Tips to Prep for Winter at the Cottage

December 22, 2021

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It’s time to swap the sound of boats on the lake for snowmobiles on the ice, bikinis for snowsuits, and swimming for fireplaces. As long as you’re prepared. Here are some tips to upgrade your winter cottaging game to help you enjoy extended time at your cottage.

  1. Get your snow tires put on: Snow tires make a big difference and keeps you and others on the road safer on those snowy drives.

Winter vehicle prep

  1. Be prepared to dig out: throw a shovel in your trunk and some kitty litter for great traction. If you’re really in a bind you could lay your floor mats out in front of the wheels could let you drive out. (Don’t forget to charge your phone, in case you do need to call for a tow. It’s a good idea to even pick up a portable phone charger too!)
Don't get caught in the snow!


  1. Stock up on wood and keep an axe handy: Stock up on wood before winter and don’t forget the kindling and matches. An axe is not only good for splitting wood, but if you’re without water, chipping ice from the lake is a much more efficient means of getting meltwater than snow.

Cozy wood fireplace

  1. Keep backup lighting ready for the shorter winter days: It gets dark early in the winter, and even earlier the further north you go. Keep a flashlight or headlamp in your car for when you arrive—especially if you shut the power off when you leave. Also, have candles and solar lanterns on hand just in case.
Don't forget your flashlights and headlamps as backup



  1. Beware of the pipes: Even if it is winterized, there’s still always a chance of the pipes freezing or pump failing, so it’s a good idea to fill a jug at home or keep water in the cottage as backup if you have an area that stays above zero.
Prepare for frozen pipes


  1. Clear a path: Make sure you shovel is easily accessible in a sheltered area so it won’t get buried in the snow and you can reach your car or the garage.

Clear a path

  1. Plan for dead car batteries: In some areas of the country temperatures can drop low enough to kill car batteries. Having an extension cord to run from your cottage to plug in a block heater isn’t a bad idea—and jumper cables are always helpful.

    Block heaters save batteries


  2. Connect with your neighbours: Lakes tend to be a lot less populated in the winter—it’s one of the best things about winter cottaging, but it also means less available help. Find out who else is heading up—in case the smoke rising from their chimneys isn’t obvious enough—so you know, in an emergency, who’s around. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself in the warmer months and swap phone numbers—and take a post-holiday tin of cookies or wine for extra points.

    Connect with your neighbours before winter sets in


*Here’s a link to our blog on 8 Fun Things to Do at the Cottage in the Winter*