Perfect for the simplest off-grid cabin.

Stovetop popcorn maker

Air poppers have changed the way people make popcorn, but over the past few years, stovetop popcorn has been making a comeback. You can pick these gadgets up in most cooking shops, but Lee Valley Tools offers two stovetop poppers, one perfect for making old fashioned popcorn, and another that will not only make popcorn, but is perfect for whipping up everything from caramel corn to curried corn.



Presso espresso maker

For some, a regular cup of coffee just won’t cut it. Espresso has become a required morning ritual, but what do you do if electricity isn’t an option? There is always the classic Moka pot, though it doesn’t generate the kind of pressure for a true espresso, but one of the latest hand-pump gadgets for making espresso is the Presso. Not only is this a gorgeous device, I’ve gotten first-hand feedback that it pumps a shot that’ll please even the most discerning espresso fanatics,



Trugs are basically perfect for pretty much anything. Store garden tools, toys, firewood, drinks, you name it. And they’re cheap enough that you can buy one in every colour of the rainbow.


Hand-crank radio

No home should be without one, especially if that home is in a remote area. Plus, there’s something about the listening experience of AM radio at the cabin that an iPod just can’t beat. Available in countless styles for any budget at Canadian Tire, Lee Valley Tools, online, or pretty much anywhere that sells outdoor goods.

Cast iron frying pan

By now, most people know that cheap, non-stick pans are no bargain. They only last 2-5 years, and by the end of their usable life, they’re shedding the mysterious non-stick surface into your food. Not so with the classic cast iron frying pan. A better cooking surface you will not find, and with minimal care, they’ll last forever. You can pick one up at pretty much any hardware store or department store.


People generally don’t seek out cabin life to plunk down in front of the TV. They do it because they want to spend more quality time outdoors with their friends and family, so having an arsenal of games to bring out is a great bet. You could be facing rain or shine, so think both indoors and outdoors. Old standbys like Monopoly, Scrabble, chess, and checkers can be picked up anywhere. For outdoor fun, bocce, horseshoes, and even lawn darts can get you moving on a lazy


Comics and old magazines

To keep the young’uns away from their iPods, a good stock of comics is a great addition to any cabin. And chances are, they’ll have to fight the adults for reading rights, so it might be a good idea to pick up some vintage magazines as well. (There’s nothing like leafing through media of yesteryear). Most cities have comic shops worth checking out for deals, but the real gold can be found at vintage shops and used book stores, where you might also be lucky enough to score collections of The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, or vintage Peanuts. Great for a ride in the hammock, or a lazy rainy day.