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How do you wash and stay clean on the river? What about ablution facilities?

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

So often people want to know how they are supposed to wash themselves, so as to stay clean while on a rafting trip, so let's look at various scenarios.

At the basecamp

There are male and female shower and ablution facilities at the basecamp, so you are able to wash there the day you arrive, as well as the day you return from the river, and on the final day when you depart for home.

On the river

During the rafting trip, there's a different camping spot every day. These camping spots do not have showers or ablution facilities, so you will need to improvise a little! There are plenty of private, secluded areas on the river where you can undress and wash yourself in the river. It might feel weird the first time, but you will quickly get used to it and may even enjoy the experience! The water is quite warm during the months of October-May, but it does cool down from June-August in particular. Just in case you were wondering, the water is relatively clean, and not muddy at all! You are able to buy biodegradeable soap and shampoo in pharmacies and certain outdoor camping type stores (like the Outdoor Warehouse), so please look out for these products and use them in the river instead of normal soaps and shampoos. You should bring along a facecloth, towel and your toileteries to wash and stay clean during the trip. Keep in mind that you can also swim on trips during breaks, or at the camp sites. The river is your 'bath tub' for 2 days and you will soon get used to it, so don't stress about not having shower facilities. There is a special 'outdoor' shower that you can buy too. It is basically a black bladder with a downpipe and tap. If you fill it, it warms up on the raft during the day, then you can suspend it in a tree, open the tap, and have a 2 minute warm shower. Either way, you are able to wash and stay clean.

Ablution while on the river

There are no toilets along the river, so when the need arises to 'go to the toilet' you take one of the shovels and you find a private area away from the main camping area in amongst the bushes, or behind a tree. Once you locate an appropriate, private area, dig a hole, do your business, wipe yourself and then cover the hole with sand, make a mound, and finally put a long, straight stick in the mound to warn others. I know it's a lot more difficult for females to get used to this practice than males, therefore Adventure Rafting has a special elevated toilet seat for females to use, so please ask one of the guides to give you the seat to place over the hole you have dug. Once you are finished, follow the same process by covering everything over, make a mound, and put a long stick in the middle of the mound.

Camping outdoors has many pros and a few cons, but washing and staying clean is always a concern for everyone, as is going to the 'toilet'! I hope this article has been useful to you and alleviated some of the anxiety many rafters, in particular our lovely lady rafters, who tend to ponder over these things before embarking on this type of adventure.

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