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Number Two with a Good Bathroom View

By Marie • August 1, 2023

One of the top questions we get about our Colorado River Trips is, “What is the deal with the bathroom?” We’ve fielded this question many times, so we thought we would share some tips to help put your mind at ease about our toilet system.

Let’s start with the basics.

1. Number One – On and Off the Boat

Due to the arid climate, all urine must go directly into the river. When we’re pulled over, that means squatting/standing near the river’s edge or wading in.

If you happen to be on a motor rig while it’s moving, you can go to the motor well at the rear of the raft. It’s hard to explain, but this part of the raft is significantly lower than the rest of the boat, so it will provide a greater amount of privacy. For the ladies, there are a couple of places to hold on while squatting. Your guides will give you additional tips once you’re on the river. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can always ask for a pit stop. Odds are if you have to go, others do too.

At night, we provide handy pee buckets so you don’t have to find your way to the river in the dark. In the morning, dump your pee buckets directly into the river. The guides will show you how to sanitize them after use.

Remember, you never want to quit drinking water to avoid peeing. If your pee is near clear, you’re doing well. If the color is dark yellow, you need to catch up with your hydration.

2. Number Two

The toilet system will be the first thing set up each night and the last thing taken down in the morning. It is set up somewhere secluded and usually with a spectacular view. Additional toilet paper and a small trash can are within arm’s reach.

Basically, the toilet is just like any other toilet only it doesn’t flush. It is often referred to as “the groover” and is a metal vault with a toilet seat. The vault is replaced by a fresh one every day (or every other day on an oar trip).

If you do have to poop during the day, let the guides know and they’ll give you the toilet-to-go system (personal waste bag). This system is a user-friendly way to contain and neutralize human waste. It has all you need, including toilet paper and an antiseptic towelette. However, it is best to get on a schedule and do your business while in camp, where things are much more comfortable.

river toilet

3. Hand Washing

Because we’re like a big, close family throughout the river trip, keeping clean is an important factor in staying healthy. We’ll set up a hand wash system that pumps water from one bucket to the next so you can wash your hands before and after using the toilet and before eating.

4. General Bathroom Tips

  • Find out where the toilet is set up BEFORE dark! It can be hard to find in the dark if you don’t have a general idea of where it is.
  • Try to get yourself on a schedule – nighttime, after coffee, whatever it may be during camp hours. Work on that routine even before the rafting trip.
  • DO NOT HOLD IT! Whatever you do, do not try to go the whole trip without using the toilet. Or try to make it to the next stop when you really have to go. Just ask the guide for a pit stop.
  • Enjoy the view. When will you ever again have such an awesome view from a bathroom?!
  • Avoid rush hour, if possible, by using the restroom any time other than right after breakfast and before jumping on the rafts for the day.
  • Always make sure you know where your flashlight is (in relation to your bed) so you can get it easily to take with you to the restroom at night.
  • Don’t be shy! Everybody poops. Ask questions if you have them. Your guides are used to these types of questions.
  • For additional tips for the ladies, please check out our feminine hygiene blog.


If you have any further questions or concerns about using our backcountry bathroom, feel free to contact our office.


No question too small!

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