When I was growing up, my dad would make the same joke every year after staying at the cottage “that was fun, now I need a vacation from my vacation!” He was a devout DIYer and probably spent more time at the cottage working on various projects and improvements to our (and our neighbour’s) cottage than he ever did fishing or relaxing.
Personally, I like to enjoy my summer time getaway with camp fires and long hikes, but every cottage is going to need the occasional spot of maintenance and elbow grease to stay comfy and enjoyable. Which is made so much easier if you have the right tool for the job!
Before you head up to cottage country, make sure you have the right equipment to handle any job that comes your way!
There is nothing more frustrating than being up at the cottage with a leaky tap, loose board, or some other trivial repair without the tools to get it done. Save yourself the embarrassment of wandering around to various neighbours and asking to borrow a hammer and pack the basics in one easy kit.
A good claw hammer, a small screwdriver set, some wrenches, duct tape (don’t laugh, a good roll of tape or two is essential), an Allen wrench set for lawn furniture, and a couple of sets of pliers can go a long way in cottage country. If you really want to cultivate that handyman cred, bring some cordless power tools and an assortment of screws and nails – worth their weight in gold when the need arises.
Oh, and don’t forget the safety glasses and work gloves. No fun hanging out by the camp fire with a splinter stuck in your thumb.
A hauling cart
The cart is unsung hero of the cottage site! Invest in a good, heavy duty hauling cart and it won’t let you down. Whether you need to move firewood, rocks, an outboard motor for a boat, or whatever else, you’ll be glad you brought a good cart to the cottage to help. Make sure to get one with large all-terrain tires and a good amount of clearance to handle any bumpy paths.
Also, they’re fun for giving the kids a ride when they’re getting restless!
Save time (and your back) with a log splitter
One of the things I look forward to every year is splitting some wood with a good old fashion wood axe. There is just something soothing and therapeutic about the rustic tradition of turning big logs into small logs over and over.
For the first few days anyway! If you plan on being up at the cottage for a long time this summer, or will be having other people staying over who, for some strange reason, don’t enjoy repetitive manual labour, then a log splitter is the way to go. Particularly great if your dad, who’s getting up there in years, will be staying and insists on handling some of the chores. Give him the break he won’t give himself!
A seat and kneeler
Need to work on something low to the ground? Have a bunch of finicky work to do in one sitting? Then you’ll be glad you packed a seat and kneeler pad. Your vacation time is supposed to be spent on rest and relaxation, not the destruction of your joints and lower back. Pack one of these handy, portable, seats and don’t gross out your family with the sound of your cartilage cracking and creaking all weekend.
Supplies for the boat, ATV, or any other toy
Depending on what you like to get up to around the cottage, you’re going to need a few more tools.
Like to get on the water in your motorboat? Be sure to pack jumper cables, a battery terminal puller, and a set of crimpers and strippers in case of any (woefully common) electrical problems. ATV? Better bring along a patch kit, some pliers, and some WD-40 just in case.
It would take too long to get into every possibility, but think about what you have up at the cottage and make sure you are prepared to handle the most common issues!
Bringing this gear up to the cottage might seem like extra work, but when a problem comes up that can only be solved with the right tool, you’ll be glad you made the effort!
And if you need to discuss insurance requirements for your cottage, boat, and other toys, we’re always here to help.