Hiking Huts with Style

I’m all about encouraging people to get into hiking and spending nights in wild places. However, the fact is, that not everyone likes the idea of spending it in a tent, under a fly or even under the stars and for many folk, a hut based experience is as far as they’re ever going to go in getting into the great outdoors.

New Pelion Hut Tasmania Overland Track

New Pelion Hut – Overland Track, Tasmania from Helipad

For those of us who are comfy under fly, I think that it’s important we don’t think that those who go ‘under timber/iron’ are somehow experiencing less of these amazing places or that they are somehow less valid than catching a few Zzzzz on the ground.

New Pelion Hut Tasmania Overland Track

The daily dry… New Pelion Hut, Overland Track, Tasmania

In keeping with my recent love affair with Tiny Houses, I look upon hiking huts (many of which exist primarily for the safety of hikers or skiers from extreme weather) as a type of minimalistic tiny house. Of the huts that I’ve stayed in though, it sometimes feels as though the designers are going purely for function, over form.

You see, I’ve also got this weird architectural style gland. I can’t really explain it, but something happens to me, on the inside, when I see or walk within an amazing piece of architecture. It’s almost as though I feel a physical shift, something moves… and then I smile. I feel it every time I drive over Sydney’s Anzac Bridge. Maybe it’s the shape, the tone, the scale, the lines, the colour or texture – who knows? But something changes within me.

Coal Stove Hikers Boots Overland Track Australia Tasmania

Drying Boots around coal stove – Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia

Unfortunately, when it comes to mountain huts, apart from the usual budget constraints, the design seems to focus simply on how many bodies can we fit into the bunks and feed around the living space? 


Camping Hut Coffee

Morning cuppa inside Luxmore Hut Kepler Track NZ

I get it. Really I do, but I wonder if there’s a way to marry both the functional aspects, with a beautiful, mind challenging design, whilst still lifting environmental aspects to the highest level. Then… I stumbled upon these wonderful hikers huts in France. Sigh. Suddenly I feel all Je ne sais quois?

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 8.59.23 pmYou see, just because something is made of recycled materials and painted greeny-brown doesn’t make it sensitive to the environment. That’s about blending in. But let’s face it – nothing about our dramatic landscapes blends in. They take your breath away. They make you stop. They make you think. They make you ponder. They make you be. Surely then, if our hiking huts are to be ‘at one’ with the environment around us, they must also do the same?

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 8.59.51 pmTake a look at these amazing hikers huts in France. I find them inspiring and thought provoking – much like the environments that they sit within.

The ‘Cloud’ was the first one to catch my eye, but my personal favourite is the Owl one!.

I wish I could visit them!!

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  1. says

    Great to have someone who is a significant influence in bushwalking circles acknowledge that it is “horses for courses”. There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors experience and the more people we get walking the greater the chance we have of preserving remote places for those who have the inclination to inclination to go there. Snobbery can take many forms!

    Enjoy your columns. Keep them coming.

    • says

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Yep, there is snobbery in many forms and I’m just about helping people get out there… No matter what that means.

  2. says

    Good stuff Caro,
    Love a hiking hut but not for sleeping
    , too noisy and smelly must say!. Enjoyed the article and pics, thanks,

    • says

      Thanks Frank. Yep, they can be pretty stinky and noisy. I always keep a pair of ear plugs with my head torch… When it comes to the smell, I just make sure I smell worse than everyone else!

  3. Clarke says

    Totally agree with you about tiny houses; an effort to put some creativity into the architecture can really take my breath away. Someday I will build my own! Cob houses are some of my favorites.

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