It might still be April, but at Tuck Fest 2018 this past weekend, it was full-on summer. Each year the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina hosts the FREE (that’s right!) event that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle through competitions, exhibitions, demos, and live music.

If you haven’t been to a Tuck Fest it’s a “must-add” to your yearly festival list. Tuck Fest began in 2013 with roughly 14,000 attendees and we’ve watched it grow throughout the years to host over 32,000 people in 2017. Despite the high number of attendees, the festival never feels too crowded. There’s plenty of space at the Whitewater Center for everyone.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center literally has something for everyone no matter your age. Activities this year included trail running, mountain biking, yoga, deep water solo climbing, all things whitewater, clinics, a bicycle stunt show and much much more. This year the festival added a fourth day that featured live music on Thursday evening.

As usual, we were hanging out in the Blueridge Outdoors Magazine tent, demoing gear, giving out awesome swag and making new friends. We had a true basecamp setup in vendor village this year. We wanted to have space for people to come hang out, have a seat in the shade and relax for a while. We nailed it. If you didn’t have a chance to swing by our camp, you missed out. We had some excellent gear raffles on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We gave away huge prizes from Nite Ize, Crazy CreekNational GeographicSea to SummitMountain HouseLowe AlpineOld TownLekiHydraPakUCO Gear, and Wenzel.

Sunday was Earth Day. In the spirit of taking care of the land we love, we hosted an Earth Day Trash Cleanup in the morning before we opened our booth. The USNWC has a beautiful trail system. The good people of Charlotte obviously cherish this place because the trails are trash-free. We had a family with a couple of young boys join us who absolutely loved to clean up trash. We decided to take a nice walk around the water and pick up whatever little trash we could find. No matter how big or small it’s always important to help give back when you can.

The festival vendor community is small and it was nice to have some time to hang out with all of our old friends in the Southeast. We even made some new van friends. Shoutout to Aaron and Tyler with Off Grid Adventure Vans for helping us out when we needed it the most!