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October 2011

Fall Hiking: In Camp

Learn how to pick the perfect campground and keep your food, and yourself, toasty in dipping temps.
fall hiking in camp 445x260Illustration by Supercorn

Pick the Perfect Campsite
(A) Pitch your tent above low-lying areas like meadows, ravines, and riverbanks where cold, damp air settles. Temps can be as much as 25°F warmer just 250 feet above a nighttime inversion layer. Expect all-around colder temps when skies are clear; cloudless nights allow the day’s ground-level heat to escape.
(B) Avoid strong winds. Signs of frequent, hard blows include trees with foliage concentrated on one side, bent or broken branches, and downed trunks facing one direction. Avoid summits and ridgelines where winds change and swirl, and narrow spots, like valley entrances and passes, where they accelerate rapidly.
(C) Take advantage of natural windbreaks by pitching your tent behind stands of trees, rock walls, and boulders, and on leeward slopes.
(D) Pick a site with an eastern exposure to catch the early-morning sunlight, and/or a southern exposure so that the sun hits your tent for more of the day.

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