Mountain huts are open to all people in the mountains: whether as a shelter, for contemplation or as a place to sleep. Most of the huts were built at a time when hemp ropes were used and canvas backpacks were carried: by mountaineers for mountaineers. Even today, these mountain huts are mostly cared for and maintained by volunteers. The dense network of mountain huts as we know it from the Alps is unique in the world. The huts serve for deceleration, as a base, as a starting point for tours – all in one. To make sure you get your money's worth and enjoy your overnight stay in a mountain hut, we've put together 10 tips for you in this article& Tricks compiled for your next overnight stay in a hut.
10 tips for your next hut overnight stay
- Reserve your place to sleep
- Sign your name in the hut book
- Take off mountain boots
- Use your hut sleeping bag
- Be considerate of others who are sleeping with you
- Respect the silence of the huts
- Well deserved: dinner& Drinking
- Take enough cash with you
- Do not expect internet
Explore the Tyrolean mountains: in the quiet side valley you hike from hut to hut.
1. Before you can go: make a reservation
The mountain sport enjoys more and more growth. This means that also the mountain huts become more and more crowded during the nights. To be on the safe side and to be guaranteed a place to sleep at night, we advise you to make a reservation before the hike. If you want to spend the night in an alpine club hut, it is advisable to take the alpine club card with you. This saves you a lot of money for the overnight stay in the huts, you get the mountaineer's food and you are especially protected in case of an alpine emergency. If your plans change, you should inform the host of the hut. So no one worries about you unnecessarily and the sleeping place is free for another climber.
It is best to book a place to sleep in the valley before the hiking tour.
2. Check-in: sign the hut book
The tour is over for today and you have reached the hut. Now it's time to enjoy the peace and quiet and take in the impressive mountain scenery. Before you really switch off, however, you should sign the hut book. You may also feel like leafing through the book and, with a little luck, discover a name or two that you recognize?
The hut book entry makes it easier for the mountain rescue to find you faster in case of emergency.
It is important that you enter your name, the tour destination and a cell phone number. In case of emergency, this entry can help the mountain rescue to find you faster. Usually you can find the hut book in the entrance area, where you can also often find the weather forecast for the next few days and a general map of the area. A visit is worthwhile in all cases.
Basic course ski touring for beginners – Lizumer Hutte
Enjoy untouched winter landscapes of the Tux Alps: make tracks in the snow, enjoy summit views and finally a descent through powder snow.
3. Mountain boots have to stay outside
In general, in the bedrooms, mostly in the upper part of the huts, mountain boots are forbidden. This means that you should leave your shoes in the drying room. Also wet rainwear or very sweaty T-shirts dries best in these rooms. After a rainy hiking day your hiking boots can be completely soaked. Then it is called fast out of the shoes, newspaper into the shoes and off into the drying area. In some huts there are even special heaters for the wet mountain boots. So they are guaranteed to be dry again the next day and ready for your next stage.
Air mountain boots either outside the door or store them in the drying room.
For the stay in the evening in the hut hut shoes, thus house shoes, offer themselves. Many lessees provide these to their guests in case they were forgotten when packing their backpacks. So that this does not happen to you, read in the blog post Packing list for your next crossing of the Alps, which useful things you pack in your hiking backpack in addition to the hut shoes.
4. Sleeping bag is obligatory
Although the equipment and comfort sometimes does not seem so different: mountain huts are not hotels. This means that you have to bring all the necessary sleeping utensils yourself. As a rule, the huts provide small pillows and wool blankets. For hygienic reasons, hut sleeping bags are obligatory on every mountain hut, no matter if you spend the night on an alpine club hut or on a private hut. In addition, the bed linen is not washed after each night. If you have forgotten the hut sleeping bag once, no panic. Most huts lend sleeping bags for a small fee or provide them as a compulsory service. Best to inform before the hike😉
Mountain huts are not hotels: a hut sleeping bag is always obligatory.
5. Consideration for co-sleepers
All levels of mountaineers come together at mountain huts: mountaineers, climbers and leisurely hikers. Mostly everyone sleeps together in one room. Depending on the planned tour the next day, everyone will get up at a slightly different time of day. So that all get their well-deserved sleep, it is important to be considerate of each other. This means packing the backpack in the evening before the hut rest or in the morning before the dormitory and avoiding unnecessary rustling and rumbling during the night. It is best to place a headlamp or flashlight next to you on the mattress in case you need to go somewhere during the night. This way you avoid turning on the overhead light and waking up the whole camp.
Out of consideration: better pack your backpack before the camp.
Experience centuries-old mountain farming tradition, blooming alpine meadows and the rustic atmosphere on mountain huts in the evening.
6. Hut rest: everyone deserves their sleep
Not for nothing it exists: the obligatory hut silence. Not only do different levels of mountaineers come together at huts, but also families with children or school classes. If it is too early for you to go to bed in the evening, keep in mind that some may want to leave very early in the morning, or need a lot of sleep to regenerate. Prepare your sleeping place so that you only have to lie down in bed and take a headlamp with you. If you are sensitive or restless sleepers, take earplugs with you. They help wonderfully against the dreaded snorers and let you sleep in peace😉
With earplugs in your ears you are almost guaranteed a quiet night.
7. Well-deserved snack: food and drink
When you have made your way to the hut, you know what you have achieved. Mountain huts are for the most part only accessible on foot. Some have material ropeways, others have to be supplied by helicopter. Sometimes it is almost a miracle what the huts offer on their menus. Also space for cooking is rather sparse on the huts. Since the kitchen staff cannot be hired by the hour, after a certain time in the evening most huts offer only the mountaineer's meal and no more A la carte food. In the morning there is rather a breakfast buffet or simple dishes with bread and jam. It is not appreciated if you, without asking, take food with you for the road. Many huts charge extra for this.
After a hike the dumplings taste even better in the evening at the hut.
8. (Only) cash is real
Note that many huts do not accept card or credit card payments – especially the alpine club huts. As the prices are usually a bit higher than in the valley, you can expect to need more cash. That's why it's time to raid the ATM in the valley before heading for the mountains. Even if you keep it cheap, stay at an alpine club hut and order the mountaineer's dinner in the evening: per day you should expect to spend at least €40. Half board is offered at many mountain huts: Dinner, bed and breakfast in one. This can cost up to 60 € a night or more.
On many mountain huts only cash payments are possible.
9. Enjoy seclusion: Internet and power supply
The cell phone network in the Alps is constantly expanding. However, there are still very remote huts that are not covered by the normal cell phone network. Due to the infrastructure of the mountains it is difficult to get a signal up to remote huts, moreover it is a costly affair. Even if there is internet, often only a few people can dial into the net at the same time. This is why some tenants reserve the right not to make the Internet available to their guests.
Enjoy the silence and the mountain scenery: for example here at the Lavaredo Hut in the Dolomites.
Electricity is ten times more expensive in mountain huts than in the valley. On the huts themselves there are also usually only a few sockets available to guests. We advise you to use the energy of the sun: with a solar battery charger. So you can easily power up your cell phone during the day hike. Or you can take a powerbank with you to charge your cell phone. You can charge them before the hike and use them to recharge your cell phone in the evening.
Tour du Mont Blanc – from hut to hut around the highest mountain in the Alps
Hike around the impressive Mt. Blanc from all sides: through valleys, past glaciers and impressive peaks.
10. Expensive matter: waste and water
Mountain huts are located in the middle of nature. Water in the mountains is scarce and the higher you go, the less water there is. A toilet flush at the mountain hut costs four to five euros from water extraction to raw material disposal. Bringing water to the hut and disposing of it again is a costly affair. Therefore, do not be surprised that not every mountain hut has a hot shower. Many huts install so-called coin-operated showers to encourage water saving. Waste disposal is also difficult: in the mountains there is no garbage collection service. Everything that is brought to the hut by cable car or helicopter has to be disposed of properly in the valley at some point. Hut supply and removal of waste and residues costs each hut on average 10.000 € per season. Read more about this topic and how to avoid waste before the hike in the blog post Waste on the mountain: How long does the banana peel rot??
Fortunately, outhouses are a rarity nowadays.
If you like these little tips& If you follow all the tricks, you will be ready for the next successful night in a mountain hut. After all, isn't it the most beautiful thing to enjoy the cozy atmosphere and conviviality of a mountain hut after a hike??