12 Fun Things to Bring to a Cabin

fun things to bring to a cabin 1

If the weather gets bad or you want to spend a day out of the snow, these fun things to bring to a cabin will keep you entertained for days during your frozen getaway!

After you finish with the rest of your cabin camping packing list, use any extra room to pack in some fun stuff that can turn the trip from fun into an everlasting memory

12. Crafts

hello i m nik 91UEmzLi Y unsplash

Crafts are a great way to spend time in a cabin where you can make some great progress knitting that scarf or building some clay charms with the calming focus that a cabin environment (and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life) offers. We’ve listed a few ideas here but really anything you can fit can make it to the cabin!

Fun Things to Bring to a Cabin: Craft Ideas

  • Clay Models
  • Knitting
  • Painting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Whittling

11. Telescope

Most cabins are going to take you further away from the city lights than your everyday Airbnb or weekend trip. This opportunity to be away from light pollution helps the stars really come out and gives you the chance to use your telescope in ways that aren’t possible in the suburbs or city. Consider bringing a telescope to the cabin to make the most of it!

10. A Good Playlist

It is impossible to underestimate the benefit of a good playlist to take your cabin weekend to the next level. As one of the easiest fun things to bring to a cabin, you can either create a shared Spotify playlist with the rest of the group ahead of time or carefully curate your favorite outdoor jams to take advantage of the less-crowded nature of cabin camping and add some more tunes to your trip!

9. Legos

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0858DCRDT&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20&language=en USir?t=midwestcampin 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B0858DCRDT

Fun for all ages, Legos are another good non-internet option for multiple people to work on at once and create a small town or even a camping lego set to have a good time building and then playing with afterward! They can be found at most Targets and Walmarts making Legos an easy add-on if you’re already stopping there to grab food.

8. Crosswords

Use an app or buy a small book of crosswords for fun that can involve the whole group! Shout clues to the chef as they whip up your cabin breakfast and you both knock out one of the grided word puzzles. Great in any temperature, all you need is the puzzle and your brain for hours of fun!

7. Binoculars


Even in the dead of winter, birdwatching can be a great outdoor experience as you seek out bald eagles at Starved Rock or grab a birdwatching app to find out who is making that pecking or chirping nearby. Toss a small pair of binoculars into your bag to get an up-close look at some of the colorful birds that you can find from your cabin porch!

6. Playing Cards

Whether it’s poker, go fish, or euchre – having a deck or two of playing cards can give you dozens of options to spice up 10 minutes or many hours spent in the cabin going head to head with your friends or family. The best part about cards, they barely take up any room or weight!

5. Board Games

aksel fristrup w7eaCH6ShR4 unsplash

Being somewhere with a real floor and roof means you can bring board games without the fear of losing the pieces in the dirt and grass! Board games are a great way to spend a few evening hours every night at a cabin, playing Settlers of Catan or the more appropriately themed Wingspan to take advantage of the electric lighting and lack of wind for some cabin gaming!

4. Hot Cocoa

If your cabin or camping gear has a good stove, definitely bring some hot cocoa or cider to heart yourself up after coming in from the chilly outdoors to warm up and enjoy a delicious drink on your weekend away. This can of course be combined with another one of our fun things to bring to a cabin so you can sip cocoa and beat your friends board gaming at the same time!

3. Book(s)

The coziness of a cabin is the perfect environment to sit down with one of those books that have been on your ‘to-read’ list for the last two years. As long as you can find a comfortable place to sit, just tell your friends that they can go on the hikes without you as you explore a new world or story!

2. Your Furry Friend


Depending on the rules for your cabin, this could be the perfect time to introduce your dog (or even cat) to camping! You won’t have to worry about anyone scratching their way out of the tent at night or reacting to a surprise animal visit in the middle of the night since you’ll be inside the cabin. Just be sure to bring all the important needs like a water dish, extra food, and more to keep your furry friend comfortable!

1. Winter Sports

fun things to bring to a cabin

Since cabin camping is more traditionally in demand in the winter months, there are a number of winter sports you can do if you bring (or rent) the right equipment! Some examples include:

  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling

Just check out the rules and nearby parks for your cabin and you’ll be all set!


Ready for your cabin weekend? Check out our campground guides or take a look at all of the cabins offered in Illinois State Parks to book your next getaway! Have another idea of fun things to bring to a cabin? Let us know!

Cabin Camping Packing List | Forget Nothing with These 43 Key Items

cabin camping packing list

This handy cabin camping packing list will prevent you from forgetting any important things on your big weekend! We know cabins are already expensive and there’s no reason for last-minute replacements if you follow our cabin packing list below!

What makes cabin camping different?

The four walls you’re guaranteed set cabin camping apart from normal car camping. By having a real roof over your head, you can leave a lot of your camping gear at home and focus that space on more fun or comfort items instead!

Whether you want to bring a laptop and power strip for spooky movie night or grab some board games since you know you won’t lose any pieces in the dirt – cabin camping offers more flexibility in your packing list.

What to consider when making your cabin camping packing list?

Like any camping trip, the main thing you need to consider is how far you need to take the gear from the car. Most cabins have drive-up parking but double-check online maps or check-in notes to be sure you can bring everything into the cabin easily. Also check what types of bedding and kitchen materials are available. Many cabins in state parks will have either just bunk-bed style wood boards for beds that you need both pad and sleeping bag for while a more Airbnb-type cabin might have a full bed with sheets and a full kitchen available (allegedly, at least).

Cabin Camping Packing List

cabin camping packing list

Fall & Winter Clothing

Adjust as needed for your summer cabin camping packing list

  • Jacket
  • Long-Sleeve Shirt (preferably non-cotton whenever possible)
  • Sweatshirt
  • Long pants
  • Socks
  • Extra socks!
  • Underwear
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Sleeping Clothes
  • Boots

Camping Supplies

  • Firestarter
  • Lighter or matches
  • Open Fire Grill or Camping Stove (+ fuel)
  • Pie Iron
  • Camp Chair
  • Tarp
  • First Aid Kit
  • Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Toiletries (Shampoo, Soap, Towels, etc)
  • Sunscreen (Yes – even in the winter!)

Cooking & Cleanup

  • Disposable dish soap
  • Plates, Bowls
  • Eatingwear
  • Mugs and Cups
  • Knives
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Can Opener
  • Trash Bags
  • Tupperwear or Ziplocks
  • Spices
  • Food!
  • Cooler & Ice
  • Camping Kettle

Cabin Supplies

Cabin Camping Packing List Specifics

  • Lantern
  • Power strip
  • Board Game(s)
  • Outdoor Games
  • Playing Cards
  • Phone Chargers
  • Sleeping Bag or Bedsheets (check your specific cabin set-up)
  • Sleeping Mat if no mattress in cabin
  • Pillow


Ready to hit the road? Check out these state parks with cabins or explore every campsite in the state with our campground guides!

Best Outdoor Games for Camping | 7 Rousing Games to Excite

Best Outdoor Games for Camping

Games are a pivotal part of staving off family boredom during camping trips so we’ve reminisced on the best outdoor games for camping so you can make the next generation of great memories in the wild.


Best Outdoor Games for Camping

Growing up in the Midwest, there was nothing I enjoyed more than a Sunday afternoon filled with good friends, delicious food, and a rousing game of cornhole. Are you not from the Midwest and have no idea what I mean by a rousing game of cornhole? You’ve probably heard of it referred to as bags, sack toss, or bean bag toss. No matter what you call it, cornhole is guaranteed fun for everyone! It’s also a great game for camping, parties, and other outdoor activities! It is worth it to invest in a quality set, which typically includes 2 boards and 8 bean bags.

Cornhole isn’t the only outdoor game perfect for camping! Besides cornhole, I loved bocci ball, dominos, and of course card games! (What I didn’t love was losing every game of euchre to my dad!) These memories of playing games around the campfire with my family will last a lifetime, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Reminiscing on these good memories had me thinking about what the best outdoor games for camping are, and I decided to find out! I’m so excited to share all of the information I learned and some of my personal recommendations for different games. Through my research, I learned the best outdoor games for camping are cornhole, bocce ball, ladder toss, roundnet, horseshoes, and tabletop games such as dominos and cards. Below, I’ll explain a bit about the rules of each game, their pros and cons, and my recommendation for the best outdoor game for you and your family!

1. Cornhole / Bags

best outdoor games for camping

Cornhole (or bags, sack toss, or bean bag toss) is a four-person game where players take turns attempting to toss hand-sized bean bags into a hole in a board about 30 feet away. Getting the bean bag onto the board or in the hole earns points, first to 21 wins! See more detailed rules here.


  • Simple rules and scoring
  • Easy to pick up
  • Can use tournaments to incorporate more players
  • Best played outdoors!


  • Wood Boards are large and heavy for anything more than car camping
  • Requires 2 or 4 players

Himal Portable Cornhole Boards

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01LXZBAC4&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

These collapsible boards are lighter than the traditional bags board, making them perfect for camping!

GoSports Classic Cornhole Set

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07S1PYYTV&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

This set comes with a carrying case and is both UV and water-resistant to ensure it can hold up in the hot summer sun.

2. Bocci Ball

category outdoor games bocce

Bocci Ball is a simple game where players try to toss heavy balls as close as they can to a smaller target ball. The game is usually played with two teams of 1 to 4 players. While some areas have actual Bocci Ball courts, you can play pretty much anywhere you have a mostly flat surface, making it one of the best outdoor games for campers! See the complete rules here


  • Compact in comparison to some other outdoor games
  • Can be played with things like Pinecones or whiffle balls in a pinch


  • Actual Bocci balls are kind of heavy

GoSports Backyard Bocce Set

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00T0GYEGG&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

This Bocce set comes with 8 balls and a light up version if you want to be able to play through the night (and be sure not to lose any of them!)

3. Ladder Toss

photo 1584304474795 74fb0b42e66a?ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHx8&ixlib=rb 1.2

Ladder Toss is a lawn game where players earn points by throwing three bolas (sets of golf balls connected by rope) onto a PVC pipe (or wood) ‘ladder’. Each rung of the ladder is worth a different amount of points and players take turns tossing in teams until the score limit is reached. See the full rules here.


  • Easy to take apart and carry
  • Very light
  • Easy and cheap to make out of PVC pipe


  • Typically better for two players

Ladder Toss Set

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0145IWKBE&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

This Ladder Toss comes with a carrying case and is easy to set up and take down at the campsite! There’s no real reason to spend a lot of money on a fancy ladder toss set, and be careful that you don’t get one with glue already in the seams since you won’t be able to take it apart later!

4. Washer Toss

Washer toss is another throwing game where players attempt to toss metal or plastic washers into a hole in the middle of a box. Players can work alone or in teams of two and earn more points for landing in the hole (similar to bags!). Find the complete ruleset here


  • Lighter than beanbags
  • Can be easily made yourself


  • Bulky box design

Triumph Premium Washer Toss

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0058DQL9I&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

This washer set will get you everything you need to get started on your next camping trip!

5. Dominoes

Best Tabletop Game for Camping

photo 1603290989627 5155a7f83dac?ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHx8&ixlib=rb 1.2

Dominoes are great tabletop games for camping because they can be used to play multiple different types of games (similar to playing cards) and are sturdy enough to withstand the beating of being outdoors all the time! For a few ways to play dominoes, check out this wikiHow.


  • Sturdy design to hold up outdoors
  • Versatile with multiple ways to have fun with the same materials


  • Need a flat surface (like a picnic table) to play on

GoSports Backyard Bocce Set

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B075NJTMMB&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20

This Bocce set comes with 8 balls and a light up version if you want to be able to play through the night (and be sure not to lose any of them!)

6. Spikeball / Roundnet

Best Active Campground Game

81BpVDK3vwL. AC SL1500

Spikeball involves 2 – 6 hitting a ball on a net between each other and attempting to cause an error by the other player (similar to volleyball and foursquare combined). Most commonly played with two teams of two people, players work together to earn points by making the other team fail to return the ball. Read more about Spikeball rules and strategies here


  • Active sport in a small area
  • Foldable design is portable


  • Requires specialized equipment to play

Spikeball Standard Ball Kit

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B002V7A7MQ&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=midwestcampin 20&language=en US

This Bocce set comes with 8 balls and a light up version if you want to be able to play through the night (and be sure not to lose any of them!)

7. Capture The Flag

Best Free Camping Game

capture the flag pt1 kids playing

Capture the flag and other childhood yard games are great for campgrounds! They can handle as many players as are willing to join and can be made even better at night by using flashlights as the flags themselves.


  • Unlimited amount of players!
  • Can be played pretty much anywhere



Hopefully, we’ve sparked some memories of your past camping trips but if we’ve missed any of your favorites in our list of best outdoor games for camping – let us know on Twitter!

These games can be played at campgrounds in Chicago to the Quad Cities as long as you have the best camping equipment to keep you warm and dry!

4 Camping Gear Kickstarters Nobody Needed in 2020

camping gear kickstarter fails

This year has been ripe for odd inventions as everyone is stuck in their homes! Take a look at these Kickstarter fails and camping gear that nobody asked for in 2020! While we usually try to find quality gear for everyone, here we’ve pulled together forks that are certain to cut your mouth, packs that are already full of questionably useful gimmicks, and a particularly dangerous pole awaits you below…

1. EATI Titanium Spork

Kickstarter Fail | Sharpen Your Tongue

kickstarter fails

The EATI titanium utensil is a great example of a good idea that went a bit too far. In their quest to add everything in the western world into one tiny spork shovel, they forgot one key thing, holding onto a knife is bad for the normal human. By adding a blade into the handle, the rest of the titanium piece is useless (except maybe the bottle opener but try to find a gadget around camp without a bottle opener these days)!

ce52a655d8821d4e51e55a3221b10e1a original.jpeg?ixlib=rb 2.1

Their media shows everyone just choking up on the fork itself, which would work but puts a LOT of confidence into never slipping too far back, or even forgetting about the blade while cleaning up! There are easier ways to cut and eat on the trail, especially for over $20 a spork-knife. Here’s a $10 titanium spork instead. Then you can just get a $5 or $10 titanium knife and still stay set on budget and ~safe eating~.

2. TRAJET Backpack of Junk

Kickstarter Fail | Do Nothing with Everything

The TRAJET backpack is a fantastic way to spend $230 to get budget versions of everything you may actually need backpacking. The kickstarter boasts that this backpack comes with:

64c5eaff011317541568a83d9d5b89b4 original.png?ixlib=rb 2.1
  • Pop Out Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Fold-Up Grill
  • Outdoor Solar Shower
  • Cooking & Dining Gear
  • Built-In Cooler
  • Eternal Flashlight
  • Multi-Tool
  • “Every Tool you Can Imaging”

Some of these things alone will run you north of $200 if you want to survive your first storm. Especially when it comes to buying tents or cooking gear. The pop-up tent in the video looks like it would buckle at the first sign of high wind and rain. While this tent is marketed as a ‘bug out bag’ or full gear loadout for a first camping trip, you’d have a hard time surviving more than 36 hours with just the equipment included. On the bright side, your drinks will stay cold! You’d probably be better off putting your money into a real backpacking backpack.

5b7f7833386d9eab48f398fee5266856 original.gif?ixlib=rb 2.1
This tent does not inspire confidence. (Kickstarter)

3. Exod Arc Tent

Kickstarter Fail | Puncture Guaranteed

If you’ve ever punctured your sleeping pad, just wait till you puncture your whole tent! The Exod Arc Tent is a hammock style tent with an inflatable frame. After a long day on the trail, just find two to four trees of fair strength to hold the multiple lines it requires, blow up your tent, and then you can climb up and relax. Just hope a field mouse doesn’t try to take a nibble after running across the new ‘branches’ that your tent/hammock created!

ab3aa68871844b849c78fe70a9c9be0d original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.1

Overall, inflatable gear is a tough sell for reliability out in the backwoods or when you’re camping in more primitive campgrounds. If weight is your worry, maybe one of these small tents would work better!

4. Trekking Pole Multitool

Kickstarter Fail | Stab the Earth, or Yourself

e57158557f62cb1de675413bac56690d original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.1

Why does everyone insist on putting knives into places they don’t belong? Even regular trekking poles can break and turn into sharp sources of problems on a steep downhill while you’re really putting your weight on them! These guys can turn lethal if anything goes wrong. Not to mention that a double-sided knife and saw combination is already challenging to do anything useful with. One slip of the grip and you might need a first aid multi-tool instead Unless you’re looking for an outdoor themed sword-cane, these poles are pretty unlikely to do you any good.

11f1e541c32aa11607443c771b822362 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.1


Think we got it wrong? Really love your sword-cane Trekking Pole Multitool? Let us know about your favorite gear or other comments by sending an email!

Use our packing list for your next camping trip!

We want to keep in touch! Subscribe to stay up to date on the BEST that the midwest has to offer and we'll throw in a free packing list so you don't forget the matches next time you head into the great outdoors!