Camping on the Salmon River with Confluences River Expeditions – Everything You Need to Know

Camping on the Salmon River is the closest we have come to paradise. Since 1982 we have been perfecting everything about our camp culture. From spacious tents and sleeping mattresses to mouth watering entrees and beer pairings, come discover the magic of multi-day rafting with Confluences River Expeditions!

Pulling into camp along the Salmon River every afternoon is one of the highlights of a trip with Confluences River Expeditions. Whether we choose a huge white sand beach, or a gorgeous ponderosa pine stand, we bring all the amenities that’ll make you excited to transition into camp-life. The flow of a Confluences trip is intentionally designed to create an environment for you to relax, unplug, and explore. As soon as we hit the beach, the guides unload the boats and each guest will have the opportunity to select their own personal tent sight where they will create a “home-away-from-home” for the evening. Once you’ve changed into your comfy camp clothes, head on over to the fire and find out what’s for dinner! From there you’ll get an idea of what fun activities are brewing up specifically for that wilderness evening spent under a canopy of stars. 

Gear

Our tents and assorted camp gear have been filtered through years of experience to give you the most comfortable, spacious, and luxurious adventure on the river. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned backpacker or a camping beginner, our mission is to make everyone comfortable on our adventures. We utilize easy to set up, incredibly roomy tents that fit two guests wonderfully. If a solo tent is what you’re after that is no problem at all, you’ll be able to select this option when booking. Each guest is also given a freshly laundered and oh-so-comfy sleeping bag for the duration of the trip. All of these items are placed upon our prized “Paco-pads”, without a doubt the most comfortable wilderness sleeping mattress in the world. You won’t believe how dreamy the set up is. You’ll understand why some folks call it “glamping” (glamour camping). Combine this tent set up with CRE mugs, comfy folding chairs, evening fires, and decadent meals. Getting to camp each afternoon may become your favorite part of the day!

Clothing

Summer weather on the Salmon is usually glorious. Hot sun-filled days ideal for swimming give way to cloudless nights perfect for sleeping under a blanket of stars. However, inclement weather can roll in and it’s important to be prepared. Just in case, we highly recommend bringing a set of rain gear, jacket and pants. We also suggest bringing warmer layers for cooler nights. A fleece or down jacket usually does the trick. Don’t forget to pack comfy clothes for camp life too. Along with something festive for costume night! If you have any questions about packing for your Salmon River rafting trip don’t hesitate to call, our staff are always happy to talk about gear. 

Tower of power dutch oven stack

 

Food

At Confluences you’ll find the “tower of power” (3-4 stacked dutch ovens) a common site in our kitchen. We LOVE cooking in these incredible tools. They allow us to turn any camp along the Main Salmon into a five star restaurant! In the morning as you’re taking in the first warm rays of sun you may smell stuffed french toast sizzling on the griddle combined with the warm, rich aroma of coffee. In the evening, the air could be thick with the flavor of pork tenderloin and raspberry chipotle cream sauce, or filet mignon with grilled onions and a side of rosemary red potatoes. Each dinner is served with optional beer or wine pairings, handpicked for the way they compliment each flavor of the meal.

We pride ourselves on our menu and can accommodate any food restriction, whether allergy or preference. And don’t worry, we have great menu options for youngsters too, everyone at the table will be a happy camper. Read more about Confluences’ food philosophy here. Come see why eating on a river trip is almost as much fun as the rapids!

Camp life

Settling into camp-life is one of the best parts of a trip with Confluences. Whether you’re looking to kickback with your toes in the sand, explore a gorgeous side creek, fish the afternoon away, or partake in fun leadership and team-building activities our guides will point you in the right direction! We also have a fire each evening that usually inspires some singing, story-telling, s’more roasting, and star gazing. Every evening on our trips is designed for you to make the most out of your time in the Frank Church Wilderness

Bathrooms

If you’re nervous about the restroom situation let us put your mind at ease. Rest assured that we have refined our bathroom system over the last 38 years and have come up with a sanitary method that is simple, PRIVATE, and incredibly scenic. Read more about our “groover” here. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! 

Get in touch

Our reservation team is happy to talk about any aspect of your river trip. We have the ability to accommodate nearly any request. Give us a ring and let’s see how we can make your Salmon River adventure simply unforgettable! (208)-756-6215 or info@confluencesriverexpeditions.com

Dutch Oven Tips! Cooking River-style with Confluences River Expeditions

Dutch ovens (D.O.’s) are a staple of many river kitchens.

The Confluences river kitchen is no exception. We usually employ 3-4 dutch ovens a night, each specifically tasked with creating a delicious part of our elaborate river meals. They allow us to turn any camp into a five star restaurant!

Dutch ovens have a long, storied history. They are beloved on the river because they allow a cook to create anything one would want to bake in a conventional oven. Pizzas, loaves of bread, tasty sweet desserts, anything is possible. You’re limited only by your imagination. If you’ve ever been inspired to learn the ways of a dutch oven then there’s no doubt you have also been intimidated. In this post we will show you some of our best practices for cooking with these versatile kitchen tools. If you follow a couple easy steps, we are sure dutch oven cooking will become your new favorite way to prepare a meal. 

There’s a lot to cover in the world of dutch ovens. In this post we are going to focus on the basics of preparing, cooking and serving in a dutch. Stay tuned for recipe ideas in later posts! 

Types: Aluminum vs. Cast Iron

This topic is hotly debated in the dutch oven community. There are pros and cons to both types, with the major considerations for us being weight and cleaning procedures. On the river we choose cast aluminum dutch ovens because they weigh less than cast iron. A medium sized 14” aluminum dutch weighs in at 8 pounds, where a similarly sized cast iron dutch weighs 25 pounds. We typically carry 5 D.O.’s with us on our river trips, choosing cast aluminum saves us around an 85 pounds. Also note the different cleaning practices recommended for differing styles of D.O.’s. Aluminum can be cleaned like a normal dish, with soapy water and a sponge, whereas cast iron should not be cleaned with soap as it strips the “seasoning” off the oven. You can read more here.

Preparing and Placement

At Confluences we are meticulous about cleanliness in our river kitchens. Dutch oven preparation is no exception. You always want to make sure the D.O. is cleaned out and fresh for whatever delicacy you choose to create next. Depending on what that is, you will want to oil the inside of the dutch to avoid any sticking during the cooking process. Parchment paper works great too! One side note: some recipes inherently contain a lot of oil, particularly desserts. Avoid adding excess oil as much as possible. 

Dutch oven placement is a crucial aspect to the process. Especially when cooking outside where flat surfaces are hard to come by. Cooking on an uneven surface may result in an uneven final product! We like to use the metal lid of the fire pan as the base for our dutch ovens. But a metal pizza pan or D.O. lid works great too. The trick is creating a barrier between the bottom layer of coals and the ground, you want the heat to rise into the oven, not escape into the earth. 

Fuel 

Coals are the fuel of choice for dutch oven cooking. To activate the coals we put them over an open flame in the firepan, allowing them to light. Be sure that the coals don’t sit too long, they’ll turn to ash and not provide enough heat for your soon to be delicious D.O. creation. Our trick is transferring them with a small shovel or tongs to the dutch oven when the coals are roughly 2/3rds lit (not smoking anymore, color turning grey and red).

Quantity of Coals

There is some debate on this topic within the D.O. community. Even between river companies we’re sure there exist many “right” ways to number and place your coals. We will share our method that works well for our menu. Make sure to understand the heat requirements for what you’re trying to cook. You want to avoid drying out desserts, so typically less heat is fine. If you’re cooking meat or potatoes more heat may be required. 

Confluences River Expeditions dutch oven method:

  • We use the 1/3rd method, taking the number of coals we place on top and dividing by three for the bottom. 
  • We evenly disperse the coals. We create a ring of coals around the brim of the D.O. lid and place 2-4 coals in the middle of the lid. We also spread the coals evenly under the dutch oven.
  • We make sure to use less heat on the bottom. 

Checking the Dutch

Channel locks are a great tool for a dutch oven professional. The oven will be hot and the coals are dangerous. You’ll want to confidently grasp the D.O. while keeping a safe distance. Before you lift the lid be sure to know what you’re looking for. Is your meal golden brown, crisp, pulling back from the edges? Does it jiggle when you tap the side of the D.O.? You’ll lose valuable heat from the oven the longer you look so lift the lid prepared!

Serving!

If your meal is fully cooked use the channel locks to slide the coals off the top lid back into the fire. Carry the D.O. to a “landing zone.” Somewhere safe and stable where your meal can rest. You want to make sure all the flavors in your delicacy have time to meld together. Once your meal has had time to cool slightly, dig in and enjoy!

We hope these tips give you confidence to explore the exciting world of dutch oven cooking! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or want some recipe ideas!