Overnight Stays in Wilderness Huts And the Hiker's Etiquette
The wilderness huts are a unique support network for hikers in Finnish national parks. They give hikers a roof over their heads for a night or two and make it possible for many people to set out into the wild without worrying about overnight accommodation.
The dozens of national parks and hiking areas provide a unique gateway to nature for Finnish people and visitors to Finland. The official wilderness huts in the national parks, in wilderness areas and on established hiking trails are open huts intended for short stays. They are serviced by Metsähallitus.
You can rely on our unique network of wilderness huts when planning an excursion of one or several nights in hiking areas and national parks. The diversity of nature and many types of scenery provide the backdrop for these huts.
In addition to free wilderness huts, other options for overnight accommodation are also available, including fee-paying rental huts and huts in which you can book yourself a bed in advance; day huts which are, as their name indicates, meant for a short rest during the day but not for actual overnight stays; different types of shelter and hut structures; and purpose-built lean-to shelters.
Hikers who bring their own shelters can put up their tents, bivouacs or hammocks in the vicinity of those huts where camping is permitted. Camping is usually permitted around lean-to shelters and wilderness huts, but you should always look up the rules on the Nationalparks.fi web service or check with the area’s visitor centre.
A night in a wilderness hut offers a unique experience of Finnish nature and culture
The history of wilderness huts goes back several hundred years; originally, huts were built on established trails as resting places for travellers. As the road network advanced, wider areas were explored and postal services improved, the hut network started developing in the 19th century. In this era, many famous names of Finnish history visited the huts on their nature excursions. The history of our wilderness huts is thus closely associated with interesting cultural history.
Since the 19th century, wilderness huts have been built by the authorities, and huts have also been provided for the needs of reindeer herding and hunting. As the touring culture started emerging in the late 19th and early 20th century, building huts for tourists became more widespread.
Today's wilderness huts are plain log cabins with simple equipment. As they are open for everyone visiting the area, you cannot reserve them for your private use. The huts’ equipment usually includes a sleeping platform, a table and benches, a fireplace or a stove, firewood, a water bucket and a kettle as well as a composting outdoor toilet. The modern wilderness huts usually also have a gas bottle and a cooker.
Common rules make for pleasant hiking – What is the hiker's etiquette?
The hiker's etiquette is a common understanding shaped over the years of how you behave in wilderness huts so that everyone can enjoy safe and comfortable stays in them. When you visit a wilderness hut, please remember the following.
- Wilderness huts are intended for resting for a while and short overnight stays of private individuals hiking in the area. In other words, you are welcome to stay for one or two nights, after which you must clean the hut for the next visitors. The open wilderness huts are not designed for longer stays, and anyone coming with a larger group should always book beds in one of the huts that can be reserved.
- Many wilderness huts have an instruction folder, which you should read carefully. It explains about the equipment in the hut and how to use it, contains information about the area’s special features, and also gives the location of the hut.
- When you arrive, check that the gas valve has been closed. Only open it when you need gas for cooking. You can close the valve when you no longer need the gas. When staying in the hut, you can cook, take care of yourself and rest, but you must also make space for other hikers using the hut.
- Before lighting a fire in the hut, check the condition of the fireplace or stove. If necessary, also take out any ashes to the container provided for them and use firewood sparingly.
- Check the destination's website (nationalparks.fi) or the folder in the hut for any information on drinking water quality. If you cannot make sure that the quality of the water is good, always boil water before drinking.
- Take home all rubbish you brought with you, and do not leave items or foodstuffs in the cabin for other hikers to deal with or to attract pests. Also follow the other recycling instructions of the hut: only burn small quantities of clean paper, and only dispose of biodegradable waste in the composting toilet.
- Everyone should be accommodated, and in a wilderness hut, you always make space for hikers who arrive later than you and may be even more tired. When you bring gear and food into the hut, leave enough space for other hikers. If the hut is full, leave items you don't need outside.
- No smoking is allowed in the huts! Check in advance if bringing pets into the hut is permitted.
- If you use firewood, always bring in more wood for the following visitors. Also make kindling and provide some strips of bark to make lighting the fire fast and easy.
- When you go, tidy up after yourself and check that the gas valve is closed. Empty the water bucket and bring out the ashes from the fireplace. Write a message in the hut's visitors book. You can describe the weather, indicate where you are heading next, and make any important observations concerning the hut for the maintenance team that calls around from time to time. Close the doors and windows carefully.
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