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The Boathouse Blog

Going Pee at Night on the River


Picture this, you just had an incredible day of white water rafting! Not only did you: explore a beautiful wild or scenic river, fill your belly with awesome food to the point of bursting, and laugh with other incredible humans—you also mastered the art of how to “make a call” on the river, aka, go to the bathroom in nature. 

Terminology Backstory: before we dive into some night-time talk, let’s familiarize you with some terms.  

The Groover: the river name for toilet and is complete with a toilet seat. Saying that you ‘need to use the groover’ or you ‘need to groove’ are other ways to say you ‘need to go to the bathroom.’ 

Long-Distance Call: refers to going #2 or pooping (we’re all adults here). 

Local Call: refers to peeing or going #1. Read up on the practice of placing a ‘local call’ while on the river here

Back to our scene—you had an incredible day on the river and are preparing to tuck yourself in for a little star gazing. You just have one question, how do you make a local call at night? Fortunately for you we are well versed in local calls at any hour and this blog post is here to help!

Our previous post discussed the importance of making sure local calls end up in the river to keep beaches and campsites clean. The same principle holds true at night. However, if walking to the river or groover isn’t appealing, you can make a local call in your tent. The way to do this is to have a reusable sealable bottle and a funnel if you need one.

There are many brands and varieties of reusable bottle/funnel combinations with cost ranging between the $8-$15. If you search “unisex urinal” many different options will come up. You will need a reusable option. A couple examples are the AWOKEN unisex potty urinal or the OUTFANDIA Urinal   (pictured right).

This set up makes it easy to complete your local call from the comfort of your own tent. In the morning when you wake up, simply take your set up down to the river to dump and rinse. Due to the sterile nature of urine, a simple daily rinse will keep it fresh. You can do a more thorough wash with soap at the end of the trip. 

Tips for local calls at night:

    • -Practice before you come: Get to know your system and become comfortable with it. Consider practicing in the shower or bathtub to make any potential clean up easier. Try different positions: Standing, kneeling, sitting—find what works best for you and your body.
    • -Reusable is key: Please bring a reusable system that can be emptied into the river. Yes, single use urinal bags and bottles exist but they are not a good fit for a river trip; they smell and trash space on our boats is limited. While we understand using them in other settings, please DO NOT bring single use urinal bags or bottles on the river. 
    • -Tent toilet paper: Consider keeping a small amount of toilet paper in your tent as well as a small zip lock to contain any used toilet paper. In the morning it can be put into the groover or the groover trash. You may also consider a reusable wipe like a “Kula Cloth” that can be rinsed and dried out in the morning. 
    • -Containment: Bring a large zip lock to store your bottle and funnel in while not using them. This will also help keep them separated from the rest of your things in your dry bag. 


Some of you may already have a system for making a local call at night. If you have a system you are comfortable with and use in camping situations- please do that. Again we ask that you use a system that allows you to ultimately empty local calls into the river. 

Similarly some of you may already have a funnel or not need one; in this case all you would need is a bottle with a lid. Make sure that you have a bottle with enough capacity, we suggest 1.5 quart minimum. 


All long distance calls need to be made in the groover. Although long distance calls at night tend to be rare it does happen. Consider walking to the groover during daylight even if you don’t need to use it so that you know where it is and make sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight (included on our PACKLIST). 

We hope this post helps you feel more comfortable about your trip with us. When you are on your trip your guides will go over everything regarding grooving and making calls. Until then we will be watching the snow melt and looking forward to spending time on the river together! 

For more information about our rafting trips, give us a visit at Guided Whitewater Rafting Trips.