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19 Top Cabin Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

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When you hear someone mention that they are going for a stay in a cabin, what images do you usually envision? A stay in a cabin might look slightly different depending on who you ask that question, but one thing is for sure: whether your objective is to cozy up for a wintertime getaway or to explore the natural activities that go along with a lakeside stay, our list of essential items for you to pack will ensure you have the best time possible.

Below, you will also see additional recommendations including what to wear to a cabin, what NOT to wear and bring, and some answers to FAQs about cabin stays.

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What to Pack for a Cabin Trip – 19 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    When staying in a cabin, you’re often surrounded by nature with plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. You might even be near a lake or a waterfall, or have lots of great hiking trails to explore. Bring a quick-dry towel along on your hikes to wipe away any sweat or use it to sit down on when you want to enjoy the views. Take it with you to dry off after swimming in the lake or river. The perks of quick-dry towels are that they’re compact, dry fast, and are useful in so many situations.

    HERO Travel Towel - Blue

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  • 2. Quick-Dry Hiking Pants Women’s and Men’s

    If you’re planning a cabin trip during the Spring and Summer months, a refreshing hike is more than likely going to be on your agenda. This is a great way for you to get out and traverse the areas around your cabin. Opt for a pair of breathable, quick-dry hiking pants that will move with your body no matter if your hikes are on a flatter, paved trail or if they’re a little more challenging.

    columbia pant

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  • 3. Emergency Paracord Bracelet

    Even if you do not consider your day-to-day activities during your cabin stay to be dangerous, an emergency paracord bracelet can be a lifesaver no matter the situation. This handy multi-tool functions as a fire starter, a compass, a knife, a whistle, and a military strength paracord measuring 12-feet. Take comfort in feeling overly prepared for anything you might encounter during your stay, whether it be during a kayaking trip or on a day hike.

    Emergency Paracord Bracelet

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  • 4. Packing Cubes

    If you and your traveling partners are trying to consolidate and share luggage, or if you’re simply the kind of traveler who has a tendency to overpack, then these packing cubes are just what you need. Available in a range of sizes, you can keep your bigger and your smaller items organized and stowed away in your suitcase, ready for you to unpack when you reach your destination.


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  • 5. Mosquito Repelling Wristbands

    Is there anything more annoying than having to constantly swat away at mosquitoes? Let’s not even think about the painful scratching and itching that comes with it. You will absolutely want each person in your group to have a mosquito repelling wristband so you can avoid focusing on the pesky bugs and concentrate on making the most of your trip. What’s more, this wristband is DEET free!

    mosquito wristbands

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  • 6. Daypack

    A must-have for your cabin trip is going to be a lightweight daypack that has enough room to hold your most important items on the go. Foldable, water resistant, and gentle on your back, this daypack will allow you to take things such as a raincoat, umbrella, your water bottle, food, and other essentials that you’ll need on your hike, your kayaking trip, or your walk around the nearby town.

    Venture Pal Daypack

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  • 7. Cooling Towel

    A cooling towel can really come in handy if you plan on staying in a cabin when the weather is hot. You’ll likely be spending a lot of time enjoying the outdoors and being active. A cooling towel is the best way to beat the heat because as soon as you wet it, it becomes 20-30 degrees cooler than the outside air temperature. It’s the perfect thing to bring along when hiking, boating, and enjoying the great outdoors.

    towel pink

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  • 8. First Aid Kit

    Although your cabin is more than likely going to be equipped with the medical essentials, it is always best to stay prepared. You’re going to want to bring this first aid kit along with you in the event of cuts and scrapes, a headache, or other minor injuries. It’s small enough to fit in your suitcase or your daypack, wherever you prefer to store it.

    First Aid Kit

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  • 9. Neck Wallet

    The best way to keep some cash, a card, or your ID on hand is in this neck wallet. It is completely adjustable, so that you can wear it around your neck, down by your hip, or discreetly under your shirt.

    neck wallet

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  • 10. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Frequent and infrequent travelers alike will agree that organization is key to ensuring a smooth trip. With this hanging toiletry bag, you won’t have to pilfer around your cabin or your suitcase to find your smaller items; they’ll all be in one spot! What’s best is you can hang this conveniently out of sight on a bathroom or a bedroom door hook for easy access.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 11. Travel Umbrella

    If your plans have ever been rained out, you know what a bummer it can be not having the proper equipment to protect yourself against a drizzle. Toss this lightweight travel umbrella in your suitcase and your daypack so that your fun day of activities doesn’t get cut short. Its strength and durability gives you excellent coverage against not only water, but the sun’s rays and strong winds.


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  • 12. Fleece Jacket

    In chillier weather, you’re going to want to grab a warm fleece jacket so that you can carry on with your outdoor adventures or your sightseeing around the town. This particular jacket comes in an array of styles.

    fleece jacket

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  • 13. Hand Sanitizer Spray

    When you don’t have the luxury of soap and water at your disposal, it’s a good idea to have some hand sanitizer spray on you. What’s more, the aloe vera in the formula won’t make your hands dry and crack like some of the other harsh sanitizers. You can opt to keep it in your day pack or in your car for a quick hand cleansing.

    blis wipes

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  • 14. Hiking Shoes

    A trusty hiking shoe is essential for the outdoors. Protect the soles of your feet and your ankles in these shoes no matter what level of difficulty you’re looking for on your hike. These shoes in particular are perfect for rocky terrain, and they won’t break down if exposed to hot ground for too long.

    Hiking Shoes

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  • 15. Bug Repellent

    There isn’t much you can do about the bugs and other pesky creatures out in nature, but at the very least, you can protect yourself from itchy bug bites and rashes. Grab yourself a travel pack of bug repellent so that you can spend as much time outdoors without the worry of getting bitten or stung.

    Bug Repellent

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  • 16. LifeStraw Water Bottle

    Proper hydration is going to be key if you’re spending a lot of time out in the open, especially during the warmer months when you break a sweat more easily. A Lifestraw water bottle will ensure that your water is pure enough to drink, whether you fill it up at your cabin or find it necessary to find a water source outside.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 17. Travel Insurance for a Cabin Trip

    It’s surprising how many people opt not to get travel insurance, but those who do never regret it. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get travel insurance to protect your trip and yourself in case of an accident. With you can compare policies from the top companies and shop for the appropriate type of coverage based on the type of trip you’re taking

    Compare policies at ➜

  • 18. Lipstick Sized Portable Charger

    Depending on your agenda for the day, you might find yourself losing charge in your phone without ready access to an outlet. This easy to store lipstick sized phone charger will come in handy and save the day! Don’t miss out on taking pictures, videos, or making an important call; you’ll be able to charge right up and continue on your trip.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 19. Quality Travel Binoculars

    Don’t let the amazing views on your trip pass you by! Make your hike to the top of that mountain or that trip out to the middle of the lake worthwhile using these quality travel binoculars. There are sure to be sights you won’t want to miss while you’re making memories on your cabin trip.

    Lightweight binoculars

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What to Wear on a Cabin Trip

There is no end to what kinds of events you can plan for yourself on your cabin trip. Whether you are getting away for a long weekend or vacationing for weeks at a time, you are going to want to be prepared for the elements as well as any spontaneous adventures you find yourself on.

Should you choose to go on a hike out in the natural elements surrounding your cabin, comfortable clothing is a must. Proper footwear, lightweight shirts, breathable pants, and protective sun gear will ensure that you stay safe and dry as you traverse the footpaths and trails.

If you opt for a cabin on or near a lake, the essentials will include a bathing suit, personal floatation device, beach towel, and other waterproof clothing. Enjoy a dip in the lake or an afternoon in a kayak without the fear of drudging around in wet, soggy clothing.

In the evenings, there’s nothing like a bonfire to really get cozy. Be sure to pack extra warm clothing, such as a hoodie, some blankets, and comfy pants and socks. For ultimate relaxation with your friends, family, or a loved one, you’ll want to make the most of every moment, day or night.

What Women Should Wear on a Cabin Trip? – (Click to expand)
A stay at the cabin affords you the opportunity to look cute, but also to dress comfortably depending on what your itinerary dictates. If you’re looking more for a trip that is built on rest, relaxation, and perhaps a bit of sight-seeing, then a laid back, summery style is going to work best for you. Walking shoes, a light top, and jeans are the perfect look to traverse the local town. In chillier weather, it never hurts to pile on the layers with an open cardigan, a long-sleeve shirt, and trendy knee-high boots.

If you are more into the athleticism of what a cabin trip can offer you, then utility is going to be the name of the game. Hiking or yoga pants, an athletic tank, and sneakers are a must-have, whether you are going on a day trek, a horseback ride, a paddleboat ride, and more.

Of course, you shouldn’t renege on the accessories: a cute pair of sunglasses and a hat will complete the look.

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

When packing for Portland, clothing items for men and women are very similar. If possible, pack versatile pieces that can be worn multiple times in different ways. This will help keep your suitcase light and you won’t have to worry too much about what to wear each day. Because it can rain quite a bit, the most important thing to bring is a lightweight raincoat. Everything else can be layering pieces such as tank tops, jeans, t-shirts, and shorts, depending on the season.

If visiting during the colder months, swap out those t-shirts for thermals and sweaters, and don’t forget to bring a warm winter coat that can withstand winter conditions (whether it be rain or snow). Beanies, gloves, and scarves are another great way to stay warm all while fitting in with the local attire.

What Men Should Wear on a Cabin Trip? – (Click to expand)
Depending on the season in which you stay at the cabin, your attire is going to be dictated first by the weather, then by the activity. A great thing to keep in mind is that for your trip, you are more than likely going to be switching between outfits, moving from a day on the lake to a breezy outside dinner, or from a peaceful trail hike to a cozy evening bonfire.

Flannel is certainly the material to choose in building your outfits, as it’s lightweight, comfortable, and stylish. Finish off your look with a pair of comfortable jeans, some casual boots, and a hat if it’s chilly.

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

SPRING – March, April, May

Spring, as with any season, is going to look different depending on what area of the country you decide to travel to. A general rule of thumb is to cut the U.S. into two sections horizontally: in the top half, it’s going to be chilly in Spring, with average daily temperatures ranging from 40℉ to 50℉ (4℃ to 10℃). For early morning and afternoon activities, opt for a fleece jacket and a warm hat to keep your body temperature in check.

The bottom half of the U.S. will be slightly warmer, with temperatures ranging from 55℉ to 70℉ (13℃ to 21℃) if you go farther down South. A breezy athletic shirt should allow you to move comfortably through your day. Don’t forget to pack a sun hat and sunscreen!

SUMMER – June, July, August

The highlight of the fall season for a cabin trip is most definitely the cooler temperatures and the colors of the foliage. If you and your cabin buddies or loved one want to peruse the local town, then choose an open front cardigan, jeans, and cute knee-high boots to complete your look.

You’ll also want to accessorize with sunglasses and an infinity scarf in case you stay out later in the evening, when the temperatures start to drop. If doing something more active, then remember to pair your hiking or athletic outfit with some type of a hoodie, which can always be removed if you get hot.

Average daily temperatures in the fall range from 40℉ to 50℉ (4℃ to 10℃), and of course, the more north you go, the colder it gets. The southern states feature temperatures ranging from 55℉ to 70℉ (13℃ to 21℃).

WINTER – December, January, February

Winter at your cabin brings about a new range of activities, such as sledding, skiing, tubing, and more. In order to ensure you don’t catch a cold, it’s important to bring a warm coat, snow pants, and boots to protect your feet.

Accessorize with a warm hat and scarf, and as always, protect your lips with SPF lip balm. You never know how truly bright that sun can be on the white snow!

Average daily temperatures in the winter range from 10℉ to 35℉ (-12℃ to 2℃), and of course, the more north you go, the colder it gets. The southern states feature temperatures ranging from 30℉ to 55℉ (-1℃ to 13℃).

Dressing Appropriately for the Activities on a Cabin Trip – (Click to expand)

Fishing – Weather permitting, you’ll probably be spending copious amounts of time outside during your cabin stay. For those of you who like to fish, there are certain necessities you will want to make sure to pack before you cast out your line. A lightweight set of shirts and pants – quick-dry, if you can find them – will make all the difference. Be sure to choose lighter colors, as well, since you don’t want to attract too much sunlight while you’re on the water.

Speaking of sun protection, you can’t go wrong with a pair of UV protection sunglasses, a floppy hat to conceal your face and the back of your neck, and sunscreen. Proper footwear is also going to be key. A sturdy pair of water shoes will work in your favor, as you’re not going to want to trudge through water in your socks and sneakers.

Kayaking – When kayaking, there is always the risk that you’re going to lose anything that isn’t secured to you, since the pace of the water is not guaranteed to be slow. For this reason, it is recommended that you wear and bring only the essentials: waterproof clothing is the optimal choice if you don’t don a bathing suit. A personal flotation device, which you can easily snap or velcro into place, will give you peace of mind on the water.

If you want to shield yourself from the sun, then try to wear items that have some type of a lanyard attached to them. You can purchase sunglasses that already have it, or you can buy the lanyard separately. A hat is also a great item to take with you if you can secure it under your chin or underneath a ponytail, such as on baseball caps. Make sure you don’t step a toe into the water unless you’ve also applied sunscreen.

Hiking – A good hike is going to be the cherry on top of a great cabin trip. To prepare yourself, you’ll want to have a lightweight daypack to carry with you while you hit the trails. Opt for a warm fleece over a short-sleeved shirt or a tank top, so that you can remove it if the weather heats up on your way. Breathable bottoms, such as shorts or special hiking pants, will also help you with agility in taking on those hills or summits.

Of course, your feet will thank you for choosing the right type of hiking or trail shoes, and let’s not forget a camera to take a picture at the end of your hike!

Bonfire – There is nothing sweeter than a relaxing, warm bonfire to kick off or end your cabin trip. If you’re the roasting marshmallows type of camper or the chat with friends around the fire, you’ll want to be sure you’ve packed the right things. A sweatshirt or pajama shirt will work just fine to guarantee maximum comfort, paired with comfy pants and lightweight outdoor shoes. Opt for slip-on, sandals, or even tennis shoes. For those chillier nights, take a blanket with you to spread across your legs as you bask in the glow of the flames!

What NOT to Bring on a Cabin Trip:

  • 1.DON’T BRING Too many bulk items, such as books:

    For one, you may not even get a chance to read the books you intend on bringing, since you might have a full day’s worth of activities and things you’ll want to see. Second, you don’t want to overpack and run the risk of either weighing down your suitcase or having nowhere to store everything once you get to your cabin. Best to leave these bulky items at home.

  • 2.DON’T BRING Valuables:

    You are not guaranteed to have a safe spot in the cabin in which to store them, and at the risk of them getting lost or stolen, it is better to give yourself some peace of mind on your trip and leave them home where they belong.

  • 3.DON’T PACK An excess of pots and pans:

    Again, these are chunky items that are only going to weigh you down. You might even get to the cabin and get a restaurant recommendation or two, in which case, you won’t be doing that much cooking during your stay. One medium-sized pan and a small pot should be enough for you in the cabin. Plus, the cabin owners might also have you covered with the kitchen tools.

  • 4.DON’T PACK Foods you’re not going to eat:

    It will be a shame to throw out any food that goes bad on your trip because you thought you were going to eat it. Pack lightly when it comes to food, do your research beforehand, and stick to the non-perishables so you don’t have to toss anything come the end of your trip.

  • 5.DON’T BRING Your own bedding:

    You don’t know if the extra sheets you bring are going to be dirtied or damaged, which is why you should never take your own set of sheets and pillows from home that you sleep on regularly. Pick up a cheap set or go through your linen closet to find extras.

  • 6.DON’T BRING Chunky clothing:

    This becomes a nuisance to pack. Instead, opt for lightweight clothing that can be easily folded and stored in your suitcase. The lighter your load, the easier your travels.

What NOT to Wear on a Cabin Trip? – (Click to expand)
If you don’t care about it getting lost or possibly damaged, then take it with you. All other items of clothing should be left at home. This includes expensive clothing, as you might get your outfits wet or dirty both inside and out of the cabin. Jewelry is another item you’ll want to leave at home unless of course you’re going out to the local town and want to look nice. Just be sure to have a safe spot in your luggage or in the cabin’s bedroom to store it. Lastly, any footwear that causes discomfort will weigh negatively on your trip. Take care of your feet and opt for comfortable shoes if you’re doing something athletic or if you’re simply walking around and taking in the sights.

FAQs About Cabin Trips:

  • 1. Where is the best place to rent a cabin?

    It all depends on what kind of cabin experience you’d like to have. If you gravitate toward hiking, trails, and mountain views, then look into cabin rentals near state parks or mountain ranges. If you’re looking for a more water-based trip, then be sure that there are lakes and ponds in the vicinity of your cabin.

  • 2. How many people can I have with me?

    The person you rent your cabin from will be able to tell you how many people can be accommodated. Some cabin owners are much laxer with having a large group, while others hold fast to no more than four. It’s important to check how many beds there are in the cabin before you make your reservation.

  • 3. How will I know what foods to pack?

    Anything that can be packed away and stored relatively quickly and conveniently is a good place to start. The length of your stay might dictate how much food to bring: for instance, you may bring enough for a few breakfasts, a lunch or two, and a dinner if you’re going to be cooking in your cabin. If there is a local town nearby, you should also consider that some meals will be eaten out. Since you might not know the size of the refrigerator in your cabin, another good idea is to pack foods that are non-perishable, such as oatmeals, a few canned goods, and pasta.

  • 4. What amenities will my cabin have?

    This again depends on the type of experience you want to have. Common amenities in cabins include sheet and towel sets, toiletries, a coffee maker, some seasonings, kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, and electronics. That’s not to say, however, that the cabin you choose will be as well-stocked. Do some digging and research into the cabin company you’ve chosen to see what will be provided, and what you need to bring.

  • 5. Will my cabin have WiFi access?

    Many cabins nowadays come equipped with a WiFi router. If you’re looking for a more isolated experience, this might not be the top priority on your list. You could also bring a VPN with you if you need a connection. Check with the person you’re renting from before you do.

  • 6. How will I know that my cabin is safe?

    Luckily, a large number of break-ins happen to unoccupied cabins, so your presence already makes it safer to be there. Look for locks on the doors and windows, and when you leave the premises, be sure that you’ve closed everything up tightly behind you. As far as animals go, just make sure you’re not leaving out or burying any food. This will attract unwanted visitors to the property.

  • 7. When is the least expensive time to rent a cabin?

    Fall and winter tend to be considered the off-season for cabins, and therefore, rental rates are lower. This is because there are many more travelers who rent cabins to take advantage of the events and activities that typically occur in the spring and summer months. If you don’t mind a bit of chillier weather, then the off-season (between late November and early March) is perfect for you.

  • 8. Can I bring my pet(s) to the cabin?

    Pet policies are up to the cabin owners. However, you’re going to have to consider the amount of time your pet will be alone in the cabin. If you can take your pet along with you – say, your dog on a hike, for instance – then it’s a great idea provided you’re allowed to do so. If you have a cat or any other type of animal that can’t really tag along while you traverse the outdoors, it’s best to leave him or her at home with a sitter.