow cave quickly become uncomfortable and tired. Maybe even close to hypothermia as they fluctuate back and forth between being hot from digging to standing around and freezing while taking a breather. A good thing to do in this situation is to wear Gore-Tex clothing and take care to stay as dry as possible.

Don’t Bust Your Hump Building A Snow Shelter

With snow flying and dripping, you are going to get wet, So a better thing to do is to avoid this situation altogether. Enter the ICEBOX®. Building the ICEBOX® igloo takes less time, less energy, and you won’t be fatigued when you’re done. Indeed, you’ll still have plenty of stamina (and probably daylight) left to organize the camp, cook, and set up your sleeping bags. The igloos make for a very enjoyable evening.

When building an ICEBOX® igloo for snow camping or as a snow shelter, you’ll be outside the entire time, until the very last block. Your body heat is cooled by the outside temperature and stays cool while falling snow isn’t melting onto the top of your head. So your winter camping trip doesn’t become winter survival, buy an ICEBOX® Tool, it’s the cooler way.

Igloos Are Physically and Environmentally Friendly

Prime real estate is not always easy to come by when scouting out a spot for a snow cave. The snow isn’t always deep enough and drifts aren’t always in the most desirable of places. Snow caves built into drifts are smack dab in the middle of nature’s vengeful path. The word “drift” brings up images of wind, and that wind isn’t going to cease just because there’s a new hole in the snow. The wind will still blow, will seek entrance into your snow cave sanctuary, and has predetermined that where you decided to make your home for awhile is where it will continue to stack up more snow and attempt to bury you and your efforts.

Picking Your Spot

Do the words winter survival come to mind? Snow cave doors and vent holes will also pile up with new snow, snow will continue to invade and penetrate, and you’ll probably get all grouchy again. But not as grouchy as if some unsuspecting passerby or fellow camper walks over the top of your snow cave and, quite literally, drops in on you. Not so with an ICEBOX® igloo. It’s above ground, wherever you want to put it, and highly visible. So pick yourself some prime real estate. A nice calm spot. A sunny exposure. A scenic view. Freedom of choice, yet another ICEBOX® advantage.

See The Light

Snow caves can become like an earthly black hole, bocking available light and zapping your energy, making you feel like a human collapsing star. Inside an ICEBOX® igloo, you’ll see the light. The snow used to fill the ICEBOX® Tool, whatever type, is re-mixed, making it airtight and creating a strong bond. It’s brighter inside because the igloo walls are thinner, allowing light through, in contrast to the snow cave’s black hole effect. Even full moonlight can penetrate an ICEBOX® igloo. The benefit of this additional light is a saving of valuable candle and flashlight resources. It’s warmer, too, because with the airtight bond, cold air doesn’t seep through the snow crystals like it would in a snow cave. You won’t have to sleep with your water bottle as your bed mate to prevent it from freezing. See the light. Feel the warmth. Fill the ICEBOX®.

Icebox Igloo Design

How to build an Igloo

Building an igloo with the ICEBOX® igloo tool creates sequential blocks in place. First, set the clamps on the form then fill it with snow while packing it tightly. After you have filled it, you unclamp it and simply slide it to the next position. Next, use the pole with eight adjustments, one for each layer to create the catenary shape. The pole also helps support the snow so you don’t have to. After finishing 5 rows you remove the outside of the form. As the wall is now leaning in far enough so the snow can be packed from the outside.

The snow only needs to hold its form well enough to stay in place until you start the next block. 8 total rows are created including the final cap.

What’s So Cool About The ICEBOX®

Actually, it has less to do with temperature and more to do with structure and stability. Indeed, the foremost advantage of constructing igloos with the ICEBOX® is its stability. We incorporated this advantage into the design of the ICEBOX® Tool. It is used for building igloos with an intrinsic natural form called the catenary curve structure.This advantageous design will keep the ICEBOX® igloo from collapsing and will prevent outward bulging of the igloo walls. The occupants inside will remain safe and secure while the igloo building itself will stand rock solid for a good long time, often enduring the length of an entire season. This is how to build an igloo.

What is a Catenary Curve and Why is it Important to Igloos?

The catenary curve structure of an ICEBOX® igloo is based on a time-tested principle of natural balance and construction. ICEBOX® igloo construction uses this very same principle. European cathedrals used this principle in their construction. As cathedrals were built higher and higher towards heaven, the outer walls of the cathedral could no longer tolerate the stress placed on them from the weight of the cathedral roof.

No doubt scratching their chins in dismay, ancient engineers finally figured out a remedy in the form of a supplemental wall brace they called “flying buttresses.” They built and placed these catenary curve-shaped stone supports as dueling pressures against the pressures pushing down from the cathedral roof. This is how to build an igloo.

The ICEBOX® Catenary Strength Advantage

The ICEBOX® uses the same principle when constructing igloos. Snow (and ice) flows with time. Igloos built with snow and having the correct catenary curve shape will have a force of pressure pushing in that is balanced with the pressure pushing down.

What results is a natural and extremely stable balance. From the first tier to the roof, an ICEBOX® built igloo remains structurally sound and exceptionally sturdy. The catenary curve structure is an integral feature of the ICEBOX®. Use the ICEBOX® for building igloos and you simply can’t go wrong. That’s what’s so cool about the ICEBOX®.

How To Build an Igloo

So, you want to know how to build an igloo? No problem! But first off, let’s make sure that you’re the right type of person to build an igloo… because us igloo builders are a special breed. We are the ones who relish the sight of a first snowfall! Who get shivers of joy when the temperature begins to drop and the need for winter gear arrives. We do not rush indoors like hibernating bears during these months! Rather, we are the arctic wolves and polar bears of our species! The ones who can’t wait to hit the slopes, snowshoe through the woods and skate across frozen lakes. We are the tough, the hardy, the intense! The ones who don’t turn away from a challenge or from a night spent outdoors. We know that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only insufficient gear. We are the campers that winter was made for!

If this sounds like you, then you might be up for this type of challenge. So, let’s find out if you ready to join the ranks of other igloo builders and take your winter adventuring to the next level!

Building an igloo is no easy task. No matter how much knowledge and skill you have, you still need to have the right amount of snow and ice, as well as the right consistency. Without this, it’s impossible to properly build the ice blocks needed for a strong and secure igloo. Relying on Mother Nature is not a predictable solution however neither is sleeping in a tent during sub-zero temperatures! (It’s true! Igloos are warmer than tents! Want to know more? Check out this fun video that explains the science behind how an igloo keeps you warm!)

So, if Mother Nature is unpredictable but snow is warmer than a tent, what’s the answer?

This is where Ed Huesers, an avid winter camper from Colorado, comes in. After sleeping out in a cold tent for one too many nights, he knew that there must be a better way. He began experimenting and learning how to build an igloo. He began by modeling his plan after the Inuit and their igloo building techniques. Ed first experimented with different types of snow wall constructions. However, when Mother Nature proved her instability, Ed realized that he would need some extra help.

As the owner of a plastic mold manufacturer, Ed started using various plastic forms to try and build different kinds of snow walls. This helped him to discover a practical solution for igloo building. He called his invention the ICEBOX™ Igloo Maker and when he took it to market, a revolution was born!

The ICEBOX™ igloo maker is capable of creating an overnight winter shelter for a large group of people in just 1.5 to 3 hours. It weighs about 2.35 kg, which is a bit heavier than your average one-person tent. However, since one ICEBOX™ igloo maker can make a shelter that houses multiple people, it actually helps to save weight while traveling!

How to Build an Igloo with ICEBOX™

Here’s a breakdown how to make an igloo with ICEBOX® igloo maker:

  1. The Snow: Obviously, the key ingredient you need to create an igloo is snow! However, the quality of the snow affects the building process. Typically, you need the dense snow that lies beneath the top-most layer to build a solid igloo. However, when using the ICEBOX® igloo maker, just pack whatever snow you have into the ICEBOX® mold and you will instantly create the perfect block of snow for building.
  2. The Center: In order to ensure that your igloo is perfectly circular, push the stake of the ICEBOX® igloo maker into the center point of your igloo. Then assemble and adjust the length of the pole accordingly. For example, if you want an 8-foot igloo, your pole should be extended to four feet.
  3. The Ramp: Shovel and pack snow into the ICEBOX® mold to build a short ramp over the first few blocks. After the ramp, fill the mold full for the rest of the igloo build. Adjust the pole length for the next layer each time the ramp area is passed creating a stable and solid arch. The snow is packed into the tool with a push to make the snow sinter and bond to the previous block and the wall below.
  4. The Dome: As the wall rises, you can remove the Outer Panel from the mold as it is no longer needed to prevent the snow from falling out. As you finish the dome, you can also take off the yellow panel, leaving only the inside panel. To finish the dome, the pole holds the inside panel in place and snow is packed on from the outside.
  5. The Doorway: Digging a tunnel at the bottom of your igloo is the best way to keep the cold out but you can also use a cut out a door, if you prefer. Cutting a door out of the wall and adding the cold trap will also hold your heat inside.

Your igloo is now complete and fully functional! For added strength, simply spray some water onto the outside of the igloo. This helps ice to form, thereby holding the igloo even more firmly in place.

Igloo construction is now safer, easier and convenient thanks to Ed Huesers ICEBOX® igloo maker. Grab yours today, get out into the winter wilderness and claim your spot amongst the toughest of winter campers!