Great little article. I've been doing quick overnighters for some time. They do let me test out gear and ideas -- things that I wouldn't want to have not work when multiple days away from a trailhead. And they let me keep "fresh" so that my setting up camp, breaking down camp, and packing are matters of routine, matters that I don't have to waste time on the first couple of days of a longer hike just to get back into the "groove."
I usually head out Friday after work, hike to a spot I can get to (hopefully) before dark, and set up camp. I'm usually out before noon the next day, although sometimes I use my camps to get a "jump" on a big day hike the next day (I cache my overnight gear and retrieve on the way out. If I'm out before noon, I still have practically a full weekend if I've got social commitments, "honey do" projects, etc.
In many areas, even fairly popular ones, I can camp alone on a Friday night just a mile or two from the trailhead.
It's a great way to spend time with friends: no distractions, no closing times, and nothing to do but "hang out."