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So, What’s a Hut Trip?

August 5, 2013

I realize that for people living outside the mountains of Colorado, a “hut trip” might be a foreign concept.  So I decided to write a post on the logistics behind planning a hut trip, what to bring, etc.  Then I realized that I shouldn’t necessarily be giving that advice, because 1. This was my first hut trip ever, and 2. I didn’t even plan it – I just showed up!  That said, I have gotten a lot of questions on the details when I’ve told people about this trip, so I figured it was worth it to put my limited knowledge out in cyberspace.  Please feel free to chime in with additional tips in the comments.

Fowler/Hilliard Hut - 10th Mountain Division Huts

The hut we stayed in, Fowler/Hilliard, is part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association’s network of huts.  Their website is where you should go to reserve a hut and learn all about them.  If you’re planning a trip for the first time, I’d highly recommend checking out the FAQs and all of the materials under “Trip Planning.”  Since I’m a little bit of a control freak and had no idea what I was heading into, I read these materials before we went and they gave me a better idea of what to expect.

Fowler/Hilliard Hut

Reservations:  If you want to go on a hut trip over a weekend in the summer or anytime during the winter, you’ll need to reserve far in advance.  There’s even a lottery for those looking to reserve a winter hut.  All of the details can be found here.  To reserve the full 16 spots in Fowler/Hilliard for our trip, the girl who organized our group told me she made the reservation back in October. 

Sharing the Hut:  That leads me to another point.  Every hut has a certain capacity, and when making a reservation you can reserve just one spot, or as many spots as the capacity depending on your group size and availability.  That means that if you roll with a smaller group, you’ll likely end up sharing the hut with strangers.  I’m sure this could lead to a fun experience in some cases, but I think it’s ideal to have the whole hut for your group, particularly if you’re like us and want to be able to party and make plenty of noise without being obnoxious.

We were glad to have the hut all to ourselves.  It allowed for maximum silliness and celebration, without bothering anyone else.

We were glad to have the hut all to ourselves. It allowed for maximum silliness and celebration, without bothering anyone else.

Cost:  Most huts are priced per person/per night and range between $30-$45 per person/per night.  Others are only available to rent out as a group.

Facilities:  As I mentioned before, Fowler/Hilliard was SO much nicer than I expected a hut to be.  That said, it is also supposed to be the newest and nicest hut, but I have it on good authority that while the others might not be so pretty, most of them have similar amenities.  There was a very nice outhouse, solar-powered lights in the rooms and a pretty full kitchen setup.  Here are a few photos I snapped of the interior of the hut:

The first floor of the Fowler/Hilliard Hut contains a kitchen area, a huge table for communal meals, additional seating areas and a wood stove.

The first floor of the Fowler/Hilliard Hut contains a kitchen area, a huge table for communal meals, additional seating areas and a wood stove.

The sleeping area in our hut was made up of one large room and two smaller ones with enough beds for 16 people.

The sleeping area in our hut was made up of one large room and two smaller ones with enough beds for 16 people.

The front porch was spacious and beautiful as well.

Fowler/Hilliard Deck in Summer

What to Pack:  Since I’ve never been on a winter hut trip, and this was my first ever summer trip, I am far from an authority on what to pack.  However, I thought it would be fun to tell you what I/we brought and used, and what I didn’t have and would have wanted.  In the summer, this hut was accessible by car, which meant we could pack pretty heavy.  In the winter I’d imagine your packing list to be much sorter since you’d have to schlep everything in on your back.

Hut Sherpa

Here, one of my hut-mates is dragging one of many loads of stuff from the cars to the hut, about a quarter-mile away. Luckily wheelbarrows were provided for this purpose.

– What I packed: Camelback for hiking, hiking shoes, flip-flops, clothing (two sets of hiking clothes, yoga pants and t-shirts for hanging at the hut, layers for cold nights), rain jacket, headlamp (key for midnight trips to the outhouse), cleansing face wipes (I loved these and everyone borrowed them), prescription meds, toothbrush/toothpaste, sunscreen, cornhole set, sleeping bag, water (5 gallons between me and the boyfriend, and I would have liked to have more), Black Box Cabernet and plenty of food.

– What the group brought: More than enough food, a pony keg of Coors Light (it got so shaken up on the rough drive to the hut that it was obnoxiously foamy – I wouldn’t recommend it), more boxed wine, water (barely enough – I’d recommend at least 1 gallon per person per day to stay on the safe side), another cornhole set, more fun things that I’m sure I’ve forgotten about.

– What I wished I’d brought: A book for reading and relaxing on the front porch, more water, a pillow case and bug spray.

Hut Cornhole 2

Cornhole sets are clearly optional, but we made good use of ours!

I was very lucky to make this trip with a bunch of experienced hut-trippers, a few of whom planned out the weekend to perfection.  Like I said, all I had to do was show up!  Remember that my advice is based on my very limited experience, since I’m a hut newbie and don’t even know what goes into a winter trip.  So, is there anyone out there who’s planned and executed successful hut trips before (particularly a winter trip) who would like to write a guest post with more tips and tricks?  If so, let me know in the   comments or email me at peaksandpassports@gmail.com.  Also feel free to share your insight in the comments below.

Planning a hut trip might be more work than staying at a hotel, but check out the views you get as a reward for your planning.

Planning a hut trip might be more work than staying at a hotel, but check out the views you get as a reward for your planning.

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