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Meet the Groover

If you’re a first-timer looking for information on the “bathroom situation” or a seasoned professional looking to pass some knowledge along to a hesitant friend or relative we’ve got you covered.

What the Heck is a Groover?

A “Groover” is the rafting term for a portable toilet used on river trips. Back before the comfortable modern Groovers were made, river users used military surplus ammo cans that would leave two grooves on each cheek of your behind when you sat down. We’ve come a long way from those times with our comfortable Selway Fabrication Toilets, but the name stuck!

Group Photo on the Illinois River with the Groover
Group Photo on the Illinois River with the Groover

How Does a Groover Work?

The Groover is a portable toilet we bring with us to camp and take with us after we leave. Our guides set it up in a private location stocked with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a mini trash.

Pro Tip: Always figure out where the Groover is located at camp when there is still daylight left. That way, if the “groover calls” in the middle of the night, you don’t have to search for it in the dark.

It gets taken down before we leave the next morning. You’ll usually hear a loud “LAST CALL GROOOOOVER” as a final call before it’s taken down. If you hear that and you’re thinking about using it, it’s best to drop what you’re doing and head to the Groover line.

Private Groover Spot with a View
Private Groover Spot with a View

What Goes in the Goover?

Only poop, pee (or other bodily fluid), and toilet paper. Please place anything else (including “flushable” wipes) in the mini trash.

How do I Know if the Groover is Occupied?

On the trail to the Groover, there will be a handwash station and a dry bag full of toilet paper. When you go to use the Groover, use your feet to move the bag blocking the trail, this will “close the door” to the Groover. Just make sure to open the door by moving the bag off of the trail and parallel to it so the next person knows that the groover is available.

Hand wash station and “door” on the trail to the groover

When We’re Away From Camp

We highly encourage you to try to use the Groover before it’s packed up, but we understand that isn’t always possible. If you need to poop during the day, let a guide know, and they will set you up with our portable option – the “Wag Bag“.

Peeing on a River Trip

With the high number of river users, camps would start getting smelly if everyone peed on land. So while it may feel weird at first, peeing in the river helps keeps camp clean.

“Dilution is the solution to pollution”

There are a few stand up pee devices that can make peeing in the river a bit easier. Many of our female guides rave about The pStyle.

Feminine Hygiene

If you are a person who menstruates, it is smart to pack hygiene products for the trip, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. Check out this article with tips and tricks to learn more about managing your cycle while on a river trip.


The bathroom is a hard and embarrassing subject. If after reading this you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to chat with us in the office!

Originally Published: | Updated on | Categorized under: Articles

Post Author

Courtney Sweeney

After a good decade running rivers and chasing snow out west, Courtney landed in Baltimore. Odds are you’ll chat with her if you call the NWRC office, she loves using her river knowledge to make awesome trips happen. When not on the phone, you can find her exploring the east coast rivers or dominating at an adult recreational volleyball league.