When I told people I was going camping, in the middle of February, I got two responses: that’s amazing! OR …oh?
Most people don’t think of winter as a prime time to head to the cabin or pack up for a weekend of camping fun, but honestly, it proved to be a relaxing weekend filled with quiet.
Now, because I am no longer 19 and invincible (I like real beds, thank-you-very-much) or an avid backwoods camper, I didn’t just whip out the tent and head off camping. That’s not quite something I’d be into. My friends and I decided that an Otentik would be an adorable way to spend a winter weekend, and it seemed to be on everyone else’s mind, too. Booked in December, we tried for a January date only to get stuck with the middle-end of February.
Which actually turned out to be an amazing time because it went up to plus 1 that weekend! (celcius. That’s 33 farenheit for all my American friends out there)
If we had gone in January, we would have been stuck in the Otentik for most of the trip as January had some pretty harsh winds and A LOT of -30s (-22 farenheit). Although, a cozy weekend spend reading by a woodstove does sound excellent…
I hadn’t been to Wasagaming for years and I had forgotten how adorable this little summer town is. Super cute shops and restuarants dot the main road, nearly all shut for the winter months, but still giving an aesthetic and ambience of a sleepy little town.
Luckily, a few things are open so if you’re not in the mood for cooking your meals all weekend, or can’t live without your mocha soy latte, you’re in luck.
We headed to Lakehouse for Saturday supper, something I recommend to anyone who wants any meal, be it supper, appys or a hearty breakfast. It was delicious and the whole place is adorable. Fire pits outside to hang out with drinks, a little cafe (where we actually walked on Sunday morning for specialty coffees) off to one corner, and a lounge/restaurant filled with yummy eats and chic decor.
Don’t worry, yoga pants and plaid fit in very well here.
But, back to those adorable Otentiks…
Otentiks come with electricity and a wood stove to keep you warm. Since it was so warm out, we didn’t have to light the wood stove, but just used the electric heat. For those of you looking for a little more rough camping, Moon Lake offers Otentiks without electricity and with straight-up outhouses. Although, I would not recommend an outhouse in -30. Wasagaming has a shower and heated washrooms, which were kept clean. My spare roll of toilet paper was not needed!
The way the Otentiks are set up is perfect for any type of camper, whether this is your first time or you’re fully seasoned. Thinking we would need absolutely everything, I brought along paper, matches and an axe to chop up some wood for the wood stove in the Otentik and for fires to make meals. Apparently, it wasn’t needed (although I would definitely bring the matches or a lighter with you). Plus, extra toilet paper, wet ones and an extension cord in case our electricity outlet was far.
I didn’t need any of that. Okay, so maybe the wet ones were handy when my hands got covered in soot as I poked around in the fire.
The Otentik came complete with fire starters, a wood splitter (so easy, anyone can use it), extra batteries, a lamp, and a handy guide on how to start a fire. Both in a fire pit AND in a wood stove. While we didn’t need the guide, I thought it was really nice and smart of them to include this for some who have either watched their Dads light the fire, but never took mental notes on it, or who have never had to light a fire in their lives. It means you can leave the Youtube off and get down to relaxing in nature and that you won’t be sending up smoke signals for ages.
Plus, they had free wood for you to use.
Cooking outdoors in the winter is a little bit …of a pain in the ass. We were provided with a BBQ that we had initially planned on using, but the fire turned out better.
What we ate:
Bannock and other baked goods for breakfast.
Chicken pot pie, fully cooked and frozen, heated on the fire.
Cooked fried chicken that we ate cold (too lazy to start another fire or the BBQ).
Marshmallows and other delicious fire-side goodies.
One meal bought in town. I would swap out that meal for easy hot dogs and pre-made potato salad if you’re not looking to leave the campsite area or spend any more money.
All stuff that is easy to snack on and put together outside. There is an insulated kitchen that will keep you nice and warm with a big wood stove inside for cooking (think Little House on the Prairie) and a BBQ and cute fire pit with chairs. It’s a shared kitchen, so be prepared to make friends, but for those of you still wanting your bacon and eggs in the morning, you can still cook them on a stove!
Everything is there for you to have a comfortable weekend.
It feels like a tiny cabin
Lots of trails to explore
Skating available in town
Quiet with very few cabin-goers and campers around
Friends of the Forest available to rent things like snowshoes
No sink for washing dishes. Keep them for home, or use a small pot/bowl outside the same as summer with more warm water.
Not secluded campsites. You can see your neighbours because the trees have no leaves. This is also a bit of a pro as being completely alone in the middle of nowhere in winter always makes me feel a bit uneasy.