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Tiny huts to enjoy the basics in Swedish spartan rural lodge

For more than 400 years, charcoaling had been traditional industry in the area surrounding Skinnskatteberg, Sweden. Locals burnt charcoal for the iron industry and lived in rustic huts to stay close to the “coaling” process.

To bring back this local tradition (which had died out in the middle of the 20th century), in 1996 the local municipality built 12 charcoal huts from mud and grass: each with 2 slim beds and a fireplace.

Today, Andreas Ahlse, owner of the Kolarbyn eco-lodge, rents out the 12 huts to guests who want to experience a back-to-basics lifestyle. Here you learn to chop your own wood, start a fire with fire steel, collect drinking water and bathe in the lake. “I think people are getting more and more interested in the old history and want to come out here and test how it was.”

There’s no electricity or running water. The huts have just beds and a fireplace and candles. There’s a composting toilet, though you’re encouraged to pee in the woods as long as you avoid the blueberries. There’s no bath house or shower, but there is a large lake with a floating sauna.

Ahlse sees this as a place to forget about our busy (and connected) lives where we can find small moments of joy in something as simple as a warm fire or a good meal. “Just to make it simple… It’s like carpe diem, enjoy the time.”