A Guide to Winter Glamping

A Guide to Winter Glamping

At Otter Pointe, all of our structures are four-season. The Black Lily Cabin is the easiest to maintain when booking in the winter, as the electric baseboards should be enough to keep guests’ toasty during most cold snaps. Still, please be prepared to use the wood stove if you wish to use the additional heat source. Guests have reported that using the wood stove in the cabin and the electric heating creates tropical temperatures previously thought to exist in Florida at this time of year.

Our domes, however, are akin to giant tents. While a spilt AC/heating system and baseboard heaters can keep you comfortable at around -10°C, the wood stove is the real star of geodesic dome winter glamping. If you are thinking about trying out a dome in the winter, here are six things to keep in mind:

1. Know your heat source

As I mentioned, the wood stoves are the primary heat source for Wild Rose and Spring Violet. We have equipped them with heat-powered fans so that as the fire heats up and warms the top of the stove, they will blow the hot air at you with tremendous efficiency. We were hanging out in a dome when it was -15°C outside, and it got to 25°C with the stove alone. The critical thing to remember, though, is that while the heated baseboards will definitely make a noticeable difference in temperature when you walk in from outside when you wake up in the morning in your cozy bed, and the fire has died down, you will feel quite chilly until you get that fire going again. Looking into the winter heat sources before booking your stay is essential to ensure they match your comfort level. For some, the addition of the heated baseboards will make this winter glamping experience better than those they have had before. For others, maybe they should reconsider looking into Black Lily.

2. Review the firewood rules

I know, rules about wood? What’s next, demanding that you catalogue the leaves that fall on the porch? Suppose you are new to camping (or using a fireplace). In that case, it may be surprising that municipalities enact bylaws to control what firewood can be transported, burned, or looked at in their jurisdiction. Several invasive species and diseases can be carried in firewood from place to place. For example, you get some firewood in Toronto, dive up to North Bay, burn a fire, and the next thing you know, tent caterpillars and oak wilt are running rampant. No matter how safe you believe your wood is or how careful you are procuring it, the easiest thing to do is respect the rules. Every resort and campground will have rules outlining what kind of wood can be brought in, from where, and how you can obtain extra wood if needed. For example, at Otter Pointe, we provide free firewood year-round to avoid issues with invasive species in our forest.

Bottom line, trees have a hard enough time existing with climate change, deforestation, and those “romantic gestures” where someone proclaims their love by carving initials in the trunk of an unsuspecting tree (usually quickly followed by a breakup and a poor tree with a tattoo it regrets). Please respect firewood rules so you can enjoy your vacation and keep all of our foliage friends safe.

3. Ask about amenities

For example, the bathroom. I did a lot of research before we began construction of Otter Pointe and most glamping locations with geodomes had these things in common: no electricity, no running water, were often located in a forest or swamp (why?), and had an outhouse for a bathroom. Outhouses can be both wonderful and clean, but they are still unheated shacks outside.

When booking your rental, here are some examples of questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there a toilet inside the structure, or do you have to walk outside to use the bathroom?
  • Is the bathroom heated?
  • How will I cook?
  • If it is too hot or too cold outside, what will it feel like inside my structure?
  • What do I need to bring on my trip to use this rental?


Using our domes as an example, we always recommend guests bring warm socks and slippers as the floors become very cold in the winter. We outfitted our domes with baseboard heating and a split AC/heating system above the bed, making it easier to manage temperature throughout the year. We have hot running (non-potable) water in our kitchen sinks and bathrooms. Our bathrooms are in a separate building from our domes, so guests will have to consider the distance and time of year. Our Wild Rose dome is next to the bathrooms, while Spring Violet is nestled an extra 80 feet away. 

Each structure includes:

– One Queen bed and two Twin beds

– Bedding

-Four-Season Accommodation

– A Keurig and some coffee pods

– Microwave

– Full-sized fridge with freezer

– Convection stovetop and pans

– Toaster

– Kettle and teapot

– Beach towels

– Kitchen sink with hot running lake water (not potable)

– AC, floorboard heaters, and a wood stove. Please note: Only wood we provide can be burned in our wood stoves. We provide the first bundle with the cost of your rental, and additional bundles can be purchased at $30/bundle.

– Access to a private bathroom suite with hot water and a shower, sink, and toilet (water is not potable). Please refer to our “Interactive Map” to see it’s distance from each unit.

– Plates/ cups/ mugs/ cutlery

– A jug of potable drinking water

– For $5/dozen, we can put farm fresh eggs in your fridge for your arrival (subject to availability)

Here are some things that we recommend you bring for your stay:

– Bath towels

– Your favourite drinks/snacks/food

– Warm slippers/socks (the floors get cold)

– Shampoo/ conditioner/ toiletries 

– A book to swap out at our free little library 

– if you have never used a wood stove before, while we provide instructions, you may feel more comfortable if you research how to use them in advance of your stay


4. Bring slippers

The floor inside the domes at Otter Pointe is not (yet) heated. We are planning to move to radiant floor heating, but until that point the floor will be chilly when you walk on it. No amount of R value in the insulation will stop floor from being cold. Even your house, which I am guessing has central heat and a solid foundation, has chilly floors in the winter. We lose heat fastest from the tops of our heads and the bottom of out feet. Wearing warm slippers, big fuzzy socks, and maybe even a hat, will make you feel several degrees warmer even if you don’t change the temperature inside. Hope for an easy, warm stay that requires little effort to be comfortable, plan to keep yourself cozy in case something goes awry.

5. Outdoor Activities

Winter Glamping Activities at Otter Pointe

An exciting addition to Otter Pointe this 2024 is two barrel saunas by the water. These saunas can be rented by the hour on our website when you book in or under the “Resort Amenities” tab on our website. 

If spending some time in a sauna and then taking a quick dip in the lake (if it is safe to do so) isn’t your speed, our resort is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. When the ice is safe, exploring the length of our property and Pimisi Bay is a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.

I will note that because a dam feeds Pimisi Bay and is on the Mattawa River, guests must consult official sources, use good judgment, and implement safety measures if they wish to go on the ice. This past winter, there were times when the ice was deceptively thin and other places where it was 18 inches thick. Always approach ice with caution! As our website genius Carlos always says- no ice is safe ice. 

Downhill Skiing

If you enjoy outdoor activities, we are 13 minutes away from Antoine Mountain, one of the best ski hills in the area. I recommend you check out their website to see if they offer activities that suite your group!

They have several amazing skiing routes, live music every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m., and several events throughout the winter season, including a March Break camp when weather permits. 

Horseback Riding

A mere 8 minutes away is the incredible Von Doeler’s Ranch, open year-round. If you have ever wanted to spend time with some gorgeous animals or try horseback riding- this is the place!


Nature’s Harmony is located 30 minutes from Otter Pointe and offers an array of activities, such as Tubing, skating, and back-country skiing. If you are in the area for a few days, you can definitely fill one of them with activities here!


Otter Pointe is located near the snowmobiling trails near Bonfield and Mattawa. There is a dock into Talon Lake less than 10 minutes from our resort and several Mattawa entrance points 15 minutes from our resort. We offer a shuttle service if you need transportation from where you park your truck/trailer and drop off your snowmobiles. The maps below show the distance between Otter Pointe and the closest trail entrance (starred). The red line shows the local trails.

6. Make a plan

Now that you have the basic rules figured out make an action plan! So, do you want to try out winter glamping? So, you want to wake up to a sunrise glistening over the winter wonderland like tiny diamonds? So, you want to stay steps away from all of the winter activities you love to participate in so much? Great! Be ready for the challenges so you can enjoy your stay. Ask ahead about firewood- where can I get more if I run out? Do I call or text someone? Is there a communal wood location (at Otter Pointe, the wood storage is located outside your unit)? Am I travelling alone or with other people? Who will have to get out of bed to start the fire? Will we set an alarm to ensure we stuff the fire and it doesn’t go out? Do I know how to control the oxygen flow on the stove to maximize how long it will burn? Should I bring some extra cozy blankets? (Probably, you can never have too many blankets). Winter is work. Everything becomes harder and takes longer (such as defrosting your car, paying to heat your house, shovelling your driveway, etc.). Winter can also be an incredible, fun, and beautiful season if you prepare, stay safe, and stay warm. We recommend checking out what winter offers- you may be surprised how much you enjoy it!

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