If you are a novice multi-day raft adventurer, use this Grand Canyon camping guide to learn common terms, definitions and slang used at camp. If you are an old pro when it comes to rafting and camping in the Grand Canyon, do you have anything to add? Regardless of whether you are a first-timer or a repeat participant, review this Grand Canyon camping guide before your next trip.
It is important to consider that individual guides and raft outfitters may have different variations. However, this Grand Canyon camping guide reviews basic terminology you may encounter on a multi-day raft adventure. Consequently, you might like to brush up on your whitewater river terms too.
Ammo Can is a nickname for ammunition can, or ammunition box. They are usually used to store and carry ammunition. No ammunition is needed on a Grand Canyon river trip. However, the waterproof seal and the sturdiness of the container makes it a perfect vessel to carry supplies. In fact, the frames made to sit on top of the rafts are custom built to fit ammo cans. On a trip with Arizona Raft Adventures, you see ammo cans used to carry almost everything!
Bag Line, Bucket Brigade or Fire Line
A line of people create a bag line. Each participant stands in place in the line. Then an item, like a dry bag, is passed from one person to the next until it reaches the destination. A bag line is an efficient and organized way to move gear, dry bags and equipment between the boat and the shore. A bag line unloads a boat in five minutes compared to what takes one person twenty-five minutes.
The camp kitchen is the area at camp where you find the kitchen supplies, food, first aid necessities, drinking water, the library, the can smasher, the D.O., the blaster and the dish wash station. Consequently, there are so many components in the camp kitchen that it get its own blog article. Stay tuned for a future post featuring the Grand Canyon Camp Kitchen.
The groover is a general term describing the bathroom area. Each trip takes several metal containers with watertight lids to haul out solid human waste. The containers are set up each evening at camp with a toilet seat. In the earlier days of river running, the seat was more primitive leaving a “groove” on one’s hind end at the end of a trip to the toilet. Thereby acquiring the name “groover”.
The key is a small container that holds a roll of toilet paper. If the key is by the bathroom’s hand wash station, this signals that the lieu is available. If it is gone, then you can presume the facilities are in use. Try to remember to return the key after you have finished your business!
Each trip packs a small ammo can packed with books serving as a communal library. The collection of books are available for all guests to peruse, borrow, reference or read throughout the duration of the trip. The library consists of Grand Canyon themed books that range in topics like nature, geology, human history and short stories.
Paco pads serve two purposes. First, they pad the boats during the day. Then they come off the boats at camp so that guests have a comfortable pad to use as bedding. The pad is made of a high density foam with a waterproof industrial strength PVC cover. They are a notorious on river trips because they are durable and waterproof.
Every evening, the bathroom area is adorned with a pee bucket next to the groover. The pee bucket is a yellow bucket with a toilet seat, therefore more convenient for women to pee comfortably after dark.
Stick Snake / Punji Sticks
A Grand Canyon camping guide should also contain a few dangers. These two camp dangers are great reasons to wear shoes at all times — even on a beautiful sandy beach. A stick snake is a stick hiding just below the surface of sand, covered ever so slightly. As you shuffle through the sand in your bare feet you can jam your toe into these hidden sticks. A punji stick is a sharp stick or thorn standing upright, maybe hidden in the sand waiting to plunge into the bottom of your bare foot. Help prevent injuries from stick snakes and punji sticks. Wear shoes at all times!
The tent bag is a large waterproof bag where you store all of the tents during the day. The tent bag, or bags, come off the boat in the evening, thereby making the tents available to those who wish to set one up at camp.
The tidal zone is the area of camp where the river water rises over the night hours. If you set your sleeping bag or tent in a tidal zone, you may wake up in the middle of the night with your feet in the river. Sleep above the tidal zone. Look for the water line or ask a guide for advice.
Still More To Learn
While this is is by no means a complete glossary of everything you need to know, it certainly provides a base of common terms used in and around the camp area on a Grand Canyon raft adventure. Do you know what an eddy is? Or how about a tongue? Brush up on your river terms too! Stay tuned for additional dictionaries.