It’s easy to overpack for a cottage weekend, but regardless of whether you’re stuffing your car full of bags or going minimalist with a single backpack, here are 10 things you should always take with you to the cottage.

1. First-Aid Kit

With any luck, you won’t need to open your First-Aid Kit during your cottage vacation, but make sure to pack one regardless. Bandages, gauze, antibiotic lotion, antihistamines, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, tweezers (for splinter and tick removal), insect repellant and bite lotion, and any regular medications should be included. We might sneak toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hairbrushes into this category too!

2. Food and Pantry Supplies

Make sure to take enough food for the duration of your visit (three meals a day, snacks, and perhaps a little wine and beer too…). Think pantry staples such as pasta, grains, canned fruit and beans (plus a can opener), oil, vinegar, peanut butter, condiments and spices; fridge (or cooler) items such as milk, eggs, meat, and produce; and the little things that make vacations better, such as coffee, tea, all the fixin’s for s’mores, and a nice bottle of wine, beer, or cider. Aluminum foil makes for easy cooking and clean-up of meals, too.

3. Water and Water Bottles

Depending on where you’re cottaging, you might want to take along a supply of fresh water. Don’t forget water bottles, too, for hiking and other outdoor adventures.

4. Swimsuit

A swimsuit is pretty self-explanatory, don’t you think? Cottage = lake!

5. Books, Boardgames, and a Deck of Cards

Books, boardgames, and a deck of cards are perfect for lazy summer nights, rainy days, or whenever you need a little quiet downtime.

6. Comfortable Shoes

Cottage getaways are not the time to pull out your fancy new $300 desginer shoes. Cottage living is about comfort and adventure, so make sure you pack shoes you’re happy to walk, leap and dance in!

7. Sweaters and Blankets

We’re heading into fall and (gasp!) winter, so do take along some warmer clothing and blankets for chilly nights and mornings. Your toes will thank you.

8. Hat and Sunscreen

But even if the nights are cool, the days are likely still sunny! As much as we Canadians need Vitamin D, we also need to protect our skin from the sun. Hats and sunscreen are a must at the cottage.

9. Extra Toilet Paper, Tissues and Trash Bags

Because it is never a bad thing to have extra toilet paper, tissues, and trash bags on hand. Really. Trust us.

10. Flashlight and spare batteries

Last but not least, do throw a flashlight and some spare batteries into your bags. You don’t want to get stuck with no light if the electricity at your cottage falters or, heaven forbid, you hear bear noises outside.


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