In a moment of weakness, you agree to go camping — and there are witnesses present. But before you lose any sleep over your commitment, dreaming about bears eating you and your rations, consider the Rolling Huts alternative.
A comfortable combination of a cabin and a tent, each Rolling Hut offers just enough of the amenities of home without giving you so many you don’t realize you’re “roughing it” in Washington’s Methow Valley. The six identical huts, referred to by designer Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects as a “herd,” stand in the lush floodplain meadow of an alpine river valley, far enough apart from one another to ensure total privacy. Each hut also has a picture-perfect view of the surrounding North Cascade Mountains.
All of these simply constructed huts have 200 square feet of interior living space, which itself is encircled by 240 feet of covered deck space. An offset steel-clad box attached to a steel and wooden foundation forms the body of each hut. Clerestory windows top each wall and provide an abundance of natural light and passive heating and cooling without compromising privacy. At the hut’s northern end, a double-paned sliding glass door opens out onto the surrounding meadow. Rain and melted snow run off into the natural surroundings from a roof made of SIPS panels, which hovers in an inverted, lopsided “V” shape atop each hut.
Cork and unfinished plywood cover the interior surfaces. The exteriors are made of steel, car-decking, and plywood, so you can rest assured knowing that everything in and outside of the hut is highly functional and durable but simple and economical.
The same simplicity dictates the creature comforts inside the huts. You’ll have a small microwave, a small refrigerator, a coffee pot, dishes, and silverware for meal preparation. A modern fireplace is the focal point of the living room, and Wi-Fi keeps you in touch with the modern world. Each hut has a platform that comfortably sleeps two adults and a modular furniture set with mats in it that sleeps two more. Personal hygiene is limited to an outside faucet and an adjacent portable toilet, but full bathrooms and showers are available in a nearby barn.
If you find yourself suffering from hut fever, there are plenty of nearby pastimes and attractions to enjoy, no matter what season it is. Farmers markets, pubs, quaint retail shops, art galleries, live theater venues, and bakeries line the streets of nearby towns. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, the valley also boasts one of the longest cross-country skiing trails on earth (120 miles long). Alternatively, you can hike, rock climb, hunt, fish, ride horses, whitewater raft, or go snow skiing or mountain biking. Music aficionados often stay in the huts while attending events like the Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival and the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.
With only six available huts, you’ll have to book pretty far in advance for this unique experience. This year, every hut is already booked on weekends all the way through the first week of March. The current price per hut for four occupants is $145 per night, with an additional $10 charge for each additional adult. On the bright side, there’s no charge for kids ages 12 and under. Long holiday weekend reservations cost $155 a night. If you can’t bear to leave your pets at home (cats and dogs), they’ll cost you another $25 each per visit (there’s also a two-pet minimum). No smoking restrictions apply in the huts, and none of these quoted rates include taxes.