There are a couple of things that may be helpful to know about bathing on your Grand Canyon adventure. First, the river is always chilly, about 55-65° Fahrenheit. Your motivation to bathe may be challenged by this small fact, especially in the morning! Second, not every camp has a beach with a good wading area. Some beaches are rocky by the river, some drop off fairly quickly, and some have a fast current flowing by. So how do you do to stay fresh and clean on your multi-day Colorado River trip?
If a bath isn’t an option, baby wipes and face wipes work great for a quick clean-up at night or in the morning.
SIT UP FRONT
Whether it be from the little surprise splashes or the notable rapids, sitting in the front of the raft will be sure to give you a good rinsing off.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING
Jump into every side stream and rinse off in every waterfall, because they are typically crystal clear and not as cold as the Colorado River. However, there is no soap allowed in or near side streams in Grand Canyon, side streams are great for just a rinse to refresh.
Only biodegradable soap (shampoo, body wash, etc) is permitted in the main channel of the Colorado river. We recommend brands such as Dr. Bronner’s, Camp Suds, or Mrs. Meyer’s bar soap.
When a good beach lends itself to bathtime and you are ready to brave the cold, go for it. Many people find the in-and-out method most effective. Jump in quick, jump out, lather up, jump in quick, rinse off, jump out. For people with longer hair, you may want to wash it using your souvenir mug.
Bring something to use as a towel that is thin, lightweight, and fast drying. We recommend a small travel towel or sarong. Sarongs come with the added bonus of converting into a privacy screen to change behind.
A key ingredient to feeling refreshed after a bath is lotion, lotion, lotion. The air is extremely dry and you will want to moisturize every day.
You might be surprised how relatively clean you feel with these tips! Remember you and your fellow rafters are all “in the same boat.”