No Light, No Light?

La Crosse, WI: Fall is rapidly descending, bringing cooler temperatures, cloudier days, and decreased daylight. Under these conditions, it can sometimes be a struggle to both get the most fun out of the sun and settle into camp early enough to enjoy yourself before dark. While sometimes, lighting is necessary - there's no need to trip over every little thing when heading to the pit toilet at 3am - at other times, it's worth thinking twice about what kind of illumination, and how much of it, you need. Here are some things to think about before you light up the night:

 

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Make A Plan
Do you really need a fire and a lantern and a flashlight and a headlamp - all on at the same time? If the local rules and regulations allow for a fire, use that as your light source for the evening, but keep it small enough to burn out before you sleep. If fires aren't allowed, consider gathering around a lantern, or attaching a headlamp to a translucent bottle of water as an alternative to a lantern. The less light you've got, the more alive the night will seem, and you'll get more of a wilderness feel to your evening activities.

 

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In-Tents Night Light
Once you've ensured your campfire is dead out and settled in for the night, you don't have to go straight to bed. But if you decide to stay up late, do consider your surroundings when deciding on a light source. Are there other people camped nearby? If so, a brighter, one-bulb source like a lantern or a headlamp runs more of a risk of keeping them up with you. Consider a more diffuse light source like Big Agnes's mtnGLO Accessory Kit, to make sure everyone gets the rest they need.

 

Red Means Go
For those late-night calls from nature, consider using a headlamp, so you can "go" hands-free. While you might be tempted to use the white light setting to chase away the things that go bump in the night, it ruins your night vision, can annoy your neighbors, and attracts wayward insects – who swarm directly to your face. The red light setting gives you enough light to see by while keeping the insects at bay your neighbors happy - plus, you'll be able to see the stars before you settle back into your tent.

If we all work together to decrease our nocturnal light pollution, everyone – from wildlife, to bugs, to other visitors – has a better chance of being a happy camper.

We hope you enjoy your evenings, and Enjoy Your World!

--Amanda and Junaid, Team East Central

Leave No Trace's Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawud are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, and Smartwool.