Hut trips are the quintessential Colorado adventure for mountain enthusiasts. From hut based avalanche courses in Colorado’s backcountry to sipping that “cabin juice” (get it?) around the stove with your closest adventure pals after a long skin in, hut trips promise to provide lasting memories and stories for the grandkids.
Heading out on a hut trip does require proper planning and execution so we chatted with our friends over at Colorado Adventure Guides to bring you their top tips for how to champion your hut trip!
Review their tips and save our downloadable packing list. While you’re at it, join CAG for a free virtual Hut Tripping 101 Clinic next week on December 30 at 6 pm!
Remember: Keep it Light, but Keep it Right!
Everything you bring has to go into your pack. Bring what you need but it will feel heavier on mile three than on mile one on your ascent to the hut. Think about your tech clothing layers and will they work on the way to and in the hut. Bring what you need, but a lighter pack will make your trip more rewarding!
- Avalanche Beacon, Shovel & Probe: Three-antennae beacon with fresh batteries. Shovel with a metal blade is mandatory.
- Backpack: 40-75 liter: Your trip to a hut could be 1-3 hours, remember everything you will be carrying must fit inside your pack.
- Skis or Splitboard: Your binding must enable you to travel uphill, so look for AT(alpine touring for skis) or any split board bindings. New to backcountry set ups? Check out our blog here to get the whole scoop on what you need.
- Ski or Trekking Poles: Skiers & splitters need poles with powder baskets, and should be adjustable for uphill travel.
- Ski or Splitboard Boots: Your boots must enable you to travel uphill, so look for AT (alpine touring) for skis or most any boarder boot for split board bindings (hard boots excepted)
- Climbing Skins: This is your uphill gear! They should be trimmed and adjusted to fit your skis or splits ahead of time.
- Goggles & Sunglasses: Wind and sun burn! Protect your eyes and face.
- Pencil & Paper: Write in the Rain Notebook and mechanical pencil
- Water Bottles: 1 liter bottles are best. Bladders such as Camelbacks can freeze in cold temps.
- Sleeping Bag: Down or synthetic sleeping bag (10° to 35° acceptable, 0° preferred).
- Personal Care Items: Medications, glasses or contacts, feminine products, etc.
- Headlamp: Load with fresh batteries for late night travel in the hut or if caught out after dark.
- Sun Screen: You only have one beautiful face, protect it!
- Food & Snacks: As appropriate for your trip as discussed with your guide or trip leader. Having a few of your own snacks to prevent the bonk never hurts!
- Compass: Used for navigation and orientation. A compass with adjustable declination is preferable.
- Ear plugs: Sometimes fellow campers snore. Ear plugs may help you get quality rest.
- First Aid Kit: Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit, but blister kits, Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen never hurt.
- Ski helmet: We will be skiing in the trees, and in snow conditions where rocks, stumps, and logs are present.
- Base layers: Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended for insulation, wicking and layering.
- Softshell/fleece jacket: Water-resistant, windproof, but breathable. Use this in layering to add warmth over your base layer for colder days.
- Puffy jacket: Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days.
- Waterproof jacket & pants: Stay dry when needed, non-insulated jackets should fit over all your layers and pants with ankle cuffs wide enough to fit over your ski or ride boots.
- Beanie or fleece hat: Cover your ears but consider keeping thin to fit under a helmet.
- Face mask (PPE): A two layer solution that covers your nose and mouth. Actual mask that form to your nose will reduce fogging of glasses and goggles.
- Sun hat: A billed hat to keep the sun at bay during the approach and descent.
- Heavyweight waterproof gloves: Stay warm on the cold wet days.
- Midweight glove: Your “go to glove” is most often worn on warmer or active days.
- Lightweight gloves/liners: Thin synthetic liners or gloves used when heading uphill.
- Synthetic or Merino wool socks: Wool and synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. Bring an extra pair.
- Hut booties: Slippers, booties, or flip flops are great to walk around in while inside the hut. Saving space how about those boot liners?
- Neck gaiter: “Buffs” are super functional for use as a second beanie, neck warmer or face protection.
- Hand warmers: You don’t have to tell anyone, but they sure can be nice!
Colorado Adventure Guides teammate and overall badass, Scott Mahoney weighs in on why you should go on a hut trip this season:
- The adventure and thrill of getting to new place or an old favorite!
- Ski in ski out baby!
- New secret stashes!
- Après with new and old friends and no one has to head home!