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How to Create a Positive Culture in Your Man Camp

Man camps in the oil and gas, mining, construction, mineral exploration, natural resources, and research industries rely on skilled crews to run their operations, but the very nature of man camps makes it difficult to attract and retain such workers: man camps tend to be in the middle of nowhere, feature harsh climates and working conditions, and require laborers to spend weeks at a time away from their families. 

The most reliable way to maintain morale in a man camp setting is to offer the comforts from home when they need it most. Our quality design and customizable man camp housing structures are the best fabric buildings for the oil and gas industry, mining operations, remote construction sites, and mineral exploration industries.

Since 1975, Alaska Structures® has been leading by example engineering and designing the industry’s best fabric structures for any climate, anywhere in the world. More than 65,000 of our fabric structures have withstood the test of time and durability. Generally, remote working industries require on-site field offices, man camp housing, and heavy-duty storage facilities that can combat extreme weather conditions.

Most importantly, we incorporate durable, customizable, and mobile man camp housing that can be restructured, easily transported, and modified as needed. During transitional phases throughout the project, our fabric structures can be utilized for man camp housing that can accommodate anywhere from 50 to 200 people, helping you to save time and money logistically. Exceed your budget goals thanks to our long-lasting, cost-effect products.

With almost 50 years of experience designing outdoor fabric structures, Alaska Structures is dedicated to the expectations of man camp housing standards and remote field facilities. Stay comfortable in any climate with our popular TSX portable cabins. For those long-term projects, providing well-engineered accommodations will preserve and prolong a positive culture within your man camp housing.

By providing a safe and positive working environment for your man camp staff, the project will surely have a better overall outcome as well. Alaska Structures accommodations for man camp housing have proven to help maintain a positive mentality for the crew throughout the duration of any project in any weather conditions.

Alaska Structures designs portable fabric structures and permanent fabric building installations that are rugged and easy to install on any level surface with minimal site preparation. Our fully engineered fabric structures are open-span and meet or exceed the latest local and International Building Code standards.

While man camps originally served as bare-bones sleeping quarters for remote workers, man camp directors have realized that more desirable accommodations are necessary to attract and retain skilled workers, boost worker productivity, and maintain high morale. As a result, man camps have evolved to include facilities that promote worker safety, comfort, and entertainment and to become much more positive environments.

[Related: History of Man Camps]

Setting Expectations and Creating a Safe Space

Man camps often get a bad wrap as a sort of “Wild West” environment because of their remote locations and all- or mostly-male populations, but the truth is that most man camps operate under strict regulations. Alcohol, drugs, and weapons are usually forbidden, and women aren’t permitted within the dormitories.

Rules like these are essential for the health and safety of the workers, who need to be clear-headed to operate potentially dangerous equipment. And while such rigid control may be considered another deterrent for workers who are on the fence about leaving everything behind, they actually help them avoid burnout and focus on what they came here to do: make money. 

When creating a man camp or reassessing your current man camp systems, outlining expectations for your crew is a great place to start. 

Comfortable Accommodations for Man Camps


Workers at remote work sites without dedicated accommodations often end up sleeping in their cars or tents, so any man camp that offers them a comfortable place to lay their heads has an immediate advantage. 

State regulations may specify a minimum amount of space that each man camp resident is entitled to, but in general options range from bunkhouses to one- or two-person sleepers. Private quarters where workers can relax at the end of the day are obviously preferred to shared ones.

For example, Alaska Structures’ SQ Series of quonset huts work well for bunkers, whereas the HGB Series™ can be configured to offer comfortable and private accommodations. For even more privacy, smaller structures such as the XT Series or XPL Series can be configured to sleep one to three people. Some remote camps opt for multiple types of structures to create different levels of accommodations for laborers, managers, supervisors, and directors.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the quality of the mattresses you provide — after all, when life consists of a work-sleep-repeat routine, the quality of that sleep is crucial. Another major attraction for potential workers is WiFi; it has become more of a necessity than a luxury, and being able to chat with loved ones back home or watch movies on their laptops is a great comfort.

Temperature Control for Man Camps

Five ton Environmental Control Unit (NTECU) - Non Tactical
A non-tactical 5-ton Alaska ECU provides reliable cooling in any environment.

Many man camps are located in remote locations with extreme climates, such as the North Slope of Alaska or the deserts of Africa. But even if it’s not a question of freezing or sweating to death, man camps should be designed to keep residents comfortable.

For more mild climates, structures with energy-efficient design may suffice. Fabric buildings from Alaska Structures, for instance, maintain interior temperatures that are usually cooler than exterior temperatures in the summer and warmer in the winter. Let in natural light with skylights to create a bright and inviting interior, as well as to lower energy usage during the day.

You can save even more energy (and money) by adding insulation to your structure. Like with traditional wood, brick-and-mortar, and metal buildings, you can add any R-value of insulation to fabric structures; and Alaska Structures offers several proprietary insulation options.

For harsher climates, the government in your area may require man camps to have heating or cooling systems in place (DEC regulations require man camps in Alaska to be able to maintain at least 70 degrees F). Options include heaters, HVAC systems, and environmental control units (ECUs), all of which are available with Alaska Structures building solutions.

> Learn more about fabric buildings and energy efficiency.

Man Camp Dining Facilities

It’s in the site directors’ best interests to provide food for their crews, as workers won’t have time (or energy) to cook before or after work, and would likely settle for easy, less than healthy options if forced to. When you’re working 12-plus-hour days, junk food won’t cut it — workers need healthy, balanced meals to fuel their long shifts.

Of course, food is one of the few comforts man camp residents enjoy, so giving them something to look forward to at the end of the day is the least you can do. Meals don’t have to be complicated, but they should be tasty.

Successful man camps tend to keep a cook on-site to prepare hot breakfasts and dinners for workers, as well as sack lunches. This requires space to cook, serve, and consume the meals.

Your dining facilities probably don’t need to be able to accommodate your entire man camp, as workers’ schedules tend to vary, but should be able to comfortably seat however many people you expect to eat at a given time. Fabric buildings from Alaska Structures come in widths of up to 120 feet, making them a great dining facility option whether you need to accomodate a few people or hundreds.

> Learn more about using fabric buildings as dining facilities.

Man Camp Hygiene Facilities

Being able to take a hot shower at the end of a long workday does wonders for morale. 

In industries where workers get extremely dirty, mine dry facilities allow them to get clean before returning to their living quarters. Mine dry facilities from Alaska Structures include either private or communal showers, toilets and urinals, lockers, laundry equipment, and drying racks — everything workers need to transition from working to relaxing.

Recreational Facilities for Man Camps

Fabric Buildings Gymnasium Arena Soccer Field

Remote camps are often located in extreme climates that make outdoor recreation unappealing. Recreational facilities take remote camps one step past comfort to provide a space for workers to relax, exercise, and generally enjoy themselves at the end of the day. 

Multipurpose indoor sports facilities provide a great outlet for workers to unwind after a long shift, and can include gym equipment as well as sports courts. Some man camps even have indoor swimming pools.

Additional ideas for remote camp recreational facilities include:

  • Multimedia rooms with WiFi and television
  • Libraries and community rooms for activities
  • Massage therapy
  • Quiet space for meditation

When considering which recreational facilities to include in your remote camp, consider the duration of the project, the size of your crew, and specific worker interests.

Man Camp Worship Facilities

Fabric Building Church Revival Tent Interior

For long-term remote projects, including worship facilities in your man camp is the ultimate way to show your workers that you appreciate — and want to lessen — their sacrifice. Options range from small, quiet spaces for prayer to full church buildings.

Whatever type of facility your remote camp is able to supply, workers will appreciate the thought and the ability to continue their regular worship routines while away from home.

Create a Home Away From Home With Alaska Structures

When it comes down to it, the best way to attract and retain skilled workers for your man camp is to create a place where they’re safe, comfortable, and entertained — a home away from home. Of course, the challenge for site directors is finding a way to do so while staying within budget and creating facilities that are incredibly durable.

Alaska Structures® has been providing remote camp systems to a broad range of industries for over 45 years. Our clients rely on our structures’ ability to endure any climate, provide hotel-level accommodations, be configured to meet any need, and move and adapt with them as those needs change. Whether your project requires 15 people or 1,500, Alaska Structures can provide all the facilities you need to create a positive culture in your man camp.

If you would like more information or to discuss your remote man camp and workforce housing needs, we recommend contacting Alaska Structures today to speak to one of our knowledgeable building specialists.

Telephone: +1-907-344-1565

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Alaska Structures
Alaska Structures® is the world's leading provider of engineered fabric building and turnkey camp systems. Our modular buildings are proudly made in the U.S. and designed to meet area-specific wind and snow loads required by local codes or the International Building Code (IBC) for safety. No other fabric-building provider comes close to matching our level of expertise or experience.

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