Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the cottage. There’s nothing quite like the quiet hush that falls over the woods after a snowfall—and snowshoeing at night (safely) is a great way to see the stars without all the mosquitoes.
To make your winter cottage stay more enjoyable, here are some essential winter cottaging tools you’ll need.
Campfire back warmer
Winter campfires are wonderful things. Make sure your back stays nice and warm with this thermal shield.
If you’re carrying loads of firewood in, these slippers will help keep your floor dry without having to unlace your boots.
Face it: some of your stuff might get wet and mucky. (In fact, it’s almost guaranteed.) Protect your trunk with this heavy-duty cargo cover.
Drinking water container
This 10-gallon storage container for drinking water has an easy-access spigot on the front—perfect for grabbing a drink even while you’re wearing gloves.
Portable jump starter
If you’ve only got one car at the cottage and no one close by to give you a boost, this portable jump-starter will come in handy.
First aid kit
Carry this in your car as part of a full-on winter safety kit, including thermal blankets, non-perishable high-energy foods like chocolate and trail mix, a candle and matches, extra warm clothing, and even a whistle.
Hopefully you won’t need jumper cables (check your car battery before you leave the city)—but if you do, these ones are super easy to see.
The fingers on these neoprene gloves fold back, so you can text all your friends a pic of your winter hardiness.
What’s cooler than a holster? A movable holster that holds a flashlight, of course.
Whether you’re working or playing outside, lukewarm coffee just isn’t going to cut it. This serious thermos will help keep those warm beverages piping hot.
Do you really want to carry in loads of firewood using just your arms? This heavy-duty tote makes the job a whole lot easier.
If you’re going to be hauling stuff into the cottage, either by hand or behind a snowmobile, a proper sled (not a dollar-store kiddy version) is a must.
Handy if you don’t have your hands free, an LED headlamp is surprisingly useful in all sorts of situations.
Heated seat cushion
You’ve still got to drive to the cottage, so if you’re not blessed with heated car seats, this portable cushion will keep you toasty warm.
Patagonia Das Pants
OK, these pants are $300, but can you really put a price on staying warm and dry?
Astis kibo gloves
These gloves are gorgeous, but they’re also seriously heavy-duty: Polartec insulation and silicon-injected leather keep your hands warm and dry.
Slip these in your gloves and boots, and you’ll get up to seven hours of soothing heat.
Why bother with a scarf and hat when you can get an all-in-one balaclava? Just take it off before you go in the bank…
Ice rink flooder
For the ultimate backyard or lake skating rink, start with this ice rink flooder (or make your own) and follow our directions here.
Ice rink scraper
Snow is the enemy of the outdoor ice rink, so keep yours smooth and shiny with this handy ice scraper.
Collapsable snow shovel
This handy shovel fits easily into your car’s trunk—perfect for those times the drifts are a little bigger than you thought.
Clarus LED lantern
This collapsible, super-bright LED light converts into a flashlight. It will also strobe, which is handy if you get stuck in a ditch and need some help.
Ice auger (for fishing and skating)
A gas-powered auger is great if you’re going to be doing a lot of ice fishing, but you can also find hand-cranked models, perfect for testing the thickness of your ice and for hauling up water to flood your rink.
Add a little extra stability to your snowshoe treks with these handy poles. (Also useful for bringing down a humorous headful of snow onto your unsuspecting hiking partner…)
Biolite camp stove
Just in case the power goes out and you need a little extra fire, this tiny light stove burns twigs and can recharge your devices.
PAM cooking spray
If you’re going to be shovelling, invest in a can of PAM—just spray it on your shovel and the snow will slide off.
Caster for sand and salt
Skip-free footing is important if you’re hauling in a load of firewood. This caster will help you get an even covering of sand and salt across your driveway or outside steps.
It goes without saying that you’re going to need to scrape the car off, so you might as well make it as easy on yourself as possible with this three-in-one brush/scraper/squeegee.
Even if you’re not planning on doing a long slog through the woods (but you should), wearing snowshoes out to the woodpile is a lot easier than fighting your way through waist-deep drifts.
This Dragon's Den success story is a simple tool that solves a big problem: back pain. The Heft is an ergonomic auxiliary handle that can easily be attached to any standard snow shovel to ease the strain on your back when hauling snow.