Weekend Shipping Container Home, Idaho

Weekend Shipping Container Home Interior
About Jug Mountain Ranch

ProjectJug Mountain Ranch Cargo Cabin
Area320 sq ft
LocationJug Mountain Ranch, McCall, Idaho, USA

Description from Gearjunkie

A repurposed shipping container serves up a great weekend get-away opportunity for this GearJunkie contributing editor.

I recently pulled out my old expedition sled. Plastered with stickers and dinged up from hoisting it through glacial till it has been around the world in pursuit of big adventure. This time was a little different, though. Still bloated to the gills with food and equipment, the sled was stocked with family supplies for a family winter getaway to a remote weekend shipping container home in Idaho.

Cargo containers are large corrugated metal boxes used for shipping. Loaded with goods, stacked and shipped across seas, containers came about during the post-World War II boom, ushering in modern globalization. Today it’s reputed that 17 million containers exist. Surf the inter-webs and you can get yourself a shipping container for as low as $1,200.

Surf a little more and you’ll find examples of purchased shipping containers creatively repurposed as building blocks for livable structures. And, as we found, backcountry weekend shipping container homes. There are lots of pros and cons to building with containers, but this one was already constructed and waiting in the glorious outdoors.

Fat Bike Into Idaho Backcountry

I hitched the sled to the back of my bike and pedaled our supplies three miles into the Idaho backcountry. Rounding the final corner, we spied our winter destination. Jutting out of the woods over the drained reservoir, the weekend shipping container home in Idaho looked like it was speared from over the mountains and lodged in the earth. 

Sporting 25 kilometers of fat bike friendly groomed nordic trails, Idaho’s Jug Mountain Ranch has carved out a nice round-the-year niche for active families. For unique digs, the Ranch dragged the corrugated cargo box through the stands of Ponderosa Pines and perched it over the Jug Mountain Reservoir, so close, in fact, that in summer you can swing your legs off the deck and dangle your toes in the water below.

Jug Mountain Ranch Cargo Cabin

We punched in the code and swung open the doors. The 20-foot-long weekend shipping container home was divided in half; a pair of bunks racked with all-weather mattresses stood behind a roller door, the kitchen and main quarters ran down the right flank. Just a short walk outside led you to the eco-outhouse and the ‘pee’ tree. A shed was stacked with enough wood to keep the cabin warm for two winters.

Inside, the entire shipping container home was paneled in plywood and fortified with everything one might need for a stay. A propane-powered stove fueled a kitchen stocked with cookware, flatware and cleaning supplies. A small wood stove sat prepped and ready to light. And windows galore cut through the corrugated wall, ready to soak in the light and judicious mountain views.

The kids got right to choosing their preferred bed of choice. Powered by solar, I flipped the Goal Zero battery, illuminating the cabin with a string of holiday lights, then lit the stove to heat up our weekend home.

Idaho Outdoors Recreation

We passed the days skiing, biking, and sledding. We returned late in the afternoon to hang our sweaty-wet clothes out to dry. Our bellies warmed with soup du jour.

We’ve done a fair amount of winter family camping, mostly in yurts though. Yurts, being round, can feel open but dark. Contrary, the cargo cabin, being narrow, felt more constrained, but brighter.

When we wanted to call it an early night for the kids, we simply rolled the divider door shut, allowing mom and dad some quiet time to chill over boxed wine.

Soon enough, it was time to go. We packed up our gear and racked up the bikes for the ride back to the rig.

Would we come back? Certainly so. Just $100 a night got us a prime outdoor location all to ourselves in a neat little corrugated package. What would we do different? We’d come back in summer of course, so I could finally retire that old bright orange sled.

Description from Jug Mountain Ranch

The most unique lodging experience in McCall! Stay in our brand new Alpine Cabin weekend shipping container home right on the shore of the Upper Jug Creek Reservoir. The shipping container home sleeps 7 and comes equipped with beds, furniture, and a wood stove. Just bring your own sleeping bag and gear (we can haul it for you)! You are welcome to bring your own food and drinks. At the cabin you will have access to miles of trails, stand up paddle boards, kayaks and discounts on Jug Mountain Ranch bike rentals.

We have provided quite a few amenities to help make your stay comfortable and to limit the amount of gear you need to bring to the weekend shipping container home.

  • Wood stove, fire starter and firewood
  • Overhead lighting
  • Gas cook stove (Please do not use gas for melting snow. See snow melting below)
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Salt, Pepper, Oil
  • French Press
  • Plates, bowls, cups, silverware (4 place settings)
  • paper towels
  • Cutting board and knives
  • Trash bags (trash disposal is at clubhouse parking, please pack trash out with you)
  • Dish tubs, Clorox, Soap, scrubbers and dish towels
  • Table, chairs and couch
  • Beds: 2 twin and 2 double
  • Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar power box for phone charging, music etc…
  • Water
  • Cooler with ice
  • toilet paper


There are of course things you will need to bring to make your stay more like home.
Bring a cell phone and charger, there is service at the cabin and they are very helpful in an emergency and to brag to friends (Hey, guess where I am!).
Backpacks for gear unless you arrange for gear to be delivered and picked up.
Sleeping bags (20 degrees or colder rating HIGHLY recommended)

Sports appropriate clothing:

  • This may include: Hats, gloves or mittens, long underwear (no cotton), wool or synthetic socks (no cotton), insulated over pants and jacket/coat (no cotton, No jeans), wicking shirts, fleece or sweater (no cotton). It is very important that you wear layers of clothing. Wicking layers against skin (no cotton), thin to thick insulation layer, water resistant breathable outer layer. This way you can take off and put on as needed. It is better to start warm than to try and get warm, and you can’t put it on if you left it at the trailhead. Bring extra clothing even if you don’t think you’ll need it, weather can change rapidly in the mountains.
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Day packs for trips from yurt
  • Trail map
  • First aid kit
  • All your food and drinks
  • Slippers OR Cabin shoes
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Toiletries

Weekend Shipping Container Home Interior

About Jug Mountain Ranch

Jug Mountain Ranch is a 1,410-acre private residential community set beneath Jughandle Mountain’s rugged 8,310-foot peak. The Ranch is a reflection of the community and environmental sensibilities of the Carey Family, long-time owners and McCall residents. Roughly 75% of the Ranch (1,000 acres) has been set aside for preserved open space and a championship golf course.

With a relatively small number of homesites, Jug Mountain Ranch aspires to offer something increasingly rare here: a genuine community in a private, uncrowded setting ideal for enjoying McCall’s unique scenery, year-round recreation, wildlife and climate.

Located in the peace and quiet of the McCall’s East Valley and the country landscape of farm to Market road, Jug Mountain Ranch is only 10-minutes from downtown, Payette Lake, and just 30-minutes to Brundage or Tamarack.

At completion, Jug Mountain Ranch will feature:

  • 325 homesites (1/3 to 1 1/2 acre)
  • A public 18-hole championship golf course designed by Don Knott
  • Nordic skiing and snowshoeing
  • A community village with specialty shops and restaurants
  • A new Clubhouse and restaurant
  • A network of private trails through the majestic backcountry of the Ranch’s eastern portion, connecting to mountain lakes and miles of trails through bordering state and federal lands

Address13834 Farm to Market Rd, McCall, ID 83638, United States

Weekend Shipping Container Home, Idaho