it depends who
im so anal about the enviroment NO
Though I always carry biodegradable soap when I hike, I still wouldn't intentionally introduce the soap directly into a body of water. Besides, I'm spoiled and want HOT water for my bird bath. So, I use the little fabric "kitchen sink" my GSI pot/strainer lid/frying pan came with to bathe out of after I've heated a liter or two of water; same drill for washing dishes and equipment.
Now with that being said, I'm not so anal about it that I'm going to walk off exactly 100 ft or whatever to find the spot where I can dump out my wash water on the ground, but by the same token I'm going to get far enough away from the water source and the path to it to make sure I'm not going to "leave a trace" where others would be bothered by it.
Knowing that people drink the water out of the source I got my bath water from, I think it's HUGELY disrespectful to others to dump waste into the water. Maybe my attitude on this subject isn't very empirical, but it certainly is about respect for others. I don't want to drink soap water, so I don't do it to others either.
As for the water source also containing critter crap and etc., well that's "naturally" occurring and you should carry a filter and sodium hypochlorite and/or an alternative treatment method to deal with it. We've got enough pollution in the water. Why in the world would people who are obviously into enjoying nature (hikers) introduce foreign substances (harmful or not) into the water? That's what I'd expect a selfish child to do.
Also, I don't see how swimming (without soap) can be any more harmful than any other animal in the woods doing the same. At least I don't crap/pee in the water while I'm enjoying my swim/soak.
You guys use your noggins and quit putting man-made chemicals in the water. I'm a big fan of not having to smell nasty people ten feet away so I do advocate the use of copious amounts of soap, but I also think you guys should be using the natural filter you're standing on (ground) to keep water contamination to a minimum. Carrying biodegradable soap would be nice too. Be safe out there and Leave No Trace so the next guy can enjoy the woods as much as you did.
LOL! Well that's a very nice thing to say. I rarely wade into the argument threads so as to avoid the displeasure it could possibly entail, and did in fact just want to interject some simple, plain, common sense. I'm glad I appear to have crafted a post that gets to the meat of the issue without offense. Take care.
I carried a collapsable bucket on my section hike last year, and filled up the bucket downstream from where people were getting drinking water.
I think a bucket makes it easier to get 'clean' water and get your clothes and body cleaner.
I don't feel that strongly about people taking a dip in the water if they are so inclined, as long as they are downstream from the trail.
A fair hiker, but a little unbalanced.
Springer to Fontana Dam
Atkins, VA to Troutville
Manassas Gap, VA to Port Clinton, PA
N Adams, MA to Danby, VT
...yes, wood ash is a small trace source.
Nothing like "cake" used in laundry soaps and some commercial "soap" sold.
In this case, it is quantity, or rather, concentration.
. . .
I use Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Pocket Soaps soap leaves: body wash, shampoo, etal.
do more with less http://ultralightbackpackingonline.info
maybe i'm a scumbag, but there really is no reason to use soap. those who claim they can't stand their own stink need to just wait a day for their olfactory receptors to become saturated. e.g. perfume, put it on and soon after you can't smell it. bring wipes and pack them out/ burn them if you must.
really hot water usually does the trick for me without soap.
Soap covers up my naturally sexy pheromones. . .
ever wonder how fish get 100 ft from a water source to go the bathroom
If you find yourself in a fair fight; your tactics suck.
Currently the majority in the poll doesn't care if someone baths in a water source. Makes me wonder if any that voted this way have ever got water from a stream. Over the years looking at trail journal photos, etc I've seen people, dogs, cloths, gear, horses, vehicles, and bikes getting a bath in a running stream or pond. I assume, mostly weekender's that don't give a crap, these are the same people that do all the littering. Their excuse is that "wild animals wallow in the streams" and "a little soap is not going to hurt anything." Disgusting lot.
I started the AT with a tube of bio-degradable soap. It broke in my pack and got all over my stuff. I never replaced it.
Bathing in water source without using any soap is pretty much called swimming isn't it? So I say go for it if as long as you aren't using any soap, aren't washing your dishes or laundry, and aren't coated in toxic chemicals.
-frankenfeet stomps it flat-