Grand Canyon camping is simply amazing. Guests and guides alike love camp life for so many reasons; such as the sandy beaches, the incredible sunrises, sunsets, and night skies, relaxing with friends and family, moments of private reflection, hiking opportunities, delicious prepared meals and winding down after a fun adventure filled day. Each trip is different and there is no pre-set camping location itinerary for your trip.
The campsites in Grand Canyon are primitive and usually large beaches with plenty of natural landscape including vegetation and rocks. Most of the camps have spots scattered within the natural landscape that will make a perfect place for you to set up your personal camp area (sleeping bag, tent and personal gear). When you arrive at the stopping point for the day, we encourage everyone to pitch in and help the guides unload the boats. Don’t worry, if you are unable to assist with unloading the boats, we are sure there will be plenty of other people to help.
One of the first things to come off the boats after arriving at camp will be the personal waterproof bags and sleeping pads. You will have three waterproof bags. The first one has the majority of your clothing in it, the second has your sleeping kit (sleeping bag, tarp and sheet) in it and the third one is a smaller bag where you keep your items that you want access to during the day. The tents are stored all together in a larger sized dry bag. After the boats are unloaded, you will set off to make yourself a nest for the evening.
Your guides will demonstrate how to set up our tents on the first night. Most guests choose to sleep out under the stars; it is usually warm and there are few insects. As long as the sky is clear, sleeping under the stars is an incredible experience. The night sky is indescribable.
While you are setting up your personal camping spot, the guides will be setting up the kitchen area and the bathroom or “groover” as we call it. In the kitchen, we will set up a stove-table, a “prep table” and a dish wash line. Several dry-boxes will be situated in the kitchen that contain all the pots, plates and utensils. Located near the kitchen area you will also find the water filtration system. The set-up consists of a .2 micron ceramic depth filter and a bucket of river water awaiting filtering. Water is filtered into clean water containers and then unscented chlorine bleach drops are used in a small quantity of one part per million to kill any remaining virus per the Park Service regulation. In addition to the camp filtration, you will also find a camp trash receptacle and a first aid kit located somewhere in or near the kitchen area. The kitchen is often a fun place to hang out as the cook crew prepares dinner and you may even help if you wish!
The groover will be set in a discreet location from the central camping area. Sometimes, getting to the bathroom requires a small hike navigating through sand, large rocks and elevation. It is usually surrounded by some natural landscaping providing both privacy and scenery. The toilet paper container is positioned at the hand washing station located somewhere along the trail. If the container is gone, this indicates that the bathroom is being used. Because we carry out all garbage (including human waste) the bathroom area includes two “units”, one for liquid waste and one for solid waste, each topped with a toilet seat.
In the morning, you will get up when you hear the “coffee call.” After you walk half dazed in a slumber to the kitchen for your first cup of coffee or tea, you will return to your sleeping area to begin breaking down your camp. Breakfast is usually not far behind the coffee. After breakfast, the guides will begin repacking the boats for another exciting day on the river. They will appreciate your help loading the dry bags and other camp items back on the boats.