Cabin Camping 101
Four walls can really help you sleep in bear country! If that’s a concern, you can rent a public use cabin and have a great camping adventure.
Here is a little primer for you before your first cabin camping adventure. There also is a short list of handy multipurpose items at the end of the post
1. Find a cabin. I suggest asking friends for cabin recommendations as these sites can leave you dizzy with choices. You can use their easy calendar to select a date and pay. The only difficult part is finding an available date. The popular cabins are booked 6 months out – yes, you need to plan your summer cabin trip with layers of snow on the ground.
Three websites for booking cabins around Alaska
2. Plan your food. People say I get a little grumpy (okay, quite crabby) when my blood sugar drops. Consequently, food is high on my priority list. Lists are helpful to make sure you shop for, prepare and remember to bring all the items. I also suggest a good quantity of snacks and quick to prepare and eat foods (granola bars, bagels with peanut butter, apples, etc.). My favorite camping breakfast is one instant oatmeal packet with about a cup of Raspberry Crumble (lots of calories for camping fun!).
3. Think of Trash. You need to pack out everything when you leave (including garbage). Remove food from excess packaging, put items into re-usable containers and bring a mess kit (spoons, plates, cups, etc.) that you wash between uses. I also suggest an extra garbage bag so you can double-bag your trash for the hike out. Toilet Paper doesn’t count as trash as most of the cabins have outhouses, but don’t forget a roll! Disposable diapers do need to be packed out.
4. Clothes. If you have children along, remember to bring spare clothes. If there is mud, they will find it. Mornings can be chilly in the summer, so don’t forget a hat, fleece and raincoat. My crew tends to wear our clothes more than once on camping trips, but we bring extras just in case.
5. Prepare. I have a little survival kit, but added some other things for the cabin. I brought some medication (pain, upset stomach, allergies) and packed extra band aids. It also is nice that I was a certified Wilderness First Responder (lapsed) and have a basic knowledge of what to do in a medical emergency. This cabin was 3.3 miles from a trail head, so we needed to be ready to help ourselves in a pinch.
6. Water. I used to camp with a pump water filter until I met my new best friend – the Steripen. Grab some water from the lake, stir the pen in it for 90 seconds and you have treated water. Fabulous! Just remember to bring a couple of water bottles so you can sterilize a couple of bottles at a time.
1. Coffee filters – filter bits out of the water, hold food and start fires.
2. Baby wipes – clean up people, pans and tables.
3. Tin foil – cook food, wrap up leftovers, make into a plate and more.
4. Paracord – tie things to your pack, make a fishing pole to occupy the kids, hang a light from the ceiling and more.
5. Carabiner – Attach things to your pack, hang items, clank together for a bear bell, and more.
What multipurpose items do you bring on trips?
Lia Keller was born and raised in Anchorage where she now lives with her two boys. After starting Skedaddle, she and friends developed the Anchorage Outdoor Family Network into a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Lia is passionate about helping families get outside and plays in nature whenever possible.