With school officially over all across the board and Canada Day long weekend come and gone, summer is in full swing which only means one thing: Cottage Season! I’m actually getting out the city for the rest of this week myself to spend some time de-connecting outdoors with family. Whether you have your own cottage, plan to rent one out for a week or are headed on a camping trip up north packing strategically is the key to ensuring you have all the right things, without bringing too much with you.
I spent my younger years into my early adolescent years as a Girl Guide so along with learning how to hustle thanks to hours spent at Cosco selling cookies and sew my many badges onto my sash, we also did a lot of camping where Packing 101 was mastered. I also spent many of those same years camping in Algonquin with my grandfather, aunt and cousin where we’d canoe and portage to our site, so packing light was definitively a must.
With all my years of outdoor excursions I’ve tried and perfected my own techniques to packing light and right. If you’re stuck on what to pack with you this summer, or are trying to not transport every single one of your belongings with you, this ultimate cottage packing guide is exactly what you need!
Easy Cottage Packing Guide
1. Make A List
The best way to make packing a breeze and ensure you bring everything with you is to make a checklist of what you plan on packing. I usually divide my list based on what exactly I’ll be needing to make it easier to fill out. I start with clothes, toiletries and miscellaneous categories for my personal packing. If I am not being hosted somewhere I’ll include food and supplies as categories, and will even go as far as to meal plan for the trip to make grocery shopping that much easier. I also like to add quantities beside items when applicable to really be sure I get what I need.
Do you remember this acronym from school? Well I do and man do I now realize how key it is. Keep it extremely simple with all you plan on packing and don’t bring more than you need. My rule of thumb to include an extra days worth of clothes, especially socks and undergarments, just in case but I balance it out by packing light when it comes to things you can wear more than once like bottoms and to not only saves you space but keep you from smelling too clean which attracts the bugs, especially mosquitos. I also have the same rule of thumb for toiletries – only bring what you need. Even with my maddening addiction to skincare I scale it down to the key essentials and I particularly avoid bringing perfumes or heavily fragranced products as they’ll just attract bug bites!
3. Check The Forecast
Something that seems obvious but what most forget to do is check the weather for where you’re going. Instead of bringing clothes for every weather event possible, try and gear your packing choices towards what you’ll need. Don’t forget that mornings and nights are generally cooler than the daytime, especially up north, and if the forecast is calling for mostly rain you’ll probably want to skip out on flip flops and stick to rain boots and sneakers.
4. Be Organized
Actually packing your bags can be the toughest challenge of them all, fitting what seems to be almost everything you own into a duffle bag or two. The best way to keep your bag count low and not be thatperson who takes all the trunk space is to be organized when packing. I like to roll up my clothes tightly rather than fold them which saves a huge amount of space. I also like to stuff things into others, like socks inside shoes, and use pouches to keep smaller items neatly packed.
5. Bring A Laundry Bag
We always thinking of packing for the trip, and never think about packing back up to come home. While staying organized while packing will help keep your bags tidy throughout the trip it’ll also make it so much easier to get ready to go home. Although I usually wash everything anyways when I get home thanks to the lingering memories of DEET and campfires, I still like to pack a laundry bag just in case I need to keep clean items separate from those that need a washing.
I hope that my quick and easy cottage packing guide has you spending less time fussing with packing, and more time sitting by the lake enjoying your summer!