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For many overnight river trips, the groover has become as common a tool as the PFD. Where did this groover come from, and why is a portable river toilet called a groover. This episode finds the people who were there 50 years ago when the need for the groover emerged, and when the groover itself was created.

History of the Groover


The groover is one of those words that has become an adjective, a noun and a verb and originally has nothing to do with the thing it defines.  The groover is that portable, leakproof and reusable river toilet that gets packed on so many overnight river trips.  It has become an essential tool for protecting the quality of the river corridor where humans travel for recreation.  This episode is a conversation with people who experienced the rivers when the need for the groover first emerged, and these are the people who did the work to develop and spread the groover as a tool across the western United States.

Selway Fabrication, sponsor of this episode & manufacturer of excellent modern groovers, offering 10% off their products for River Radius listeners until June 23, 2021.

Desert River Kayak, Canoe and Float Tubes:  Helen Howard’s company, a guest on today’s episode.

SWCA Environmental Consultants:  Steven Carothers’ company, a guest today’s episode.


Hijacking a River” a book of the modern Grand Canyon history by Jeff Ingram, a guest on today’s episode.

Lifetime Achievement Award” for Jeff Ingram, a guest on today’s episode.

1977 Downriver Magazine article by Steven Carothers, guest on today’s episode.

Steve Carothers” in the Boatman’s Quarterly, by Lew Steiger and Steven Carothers.

Saving rivers just as they are has been good for Idaho,” by LuVerne Grussing, guest on today’s episode.

Guest Opinion: Congress must reauthorize Land and Water Conservation Fund” by LuVerne Grussing, guest on today’s episode.

Picking the Best River Toilet” from RiverBent.

They call me Groover Boy” by Kevin Fedarko, a story of carrying the groovers on commercial river trips in the Grand Canyon.

Your guide to the Groover” by OARS.


  • Helen Howard
  • Selway Fabrication
  • Sam Carter
  • Jeff Ingram
  • Steven Carothers
  • Hijacking a River
  • LuVerne Grussing

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