River rafting trips are an adventure of a lifetime. But when you’re camping out every night (and far from a hotel), how do you stay clean? In this article, we’ll navigate the ins and outs of bathing while on the river and offer some of our top tips for staying clean.
1. Swim at Every Opportunity
The easiest way to stay clean on a river trip is by swimming at each and every opportunity, both during the day and at camp. Aside from the occasional capsize, there are always plenty of tranquil stretches and pools where your guide will give you a chance to swim and refresh along the way. In addition, we’ll often fill our solar shower during the day and let it heat up on top of the boat so you can enjoy a warm shower at camp.
2. Take Advantage of Waterfalls and Hot Springs
Some river trips are blessed with waterfalls along the way, offering a natural shower where you can easily wash in the fresh (albeit cold) water. But it’s hot springs that are the highlight, with the opportunity to soak your weary muscles and bathe while being surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature.
3. Bring Biodegradable Soaps and Wipes
If you’re someone who needs soap to feel clean, then be sure to bring biodegradable soaps that you can use to wash yourself at camp with a bucket of river water. Be aware that we don’t allow people to use biodegradable soaps in the river, so you’ll need to find a secluded spot above the river's high water line to have your “bath”. Alternatively, you can bring moist towelettes or wipes to clean the body areas you’re most concerned about at the end of the day.
4. Invest in Dry Shampoo
Adventurers who are worried about getting greasy hair should pack a dry shampoo, which can be applied without the need for any water. It generally comes in aerosol or powder forms and can be easily applied to your hair, keeping it grease-free until you have the opportunity to take a real shower.
5. Wear Quick-Drying and Antimicrobial Clothing
Wearing quick-drying and antimicrobial clothing will help to prevent the “stink” in the first place by preventing odor-causing bacteria from taking root. They’re also convenient in that you can rinse them at night and they’ll be ready to wear the next morning.
6. Stash Some Ziplock Bags
It’s a good idea to bring a large plastic or ziplock bag where you can store your dirty clothes, keeping them away from your clean items. Smaller ziplock bags are also essential for the disposal of female hygiene products, which can be placed in the trash containers at camp.
7. Carry Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a convenient way of maintaining good hygiene on river trips, whether it’s after going to the bathroom or before eating a meal. A small bottle can easily be slipped into your pocket and will save you a trip to the hand-washing station.