Photo ©Ralph Hopkins
Camping on Your Grand Canyon River Adventure
Camping in Grand Canyon is likely unlike any other camping experience you’ve ever had! The Canyon’s constant and changing views can’t be beat. The usually mild weather, soft white sand, lack of mosquitoes and gorgeous night skies make camping outside of a tent a must-try, which may be a new experience for you. We’ll share delicious homemade meals enjoyed in the company of your fellow rafters. Although some may say the bathroom facilities leave a bit to be desired, you won’t find a bathroom with better views.
Whether you’re a first-time or experienced camper, here’s what you need to know:
There are always risks associated with outdoor adventures
The unique beauty of the Canyon camping environment can present challenging terrain, local and poisonous creepy crawlers, dangerous river currents, fluctuating river levels, rock slides, flash floods and variable weather conditions. While camping in Grand Canyon, injuries can range from stubbed toes and scrapes to illness, reactions to allergies or insect bites, being struck by or falling against rocks or sharp objects and more. Read more about these realities here! Some camp locations are close to the river, so precautions need to be taken to avoid falling in. While most risks associated with camping are moderate, serious injury—including death—is always a risk in any backcountry camping experience. There’s always a risk that our emergency communication devices won’t function properly or at all because of being in that backcountry environment.
Sometimes simple and easy tasks, like finding the bathroom facilities or filling water bottles after dark can be tough in a camping environment. There are lots of rocks and sand, sand and more sand, which presents its own array of challenges. Expect to carry your own personal gear and camp equipment, and set up your personal camp space. If you are able, assistance in unloading and reloading the rafts is a rewarding team effort.
“Camping can’t be THAT dangerous, can it?!”
There are always risks in the backcountry, but here is what we do to minimize these risks:
Our experienced guides will orient you to potential risks and provide instructions to help alleviate incidents. For example, we’ll explain the importance of always wearing shoes in camp, how to use the handwashing system to reduce the spread of germs, provide guidance on what is available in our first-aid kits and inform you of their locations. You will also receive instruction on proper gear handling and lifting techniques, the location of the camp toilet and bathroom etiquette. Keep your guides informed of any injuries, bites or allergic reactions, no matter how minor. The guides are always available if you have any questions or need assistance.
You also play an essential role in moderating risk. Here’s what you can do:
- Read your pre-trip literature thoroughly
- Notify us of all medical conditions, allergies, medications and physical limitations prior to the trip (and keep us informed as they change)
- While you’re on the water, communicate any injuries, physical concerns, allergic reactions, illness or medical conditions to your guides as they arise
- Pay close attention during your camp orientations
- Be present and aware of your surroundings
- Avoid over-indulging in alcohol
- Use correct hand-washing procedures
- Always wear shoes
- Fill water bottles and locate the camp toilet before dark
- Have a working flashlight/headlamp nearby after dark
- Use proper lifting techniques while carrying cumbersome gear
- Listen and follow the instructions of your guides
- Speak with your physician and/or personal trainer for these camp activities: moving around on uneven terrain, assisting in helping unloading and reloading the rafts each day, as well as the cumulative effects and fatigue of being in the backcountry environment for multiple days.
- Have your physician and/or personal trainer consider these strengths and exercises needed for a Grand Canyon rafting adventure: cardio pulmonary, endurance, balance, foot work and grip strength. Take this information with you when you speak with your physician and/or personal trainer.