I’m curious what to expect. I know it’s not quite a cabin, but will it be semi-warm or rat infested? Thanks!
Curious which backcountry shelters exactly you are asking about. I’ve stayed in quite a few along the AT in various areas as well as in Mahoosuc Mountains and the White Mountains and would be happy to offer a little perspective on those if that would be helpful.
Because the lean-to shelters have 3 sides, they can be warmer if the wind is blowing and by helping you stay drier in rain or snow; on a hot day you may miss the ventilation. Some have flaps in front, but most don’t.
You should assume there may be animals of some sort who may be looking for food. Hang your food out of reach.
If I’m the only one there, I’ve pitched my tent inside the shelter, which made me more comfortable when some critter came nudging along my tent one night. In more popular areas, i.e. easily accessible or on long distance trails, this won’t be an option.
This year many of the backcountry shelters are closed, particularly along the AT.