4 Substitutes For A Shower On A Multi-Day River Trip

Jul 2, 2012

4 Substitutes For A Shower On A Multi-Day River Trip

Cleanliness is not always next to guide-liness, to paraphrase the expression.

Not all river guides are dirty hippies, of course, but it is difficult to stay minty-fresh when you’re working hard in the sun, so far from real powder-room facilities.

This does not mean, however, that you will necessarily suffer the same hygienically challenged fate.

Actually, you’ll be able to stay quite clean on a multi-day river trip. Just try some of this:

 

Bathe in the river.

This is the obvious answer and, on most rivers, you can do this, with biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap. Sure, the temperature might be brisk, and you might be uncomfortable with the thought of skinny-dipping, but I guarantee you’ll find this exhilarating enough that you’ll miss it once in a while after you’re off the river. Where we can’t bathe in the river, we’ll bring a bucket up on shore. Or, we’ll fill up the solar shower and let it bake up on top of the boat during the day.

 

Discover the wonders of wet wipes.

If you can’t bathe in the river, or you’re just not comfortable doing it, a moist towelette is an awesome thing. You’ll quickly figure out which body areas are critical for you to feel not-grimy-great. Even better, a bathing wipe design for just these sorts of scenarios.

 

Join the swim team.Waterfall Shower Stall

Guides don’t actually recommend falling out of the boat, particularly in rapids, but it never fails to wipe the sunscreen from your skin and get the sand out of your hair. Truth be told, there’s plenty of flat water and pools between the fun stuff, so get out of the boat and swim.

 

Grin (and grit) and bear it.

Our ancestors seemed to survive just fine without a daily dousing, and you can, too. Every river trip makes sure sanitary practices are observed — you’ll have washing stations in camp and hand sanitizer will flow like champagne — and that will keep you pretty clean. On Western rivers, you’d be surprised how not-so-dirty you actually feel, thanks to the extremely low humidity.

 

Do you have any tricks of your own for staying clean in the wilderness? Your fellow travelers would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Reid Williams
Reid has guided whitewater and taught swiftwater rescue in the U.S. and Central America on 13 different rivers, after brief turns as a chemistry teacher and a newspaper journalist. These days, he tries to turn people on to active, outdoor lifestyles as an executive at WELD.