DOC-managed huts are an institution. Kiwi’s LOVE staying overnight in a DOC hut, experiencing the rustic simplicity of the backcountry. There are around 950 huts dotted throughout New Zealand, and some require booking a spot in advance, but before you head out there are some key points to remember when packing and preparing.
Huts are not like a backpacker hostel. There are no shops for supplies and often no internet or phone services. That being said, when the weather turns sour a DOC hut has the ability to feel like a 5-star resort.
- Bunks are provided. This is usually a narrow sleeping platform. Some huts provide a squab, others do not. Assume it will be sparse and pack accordingly. Pack the best sleeping bag you can afford.
- Toilets are usually long drop or composting (not flush). There is no toilet paper. It is definitely recommended you bring some loo roll!
- Lighting is not provided at most huts, but candle holders are. Bring a torch, a headlamp, or enjoy the romance of a flickering candle as you play cards.
- Boil local hut water for 3 minutes before use if you are unsure of the quality because no one wants a tummy upset by Giardia.
- Bring cosy socks. After a long hike in your double layered tramping socks, a fresh pair of hut socks is a treat for the tootsies.
- Always log your presence in the hut user book. DOC need to know how popular their huts are for future funding and maintenance and it is a helpful resource for search and rescue emergencies. A log book can also make good reading if you forgot to bring a book.
- Keep your hut tidy. This includes giving it a sweep and shutting the windows behind you when you leave.
- Expect you’ll be sharing a hut with strangers and enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and create new memories.
- Take out everything you bring in and leave no trace.
Enjoy your adventures, and be sure to let someone know where you’re planning to go and how long you expect to be away for.