How To: Winter Cabin Checklist

The right gear will keep you comfortable even if the woodstove won't. (Tim Jones photo

The right gear will keep you comfortable even if the woodstove won't. (Tim Jones photo

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep you warm, comfortable , and well-fed on your next winter cabin adventure. It’s set up for a two-night getaway but the basic gear is the same if you are going for one night or two weeks. If you’d like a printer-friendly copy of this list, just email me.


Day 1:

Breakfast (before leaving trailhead)

Lunch/trail snacks:


Dinner :

Day 2:


Lunch/trail snacks:



Day 3:


Lunch/trail snacks


Gear, common:

Stove/fuel (Note some cabins are equipped with a stove, some aren’t. Somedo not allow white gas stoves but do allow propane or butane canister stoves) Make sure you check for your specific cabin.

Nesting pots

Large pots (for melting snow, heating water)

Fry pan

Tea pot

Percolator or coffee press





Paper Towels

First Aid Kit

Emergency Kit

Shovel (some cabins supply)

Hatchet (for splitting kindling–some cabins supply)


Air Grill Blower (very handy for starting a woosdtove)


Underwear (not cotton)

Long underwear (Polyester or wool not cotton )

Extra socks (wool or polyester, not cotton)

Slippers or insulated booties (so we don’t track our snowy boots into the cabin)

Insulation layers (suggest multiple layers of fleece or wool and a lightweight “puffy” jacket)

Outer shell pants and jacket [Note no matter how cold it is, you are likely to overheat while snowshoeing in, especially carrying a big pack. Layers of insulation and a shell are more versatile than an insulated parka and pants.]

Warm hat and mittens

Light gloves (for snowshoeing in and to wear in the cabin if you are cold)

Boots appropriate for snowshoeing (insulated is nice, heavy isn’t)

Gaiters (not absolutely necessary but nice if you have them!)

Neckwarmer, scarf or face mask (you’ll want it if the wind is blowing)

Bandana (use it as a potholder and towel)


Backpack or Pulk or both. Make sure it’s big enough for all personal gear and clothing plus some common gear/food.

Waterproof stuff sack for extra clothing

Water, 2 quarts minimum for hike in (cold air dehydrates rapidly).

Snowshoes/skis/creepers (depending on snow conditions–remember, conditions coming out may be very different than conditions going in

Ski or trekking poles


Knife, fork, spoon, cup, plate, bowl



Toilet paper/baby wipes

Cell phone (for emergency use only . . .)


Book/reading glasses (some of us are getting OLD)

map and compass



Sleeping bag [Note that some cabins have a woodstove which may or may not keep the place warm–be prepared for cold]

Sleeping pad (closed cell foam for insulation)

Self inflating air mattress (for comfort on hard wooden bunks)

Pillow and pillowcase, as desired

Hat, clean/dry longies and socks (to wear inside sleeping bag)

Earplugs (in case someone snores)


About Tim Jones

Tim Jones, Founder and Executive Editor, started skiing at age 4 and hasn't stopped since. He took up Telemark a few years ago and is still terrible at it. In the summer, he hikes, bikes, paddles and fly fishes. In addition to his work at, Tim also writes a pair of syndicated weekly newspaper columns.