Lots of Canadians flock to the woods and the lakeshores every summer, heading into cottage country (or cabin country, depending where you’re from). If you’re lucky enough to be going to a nice little cottage for the weekend, you’re in for a treat, but only as long as you pack properly. Unlike visiting an AirBnB or hotel, things aren’t necessarily provided for you—if you forget a frying pan or your deodorant, you’re screwed. I’ve put together a nice list of things that my friends usually forget to pack, and assuming you’re traveling during the late spring or summer, I hope you make use of it and don’t end up forgetting anything important!
The first thing you absolutely must do is find out what’s already at the cottage. If you’re renting one, this is crucial because you have no idea if they’ve got towels and bed sheets waiting for you, or if they expect you to bring your own; if you’re staying at a friend’s or family member’s cottage, you should ask them if they need you to bring anything. Owners should always provide you with a list of things that are already there, but if they don’t, it’s on you to ask for one. Make sure to pay special attention to bedding and kitchen items.
You’ll want to bring a first aid kit no matter what, but lots of people forget to do this. Make sure it’s stocked with bandages, polysporin, sunscreen, gauze, painkillers and extras of medication that you need, ice packs (if you’ll have a freezer at the cottage), and any epipens that you may need. Extras to include are bug spray, collapsible water bottles, filter straws, a flashlight, joint support bandages, antacids, rubber gloves, and granola bars or small candies to deal with low blood sugar. If you’re bringing a pet, include any medications they may need, as well as the numbers to local emergency veterinarians in case anything happens.
Pack a cooler with all the foods and drinks you’ll want to bring with you; depending on how many of you there are and how long you’re staying, you may end up having to pack two coolers. The most important thing to remember, though, is that you have to buy these things a few days in advance if you know you’ll be going to the cottage. The roads to cottage country get ridiculously busy on weekends, so it’s important to try and beat that traffic by leaving early, and stopping for groceries is going to guarantee that you’ll be stuck in traffic for hours. Bring lots of drinks, ice, cheese, bread, vegetables, any meats you want to bring, and any eggs and dairy that you think you might need. You can keep things simpler in this department by using canned foods, and foods that don’t require cooking, but in this case you’ll have to remember a can opener. If you have to pack items for the kitchen, keep things simple. Bring plates and cutlery, cooking knives and other utensils, and a pan or two. Plan your menu to minimize the amount of things you have to bring with you and you’ll be grand.