From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moscow Villa hut located in Victoria, Australia
The Oahujoki wilderness hut in Lemmenjoki National Park
estimated to accommodate seven people overnight even in winter. Not
all huts have fireplaces/stoves.
A wilderness hut (Finnish: autiotupa) is a rent-free, open
dwelling place for temporary accommodation, usually located in wilderness areas, national parks and along backpacking routes. As such,
the tradition is largely found in Finland, and to some extent in Sweden, Norway, and northern Russia too.
The huts can be roughly divided into official and unofficial, or
maintained and unmaintained ones. Official wilderness huts are
mostly maintained by Metsähallitus (Finnish for
Administration of Forests), the Finnish state-owned forest
management company. Most of the wilderness huts in Finland are
situated in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Their
size can vary greatly: the Lahtinen cottage in the Muotkatunturi Wilderness
Area can barely hold two people, whereas the Luirojärvi cottage
in the Urho Kekkonen National Park
can hold as many as 16.
A wilderness hut need not be reserved beforehand, and they are
open for everyone.
For centuries the vast wildernesses of Finland and its resources
were divided amongst the Finnish agricultural societies (such as
families, villages, parishes, and provinces) for the purpose of
collecting resources. Areas owned in this way were called
erämaa, literally "portion-land". People from agricultural
societies made trips to their erämaas in summer, mainly to
trap fur-bearing animals but also to
hunt game, fish, and collect taxes from the local hunter-fisher
Huts were built in the wilderness for use as base camps for
hunters and fishers from agricultural societies. Also
people built huts to help them manage reindeer. Huts were built
for the free use of everyone in a certain society. The earliest
huts, however, were meant only for the use of people from the
society that owned them. People from other societies were not
allowed to use the resources of other societies'
A new tradition of huts that were free for everyone began in
late 18th century Finland, when dwelling places were built along
walking routes for passers-by. In the 19th century the authorities
started building these huts. Later in the 20th century they started
to be built for travellers.
A Finnish wilderness hut typicaly contains at least a dining table,
a gas stove and a heating stove.
Visitors should obey common sense and leave the cottage in good
condition—as they would like it to be on their own arrival. When
the cottage is full and someone arrives, the first one who arrived
should make room for them.
Lapin läänin autiotupatoimikunta (The wilderness hut
commission of Lapland Province) wrote these
"unwritten laws of the wilderness" in the mid-20th century:
- Anyone who steals or deliberately destroys or damages other
people's property behind an unlocked door not only commits a crime
but also a shameful and cowardly act. So leave the contents of the
cottage in good shape when you leave. This means that, should you
return to the cottage, they will be in good condition. Huts can
(and will) be locked if there's ill conduct.
- When you enter the cottage, check that the fireplace is in safe
and in good working order before you light a fire. If there is a
problem and you cannot fix it, leave a message detailing the
problem, so that the owner will know about it and can fix it.
- Use the firewood reserves of the cottage sparingly unless you
can immediately obtain new billets, as the next visitor may have an
urgent need of dry wood. It is obvious that whittling kindling out
of bunk boards, to say nothing of burning them, is an outrageous
infringement of the laws of the wilderness.
- Use the cottage's food and other emergency supplies only in a
really urgent situation. Another passer-by may later perish without
- Keep the cottage tidy, and the surroundings and the water
supply clean. Leave the trees around the cottage in peace.
- Upon leaving the cottage, clean it well and provide it with at
least the same amount of firewood that you have burned. A good
traveller leaves a plentiful supply of billets and, if the stocks
are low, replenishes them.
- If there is a guestbook in the cottage, leave your name, the
date and words about your trip. Do not carve your initials in the
walls of the cottage; this is an ugly habit that should be
- If you can, leave a box of matches, dry kindling, bread, salt,
or other non-perishable food in the cottage, perhaps in a bag
hanging from the ceiling, safe from mice.
- Before you close the door make sure that the fire in the
fireplace has completely died out and that there is no danger of it
- The last person to arrive at the cottage has a greater right to
use it than those already dwelling there. So, if the cottage cannot
hold everyone, those who have stayed there the longest are obliged
to make room for those just arriving and tired. The old Finnish
saying must be remembered: Sopu sijaa antaa (Harmony gives
room). Also, note the American saying: "First in, first out".
- Lastly: never rely solely on the wilderness huts while hiking,
on the popular routes they may be crowded. Always carry a tent or some cloth applicable to
making a shelter.
- Mountain hut -
building located in the mountains intended to provide food and
shelter to mountaineers and hikers
- Bothy - simple shelter
- Laavu –
lean-to, small building intended for temporary residence during
hiking or fishing trips in the wilderness
- Log cabin - small
house built from logs
hut – huts that serve overnight hiking and trekking needs
provides some links to the places you can stay for trips in
Finland in English.