Snow might seem like your enemy during Winter camping trips. But if you can’t beat it. Use it. Snow can be your best ally in terms of Winter survival.

Snow can be your worst enemy or your best friend. The choice is really up to you. If you know how to use it. You can turn it into your greatest asset.

Camping Survival Uses For Snow and Ice

There are different kinds of survival shelters, but they should all meet the following criteria.

1. Melt it!

The first use for snow is to naturally, melt it. If you’re able to melt ice and snow sustainably out in the Winter wild. You’ll have plenty of water resources to last you.

Just make sure you’re using clean snow.

But the easiest way to melt your ice or snow is to do so in a pan over a fire.

2. Use Snow As An Insulator

I’ll just say it.

This stuff makes a killer insulator.


The air content of the snow is insanely high. Up into the 90 percentiles.

This means that you can use snow as an insulator in dozens of different ways.

3. Build Furniture

Essentially you can make your own furniture where you want to. It just involves a few sessions of digging with a quality shovel.

4. Survive a Storm

Snow can help you survive a Winter storm. You can dig, carve, and shovel out a small snow tunnel or snow cave to escape the Winter winds.

5. Make Candy

This is one of two desserts we’ll cover in this post that you can make with the help of some snow.

Pack some snow into a ball (make a snowball) and pack it tightly. Then boil one of the following:

  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • agave nectar

Once boiling, pour it over the snowballs and let it sit for a few minutes.

Enjoy some snow toffee-like candy.

6. Carve a Survival Snow Cave

build a survival snow cave

If you’re going to be camping in the Winter months. It’s likely you’ll have the company of a metric ton of snow surrounding you.

Let’s put all the white dust to good use. Why not build a snow cave with all of it? It’s fun and you get to say that you built a snow cave.

7. Stay Warm With Snow

This one was interesting.

Using a substance that is freezing, literally, to stay warm. How ironic.

We’re not using the snow directly to produce heat or warmth. But we are using the snow and ice in order to build a frame for a fire pit.

8. Clean Dishes

The snow is water. Water is the main ingredient for doing the dishes. Soap? Yes, but water by itself can get the job done.

9. Store Your Winter Survival Supplies

Snow can be of great use for storage. Mainly for digging holes in and then using the hole in the snow for the storage part.

If it’s snowing, it’s a good way to keep the snow off your Winter Survival kit.

10. Create Musical Instruments

What better entertainment could you get camping in the snow than with music made with the snow around you?

However, unless you’re a skilled ice sculptor, it may take some practice.

You can ice sculpt your own instruments like they do at the Ice Music Festival in Norway.

11. Keep Your Brews Chilled

keep your beers cold

If you need to keep something cool. Fewer things will be easier or more convenient than sticking it outside on the ground. Keep your beers cold with the snow.

Bury the bottles a couple inches deep in snow and you’ll have chilled brews ready for chugging.

12. Make Pancakes

You can use snow to add into pancake mixture if you want to lighten the load before pouring into the pan.

13. Remove Gum

I’m not much a gum person myself. But if you’re around those who chew gum every now and again. Dealing with gum stuck somewhere other than the trash can quickly become a sticky situation.

Watch this video to see how you can remove gum with ice.

14. Stake Out Your Campsite

Snow makes for excellent ways to pack something down.

You can make deadman anchors by packing your tent guylines under snow. Use a generous amount of snow and pack it good. But once you do, you don’t have to worry about it not being secure.

15. Make Drinking Water, Stay Hydrate

Unfortunately, taking a pile of seemingly good snow, melting it, and consuming it isn’t that simple. We want to be safe and make sure the water is pure before we drink it.

Make sure you’re using clean snow.

White as a redneck. No sticks, leaves, or dirt. Then put the snow in a pot with purified water. Put it through a strainer to get out anything you missed.

Then boil the water again after straining. You can use a chemical water purifier as well.

A couple of extra steps but well worth the work.

16. Effortlessly Water Your Plants

Instead of pouring water into your plants, which is fine and all.

But have you ever put snow or ice in your flower pots?

The snow or ice can melt slowly, watering your plants over time. Not a bad gardening hack.

17. Start a Fire Using Ice

Start a fire with the very thing that can put fires out. The irony is strong in this post.

You might have already guessed how to do this. But you’re using the same basic method to make a fire with ice as using a magnifying glass or lens to make a fire.

Craft a lens out of ice and use that to direct the sun on to the fire tinder.

18. Use Snow To Build Shelter… Like Eskimos

Using snow for shelter is one of the main survival uses for it.

There are a few different Winter Survival shelters you can build. There are

  • Igloos
  • Snow Caves
  • Snow Burrows

Since we like to be a practical prepper when it comes to what is realistic and what is not in terms of what we can actually do or not do by ourselves. Building an igloo by yourself in the harsh Winter climates can turn into a hypothermic emergency quickly.

Using snow as the insulator for building a Winter Survival Shelter involving the other materials like branches and any supplies you have like trash bags is the practical view for Winter Shelter.

19. Dry Ice

Dry ice is useful in different ways that regular ice isn’t so great at.

What is dry ice made of?

Dry ice is made of frozen carbon dioxide. Regular ice is made when water freezes.

You can use it to get small dents out of your car. As well as getting hail debris and damage off.

20. Make an Icey Hotel

Make your own hotel using ice.

Okay, it’s not that simple. But there is a hotel in Sweden named “Ice Hotel”, that is made of steel, ice, and snow. Quite impressive.

21. Use Ice For Air Conditioning

Believe or not, ice can be used for air conditioning.

There is a special air conditioning unit that makes ice during the less demanding times of the day for the machine. During the stressful hours that it’s cranking, the ice that was stored is then released into the atmosphere which is what helps cool the air.

22. Keep Water From Freezing

One thing that’s frustrating with Winter outdoors is waking up to your water being frozen. And you have to melt it before being able to drink some water.

We can avoid this by having a covered pot of water in the snow before you go to sleep for the night.

23. Make Snow Cones

Pack some flavored liquids in your Winter camping bag to make some ice cold snow cones.

24. Reduce Swelling With Snow

Swelling is partly caused by inflammation.

Snow is cold, and low temperatures help to reduce the inflammation. Thus, it helps to reduce the swelling.

If you get injured while camping or climbing icy mountains. The snow is right there as a first aid assistant.


Many of the survival uses for snow involve digging of some kind. Which is one of the reasons why snow can be so helpful for survival, especially for shelter.

So you’ll want to have a quality tool for shoveling and digging snow.

Check out this tactical shovel that I’ve enjoyed using this Winter.

Do you know any ways to use snow that we missed? Put it below in the comments.

UP NEXT: Make A DIY Camp Coffee Cup


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