There’s something so special about getting your cottage ready for another successful sun-soaked season. But even in my short time as an owner, I can attest to one thing: every opening is different than the last.

From mice to snakes to ticks and wild animals, the forest isn’t always your friend. Couple that with climate change and environmental shifts and you can see why being prepared is a popular motto.

The stakes are even higher for my cottage country. The nearby Minden Emergency Room shuttered last year, thanks to staff shortages. Now that our nearest 24-hour help is even further it is a stark reminder to keep your first aid kit well-stocked.

Stay Safe this Summer- Get your Cottage Ready for Anything

Taking a deliberate approach to safety comes first. First aid is not limited to just band-aids. Your first aid kit has to cover a lot of ailments, from burns to broken bones. A good first-aid kit must include an antiseptic for proper cleansing. Polysporin ointment is good to have on hand and steri-strips for deeper cuts.

Consider adding a burn cream and painkillers like Advil to provide comfort. Topically, Calamine and other itch lotions are handy too.

Allergies can strike at any time, like when my partner stepped on a wasp nest and got stung 63 times. Having a surplus of Benadryl is essential. Also, ensure you have electrolytes handy. Heat stroke can happen in a flash. A stash of Gatorade, Liquid IV or Hydralyte is a cottage necessity.

And since we’ve already found one this season, a Tick Kit should be part of your must-haves.

Consider satellite phones, radio systems, or other means of staying connected, especially in case of emergencies. This ensures you can reach out for help when needed.

It may seem easy to overlook when you’re surrounded by a lake, but having a well-stocked supply of food, water, and medication is important. Plan for long-term sustainability, considering non-perishable items and backup options for water and power supplies.

Fire protection is crucial. Changing smoke alarms is not enough. Test the units, ensuring there is one on each floor. Inspect carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers to ensure they are in working order.

Protection comes in so many forms….don’t have your weekend ruined with a sunburn…EyeGotYou eyewear and Sun Bum Mineral Spf

Sitting Pretty and Prepared, Make it Easy to Take it Easy

With safety all sorted, comfort comes into question. Essential to the mix for ease and style, are slip-on shoes. Sturdy and with a good grip, the slides from Cougar always offer the perfect blend of sportiness and comfort. Shoes like these never go out of style and it’s good to have a few extra pairs on deck for guests.

cottage ready cougar soprato slides
Cougar Shoes Soprato Slides are built for comfort, an effortless throw-on shoe perfect for boating

I always keep a few extra rain jackets around, too. There is nothing worse than getting trapped inside all weekend long, especially if your wifi is spotty! Having extra rain gear is an invitation to enjoy the great outdoors, no matter what.

Rainy forest walks under a canopy of trees can be invigorating. Staying dry through the hike feels like a miracle. Columbia is the leader in developing the driest outdoor gear for anything the weather gods want to throw at you. Weather-tech jackets like this OutDry Extreme live up to its name and are worth its weight in gold during a storm.

Part of the mom-uniform is a good-quality pair of black leggings and ORAKI is that in spades. The ECOMOVE tights are the perfect cottage pant. Made with 12-15 recycled plastic bottles these
high-waisted tights echo your surroundings and offer a respite from getting bit when the bugs come biting.

Don’t Look Now, Fall is Around the Corner

columbia outdry extreme wyldwood shell jacket cottage ready
Women’s OutDry Extreme™ Wyldwood™ Shell Jacket outlasts even the soggiest downpours and has a matching hat

And in case of an emergency, having extra jackets makes all the difference. In a freak thunderstorm a few years back, our hydro pole was hit by lightning. This sent a current through our cottage and a fire broke out just meters from our door. After waiting almost an hour for the fire department (which was an outstanding response time), we were forced to evacuate. In the rain. For hours. It happens! Be ready for anything.

Get the Kitchen Cottage Ready

We store all our kitchen wares in totes, making the switch as easy as wiping the cupboards. Empty cabinets mean the first shop is a little expensive, but worth it to prevent eating rancid food. Instead of having guests bring beer, ask for a bottle of 25-year Balsamic Vinegar or Olive Oil instead as a hosting gift.

Spices should be fresh too, especially as humid cottages lose taste faster. Pasta, nuts and dried anything must be stored in glass jars with metal lids to keep critters at bay.

Visit your local town’s farmer’s market to grab fresh goodies every weekend. Make nice with a local butcher and you can enjoy delicious Ontario produce and food all summer long.

eco friendly- compost
Composting is an easy way to make use of eggshells, produce ends, coffee grinds and even pet hair

Have a plan for how to dispose of waste responsibly. Consider composting, recycling, and minimizing waste production.

All images by Libby Roach.