Cabin trips have become a cherished escape for many seeking solace in the great outdoors, no matter what time of year it is! Whether you’re venturing into the rugged wilderness of Ruidoso, NM, basking in the breathtaking beauty of Estes Park, CO, or immersing yourself in the enchanting forests of Gatlinburg, TN, one thing remains constant: a well-prepared packing list is your ticket to a seamless and enjoyable cabin adventure.

In this guide, we’ll explore the essential items you need to ensure your cabin retreat is a memorable and comfortable experience. From cozy nights by the fireplace to exhilarating outdoor excursions, we’ve got you covered with the must-have items that will make your cabin getaway one for the books.

Cabin Trip Packing List

Regardless of whether you’re staying for a weekend or a week, here’s our list of key cabin essentials broken up by categories.

Personal Cabin Essentials

Three friends hiking towards a cabin.

Here are all the things you should pack for yourself on your next cabin trip.

  • Weather-appropriate clothing. Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack clothing accordingly. Layering is often a wise choice to adapt to changing conditions.
  • Jacket. Even if you bring layers of clothing — unless you’re visiting somewhere warm — you’ll likely need a jacket as you explore the great outdoors. Opt for something comfortable that can keep you warm all day.
  • Comfortable footwear. Bring durable and comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Extra socks are a must. You’ll also want a pair of house slippers for the cabin so you don’t get the floor dirty from your outdoor adventures.
  • Underwear and socks. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting these daily essentials!
  • Sleepwear. Cozy pajamas to change into at the end of the day are key.
  • Swimwear. If the cabin has a hot tub or a pool or is located near a body of water, you should definitely pack a swimsuit or swim trunks!
  • Rain gear. Always be sure to check the weather before your trip, but it wouldn’t hurt to pack a rain jacket or umbrella if you have extra space. You could also contact the cabin host to see if umbrellas are provided.
  • Sunglasses. Protect your eyes with your favorite pair of sunnies.
  • Gloves, beanie, and scarf. For colder locations, bringing these three items can make a world of a difference.
  • Toiletries. This would include your toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, hairbrush, and deodorant.
  • Shampoo and conditioner. Most cabin rentals provide shampoo and conditioner for their guests, but it’s not guaranteed. To be safe, you can pack a travel-size bottle of each.
  • Reusable water bottle. Stay hydrated throughout your adventures and avoid using single-use plastics.
  • Medications. Don’t forget to bring any medications you take on a daily basis, whether that’s allergy medicine, antacids, pain relievers, or prescription medicine. If you get motion sickness and plan to go on a long road trip, packing motion sickness medication is a good idea, too.
  • Phone charger. Both a phone charger and power bank are good to have so you can stay fully charged while you’re in the cabin and on the go.
  • First aid kit. Be prepared for minor injuries with bandages, antiseptic, tweezers, and scissors.

Typically, cabin rentals also provide soap and towels for their guests, but you can communicate with the host to confirm beforehand. If not, be sure to add that to your cabin packing list as well.

Outdoor Gear

A woman heading into the woods wearing a backpack.

If you’re headed to a cabin, that likely means you’re also going to explore the great outdoors! If you’re not sure what to bring, here are a handful of items to consider.

  • Sunscreen. Always wear sunscreen when you leave the cabin, even if it looks gloomy outside. Don’t let sunburn ruin your trip.
  • Insect repellent. Depending on the location and season of your cabin trip, you may encounter various insects, such as mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and gnats. Insect repellent helps shield you from these pests and reduces the risk of painful and irritating insect bites.
  • Hiking backpack. Ideal for day hikes and explorations, you can opt for a standard backpack or a hydration pack. Daypack essentials can include a compass, a power bank charger, a water bottle, and snacks.
  • Flashlight or headlamp. Essential for sunrise strolls or night hikes, a fully charged flashlight or headlamp can help guide you toward your destination and back to your car.
  • Extra batteries. Keep extra batteries for your flashlight or headlamp, and any other electronics you use while you’re out and about, just to stay prepared.
  • Binoculars. Enhance your wildlife-watching experience, especially if you’re visiting a national park or area with unique flora and fauna.
  • Swiss army knife. A pocket knife or multi-tool may be useful on a hike.

Cabin Entertainment

Playing board games inside a cabin.

Whether you visited a nearby national park, checked out local attractions, or simply went for a scenic drive, you’re probably going to want to kick back, relax, and make the most of your cabin stay afterward. If you’re curious about things to do in a cabin, great sources of entertainment include:

  • Books
  • Playing cards
  • Board games
  • Portable speakers
  • Art supplies

Cabin Rental Necessities

Drinking coffee on a cabin porch.

It’s important to always check the vacation rental listing or ask your host if the following items are provided. If not, you can plan accordingly to either pack them or pick them up at the grocery store before you check in.

  • Bed sheets and pillowcases
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Pots, pans, etc.
  • Plates, bowls, and utensils
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Wine opener
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee filters
  • Garbage bags

Cabin Trip Inspiration

Check out these lovely cabin destinations if you’re itching to go on your next adventure.

Estes Park, Colorado

Surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, this charming mountain town offers a gateway to a world of natural wonders. Visitors can explore pristine alpine lakes, hike along rugged trails, and witness an abundance of wildlife, including elk and mule deer. In addition to its outdoor attractions, Estes Park boasts a vibrant downtown area with quaint shops, cozy eateries, and a warm, welcoming community.

This luxurious and spacious home boasts a breathtaking Rocky Mountain landscape and majestic National Park view. To top it off, the home is fully equipped with a game room, home theater, an indoor pool, sauna, and hot tub. Relax in this home away from home, and take in all the beauty of the Estes Park area. With all the luxurious amenities and a convenient location, you’re sure to have a magical experience.

Ruidoso, New Mexico

Nestled in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, Ruidoso is a captivating alpine retreat renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest, Ruidoso offers a year-round playground for nature enthusiasts. Beyond its outdoor allure, Ruidoso features a vibrant arts scene, eclectic shops, and a lively downtown atmosphere. With its crisp mountain air, stunning vistas, and welcoming community, Ruidoso invites travelers to unwind, recharge, and savor the enchanting essence of the New Mexico wilderness.

Located high in the picturesque mountains of Ruidoso, this eight-bedroom home can accommodate up to 20 guests and boasts some of the most breathtaking views in the region. From the luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms to the game room, there’s plenty of room for your entire group to spread out and relax. Enjoy numerous outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and exploring the mountain air, and come back to this lovely rental for much-needed rest and relaxation.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

A popular gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a picturesque mountain town nestled in the heart of Tennessee’s breathtaking Smoky Mountains. The town itself exudes a charming, rustic allure with its quaint shops, inviting eateries, and family-friendly attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Gatlinburg is also celebrated for its renowned arts and crafts community, where visitors can explore galleries and studios showcasing the work of talented local artisans.

Experience a luxurious stay in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains with North Skyline Chalet. Located just minutes from downtown Gatlinburg, this stunning cabin spanning 3,000 square feet offers an expansive lodging option that will be sure to wow its guests. The property is fully equipped with a movie theater, hot tub, pool table, and an arcade machine. With two comfortable king-size bedrooms and a queen bunk bed, plus a queen futon bed in the movie theater room, there’s lots of space to accommodate up to eight guests.

Planning a Cabin Trip With Friends?

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning a cabin trip with friends today, and let the adventure begin! Pack your bags, embrace the great outdoors, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Happy travels, explorers!