Though it got off to a slow start, winter is finally here spreading it snow all across the country. Some people might frown when they see those flakes falling from the sky, but campers know the truth: this is snow fort country! Here’s some tips on how to build the best snow-made structure EVER!
- Judge your snow wisely
- While scientifically there are several types of snow classifications, for our purposes we’re going to divide snow into the following: Powder, Packing, Crust, Slush, and Ice. Depending on the type of snow you’re dealing with, it can be easy or difficult to form shapes (and thus make a fort) out of it. Powder is just like it sounds: loose and fresh, which doesn’t compact very well. Packing snow has a higher moisture content and holds a shape, i.e. the ideal fort material. Crust (snow with a crisp, frozen layer on the surface) works in a pinch, but can be hard on the hands with its sharp chunks. Slush is snow saturated with water, and while it can be compacted fairly well, it soaks through winter gloves almost instantly and does not have much structural support. Ice is our last contender, and while it is the strongest snow fort material, it’s also nearly impossible to shape. For best results, stick to packing and crust snow-types.
- Plan your construction
- To make sure your fort looks the best and holds up to the worst snowballs imaginable, start with an outline. Carve out and pack down a rough perimeter of where your walls will be for extra foundational strength. Sometimes adding sticks or branches to make the rough shape can help keep your eye from wandering on an otherwise uniform, white surface. When making your “bricks,” stick to containers that have a uniform shape and can handle moisture, usually metal or plastic. Tupperware containers or buckets can be especially useful, but don’t be afraid to improvise. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun as much as it’s functional!
- Reinforce the garrison
- Last but certainly not least, one of the best not-so-secret tricks of making a snow fort stand up to the enemy is our old friend: ice. Take several small buckets of water and pour it all over the walls and sides, working from the bottom up to prevent the added weight from collapsing the fort before it freezes. Water will melt the finish of the fort slightly, so don’t be afraid to patch it with more snow after your watery coating is complete.
And there you have it: the perfect snow-fort recipe! Stockpile an arsenal of snowballs and you’re ready for battle. Good luck, snow warriors!