5 Ways to Make the Most of Cabin Fever

Words by Matthew Vanatta
Photos by James Barkman

As we transition from the last days of fall into winter, cabin season is in full swing. There is nothing more inviting in the cold winter months than a picturesque winter retreat nestled in a wooded winter wonderland. Cabins are always a good time, however cabin fever, a condition that occurs from being cooped up inside for too long, is powerful enough to bring many adventure travelers to their knees. And while cabin fever can happen at home, at a cabin or even while stuck in a tent during adverse weather, there are some tricks and tips to dealing with the undoubted cagey feelings associated with the fever. If you find yourself convinced the walls are closing in on you or begin having full conversations with your plants, you might be experiencing cabin fever. Follow these five easy steps to alleviating your symptoms and revitalizing your vibes.


Read The Classics

For every madman or madwoman that has survived cabin fever there is a classic tale of heroism and self reflection inspired by overcoming hardships. From Hemingway’s classic tales of bullfighting and deep sea fishing, and the meditative musings of John Muir, to more practical editions like How to Eat in the Woods, when bad weather arrives make sure you are stocked with tales of surviving and thriving in wild places.

Have A Project

From starting your first garage-built motorcycle to honing your writing skills, when bad weather means hunkering down indoors, a project is essential for maintaining sanity. Whether you’ve always wanted to write a novel, learn guitar or brew your own kombucha, cabin fever can be turned into a cabin epic with the right project.

Stack The Deck

This one is especially essential when tucked away at a cabin or stuck in a tent with no access to the outside world. Packing along a deck of cards and knowing a plethora of card games can be a great way to not only ensure personal well being, but also bolster group moral. Even a game as rudimentary as Go Fish can be the light in the darkness to battle being stuck inside from extreme weather.

Good Libations

Learn how to make some killer cocktails and bring the party with you. If you end up stuck in a cabin or some other sort of semi-permanent structure, not only will you be able to soothe your own cabin fever but you will be the group favorite as you soothe everyone else’s as well. Whether you travel with a cocktail kit or are just really good at getting creative with a few ingredients, good libations always lead to positive vibrations.

Go Outside Already

The most important thing you can do to offset cabin fever is to buck up and head outdoors. Whether surviving the gray days of a Seattle winter or the brutal cold of Chicago, making it a priority to go outside will be an absolute necessity. You’re going to need to restock food, booze and firewood at some point anyway, so bundle up, have a few libations and make your way into the great outdoors. The sooner you can find a way to enjoy the weather, the quicker winter will be come to an end.

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