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Idaho River Rafting: where’s the bathroom?


One of the first phrases I learned in Spanish as a freshman in High School was: “Donde esta el bano?” Where is the bathroom? Such an important phrase when travelling abroad or in an unfamiliar place. When nature calls, you had better know where you’re headed and in a timely fashion. The same goes for an Idaho river rafting trip. We get a lot of questions from our guests before the trip, what kind of clothes to wear, how big are the dry bags, etc. The question that we are asked the most frequently is: what are the bathrooms like? It’s a very valid concern for many and we want to be sure that guests are as prepared and comfortable as possible before embarking on a 4 day Idaho river rafting trip deep into the back country.

Some of the funniest conversations I’ve had with guests preparing for their first trip with us have been about the bathroom facilities. I have gotten all kinds of questions and painted pictures for people about what the bathroom will be like. Before they ask the question, they’ve often already thought of what kind of facilities will be available. I’ve had a guest assume that we would carry large port-a-potties along with us. We’ve also had people assume that they’d just be told to do ALL their business in the river. Or that there would be flushing toilets at all the camps. If it has to do with bathrooms in the backcountry, we’ve heard it and wanted to write this post to set the record straight.

“Pack it in, pack it out”, “Leave no trace”, “Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints” these are mantras of America’s Rafting Company when it comes to our back-country philosophy. That means the same thing for human waste as it does trash and recycling. If we bring it into the river canyon, then we need to take it back out. America’s Rafting Company supplies the cadillac of river toilets, called the Johnny Partner. We want to provide the best quality up to date and safe gear on the river and in camp, that includes our toilet system! Our Johnny Partners are even equipped with an Oak toilet seat! We take great pride in our toilets. The bathroom facility is always set up with a great view of the river- sometimes it’s one of the best views in camp! Always private and secluded, but open to the air to provide the maximum freshness and breeze. The toilets are set up to provide toilet paper on a toilet paper holder, a.k.a. screw driver, wet wipes are available for hands as well as hand sanitizer and a waste basket. The wishy washy (hand washing station) is in camp with running water and bio-degradable soap. It’s really a plush experience that will leave you pleasantly surprised by the luxury afforded in a back country toilet.

Toilet set up, facing the river in a private cove of hackberry bushes.

Toilet Tent

Toilet set up with a tent to provide just a bit more privacy.

The toilet tanks are sealed up when camp is packed up and taken to the SCAT machine after the trip is over. There are two SCAT machines in the state of Idaho, and they are of course conveniently located near the take out for the river. The machine that we frequent is in Riggins, ID on the way home from the river. It’s essentially a large dishwasher for toilets. It’s a great machine that makes short work of an otherwise hated undesirable job.

So, there you have it. A very detailed answer to a very common question!

Take me to the river…

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