Many of our favorite weekend festival experiences take place in regions where the sun shines and summer reigns supreme. The Above and Beyond Weekender is of course no exception to this, being held at the Gorge Amphitheater in what amounts to the desert of Eastern Washington. This year, like many, we’re going to really understand what it is to experience a weekend of music in a desert climate. Forecasts for the weekend currently have temperatures topping out at 97 degrees beginning Friday, before “cooling down” to 86 and 88 degrees for Saturday and Sunday respectively.
In the wake of these forecasts, there’s a good chance you’ve been seeing (or giving) warnings to start hydrating now as a safety measure for the coming weekend. This of course is a great idea, but there are a lot more ways to ensure you stay on your feet and out of the medical tent. In the spirit of this, we’re providing you with a guide chock full of things you can do to prepare, along with what you’ll need once you arrive at the Gorge. Anyone who’s been to the Gorge in past years can attest, dry desert heat requires a whole lot of preparation and careful planning.
First and foremost, you absolutely need a hydration backpack. If you don’t have one now, there’s no need to sweat; in Seattle, Portland, and Spokane, you can drop by your local REI and pick one up in person. In terms of price-range, be prepared to drop anywhere from $80-150 on both the backpack and hydration pack (usually sold separately).
If you opt for a more budget-friendly backpack off of Amazon or a rave-wear website, be sure to test the seal once or twice. Although the cold water might feel refreshing, it’ll feel like much more of a pain if it’s leaking onto your wallet/keys/phone/etc.
The higher-end options may seem expensive, but you can’t put a price on your own safety, especially when you’ll be on your feet sometimes dancing in 105 degree heat for up to 10-12 hours at a time.
It’s critical to pay attention to the bag policy at the Gorge, which has changed in the last few years, and is admittedly confusing. Based on what we can infer and on previous experience, the Gorge has implemented a Clear Bag Policy. This means that only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC tote bags no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ (or small clutch bags) will be allowed into the venue. If you are bringing a hydration backpack that is not clear, there is a two pocket maximum and it must fit within the size restriction above. The bag must be completely empty upon entry to the venue and is still subject to search at the campgrounds with the rest of your car’s belongings.
Yes, drinking water is important. But over the course of a day at the Gorge, you’ll need to do far more than simply refilling at the water station. Dancing in the heat depletes your body’s electrolytes, as you lose the nutrients responsible for keeping your body hydrated and your muscles functional. To combat this, you’ll need some sort of electrolyte supplement to replenish these lost nutrients regularly.
Most of the time, something as simple as mixing Emergen-C into the water in your hydration pack can go a long way, but there are other products out there that would do the job just as well if not better. Many other options have hit the market in the past few years and become popular, including Liquid IV, Drip Drop, and our fan favorite, Pedialyte. If you’re browsing shelves at a store, look for the essential nutrients that compose electrolytes:
For the best results, we’d recommend buying dissolvable Nuun tablets at your local running store (addresses provided below, be sure to buy “Nuun Active” as there are different variations). As long as they remain factory-sealed at the gates and in plain sight, you shouldn’t encounter any problems getting them into the Gorge.
Measured up against Emergen-C, they’re a little more expensive, but are far more effective, given that they contain a full electrolyte profile; Emergen-C is limited to smaller quantities of each essential nutrient and is more used for the immune system and basic vitamin replenishment. It’s also worth noting that in certain people, large quantities of Vitamin-C can act as a diuretic and cause cramps, making Nuun (or Nuun equivalents) your best bet by far.
Where to purchase Nuun Tablets:
Seattle: Fleet Feet, 911 East Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98122
Portland: Fleet Feet, 2258 NW Raleigh St, Portland, OR 97210
Spokane: Fleet Feet, 1303 N Washington St, Spokane, WA 99201
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