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Warming Hut

Warming Hut

Dear Mark

Thank you for the details on your experiences with our dome. It may inspire others. You can tie off your clothesline to the holes inside the clips as this would provide an hold fast with out going through the flaps. I was wondering if you might send us a photo that we could include with your commits?

A few notes about our geo dome. Red Top Meadows is a school / treatment
center for emotionally /behaviorally challenged teenage boys. We bought the
geo dome with the idea of having a semi portable warming hut for our winter
wilderness camping program. The idea was to have a structure that could be
set up on snow, with a roll out astro turf floor and install an outfitters
stove. The entire unit could be broken down and transported with snowmobiles
pulling haul sleds. This satisfied our need for portable as well as the
forest services need to minimize our impact by setting up on snow and not
establishing a camp. This was an experiment of sorts. I had done a fair
amount of research for shelters and this was the lightest, cheapest, most
portable and aesthetically pleasing thing I found. Strength was the question
mark. Our program is located at close to 7000 ft in the Snake River
Mountains of western Wyoming. We usually have over 400 inches of snow fall
each year and it is not unusual for temps to go well below 0 . The dome
past its first tests but we learned nothing the easy way. Here is a few
notes that may help the next who try what we are trying. First off it needed
a name. We took one look at it and everyone thought we would start with the
Hindinburg because it looked like it would sail in a big wind and go up in
flames. both were wrong but the name stuck.

— We set it up in the yard for a week to watch it and see how it handled
the elements. I got the call one morning saying the burg had collapsed. This
was after it had accumulated 5-7 inches of wet heavy snow. One staff got in
the middle, shoveled off the fabric, popped a few poles back in place and
the burg self inflated so to speak (popped back up). Damage was one broken
pole and one damaged hub.
— If the dome is cold shaking lightly and gentle poking from inside will
shed most snow easily. shake at the window triangles works best.

— We used 10″ square plywood with perlon rope to make deadmans for
anchoring in the snow. One for each pvc touching the ground.

— We bought used astro turf for 60cents a sq. ft from a company in Texas
and cut it to fit then cut it again for hauling. Heavy but it worked. Were
looking into other alternatives.

— Putting the stove pipe through the door works but the door is 62″x 62″ so
one piece of plywood does not do it. We used a piece 48″ x 62″ and then
rolled down the door flap and tied it off. We then used a piece of fire wrap
insulation to protect the pvc and the door fabric doing a drape and weave
kinda thing. Worked well.

— We had an elbow out of the stove then a straight section inside and
another straight piece outside, then an elbow going up. We stabilized the
unit by sinking a ten foot piece of conduit into the snow pack and using
hose clamps ( get the size right first) and bailing wire to secure it. The
mesh spark arrestor needs cleaning every two days or get a dunce cap style
top to the stove pipe.

— The area around the stove needs to be insulated or else the snow will
melt out and the stove will drop, screwing up all your rigging.

— The dome heats up quickly to be very warm and cools down even faster when
the stove goes out. condensation was pretty heavy and froze on the inside
wall but knocked off and dried out quickly in the morning sun.

— We used parachute cord for clothes line for drying socks etc… We
reached through the fabric flaps and tied it off to the hubs. This seemed
most secure.

— The doors were hard to keep sealed even with bigger clamps once the
fabric was cold and iced up a bit the clamps just want to pumpkin seed off.

— The dome did well in some pretty good stiff wind gusts and held 3-4
inches of light snow with out a problem. If the dome collapses the legs are
what take the weight. We are goping to try 450 psi / pvc pipe for the leg
sections.

— The material is incredibly strong. We tested a scrap piece with a hole in
it. We could not get it to tear any further and we tried. I also tried
burning it to see what would happen. It melts but does not burn.

— Replacing a hub was easy. I’m not looking forward to a grip clip
replacement. Should practice before its necessary. The local hardware store
had all the PVC I needed but none in the lighter 200 psi stock. Also, 10
footers come with a flared end so there is some waste when it comes to
cutting spare parts

— Were looking forward to what we can use the Hindinburg for next. It is a
beautiful structure that gives off good vibes. Hope these notes help some
one — Cheers — Mark Ames — Red Top

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