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Cabin Camping 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Your First Getaway

Camping is a great opportunity to relax and get close to the simple beauty and peace of nature. However, people may beg to differ if it means sleeping on the ground or in a cloth shelter.

Cabin camping is the best way to meet the outdoors in the middle. It’s a fine compromise between primitive camping and enjoying some homely comforts and conveniences you wouldn’t get in a tent.

Keep reading to learn all about camping in a cabin!

cabin camping

Cabin Camping Benefits

If you’re new to camping, you’re probably curious about what makes a cabin better than other shelters to camp in. Let’s go over a few benefits of camping in a cabin:

Nothing to Set Up

Lugging and pitching a tent takes time and energy. With a cabin, all you’d have to do is place your luggage inside and organize where everything goes.

Outdoor Comfort

When camping in a tent, you’re lying on the grass or a thin tent pad. In a cabin, you can sleep in a real bed or on a clean floor in a sleeping bag. Besides, a cabin gives you more room if you’re sharing the shelter with other camping buddies.

Year-Round Camping

Unlike tents that don’t shelter you completely from the elements, cabins let you camp no matter the weather or season! Those walls and roofs will shield you enough from windy, rainy, and snowy days as you get away.

Common Types of Cabins for Camping


These cabins are simply four-walled log structures with roofs but lack homely features like heat, electricity, and plumbing. They may be built as a one-story or two-story building with a porch or deck.

Basic furnishings include platform beds and mattresses, a wood stove, and sometimes a table and chairs. They don’t always have bathrooms but may provide flush toilets. On a campground, there’s usually a community bathroom nearby.

Rustic cabins are usually in the backcountry (off the grid) and at some national and state parks and forest campgrounds.


Like rustic cabins, these have walls and roofs and are one or two stories. The few differences include amenities like electricity, kitchen appliances, hot showers, air-conditioning, and technology like Wi-Fi and cable TV.

In other words, modern cabins are almost similar to your own home.

Modern cabins are either basic or deluxe, depending on the number and types of amenities they have. They’re available at a few campgrounds but more common at resorts and privately owned campgrounds like the Kampgrounds of America (KOA).

cabin camping

Cabin Camping Clarifications

Same as Glamping?

Camping in a non-movable, house-like structure in the wilderness sounds like a glamping trip. Glamping means glamorous or luxury camping, but cabin camping isn’t entirely like that unless you’re in a modern, deluxe cabin.

If a cabin prepares your sleeping arrangements, like providing bed linens, that’s a glamping indicator. Fully equipped bathrooms and kitchens (supplies and all), heating and cooling, and nearby restaurants could also be glamping.

Ultimately, the more comforts you bring to or pay to have in your cabin, the more likely you’re glamping instead.

Shelter Comparisons

Now, just because you’re surrounded by four walls and covered by a roof doesn’t automatically mean you’re cabin camping. The following two shelters could be mistaken for this type of camping, so let’s clarify a few of their differences:


Like cabins, cottages are house-like, whether they have one or two stories. But they’re constructed of bricks and stones with a more finished look—no logs or timbers. They’re mostly located in rural and semi-rural areas or near beaches, ponds, and lakes.

Financially, cottages cost more than cabins because of their building materials. And unlike cabins, they’re equipped with many amenities for a homestay, not for a camping trip.

Yurt Tents or Cabins

Instead of four walls, yurt tents or cabins are circular, dome-shaped structures. Yurt cabins, unlike yurt tents, are permanent structures and have many upscale amenities available. They’re more associated with glamping than cabins are.

Just like cabins, yurts come in different sizes but are usually just one story. They also have a canvassed and less rugged exterior, with the inside having wooden frames supporting them.

cabin camping

Booking a Campground or Rental Cabin

Do you want to book a cabin in a national or state park or forest campground? Or do you want to rent a cabin that’s privately owned and situated in a remote area? Cabin camping gives you many options on what and where to book!

Before you go online or make the phone call, think about these important factors:


Some campgrounds fill up fast, and cabin camping becomes unavailable during peak seasons. You may be required to reserve a cabin from up to a week to even a year in advance!

Whether you’re booking a popular campground cabin or vacation rental, plan ahead and take advantage of the reservation windows.

Don’t forget to check the cancellation policies if something happens and you can no longer reserve a cabin.


Besides reservations, the one thing to consider with cabin camping is the cost of booking. You’ll be paying daily rates, so you’ll need to think about how much you can pay during your trip.

Rates depend on the size of a cabin and its amenities, and those fees can add up the cost. In a way, this proves the point of escaping modern conveniences that contribute to life’s stresses.

Save money by omitting amenities you can do without. Instead of paying for a cabin with a kitchen(ette), book one with a stove, grill, or fire pit. Pack your own bed linens, towels, and toiletries, so you don’t have to pay extra for those of the cabins’.

Location, time of year, and certain days of the week determine the cost. You could get a lower price if you were to cabin camp out of season or during the week.


Camping in any way is more fun if you can bring your pet along. Some cabins will welcome your furry friend, but not all will accept them.

Read up on or call about your potential cabin’s rules and guidelines regarding pets before you go cabin camping!

Proximity to Activities

Depending on where you’re going camping, you want a cabin at a campground or resort close enough to certain activities.

For example, book a cabin near a lake if you’re a water sports enthusiast, whether it’s swimming, canoeing, rafting, or such. Do you love hiking? Book a cabin near a trail or two.

Or perhaps there are attractions and landmarks you’ve been dying to see? You know what to do!

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Packing for Your Cabin Camping Trip

It’s always best to keep a camping checklist before going on your camping trip. Luckily, this type of camping is similar to tent camping in packing your gear. However, with cabins, there will be a few changes to how you pack.