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Planning an Adventure
in 7 Easy Steps

The evenings are lighter, and the sun is finally winning the battle over the winter, it just seems to be taking its sweet time this year! Nonetheless, with another lockdown coming to end, there’s more reason than ever to escape into the great outdoors to experience some adventure.

The motivation to spend more time outdoors might be great, but given the year or so we’ve just experienced we’re all likely to be a little rusty when it comes to preparing for an adventurous day out, and perhaps there are even some doing it for the very first time.

Go Ape can often be the start of many great adventures because our activities help build confidence and most people walk away achieving something they weren't sure they would be able to at the beginning. So whether you are contemplating your Go Ape journey or thinking of taking on the 3 Peaks here's our handy 7 step guide to planning an adventurous day out.
A aldy in blue riding a bike donwhill

Step 1: Choosing an Adventure

The aim of the game is to have a fantastic experience outdoors - which is very subjective - so the first step here is to choose an adventure that is the right one for you and the people joining you. That last bit is important, you’ll need to consider what other people in your group will think is a 'fantastic experience'. For example, it’s not impossible to climb Ben Nevis with a 3-year-old, but if it’s their first time up a mountain you may find that you all hate it.

Think about what you want to achieve, if your idea of fun is hiking as many miles as you can, then make that your goal. If it’s more about playing in an outdoor setting, then make space in your day to do that somewhere wild. There’s lots of different things that you can get up to; hire a kayak and explore a river or the coast, camp out somewhere wild, hike into the hills or go looking for wildlife in your local forest.

Choosing a Go Ape Adventure

Zips, zooms or leaps, whether you prefer monkeying around in the treetops, flinging axes or speeding through the forest, we've got you covered. Swing by our Adventures page to discover experiences for everyone older than 1 year up for some forest fun outdoors.

Step 2: Navigation

Lots of  adventures require an element of navigation. You’ll be outdoors, possibly somewhere unfamiliar. The question is, how are you going to know where you are? Also, which direction should you go, how long will it take and what should you expect along the way?

Make sure you bring the kit you need to find your way and know how to use it, whether that’s an OS map & compass, a park map, guidebook or your phone. If you’re relying on electrical equipment for an extended adventure, it’s a good idea to bring an extra battery pack and a non-electrical back up – just in case!

Navigating to Go Ape

What3words is also a fantastic app which has segmented the entire world into 3m x 3m squares and allocated each a unique combination of three words. You can find the What3Words for each Go Ape location on our website, it’s the best way to find us in the woods.

Close up of a man and woman reading a map

Step 3: Protection

Rain, cold, heat, sun, biting insects… We all know that time outdoors in the Great British climate means that, even in summer, having layers to warm up and insulate you from the cold is a good idea. You know your body best - do you run hot or cold? Plan accordingly and know what climate you're adventuring into. It might be warm and sunny in the car park but sat eating lunch in wet clothes having fallen off your paddleboard will be freezing; we can testify to that one! Remember sunscreen and insect repellant too.

Protection on your Go Ape Adventure

On a Go Ape experience you'll need to dress for the weather too, we’ll provide the harness to protect you from a fall, but you’re responsible for your other gear. Bring closed toed and non-heeled shoes to make sure you keep your feet protected and can get those landings just right. Gloves are a good idea to protect your hands throughout the course. You can either bring your own gloves or add some snazzy Go Ape gloves to your basket when you book your session.

Top Tip: A change of clothes is also a good idea to protect you from looking ridiculous when you stop for fuel on the way home covered in woodchip.

Step 4: Rescue

Adventures are all about being ready for fun and challenges but also being prepared in case anything does go wrong.

Think about what you may need in a difficult situation and how you can reach help - if you need it. The best, and worst, thing about wild places can be the lack of phone signal. When in doubt, try to head uphill or out from behind solid obstacles for better signal.

Be prepared for wherever you are going. If you’re kayaking on the water do you know how to self-rescue if you capsize? If you get into a situation whilst climbing, how will you stay warm and visible whilst waiting for rescue?

Again, what3words can be a brilliant resource in outdoor emergency situations. We would also suggest bringing along a survival bag, they are often cheap, easily available and could, quite literally, save your life.

Need a little help?

At Go Ape we have trained instructors patrolling the course and on hand to offer assistance should you need any. On our courses for little monkey’s help will only be a couple of metres away and on our larger Treetop Challenge experiences you are given a whistle to call for help.

A woman in a kayak on a lake with mist rising from the water and a forest in the background

Step 5: Water

Our bodies, including our brains, need to be well hyrated to function properly and that's particularly true on an outdoor adventure.

Wherever you’re going, make sure that: everyone has enough water; that there is access to clean water; or that you have necessary purification filters or tablets.

Especially as we get closer towards summer, people often underestimate how much water they will need and see it is an unnecessary weight in their pack. There's an element of truth in that but preventing yourself from becoming dehydrated takes precedence. You can be savvy by planning in stops to refill your water bottle, but consider if it's safe to drink. If not you'll need purification tablets or a filter, these are relatively cheap and weigh less than carrying an extra bottle.

Thirsty monkeys

At Go Ape we have multiple water stations located around our courses as well as many of our sites being located nearby cafes or visitor centres.

Step 6: Food

When on an outdoor adventure you need to stay energised. Having good wholesome meals can be great but eating little and often is also a good way to maintain a constant energy supply. Proteins and simple carbs, especially, are fantastic fuel food.

On long adventures keep some easily accessible snacks - including some sweets for a quick sugar boost if you need it. Pick food that’s easy to transport but, if you’re new to adventures don’t think you have to survive off hardcore trail food to fit the mould. Bring the food that you enjoy – what’s the point of adventure if you’re not having fun?

Fuel up for Go Ape

We suggest that you fuel up before your Go Ape adventure, but you also don’t want to have a full stomach – remember the zips and Tarzan Swings! Bring a picnic, some snacks or have a plan to refuel when you finish too - you can burn over 600 calories on a Go Ape adventure.

A woman with a blue rucsack sitting ona  rocky ledge looking at a mountain view

Step 7: How Much to Pack

Remember, pack for your adventurous day out…not the end of the world. If you’re only going a short distance or will have your car nearby with spares clothes and equipment efficient packing will be of less concern.

However, if your outdoor adventure is a big one, then there’s a balance to strike between fast and light and making sure you have the right kit. Try and limit your packing but don’t be absolutely brutal unless you really need to be – sometimes fluffy camping socks aren’t too much of an indulgence.

Consider each adventure a learning experience and it won’t be long before you’ve dialled down what you actually need.

What to bring to Go Ape (and what to leave in the car)

At Go Ape we can put small valuables like keys and phones in our cabin lockers but do not store large items such as bags, coolers and children. We suggest that adventurers leave their belongings in the car or just take small rucksacks onto our courses. Take your children with you too!

If anyone wishes to bring their cameras along for the ride, we ask that they are attached to the harnesses or safely secured - Go Ape lanyards can be purchased at our cabins.

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