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My down sleeping bag was a 17-ounce Western Mountaineering HighLite. It was first time I would use it below freezing (It hit 25 degrees fahrenheit that night). Fortunately, it wasn't too windy.
At edge of forest, behind dunes, I set up my small tarp. I piled pine needles and dead bracken ferns under it, finishing just as it became dark. This made a warm mattress, and I slept well, listening to coyotes, and to waves pushing ice around in lake.
In morning I was happy to see only a dusting of snow. My one-pound sleeping bag had been warmer than my three-pounder - and I thought that was light. I poured alcohol in cut-off bottom of a pepsi can (my 1/2-ounce backpacking stove) and made tea. After some crackers I was soon hiking in my mostly-dry shoes, along Lake Michigan shoreline.
Backpacking Lessons Learned
I ended my trip that afternoon, with a hike to village of Empire, seven miles away. I was mostly satisfied. Only two problems: My tarp was too small, and alcohol I brought was wrong type.
After backpacking in Michigan for years, I know it well. I know where to find dead grass and bracken ferns, for example, to make a warm mattress in a few minutes. Knowledge, obviously, can be as valuable as expensive backpacking gear.
Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of ultralight backpacking. His advice and stories can be found at http://www.TheBackpackingSite.com