That means, make your final camping plans. Yes, you can camp out in the winter, but it's tough and you need extreme gear. Camping in the fall is still fun - provided you are prepared. One thing you desperately need no matter what the season, is a sleeping pad. I have always packed my yoga mats to provide cushion from the Earth, but they aren't perfect. My really fat yoga mat is pretty good, but the thinner ones are almost worthless. They do provide a buffer though, and this is important. The Earth will suck the heat right out of your body and even in the middle of summer you will freeze.
It's better to get an actual mat. This one from Survival Hax is self-inflating. It rolls up nice and small (yes!!) and provides not only a cushion (better than a yoga mat) and protection from the heat loss. I highly recommend it.
This company makes a lot of stellar outdoor/prepping gear. You can check out more of their products here. I am pretty interested in their sweet mummy bag (those babies can keep you warm even in our frigid weather!)
If you are heading out, be prepared! And that includes starting fires. Campfires are awesome, and fires for cooking/keeping warm are great too! But you have to be able to start it! Use dry kindling and remember not to suffocate the fire. If you live in wind tunnel like I do, then also be aware of how the wind will affect your flames. For us, it's sometimes difficult to even get a fire going.
That's why we gave this butane torch a go. It's so cute - almost looks like a gun - and it's really functional. I LOVE that you can see how much butane is left. We've had lighters that stopped functioning but you couldn't tell if it was out of gas or what was wrong with it. This one is easy to tell.
It can easily fit in your pocket, your purse, or in your jacket. Very nice addition to your camping supplies.
It's also time to rake up leaves. Please do not throw your leaves in the garbage or even have them hauled away by a composter. Your trees need those leaves. If you can, give them back to the trees! Or...compost them yourself. It's easy. Just leave them in a pile or put them inside plastic bags. Within a year they will break down into almost nothing, but that nothing is extremely valuable for plant and microbe life. You'll be doing your lawn a huge favor by saving them.
Once you've gathered up your harvest, take an inventory of all that went well. Write yourself a note for next spring. I always dig my notes out in the middle of winter (when I'm dreaming of spring) and start working on the next year's garden plans. You'll be glad you took notes.
Then be sure to empty out your rain barrels, close off your outdoor water pipes, bring all your tools and supplies in for winter storage. And it's time to take care of some often overlooked items.
Leather. Do you have leather boots, couches, jackets, seats in your car? Leather is skin and winter is hard on skin. Condition your own skin well as we head into fall/winter, but also your leather items.
quality conditioner, once before winter kicks in, during winter as needed, and then again once winter is over. Your leather will look nicer and last a lot longer. It doesn't have to get ripped up and torn.
And last but not least - grab an easy recipe for homemade hot cocoa and fill up a few jars of mix. Then reward your kids with a hot steamy cup of cocoa (with whipped cream - the best!) when they come in from playing in the snow or shoveling.
Have a great fall/winter!
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