Our Guests’ Most Common Complaints Addressed

A backcountry rafting trip is not going to be suited to every type of guest.

This means that we do get a few recurring complaints.

Fortunately, these are most often minor complaints from otherwise outstanding trip experiences. Still, for guests considering a trip with Hatch, we think knowing what those are and why they persist can help determine whether this style of vacation is a good fit for you.

“There were no napkins or plates at lunchtime.”

Lunches at Hatch can be a little challenging since we do not provide any disposable napkins or plates. This means you’re in for a bit of a balancing act as you hold your sandwich and other lunch items in your hands while preparing and eating them. Every single employee at Hatch has experience with this, so we know how tricky it can be!

Tricky or not, we won’t be supplying disposable plates or napkins any time soon. If we gave each person one napkin daily, we would use more than 13,000 napkins yearly. That’s 13,000 more pieces of trash that could blow out of people’s hands and litter the pristine Grand Canyon river corridor. Reusable dishes are also not an option during the day because we don’t set up for dishwashing at lunch—we would rather spend that time exploring more spectacular places in the Grand Canyon. For us, it is a matter of priorities—keeping the Canyon clean and beautiful and having the time to see as much of it as we can is worth a little inconvenience.

If this level of “roughing it” doesn’t fit into your idea of a good time, this may not be the right trip for you.

“Our drinks were not kept ice cold.” / “We had trouble keeping track of which drinks were ours.”

Our system for keeping drinks cool relies on one major resource we have constant access to on our trips: a cold flowing river. We attach mesh “drag bags” to the boats and the guests fill them with the canned beverages they’ll want for the day; then, we dangle the bags in the water and let the river do its work. “River cool” is only about 50 degrees Fahrenheit—around 10 degrees warmer than most refrigerators—but still plenty refreshing on a hot Grand Canyon day! Each boat can only accommodate about 2 or 3 drag bags before things become a tangled mess, so your drinks will likely be in bags with those of other folks on your trip.

Any drinks that you aren’t planning to use for the day, along with any bigger bottles that can’t go in the drag bags, get stored all together in a heap in the duffel pile and accessed in the evenings. Because of how beverages are intermingled in these two places, guests occasionally get mixed up about which items are theirs. You can label each can or bottle with a permanent marker to help distinguish it from the group. Or—and we think this is the best remedy to this situation—you can bring plenty to share with your fellow travelers, so a little mix-up isn’t a big deal!

When it comes to evening cocktails, we are often able to offer up some ice to chill your beverages. This ice comes from the same supply that keeps your food cold, though, so there are some limitations to what we can provide (particularly on oar trips which are longer and therefore have more carefully packed food coolers). Check in with your guides throughout the trip for a better idea of what is available. When we really have an abundance of ice available, we like to be good river citizens and share it with other trips we encounter if they are running short—for some trips we share with, this can mean the difference between having fresh food available all trip and having some of the food they packed end up going bad.

If your idea of a great vacation includes freely flowing ice, a Hatch trip may not be quite what you have in mind.

“It was too _______ on my trip.”

Whether that blank is filled in with “sandy,” “windy,” “hot,” “cold,” “rainy,” “sunny,” or some other adjective, there are some environmental conditions that we simply can’t control. Often, people wish they had received a heads-up from Hatch in advance of their trips about what the specific conditions of their trip would be. We do our best to give folks a warning when something like unexpectedly extreme temperatures come up, but it’s impossible to inform everyone on every trip—especially when even meteorologists don’t always get it right.

Some guests report being disappointed that the conditions didn’t lend themselves to the particular stops they were interested in. (This might be something like skipping a particular slot canyon stop when there is flash flood danger in the area or sticking to creeks and waterfalls instead of long dry hikes when the heat is extreme.) Your safety is the single most important consideration for everyone at Hatch, so when conditions and safety aren’t in perfect agreement, we will choose safety. We strongly encourage guests to do their own weather-related research both on trends for their time of year AND immediately prior to their trips so they can make last-minute adjustments both to their gear and to their expectations. Being flexible and able to weather (pun intended) unexpected changes is the best asset you can bring on the trip.

There is one thing we know for sure: no matter what time of year you go, you can always count on it being sandy in the Grand Canyon!

“The packing list had too many items.” / “The packing list had too few items.”

For every guest who tells us there was something on the packing list that they brought and didn’t need, we have another say about how invaluable that item was to them. For every guest who tells us the packing list did not include enough items or detail, we have another say it was absolutely perfect. Often, two reviews from the exact same trip will have opposite feedback from one another about what the Gear Checklist did or didn’t include. What this tells us is that every person who travels with us is different and has different needs.

We do our best to provide the most comprehensive list of what most people need on the river, but you will have to use your judgment on some things. We don’t tell you how many T-shirts to bring because we know people’s comfort levels vary. One person may want a clean shirt every day, while another will be perfectly comfortable in the same shirt the whole trip—most people fall somewhere in the middle (they bring around 2-3 shirts for a 7-day trip).

How much lotion you need, how much sunscreen you will use, and whether you really need to bring a lightweight fleece jacket all come down to your own personal needs, and no one knows what those are better than you! If you have questions about anything on the packing list, call us!


A whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon gives you the opportunity to have an outdoor adventure in an incredibly beautiful and remote setting that few people ever get to experience. If you are willing to endure a little discomfort in exchange, a trip with Hatch might just be the perfect vacation for you. We hope you love it as much as we do!