Long holiday weekends are THE perfect time to make memories adventuring with family and friends, especially during the summer. But everyone has that same idea which means more crowds, more accidents and even sometimes less enjoyment during your adventure. We have complied our TOP 5 TIPS to help you fully enjoy this holiday weekend whether you are kayaking, hiking, running, biking and/or camping.
Number One: Location, Location, Location.
We all have our favorite trail, lake or river and those are usually the ones that everyone flocks too because they are repeatedly shared on social media. This is the perfect time to explore a different trail in Letchworth, a different lake/river/stream for kayaking, a different campsite and even a different road for running/biking. Need suggestions? Let us know!
Number Two: Be Prepared- Think 10 essentials.
Exploring a new location requires a different mindset. Be sure you research the park, trail, lake etc so you are fully aware of all rules and the area you will be adventuring in. People often become lost and/or injured while exploring new areas. While these two items can not be FULLY prevented – being prepared will greatly reduce the likelihood of it happening. Remember – it’s better to carry extra items and not need them then to need water, food, whistle etc. Not sure what to bring? Double check the 10 essentials list:
Navigation (map & compass) do NOT rely on cellphone. You may not have reception.
Sun and Bug protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray)
Insulation (extra clothing, emergency blanket)
Illumination (such as headlamp/flashlight) especially at sunrise/sunset
First-aid supplies (wilderness kits are best)
Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles/striker)
Repair kit and tools (patches for bikes, bilge pump for kayaks)
Nutrition (extra food – should be kept in air tight container and temperatures don't affect it)
Hydration (extra water – even filtration ability)
Emergency shelter (more for hiking/kayaking) be able to protect yourself from the elements if you get lost or caught in rain/storm (tent, tarp, emergency blanket). Your planning should have included an area of where it’s best to shelter
Number Three: Be Aware of Time, Weather and Others.
· While you have made the decision to explore a new location, that doesn’t mean others have. This means you may be running, biking or kayaking in an area/route that others are not used to seeing people in. BE AWARE of your surroundings. If you are running or biking, be sure you are listening and looking at all times – and be sure you are NOT wearing headphones. You will see cars, bikes and other people before they see you.
· The time of day is critical during a holiday weekend. Most lakes begin to get busy with boaters, water skiers and tubers around 9am until sunset. If you are kayaking (or even paddle boarding) it is best to go right at sunrise (or a little after) and then about an hour before sunset. We also recommend staying closer to the banks/shores (boaters aren’t necessarily looking for kayakers who sit lower in the water) , traveling in small groups (at least three), and ensuring you are following all the safety precautions (see number five). Time is also CRUCIAL for other adventures mainly due to the heat and humidity. Extended time being physically active in high heat/high humidity can lead to serious health issues (see number four).
· You do NOT need to be a weather person but you do NEED to know what the weather conditions are when you plan to partake in your adventure. Weather data to consider – wind. Wind is crucial for all adventures but especially kayaking. It doesn’t take more than a 10-15 mph wind to cause unsafe paddling conditions. Other data to be aware of – humidity, heat index (the ‘feels like’ temperature) and of course sunrise and sunset times. All of these contribute to your overall body temperature and body’s ability to be physically active (see number five)
Number Four: Know YOUR skill level/expertise
If you have continued to hike, kayak, run, and/or bike the same route/location for an extended period of time, the new location you have chosen for this weekend may have unexpected terrain/issues. If you have followed tips 1-3 then you have properly planned, studied and prepared for the different route. While a new trail, path, road etc is exciting we CAN not stress enough the importance of knowing YOUR skill level/ability. For example, if you have only hiked from Archery Field to Big Ben in Letchworth – your hiking adventure this weekend should be something similar in length and elevation. If you have only kayaked a handful of times on small lakes on calm days, you are kayaking a bigger lake this weekend– e.g. Cayuga – is not recommended. Even on a calm, minimal wind day, bigger lakes will naturally have waves – especially this weekend – due to all the boats. We HIGHLY recommend exploring lakes that do not allow high powered motorized boats (Hemlock is one of them). Similarly, if you have only run/biked on flat roads – switching to a hillier, even trail route is not recommended.
Number Five: Safety First & Always!
While we recommend always following the ten essentials – especially for hiking and kayaking - there are actually more items to consider to increase your safety while adventuring EVERYDAY not just on long holiday weekends.
· Make a plan, tell someone and leave it. Even if you and your entire family or friends are hiking, kayaking, biking etc together, someone who is NOT with you should know your itinerary. The two MOST important items on that plan/to tell people – where you are going and what time you expect to return. It seems simple and maybe even silly since you’re an adult – but a majority of people who are lost/injured are located because they had left a plan. This meant their relative/friend could notify authorizes within the crucial window for rescues.
· Know and use ALL required safety gear. This relates mostly to kayaking/paddle boarding because USCG approved life vests MUST be worn when participating in those two activities, BUT wearing a bike helmet greatly increases your chance of survival when biking.
· Listen to your body. If you start to feel weak, extremely hot, stop sweating or begin to cramp in your legs – your body is telling you to STOP. While there are MANY other symptoms and medical conditions and we are NOT providing medical advice – YOUR BODY will tell you when you are doing too much. We can NOT recommend enough to not only KNOW the signs/symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and yes even hypothermia – but be able to RECOGNIZE them in not only yourself but in others and know what to do. Remember – you may NOT have cell reception.
Yes, we completely agree this holiday weekend is perfect for kayaking, hiking, running, biking or just camping, however it is also one of the busiest weekends of the year. We hope you will make amazing memories and fully enjoy every moment because you have read this blog. If you take away anything from this specific blog, we hope it is that Proper Planning and Preparation decrease injuries/accidents but more so Proper Planning and Preparation increase your adventure enjoyment this weekend.
Are you looking for more information or assistance on any of these tips? Be sure to reach out to us on our website or through email --> firstname.lastname@example.org
We live here.
We adventure here.
We are here for YOU!
Have a great weekend!
Endlessly Outdoors Company