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How to beat the heat at the Gorge this weekend

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.

Last-Second Essentials

Hydration Backpacks

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).

It may seem expensive this close to an already-expensive festival weekend, but you can’t put a price on your own safety, especially when you’ll be on your feet dancing in 105 degree heat for up to 10-12 hours at a time. Keep in mind, all bags entering the Gorge can be at most 10”x 10”, with the hydration pack completely empty and subject to search at the gates. Below we’ve provided the addresses for both the closest Seattle and Portland REI locations for your convenience.

Seattle: 222 Yale Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, open 9am-9pm all week

Portland: 1405 NW Johnson St Portland, OR 97209, open 10am-9pm all week

Spokane: 1125 N Monroe St, Spokane, WA 99201, open 10am-9am all week

Electrolyte Supplements

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.

Nuun Supplement

Dissolving Nuun tablets into your Camelbak will go a long way toward keeping you hydrated

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. If you’re browsing shelves at a store, look for the essential nutrients that compose electrolytes:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

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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Pop culture junkie, dinosaur enthusiast, and proud Managing Editor. While an avowed basshead, has been known to be ever-so-slightly trance-curious under the right circumstances.

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