Oct 10 2013
We have it on good authority that “summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” But what about autumn? It could be the best of times for trekkers, at least for those lucky souls whose schedule permits them to take holidays when much of the rest of the world is getting back to work. Consider the advantages: The biting flies no longer mount attacks in battalion strength. Campsites are less crowded. The hills are ablaze with fall colors. And days are pleasantly cool. Yet there’s something missing from the glowing portrait that I’ve just painted. Fall is over almost before it’s begun. In some years, it seems that the interval between summer and winter amounts to no more than a long weekend. Clearly, the Bard of Avon got it wrong. If any season’s lease hath too short a date, it’s not summer. It’s fall.
And there’s one more downside to this most ephemeral of seasons. I noted that fall days were pleasantly cool. So far, so good. But nights follow days as, well, night follows day, and autumnal nights are often unpleasantly chill. Once the sun forsakes the northern hemisphere for his annual southern sojourn, he spends less than half of each day shining down on the northern parts of the continent. Temperatures fall fast after the sun drops below the horizon.
All of which means that your summer sleeping bag may not keep you warm through the long, cold autumn nights. You can always buy a warmer bag, of course. But if you’re not a winter camping enthusiast, and if the demands of work and other responsibilities limit you to one or two short outings between Labor Day and Halloween, you may decide that the return on investment simply doesn’t justify the expense.
Must you then resign yourself to shivering through the night? Not at all. Even if your bag is definitely a summer lightweight, there are many ways to sleep warm. With that goal in mind, let’s begin by thinking outside the bag… Read more…