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I loved and appreciate the concept of Mountain Huts. Though I have never visited one, this really sounds appealing. In my country, India, we don't have Mountain Huts, so we have to manage it all on our own.

But, I wonder if a local organization clears out the necessary obligations and does finish formalities for that, what should a Mountain Hut be equipped with?
P.S. I am not referring to higher altitudes. I am typically speaking about Indian subcontinental weather, where it rains heavy during June to September and rest of the season is pretty much hot, ambient temperature is at about 38 Degree Celsius.

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what should a Mountain Hut be equipped with In my experience the only thing you can rely on is a roof and four walls! :) –  Liam Jul 15 at 11:04
    
@Liam: I agree. But you know, may be there is something that you might miss out to bring along and may be fortunate enough to get that in a mountain hut. e.g. I usually forget (Yes, Usually, you read it right) to carry a knife. But to keep a knife in a Mountain Hut is a bad bad idea! –  WedaPashi Jul 15 at 11:21
    
Of course in the Adirondaks you may only be able to count on a roof, three walls, and a couple of reflective fireplaces. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adirondack_lean-to) –  keshlam Jul 15 at 21:03
    
I really envy you. In my country, that is Italy, there are way too much of them. They are a magnet for crowds. The alps are so polluted with huts and people that their beauty is often spoiled. How much I'd love the loneliness of the Alps, my tent, and my small party! –  Dakatine Jul 28 at 16:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

My experience of mountain huts huts is mainly from UK and Europe. Standards in other parts of the world may vary.

Mountain huts come in a wide range of different varieties. At the basic end you have unmanned huts or bothies. These can range from very basic with just a roof and wooden bunks to put your sleeping kit on to reasonably nice with beds, stove, toilets, etc. Generally unmanned huts are free to use but rely on the hiking community to keep them in good order and maintain them. Kit in them should be basic and hard waring.

At the other end you have maintained huts common in the Alps. Many are maintained by Alpine clubs but there are private ones too. These basically work like small hotels in that there is are staff who maintain the hut, have a kitchen/restaurant and sell food etc. Generally sleeping is in bunk rooms with blankets provided, but often you must use/rent a sheet type sleeping bag, although some places have private rooms too. Washing/toilet facilities can range from basic with no shower to what you would get in a cheapish hotel often depending on availability/amount of running water. One issue with many huts is resupplying due to their inaccessible location. I have seen a number of solutions including: cable car, helicopter and carrying equipment up by foot.

There are a wide range in-between, including staffed places that provide self service cooking facilities. The main question is what sort of hut are you aiming for? The obvious priority is to have somewhere dry (and warm) for people to sleep. Kit in huts is generally kept to a minimum and is as hard wearing as possible as it will often have minimal maintenance and some fairly rough treatment. Manned huts often have some nicer/luxury kit, e.g. board games, as they can better supervise its use. However, most kit is still on the utilitarian side and generally people who go to mountain huts generally do not expect luxury accommodation. If you can provide a warm dry bed, good simple food and maybe a beer people will be quite happy.

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Depends on what you are going for. If you are heading this up, expect it to be a full-time endeavor for at least a year, and then part time for the lifetime of the hut. Like Nivag said, there are lots of different types of huts, so you have to decide on what you want before anything else. This will depend a lot on how much work you want to put into it, the economic, political, and environmental climate in your region, what people who will use it actually want, etc. If there is no infrastructure already in place (and I'm assuming you still need to work a job to feed yourself), you'll probably want a very basic hut that is unstaffed - basically, an emergency shelter.

As an American, I've used these sorts of things a lot. Here are the things I would like in a hut: 3-4 walls and a roof that doesn't leak. Leaving one wall open will stop the nasties from building up inside, and will discourage squatters. If the wind blows from a constant direction, you can face the open wall the opposite way. In a pinch, a tarp can be set up to make a temporary 4th wall to keep most of the weather out. However, very harsh weather might necessitate a 4th wall.

An elevated floor. Getting flooded in the middle of the night sucks.

Clotheslines/pegs in the walls. Places to hang things. When it rains, I want to hang my stuff up to dry. In addition, hanging my pack up at night clears a lot of space for other people.

A broom to sweep out debris. A shovel to dig cat holes.

A privy - maybe. Once you build the hut, it will attract people. Eventually, the number of people it attracts will be large enough that human waste becomes an issue. At this point, you need a privy. There are lots of different kinds. Do your research to see what works best for your needs in your environment.

Some way to keep rodents out of my food. Tenting, they aren't usually a problem, because they are dispersed across the landscape. Building a hut, increased human population means increased food droppage in the area, which leads to a higher rodent population. Rodent hang lines can be made easily out of bits of garbage: http://takealonghike.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/0214.jpg. Also, try to build your hut without many small nooks and crannies, as rodents will build their nests there if not ousted from time to time.

Water. A good stream nearby is always a plus.

A view. Not necessary, and it should be superseded by other factors like weather. But when there is one, it is a very nice plus.

I wouldn't recommend storing things that are small and easy to take, unless you intend or people to take them. Unless you plan on staffing it, your visitors should be prepared to make due on their own.

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Depends on where you are, but often 4 walls are needed to keep biting insects out. Having flies, midges or mosquitoes inside a hut can be very annoying and uncomfortable. –  vclaw Jul 15 at 20:18
    
a shelter register or logbook is also a nice addition, not only to record who visits when (which can help Search & Rescue if there's an emergency), but also to assist shelter maintainers by noting any issues with the structure and surrounding area (leaky roof, blow-downs, etc). –  ppl Jul 16 at 22:12

I think nivag covers most of this topic. I just wanted to add some of my experiences. Mountain huts/bothy's cover a very wide range of facilities. Here are two I've actually stayed in to demonstrate this, This one:

enter image description here

in north wales consists of four walls, a roof and fire pit, that's it. It's big enough for about 2 people to lie flat.

One other hut I stayed in in Bergen in Norway (tried to find a photo but I struggled to find it) had beds, dinning table, cutlery, etc. etc. I believe Norway have a national association that maintains these.

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That one looks pretty grim/epic depending on your point of view. –  nivag Jul 15 at 13:18
    
It can be quite pleasant! (Not me in photo BTW...) @nivag –  Liam Jul 15 at 13:38
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Maybe it's just my experience as someone in the US who has to rely on tents speaking, but that looks pretty nice! If the weather was unexpectedly grim, I'd welcome the opportunity to get out of my tent and into a hut where I could build a fire and dry out my gear. :) –  Aaron Jul 15 at 17:12

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