As much as I love tents and tarps (and tolerate bivy sacks) for shelter on my backcountry trips, once winter rolls around my favorite shelters are USFS rental cabins. Montana and many other states in the West are blessed with many of these cabins and lookouts, which can often be rented for as little as $25 per night. Often furnished with bunks, tables, propane cook stoves, and a woodstove for heat these accommodations are downright luxurious when compared with a cramped tent — especially when the conditions outside get, well, wintry. Going on a winter trip without having to worry about spindrift, staking a tent out in snow, and the many other chores is incredible. Not to mention the opportunity to pack in different types of foods and libations that would be difficult to pull off when limited to a tent and a Whisperlight!
These cabins and lookouts can be found on recreation.gov, but be forewarned that many book well in advance and most reservations open 6 months out. So start planning your winter trips in summer if you’re looking to live it up in style and comfort!