Rafting trips are usually incredibly fun, but if there is one thing that many ladies do not look forward to is to spend weeks without a proper bathroom. The nature of the trip itself makes this provision nearly difficult to provide. For one thing, a group of people is practically spending time in a virtually open space together.
Secondly, rafting trips are done across the wild countryside with little or no access to civilization except through water in most cases. This situation has been a major concern for women wishing to go rafting. Fortunately, there are ways to observe personal hygiene in relatively private and sanitary conditions. This article shows why feminine hygiene is such a challenge and how you can make the most out of your situation.
The issue of feminine hygiene ranks among the top questions asked on many rafting outfitters' websites and calls, so you are not alone in your concerns. While most outfitters and tour guides will make provisions for safe and moveable disposal of pee and poop, these methods may not often appeal to you as a female who will probably require a great deal more privacy.
Additionally, females tend to be more susceptible to infections that result from unsanitary provisions. They have to worry more about microbial attacks than their male counterparts. They often need more than just regular advice to do their business in the open like other hardened travelers.
The most basic hygienic need you ever face is using the bathroom, whether you are pooping or peeing. There are several ways you can go about this in the Grand Canyon:
As much as you'd like to find a lonely spot to do your business during trips, this may not always be possible. It gets harder in the wide, flat countryside where shades and trees are a scarcity. Guides usually advise that all human waste (i.e., pee and poop) go directly into the river. The flowing water helps neutralize human waste
Still, you may be uncomfortable peeing in front of the group. A good way to go about it is by taking advantage of when tour guides make a pit stop. Simply head to a discreet location (but not too much) to pee into the river. If you're pee-shy, pull off your shorts and wade into the river a little to pee. This could take a while if the water is cold.
If there's an emergency and you have to go in between stops, alert the guide so he can find a good spot to stop. Wearing two-piece swimsuits or a sports bra with quick-drying underwear to make it easier to pee standing in the Colorado river. Quick-drying under wear also reduces the risk of bacterial infection.
Another means is to pee while on a river trip using a Pee Bucket. Although, this is more useful during camp hours than during trips. Pee buckets are portable containers that you can sit on and pass out pee while in camp. After you're done, dispose of the pee directly in the river so it can flow downstream and leave the camp fresh for others.
Pooping during rafting trips is often more scheduled than peeing sessions. You could choose to poop early in the morning before going rafting, or you can do so after a day's rafting. Your guides usually provide a moveable toilet system called The Groover.
The Groover is a toilet-to-go system usually placed some distance away from the camp and usually comes with a toilet seat and personal disposal. Once used, dispose of the contents of the bag into the river so it can flow downstream. Most guides will provide a toilet key to prevent people from running into each other while they use the toilet; don't use the Groover without it to avoid embarrassment.
Some competent outfitters will also provide toilet paper, disinfectant spray, a hand washing station, and hand sanitizer. The hand washing unit is often also located near the Groover. To be safe, however, you might want to go with your toiletries to avoid being stranded in the wilderness.
Another source of concern during rafting trips is how to take care of your menstrual flow during the journey. Ideally, you'd want to time your cycle before embarking on the journey. However, if this isn't possible, you still have several options:
Using sanitary Pads is not the best way to take care of your period if you're on a water rafting trip as you're bound to get wet a lot and this could mess with the pads. Using a tampon and a baby wipe are often better options. Also keep a Go with Flow Pack, disposable bags, and other supplies handy, that way you can change during the day, wrap the used tampons with wet wipes and discreetly dispose of them in the boat trash system or camp toilet.
A diva cup is a small handy device that collects menstrual flow rather than absorbs it. It is a reusable menstrual cup and very popular among female tour guides because it's easy to rinse off using your water bottle of river water during trips. Plus, it can offer up to twelve hours of leak-free protection, which is roughly the duration for most rafting trips.
However, note that they may not be everybody's cup of tea. Some women have complained about cleaning it up after use is an experience they would rather do without. Ensure to test them out before embarking on your journey. If you're uncomfortable with the whole experience, it might be best to stick with what you already know.
Hairs often become a minor issue after spending some time on a rafting trip. Most women find that it is often easier to braid their hair instead of spending hours combing through a matted mess. But you can bring along some shampoo and a hairbrush if you prefer to leave it flowing free. Again, there is no hard and fast rule for this.
There is no hard and fast rule to using toiletries during your rafting trip. Ultimately, that would be up to you. Most ladies are okay with the minimalist approach and can go the entire trip with nothing more than the basics. Other women will cringe with hurry at the very thought of going through the whole trip without some essentials.
Whatever you decide, ensure you come with your supply as there is only so much the rafting outfitters and tour guides can provide. Most guides will provide solar showers and makeshift toilets, but they may not have much time for providing fancy toiletries like moisturizers.
Know your body and know the items you'll need. Some ladies bring along skin moisturizers because their skin tends to crack up a lot in the desert environment while others carry along lip balms for their lips. You can bring along a facial cleanser, deodorant, or any other item you know you can't live without.
It is one thing to know the basic hygiene process during camping and rafting sessions. Here are some additional tips that would make it even easier for you to apply the practices while you're in camp:
It can be hard to locate the toilet in the dark, so ensure you locate the toilet before dark.
Get yourself on a pooping schedule to reduce the chances of an emergency while rafting. If you do have an emergency, don't wait for pit stops, inform the guide.
Do what you can to avoid Rush hour. Rush hours to the toilet are usually right after breakfast or just before rafting sessions. Ensure your schedule is not during this period.
Don't be shy. Pooping and Peeing aren't a big deal so if you have an emergency while rafting, speak up. If you need directions to the toilet, ask the guide and they will tell you what to do.
Feminine hygiene is a source of concern for many women when they consider going rafting. Fortunately, you can still several arrangements you can make to ensure that you're comfortable with what when handling your business. Make use of provisions such as the Groover and the pee bucket. Carry personal effects such as tampons and other toiletries with you on the trip and ensure that you have the right strategy at camp and on rafting sessions. If you use some of these methods, you will have an enjoyable and comfortable trip.