DNT Huts - cosy, characterful and comfy

Written by Lindsay Cannon 05 October 2023

Last modified on 29 February 2024
Marbu DNT Hut Marbu DNT Hut

Norwegian mountain huts are the best in the world! A bold statement, but the character of the huts, combined with the comfortable decor, excellent food, and the remote locations surely make them a strong contender for the title. Add in the incredible honesty system which operates in the self-service huts and you have a world class operation that is hard to beat. Have a look at these images from our Norwegian hut experiences to see what we mean. 

Den Norske Turistforening

The DNT, short for Den Norske Turistforening, is the Norwegian Trekking Association.  For 150 years the organisation has promoted trekking and worked to improve trails and paths across Norway. There are a staggering 550 cabins managed by local member groups who also mark hiking and ski routes. Working together they maintain a network of 22,000 km (72,160 miles) of marked footpaths, and about 7,000 km (4,375 miles) of ski tracks. Every year volunteers put in over 800,000 hours to help maintain this amazing system which exists throughout Norway. 

 

Krækkja was the first DNT lodge on the famous Hardanger Plateau

THREE TYPES OF HUTS 

The DNT manages three different types of huts throughout the country. There are staffed huts, which are more like a basic cosy hotel, which serve food, and are open on a seasonal basis. Most of these all have showers and electricity, either from the grid or from a generator. The older ones have toilets in a building separate from the main accommodation, but increasingly they are being renovated and the toilets are being moved into the main building. Many of these are compost toilets, but quite a few 'flush'. The staffed huts will also often have self-service sections which can be used outside the staffed season, such as in early winter, early summer, and the autumn. 

The dining room at Lungsdalshytta DNT staffed hut where the food is amazing

There are also huts which are only self-service and you simply turn up with your purchased DNT key, open them up, help yourself to the dried and canned food, and get yourself a cosy fire going in the wood burning stoves that seem to feature in every hut in Norway. The system relies totally on honesty! Every item you use during your visit from candles, to salt and pepper, is entered into the DNT App and you pay for it by credit card. I know many countries where this would simply not work, but I can only conclude that the remoteness of these huts means that honest mountain folk are the only ones likely to hike or ski in to them, and it keeps away those who might be inclined to move in for the season and eat the cupboard bare.

Preparing dinner at a self-service DNT hut at Kongshelleren where we stay on our Skarvheimen Traverse off-track Nordic ski trip

The other type is the no-service hut which has no provisions. These tend to be very basic but usually supply blankets and pillows etc on the bunks, though some also require a sleeping bag and more cooking equipment. They are usually stocked with kitchen items, and wood for the wood burning stove. 

Food and supplies

The meals at the staffed DNT huts are great, some more exciting than others, but generally a very good standard and plenty of it. Some, however, totally excel and pride themselves on their reputation for fine fare. 

 Home made berry ice cream, with chocolate slice to die for at Leirvassbu DNT! 

The huts in general try to use local products and given that they are often near lakes fish features often on the menu. Trout is a regular dish and in some cases they are caught locally, then smoked and prepared in the villages, before coming back to the huts. As well as featuring at dinner, various pickled fish will also be provided at breakfast, but don't worry if it's not to your taste they will have more usual items such as yogurt (often home made), muesli, cheeses, jams, breads etc.

Dinner at Lungsdalshytta DNT where fish is prepared in various ways to the delight of hungry hikers or skiers

The self-service huts are stocked before the main seasons and offer a range of food to passing skiers and hikers. It is a truly wonderful system which allows access to some of the world's wilderness areas. There is nothing better than turning up on a bad weather day to a cosy hut where you can quickly get a fire going, and a hot drink on the stove. 

The self-service huts are stocked with dried and canned foods. You help yourself and pay with the DNT App, all based on trust.

Sleeping arrangements

This is the one which vexes some people. "What are the sleeping arrangements like and do we have to share with twenty folk in one room?" It would be very unusual if this was the case. In almost every DNT hut there is the possibility of small private rooms, and large overcrowded dormitories with row upon row of bunk beds can usually be avoided. 

We do not offer single rooms, unless it is a particular hut which does actually have rooms with one single bed, and some do. Mostly we can book twin rooms or rooms for 4 people to share and it will only be with people who are part of your group. In a twin room you will share with someone of the same gender, or someone you want to share with, such as your husband/wife/friend.

In the larger rooms such as those for 4 or 6 people, genders may be mixed but we try and make sensible rooming arrangements that work for the group and where people are comfortable with their room mates. You will never be forced to share a twin room with someone of another gender whom you do not know. 

Most of our trips will involve you carrying a sheet sleeping bag liner for hygiene reasons as the bedding cannot be washed after every stay.

A typical room for 4 people - 2 sets of bunk beds, other rooms will have very similar arrangements for 1, 2, 4, or 6 people 

Who does the chores

In the staffed huts there are no chores to do other than waxing your skis and drying out any damp kit. In the self-service huts we all 'muck in' and work together to organise the wood chopping, the collecting of snow which we boil for water, the meal preparation, and the snow clearing from say the windows or front step. It makes for a great trip when the gang all just work together to prepare our food and warmth. Talk about getting back to basics, you cannot beat it. 

Our guests seem to love this aspect of fending for themselves in the Norwegian wilderness though it is hardly an issue as all the firewood, and food is there for us to use, wonderful.

Liz and Alistair washing up in Bjordalsbu DNT self-service hut

If you would like to experience staying in a DNT hut then consider our new summer hiking trip Tour of the Jotunheim, or any of our Off-Track Nordic Ski trips this winter. 

Keep up to date with Tracks and Trails through our newsletter, click here to sign up. For more information about our cross-country ski trips, either custom or Scheduled Departures, speak to one of our expert team by calling +44 (0) 20 8144 64442 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. In addition to cross-country skiing we offer snowshoeing in winter, and in summer hiking, and trail running.