The Cottage Campfire Checklist

Everything you need to get out there and enjoy nature at night

It’s officially cottage season and arguably the best part of the day is when everyone gathers around a roaring fire to relax and take in the day before doing it all again in the morning. In Ontario however, many cottages have fire pits close to water and that means pretty far from our actual cottages because of stupid geology (thanks for nothing, Canadian Shield!). Here are the things you need to have on hand before you hold your first flame to your mini-log cabin or teepee style fire set up. I just saved you a trip back up those stairs; you’re welcome.


S’mores are great, but don’t neglect savoury options when it comes to fire-roasted snacks. Hot dogs, sausages, veggie skewers, savoury s’mores with cheese subbed-in for the marshmallows will do just fine. Whatever you choose, get creative! Just remember: you want something you can eat with no cutlery. There’s no place for cutlery at the campfire.

(Photo by vastateparksstaff via Flickr)



This might be a little controversial but I don’t mean your acoustic guitar or ukulele. Unless you’re really good, I’d prefer not to hear Wonderwall again… please. I prefer some wireless speakers and a series of playlists to suit whatever mood you’re in. Make sure to let everyone play DJ for a while and don’t be a music hog. If not everyone’s into the same music, a good rule is 3 songs per person and keep rotating around the fire. If you really prefer acoustic then grab your axe and knock yourself out. Again, just a suggestion, you do you.


Do I really need to explain this one? YOU’RE HAVING A DANG FIRE!!!

(Photo by Instructables)



A large cooler makes a great seat and also keeps your beers/wine/sodas icy cold. This is some rookie shit but always buy cans when possible. They can be crushed to transport to recycling facilities and you won’t risk stepping on broken glass when Greg gets too loaded and says he can “do thish rilly kewl trick, but you juss gotta watch an pay attenshun” and ends up going ass-over tea-kettle off a muskoka chair, smashing his bottle of Wildcat in the process.


You’re going to have to pee at some point, right? This will also help you weave your way back to the cabin if you’ve had a few too many Wildcats.


The men at the fire have a built-in system for extinguishing the fire and for that they will be heroes. But, unless there are an army of who’ve all respectively drank 3 litres of beer, you’ll need some water from the lake/river to put the coals out. Remember, you can never use too much water on the coals. Get Greg to do it, he owes you one for that stupid-ass move on the muskoka chair.

(Main photo by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. via Flickr)