I am glad to see, from Webster 1913's writeup below, that this word has such a long history. But if in general a groover is "One who or that which grooves", then in specific, it is:

That Which Grooves One's Bottom

In river rafting terminology, a "groover" is a rocket box which serves as a latrine. The name comes from the grooves you get on your thighs and buttocks when you sit on the thin metal rim of the box to make your deposit. (Nowadays, most people pack a toilet seat for increased comfort, but the name remains.) Thus, on a river trip you go to the groover to groove.
NOTE: DON'T PEE IN THE GROOVER! Your guide will explain the details, but basically the groover is for poop only. Toilet paper goes in the paper bag next to the groover, and pee goes where the ranger tells you: in the river or in the bushes, depending on the river.


Please follow these guidelines and we will all be happy.
  • Location, Location, Location. Choose a spot for the groover that is downwind of camp, if you can. It should be easy for a drunken rafter to find in the dark, but screened from view. BONUS POINTS: a good view of the river, without being visible to passing rafts.
  • Accessories A complete groover installation includes toilet paper, a bag for the used TP, soap, a wash bucket with a foot pump, and a container of dry bleach. On a deluxe trip with friends, I like to add a group journal and pen, and a copy of the National Enquirer.
  • Installation Make sure the groover is stable and level(prop it up with rocks if you need to). Open the box and sprinkle in some dry bleach. Attach the toilet seat. Set out the TP, soap and water--leave the TP in the ziploc bag in case of rain. On your way back to camp, put a paddle accross the path where it can be seen from camp. Let people know where the groover and the paddle are.
  • Usage If you can't see the paddle on your way to the groover, someone is already using it. You can call out to them if you like -- occasionally forget to replace the paddle on the path. Veddy bad form, old sport. If the paddle is there, grab it and proceed to the groover. (And don't forget to bring it back! It's the essential communications device for the Global Groover Network.)
    While you're grooving, write in the journal! If the groover is super full, you can lift and drop it a time or two to compact things-- this means that Somebody Else will have to deal with starting a new rocket box. If things are pretty gnarly, sprinkle some powdered bleach on there. Make sure to put the TP back in the plastic bag if it looks like rain. WASH YOUR HANDS!
  • After Your Groove Be sure to tell everyone how things went. We're interested. If it was good, just smile. If you think you're getting a GI bug, for god sakes tell us so that we can all wash our hands even more, and make sure that you do.
SmokeyBarnable's excellent write-up leaves out a couple of details I'd like to add.

First of all, in case you're curious as to why people don't just dig holes in the ground and defecate into them, it's usually because that particular piece of land sees way too many visitors to process all that excrement naturally. Rafting enthusiasts encounter these situations more often than most, since they're all going to stop at more or less the same spots along the river to eat, crap, and sleep. Packing out everything (including feces) substantially reduces the environmental impact on these heavily used campsites.

In addition to the toilet seat upgrade, groovers have evolved past the rocket box into some relatively luxurious models. In his book, Up Shit Creek : A Collection of Horrifyingly True Wilderness Toilet Misadventures, author Joe Lindsay describes the Jon-ny Partner and a deluxe groover nicknamed the Millenium Falcon, both of which are made of stainless steel and allow easy access for bag changes. Even with lesser models though, the telltale groove marks that gave the groover its name are largely a thing of the past.

Groov"er (?), n.


One who or that which grooves.


A miner.

[Prov. Eng.]



© Webster 1913.

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