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Former Admin
11-23-2002, 00:58
lather up!

Footslogger
11-23-2002, 13:28
Downstream Please !!

chris
11-25-2002, 10:24
Downstream, no soap.

The Weasel
11-26-2002, 19:33
"Downstream" to you is "upstream" to everyone else below you. Those voting "no" have never crossed and re-crossed the same stream, i.e. they haven't walked the AT. I don't want to have to strain someone else's crotch gum out of my water and drink your hair-fouled soap scum just because a few miles back/ahead and above me you thought you were "downstream" from the trail.

If you need to get clean that much, take a pot of water and do what EVERY "Leave No Trace" trainer in the world will say...get 100 feet away from any water source and any trail or campsite to do your thing.

The Weasel

Hammock Hanger
12-01-2002, 17:32
Is it okay - if no soap and washing is involoved?
Never get wet unless it is with a bucket away from the water source or rain. Is it okay if it is a pond, river, lake....? Inquiring minds want to know. HH

Peaks
12-02-2002, 08:19
Sitting in a stream, without using soap?

You bet. Great way to cool off and rinse off. Always looking for a good place for a dip on a warm summer day.

DebW
12-27-2002, 19:25
I've heard you shouldn't go in a stream when wearing bug dope. What does DEET do to fish? Otherwise, is there a difference between swimming and bathing without soap?

Dirtyoldman
12-28-2002, 04:41
A lot of this is dependant on the size of the stream, There is a big differance between a dip in the kennebec (sp?) and a small spring. On the matter of deet and sweat, rinsing off away from the stream prior to a dip might be a good idea.

Jaybird
01-21-2004, 08:38
i believe as long as you're using "environmentally friendly" soap-wash in a quick moving stream....you're doing nothing wrong.


enjoy the cool dip! :)






see ya'll out there in 2004!

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 08:49
36 people said NO???? No wonder so many people get sick. My opinion of human intelligence continues to sink. In almost three completions (and countless gear lists) I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing. What is more amazing, many of you complain about dirty shelters when we're drinking each others bath water.

Peaks
01-21-2004, 09:22
i believe as long as you're using "environmentally friendly" soap-wash in a quick moving stream....you're doing nothing wrong.

enjoy the cool dip! :)

see ya'll out there in 2004!

Wrong. Soap really isn't that environmental friendly. Keep all soaps away from streams and water.

chknfngrs
01-21-2004, 09:26
welp, I used to wear a "bathing" suit when I went swimming, so that's one thing.
biodegradable is good too right?

you're never going to stop people from doing things, especially if it's summer, and especially if it's hot out.

I've washed up many a time in a river, both with bio soap and with the sand on the bottom de river. Will most likely do it again.

rickb
01-21-2004, 10:59
I'll walk down stream with my coke bottle, then wash up with soap on the bank; much closer than the prescribed 100 feet.

Perhaps just my own rationalization for lazyness, but I figure if our shallow (but to code) leach fields work enough to protect my family and neighborhood wetlands from raw sewage and their diaper washing, then a few dabs of J & J shampoo will be well filtered with a very small buffer of dirt between me and the stream.

If the good folks at LNT were to provide evidence to the contrary, I would be quick to change my violation of the rules. Sometime these rules of thumb seem to be acepted wisdom simple because they have been repeated so much. If everyone walked 100 feet into the woods to wash and to pee, I expect that more damage would be cause by footsteps than could be justified on the basis of protecting surface water.

But again, I can rationalize anything. The experts at LNT and AMC and most other responsible groups clearly think differently than I do. To make up for my transgression I neither wash my car not fertilize/treat my lawn.

Rick B

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 11:13
I'll walk down stream with my coke bottle, then wash up with soap on the bank; much closer than the prescribed 100 feet.

But again, I can rationalize anything. The experts at LNT and AMC and most other responsible groups clearly think differently than I do.

You are clearly not alone. The vast majority of people on this site practice the same "leave as much unsanitary disqusting trace as possible". Actually you are far better than most who wash directly in the stream. Thank you. The people who do not filter their water need to read this thread.

weary
01-21-2004, 11:22
Wrong. Soap really isn't that environmental friendly. Keep all soaps away from streams and water.

Actually, the opposite is true. All except specialized use, high phosphate detergents are environmentally friendly. At least I have yet to see any scientific studies that reported the contrary.

As for washing in streams it is more of an aesthetic, than an enviromental and health problem. I don't do it because other hikers frown on the practice.

The difference between bathing your feet in a stream or sitting in a stream, compared with taking a soap bath is merely one of degrees. Soap removes more of your sweat and dirt. It is harmless by itself, as near as I can tell and I've been asking for authoritative evidence to the contrary ever since phosphates were removed from most detergents 3 or 4 decades ago.

Weary

Weary

The Wicked Lobstah
01-21-2004, 11:44
In almost three completions (and countless gear lists) I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing. What is more amazing, many of you complain about dirty shelters when we're drinking each others bath water.

I'm carrying a collapsible bucket on my upcoming thru. It weighs under 4 oz and holds 2.6 gallons. Its called the Kitchen Sink form Sea to Summit and its great for gathering water, wahing dishes, bathing, etc.

http://www.seatosummitusa.com/access.html

Peterawk

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 12:08
I'm carrying a collapsible bucket on my upcoming thru. It weighs under 4 oz and holds 2.6 gallons. Its called the Kitchen Sink form Sea to Summit and its great for gathering water, wahing dishes, bathing, etc.

http://www.seatosummitusa.com/access.html

Peterawk

YES. I got mine from LLBean years ago and they no longer carry them. Thank you for not turning the other thrus into scum suckers.

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 12:14
Soap removes more of your sweat and dirt. It is harmless by itself, as near as I can tell and I've been asking for authoritative evidence to the contrary ever since phosphates were removed from most detergents 3 or 4 decades ago.

Weary

Weary

Weary, talk to any Biologist or Biochemist. Soap disrupts cell activity. True it only causes humans to be sick, but microorganisms are killed (thats why you wash your hands). As it works it's way up the food chain it can also kill amphibians and fish. Many things that it does not kill are harmed. You are still fighting for phosphates, why???

jollies
01-21-2004, 13:36
I think my opinion on this matter depends on your definition of bathing. If we are talking about jumping into a cold stream with "holes" that are deep enough to sit in, I really have no problem with it. When you use soap, even if it is biodegradable, it is hazardous to the environment being dumped directly into the water. If you use your soap when "bathing" do as others suggest and use a bucket that you dump more than 100 feet from the water source when you are done. As for a cold dip once in a while, how can one resist when it's 90 degrees outside!

weary
01-21-2004, 13:53
Weary, talk to any Biologist or Biochemist. Soap disrupts cell activity. True it only causes humans to be sick, but microorganisms are killed (thats why you wash your hands). As it works it's way up the food chain it can also kill amphibians and fish. Many things that it does not kill are harmed. You are still fighting for phosphates, why???

I suppose if you eat enough soap, you could get sick. And I suppose some microrganisms could be killed, though mostly I wash my hands to wash away microorganisms.

The alleged environmental harm of soap grew out of the era of high phosphate detergents when rivers would foam to depths of several feet below every polluted waterfall. There never was much evidence that this was more than an aesthetic problem. In any case the amount used in the backcountry never had any measureable impact in most places.

I know the stories have been repeated over the decades and like all stories they have changed, evolved and expanded. But I have not yet found a fisheries biologist who can cite any research that shows any harm done by politically incorrect users of soap to salamanders and fish, at least in the quantities likely to be used along the Appalachian Trail.

If all trail hikers carried a sliver of Ivory Soap and used it occasionally, the trail enviroment would not be measureably deteriorated, if at all. Some might even consider the environment improved.

However, I'm still looking for evidence to the contrary.

chknfngrs
01-21-2004, 14:34
well said.

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 14:38
I know the stories have been repeated over the decades and like all stories they have changed, evolved and expanded. But I have not yet found a fisheries biologist who can cite any research that shows any harm done by politically incorrect users of soap to salamanders and fish, at least in the quantities likely to be used along the Appalachian Trail.

However, I'm still looking for evidence to the contrary.

Clearly you have not looked very far. First go to a library. Look for even the most basic textbook on Ichthyology. You will QUICKLY find that soap is extremely lethal to gill tissue. Once that tissue is damaged the fish dies. I now understand why you like the AMC so much. Yeah, you looked hard.

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 14:46
You garbage spewers can justify anything. "My candybar wrapper is returning to nature from whence it came". "I let my dog crap on your sleeping bag because my dog is an animal and that is his nature" You all know soap does not belong in someone elses drinking water (to say nothing of nature's habitat). Yet you don't give a damn. In fact, you are far worse than those who leave solid garbage around. At least then the few of us who care can pack it out. Wash in your own water supply, scum bags.

illininagel
01-21-2004, 14:46
36 people said NO???? No wonder so many people get sick. My opinion of human intelligence continues to sink.

Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time worrying about someone that uses stream water to clean up after I've seen so many other animals (horses, dogs, deer, moose, birds, etc.) using the stream like it's their personal toilet. And, no matter how high I climb, there always seems to be something upstream contaminating the water! I figure that if my water filter can remove that crap from the water, a little soap should be the least of my concerns.
:dance

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 14:52
Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time worrying about someone that uses stream water to clean up after I've seen so many other animals (horses, dogs, deer, moose, birds, etc.) using the stream like it's their personal toilet.

Humans are alleged to be smarter and more responsible than dogs. Clearly that is not true. I cannot believe I have to argue this point.

illininagel
01-21-2004, 15:01
Humans are alleged to be smarter and more responsible than dogs. Clearly that is not true. I cannot believe I have to argue this point.

I was just making the point that I am not concerned my own well-being when someone uses a stream to clean up. However, I am concerned about the impact to the environment and the creatures that live in the stream. As a result, you will never see me using soap anywhere near the stream.

Maybe I am at least as smart as some dogs?

Colter
01-21-2004, 15:28
To me, it's clearly not right to bathe in a stream using soap.

I don't think there's anything wrong with swimming in a stream that's deep enough to swim in. And if it's ok to swim in, its ok to bathe in without soap. Just don't bathe DIRECTLY upstream from a place you expect folks to be taking drinking water. (It's more a matter of being polite.)

No running water of any size is pure.. The world is crawling with animals from the microscopic, to moose and bigger. THEY don't care where they bathe/drink/relieve themselves, and they have been visiting every body of water, regardless of size.

smokymtnsteve
01-21-2004, 15:51
SOAP in streams and springs..that an easy one..NO

now can we get on to more IMPORTANT things like cellphones , trail magick and MJ on the trail...

Blue Jay
01-21-2004, 15:58
You had to bring up cell phones. Now Weary is going to tell me he hasn't found any evidence that you can't use them under water while shaving.

weary
01-21-2004, 16:46
I suppose if you eat enough soap, you could get sick. And I suppose some microrganisms could be killed, though mostly I wash my hands to wash away microorganisms. ...

If all trail hikers carried a sliver of Ivory Soap and used it occasionally, the trail enviroment would not be measureably deteriorated, if at all. Some might even consider the environment improved. However, I'm still looking for evidence to the contrary.

Nor have I really found any. But in the interests of full disclosure, I probably should report that some scientists have found that german cockroaches can be killed with household detergents, though the study didn't give the required concentration.

Also I ran across a paper in which it was claimed that eating out of washed, but unrinsed dishes could result in soap scum dissolving the mucous lining of the stomach, causing upset. The author's advice? If a dish tastes soapy, rinse it before using.

This won't change my activities in the woods, because I don't wash either myself or my dishes in streams near trails, or where I am not familiar with the downstream conditions, out of deference to those who object to the practice.

But I continue to believe that the harmful effects of soap have been greatly exaggeration.

Weary

Needles
01-21-2004, 16:55
Clearly you have not looked very far. First go to a library. Look for even the most basic textbook on Ichthyology. You will QUICKLY find that soap is extremely lethal to gill tissue. Once that tissue is damaged the fish dies. I now understand why you like the AMC so much. Yeah, you looked hard.

I am a very experienced aquarist and have had as many as 200 individual aquariums under my care at one time. Yes, you are right, soap is very damaging to gill tissue, however it is all a matter of how much soap we are talking about relative to the volume of water the fish is in. I have seen a single drop of dish washing detergent added to an aquarium holding aprox. 10 gallons of water do no harm to the fish in the aquarium. Remember that this is an aquarium, the water in the tank is not being constant replaced with water from upstream as it is in a stream or river. Also remember that the aquarium will typically not have the same variety of microbes which can break down the soap. So, I find it hard to believe, based on my experiences, that a very small quantity of biodegradable soap in a stream could do any damage. However I strongly discourage anyone from doing this because it it became acceptable we could find ourselves dealing with large quantities of soap when everyone on the trail started adding their "small" quantities to the streams.
As far as just people sitting or lounging in rivers and streams, nature has designed systems to deal with this sort of thing and it doesn't really bother me in the slightest. The same isn't true for more static small bodies of water such as ponds as these environments aren't able to flush themsevles out as easily. So look at the flow rate of the water you are thinking about hopping into, if it isn't moving you might want to stay out.

smokymtnsteve
01-21-2004, 18:40
ever heard of algae blooms and excess growth and not just becasue of phosphates....get real ..you should not be washing with soap in mtn streams...it is so easy to haul a little water and wash away from the stream ... it a no brainer.

Needles
01-22-2004, 00:44
ever heard of algae blooms and excess growth and not just becasue of phosphates....get real ..you should not be washing with soap in mtn streams...it is so easy to haul a little water and wash away from the stream ... it a no brainer.

Phosphates can be one of the factors that contribute to algae blooms, no doubt about it, but they aren't the sole reason for algae blooms. Furthermore I doubt you could find any hiker on the AT carrying a soap that had appreciable amounts of phosphates in it. So the phosphates arguement, while it would have been highly appropriate several years ago, is pretty weak now.

But as I said in my first post, no one should be using soap in a stream, there is no reason to and if it was an acceptable practice we could easily wind up with enough soap in the water to cause a real problem, I doubt that problem would be from phosphates however. I don't disagree with you at all on keeping soap out of our streams and rivers, I just doubt that the reason for keeping the soap out is realistic.

U-BOLT
01-22-2004, 01:15
I see nothing wrong with jumping in naked on a hot day, especially if you're female.

But soap, I dunno about that. Use sand and gravel from the stream to wash yourself.

chknfngrs
01-22-2004, 09:36
what about a river?

is that any different, whatwith the volume of water and all.

weary
01-22-2004, 16:17
what about a river? is that any different, whatwith the volume of water and all.

Except for coastal places, virtually every significant-sized community in the nation dumps it's treated sewage into a river. The sewage is treated, essentially by creating artificial streams and rivers. Oxygen is stirred into the wastes, encouraging naturally occurring microscopic bugs to eat the wastes. This identical process occurs when pollutants like soap are placed directly in mountain streams and rivers, except that the bugs and unedible (to the bugs) parts of the waste stream are then filtered out of the treatment plant to be burned, buried or, in some places like Maine, spread on farm fields, before the rest of the bug-digested waste is dumped in the river.

Since no treatment plant removes 100% of biodegradeable soap, and body wastes, virtually all rivers have a healthy slug of the such things eventually anyway. A fairly major river flows past my house. It receives effluent from a half dozen paper mills, hundreds of stores, offices and other businesses, and several hundred thousand households. The river abounds in mackerel, smelt, striped bass, sturgeon, and scores of other fish life. All seem to be prospering.

Weary

sloetoe
01-22-2004, 16:36
You are clearly not alone. The vast majority of people on this site practice the same "leave as much unsanitary disqusting trace as possible". Actually you are far better than most who wash directly in the stream. Thank you. The people who do not filter their water need to read this thread.

If it's blistering hot (a'la '02) my kids and I will have a "pits&tits" bandanna scrub downstream from the obvious water-take. Then we'll get water. I know what a filter is -- I even carry one: a McNett "straw" -- about an ounce. It's cute, and I've vowed to use it sometime. So anywho, why do people who do not filter/treat their water need to read this thread?

Do you swim in a public pool? Ocean beach? Pond? Ewwwwww!
Do you know that along with that 3 oz bear crap over there, there are TONS of mouse turds, beetle burp-up, vole vomit, catepillar piles, locust bodies, raccoon hairballs, rotting fruits, gel-ed fungii, moose snot and magot-rippling bird carcuses ALL OVER the water table? There's ALOT more of what you don't see than what you do see, yet you seemed to survive without even knowing about it. Biotically speaking, stray skin cells is the *least* of your worries.

Blue Jay
01-23-2004, 09:07
If it's blistering hot (a'la '02) my kids and I will have a "pits&tits" bandanna scrub downstream from the obvious water-take. Then we'll get water. I know what a filter is -- I even carry one: a McNett "straw" -- about an ounce. It's cute, and I've vowed to use it sometime. So anywho, why do people who do not filter/treat their water need to read this thread?

Do you swim in a public pool? Ocean beach? Pond? Ewwwwww!
Do you know that along with that 3 oz bear crap over there, there are TONS of mouse turds, beetle burp-up, vole vomit, catepillar piles, locust bodies, raccoon hairballs, rotting fruits, gel-ed fungii, moose snot and magot-rippling bird carcuses ALL OVER the water table? There's ALOT more of what you don't see than what you do see, yet you seemed to survive without even knowing about it. Biotically speaking, stray skin cells is the *least* of your worries.

Yes, I swim in pools, love the ocean and believe that I have now been in almost every single pond and lake on the AT. Even the ones where you get leeches on you, I could care less. Your stray skin cell ARE the least of my worries. I have worked for the food industry in the past and am very aware of the mouse turds we eat on a daily basis, I tested for them. There is a huge difference between what is naturally found in our food and water and what human pigs intentionally put there. One you cannot help, one you can. I am sure you use the same excuse for leaving your garbage on the trail.

Mr. Clean
01-23-2004, 09:49
I also would like to see the practice of washing with soap in streams stopped. There may be no evidence that it is harmful, but it just seems to me that anything we, as hikers, can do to keep our play area clean, we should do it. If we all get into the habit of dumping soap in the stream, what will be next? There are more people using the trails every year and we should be setting a good example. Soap up and rinse away from the water, please; it's not so much an environmental concern, really, it's the idea that we will be getting lazy and will find another poll years from now asking if it's okay to throw something else in the water. (flame suit on...)

Blue Jay
01-23-2004, 10:28
Except for coastal places, virtually every significant-sized community in the nation dumps it's treated sewage into a river...............
Since no treatment plant removes 100% of biodegradeable soap, and body wastes, virtually all rivers have a healthy slug of the such things eventually anyway. A fairly major river flows past my house. It receives effluent from a half dozen paper mills, hundreds of stores, offices and other businesses, and several hundred thousand households. The river abounds in mackerel, smelt, striped bass, sturgeon, and scores of other fish life. All seem to be prospering.

Weary

I grew up on the Hudson river. At that time it was purely an open sewer. The smell alone was deadly. Under your philosophy it would still be that way. In fact, that is exactly how it got that way. Every little Weary out there said, "Hey my little soap won't do any harm". Again, keep your garbage out of the water, you lazy........, it's not that hard.

weary
01-23-2004, 13:32
I grew up on the Hudson river. At that time it was purely an open sewer. The smell alone was deadly. Under your philosophy it would still be that way. In fact, that is exactly how it got that way. Every little Weary out there said, "Hey my little soap won't do any harm". Again, keep your garbage out of the water, you lazy........, it's not that hard.

Ah yes. I know all about polluted rivers. The Androscoggin, which merges with the Kennebec, a few miles above my house, was considered one of the 10 dirtiest rivers in the nation, through the late 40s, 50s, 60s and most of the 70s. It remains a dirty river, being the only river in Maine that still does not meet even a Class C rating. But it is remarkably cleaner than it was 40 years ago, when river front residents told of waking up at night, vomiting from the stench.

The remaining bad portions occur where humans have dammed the river, creating a quiet pond, and eliminating the flow and ripples that restore oxygen used up by the bugs digesting wastes.

I bought my waterfront home for $2,950, because the river in front stunk so that no one wanted to live here. (Now they say "aren't you lucky to have a place on the water," and the tax assessor has multiplied the value by 100).

In the early years tons of fish each year died just upstream from me, choked to death by the lack of oxygen. I fought the cleanup battle for decades. I learned a lot about water pollution -- what's harmful and what's not.

One lesson I've learned is that truth is our best ally in dealing with environmental problems.

Weary

screwysquirrel
01-23-2004, 22:54
BLUEJAY
I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing. Ha Ha !! I doubt that you'll ever see that! Do YOU carry one? Do you also carry out your human waste? :clap

antonio
01-25-2004, 19:30
why would you want to bathe anyway? keep it dirty keep it real save the bath for town!

Nightwalker
01-25-2004, 19:56
I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing.

I wash in my cook-pot, and only start with clean and warm water in it. I use a wet wash-cloth, moderately soaped-up, and only use a second cloth to rinse from the warm water in my cook-pot. I put the soapy cloth back in a zip-lock bag, and use it for days. I only use soap to wash myself, because I can use sand to clean my pot.

Of course, that isn't nearly so clean as a shower at home, but if y'all can't stand hiker smell, maybe you oughtta just be car camping. :)

Nightwalker
01-25-2004, 21:59
Do you swim in a public pool? Ocean beach? Pond? Ewwwwww!

I just use my favorite method: Live my life and don't stress out about it! Sloe, you're a cool guy, but ya worry too darn much. :)

I'm probably wrong, but I believe that worry causes more early deaths than a lot of other things.

Of course, we can disagree and still get along, but I know that for me, just a little common sense goes a long way.

I don't put soap in the water, I use a little Sodium Hypochlorite in my drinking water while hiking (new habit, didn't used to, but you fellows convinced me to change that habit), and I do my very best to LNT.

See ya on the trail,
Frank

Nightwalker
01-25-2004, 22:05
why would you want to bathe anyway? keep it dirty keep it real save the bath for town!

Because I don't like to stink. I don't worry much whether my smell bothers others or not, it bothers me! I usually take a wash-cloth bath every few days or so, and carry a travel-sized deoderant with me. Heck, I even brush my teeth! :)

Frank, el loco one

Kozmic Zian
02-12-2004, 19:03
lather up!

Of course not, I may join them. There is nothing more refreshing, after a hard day on the trail than a dip.....Now I'm like the other guys in this; Not near the shelter, down stream from the trail, well away from water sources. Use 'Hiker Etiquet 101. Don't be a 'City Camper'. Don't act like a 'rookie' even if you are. Learn the etiqete(sp) before you embark. See what others are doing out there, or what an experienced hiker does, before you 'take the plunge'[email protected]

Kozmic Zian
02-12-2004, 19:34
Except for coastal places, virtually every significant-sized community in the nation dumps it's treated sewage into a river. The sewage is treated, essentially by creating artificial streams and rivers. Oxygen is stirred into the wastes, encouraging naturally occurring microscopic bugs to eat the wastes. This identical process occurs when pollutants like soap are placed directly in mountain streams and rivers, except that the bugs and unedible (to the bugs) parts of the waste stream are then filtered out of the treatment plant to be burned, buried or, in some places like Maine, spread on farm fields, before the rest of the bug-digested waste is dumped in the river.

Since no treatment plant removes 100% of biodegradeable soap, and body wastes, virtually all rivers have a healthy slug of the such things eventually anyway. A fairly major river flows past my house. It receives effluent from a half dozen paper mills, hundreds of stores, offices and other businesses, and several hundred thousand households. The river abounds in mackerel, smelt, striped bass, sturgeon, and scores of other fish life. All seem to be prospering.


Well now Weary....Here I was seeing you as a conservationist. Did't you say you were involved with the AMC and that land purchase thing up in ME? I mean, not jumpin' the bones or anything, but isn't that 'everything is just fine' attitude part of the official conservative Republican agenda. Not to get into politics or anything, 'cause this isn't the forum for that, but I must be confused. Isn't conservation and the environment more related to liberal Democratic ideals, than conservative Republicanism? I mean, look at the present administrations Energy policies and how the person who's in charge of the 'enviro' (a woman, I believe) seemed so pro anti-enviro, in the Alaska North Slope fiasco. Wasn't that to back up the President's energy agenda? I mean, how could you, being a hiker, and in that position up in ME, etc. take the position that all is well with our water and air? I hate to seem naive, but I don't think it is. Some area's(a river here, a piece of earth there) may be better, and the pro-anti-conservationists would use that as a persuasive tool, but in the greater scope of things. The enviro, to my knowledge, is not getting better. If you think it is, check out parts of the globe that have traditionally not had these kinds of (human related) problems before. You'll see lots of changes for the bad in these regions. I think the increased population of the world is contributing tremendously to the downslide of the envirnment. If we all take the attitude that 'everything is just fine'....well, it's for our childrens, children that we even worry. By the time You and I get there, it's all done anyway. I say do what you as an individual, can do to help make things better. Be that, Trail etiquet, or just pickin' up a road somewhere in your own area, it's something. We all can help some little bit, somewhere. To give up, is just that! Quitting.....not like the Thru Hikers I know. I hope you understand this post, nothing personal, just a choice and a position. How do you stand on [email protected]
Weary[/QUOTE]

weary
02-12-2004, 23:30
.isn't that 'everything is just fine' attitude part of the official conservative Republican agenda. [/QUOTE]

Yup. That's why I never said everything is fine. Most waters in this country are cleaner than they were 40 years ago. But they still are not clean. Air is getting dirtier. We have an administration that seems hell bent to eliminate what little process has been made.

But that is no reason to argue against harmless hiker practices. I prefer to battle real problems, not imaginary ones.

Weary

Chip
05-16-2004, 16:18
I got the idea to cut a gallon milk jug in half from an post a couple of weeks ago. GREAT IDEA ! for bath water. Also use moist wipes. Carry in, carry out!The half milk jug weighs nothing and a few wipes not much more. This way I help keep the water source as clean as possible from human contaminants. ;)

Ramble~On
05-16-2004, 16:34
Swim YES...bathe No.
Cook pot and a small sponge is about it for a trail wash up and honestly, I didn't do that much and still don't when I take long hikes now.
Being dirty just makes the shower at the next trail town that much sweeter.
What's the point of getting all nice and clean on the trail anyway ? it isn't like you have a ton of clean clothes to change into...

Blue Jay
05-16-2004, 17:09
The fact remains that almost 57% cyberhikers approve of other people bathing in their drinking water. I'm not sure that this means that cyber hikers are pigs or that there are many nonhikers who voted.

JLB
06-07-2004, 09:39
Did you know that fish have the nerve to poop in your drinking water?

LBJ
06-07-2004, 13:56
You garbage spewers can justify anything. "My candybar wrapper is returning to nature from whence it came". "I let my dog crap on your sleeping bag because my dog is an animal and that is his nature" You all know soap does not belong in someone elses drinking water (to say nothing of nature's habitat). Yet you don't give a damn. In fact, you are far worse than those who leave solid garbage around. At least then the few of us who care can pack it out. Wash in your own water supply, scum bags.

How many times has a dog crapped on your sleeping bag? You must be the unluckiest person hiking if this has happened to you! People bash dogs on this site without even trying!

Two Speed
06-07-2004, 17:57
If everyone will forgive me for the jargon and technical terms. . .

I think one thing that hasn't gotten enough attention is the the estimated TMDL of the stream. If the flow is in the 100's or 1,000's of CFS range, and the flow is very turbulent, one person bathing with soap is probably no huge problem. The assimilative capacity of such a stream is very high, and the greater danger is probably to the bather, not the stream. If the flow is in the fractions of a GPM, one person probably would have an impact.

Without a detailed knowledge of the characteristics of the stream and the existing loading on the stream, I don't believe anyone can reasonably say if bathing with soap in a stream is harmful to the stream or not. I can catagorically say that if enough people bathe with soap, or deposit enough crap by whatever means, any stream or river can be degraded. For an extreme example, do a little research on the Ganges River in India. The odd thing is that MANY people do bathe in very heavily polluted portions of the Ganges and, on the average, don't seem to suffer any consequences. Can't say that for the Ganges, however.

I have to vote for not bathing in almost all streams and rivers. They really don't need the additional load. The smaller the stream, the more adamant I would be about not indulging in this practice.

That ain't to say that I'm such a good little environmentalist that I will always be able to resist a dip in a cool stream on a really hot summer day.

For the enginerd wannabes:

CFS Cubic feet per second
GPM gallons per minute
TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load

For a rough figure, 1 CFS = 449 GPM. The average 3/4" garden hose delivers in somewhere in the 1 GPM range, depending on available pressure.

NotYet
06-11-2004, 15:26
I thought using soap in the streams went out with the seventies!

I love to rinse off in a stream at the end of the day. But the rare times I use a little soap in the woods, I make sure to carry it and a water bottle well away from the water source. Baby wipes are definitely a great way to stay fresh.

P.S. It didn't happen in the woods (because I use leaves, etc. when I'm backpacking), but I personally got the runs from dishes that weren't rinsed off well. I'd prefer if people would please keep the soap out of the drinking source.

sawwhetowl
08-03-2004, 15:09
As long as you are not using soap, enjoy!!!

ridgewalker777
08-03-2004, 17:14
I really enjoyed the small lakes or big ponds towards the end of the 100 mile wilderness--sand beaches, no less! (Not native, I'm sure). The cold swims in Vermont and Maine high water were nonetheless divine. I remember Thoreau's reflection on the virtue of his daily swim in Walden...The brook at the border of Connecticut and Mass. was really pretty, I took a dip where no one would likely draw water. Even the Housatonic, as bad a reputation as it has, did something to cool me down. I never use soap, and I would never want to risk anyone's drinking water.

grrickar
08-03-2004, 17:56
An old thread, but still seems to be some debate so I wanted to pose this question for those who do not want people 'bathing' in lake/stream/creek etc. - Is it because they are using soap that you disapprove?

I note that some are concerned that someone is bathing in their drinking water, but even if they swim in the source a good amount of dirt, skin, and other equally grungy matter is going to come off. Swimming for long enough time will essentially get the ick off a person and into the water. Isn't that just as bad? :confused:

Visualize a nasty, sweaty, smelly thru-hiker plopping down in the puddle you are actively pumping water from. Would you drink that? What about water from a swimming pool in someone's backyard, would you consider that safe? I personally would not. The point I am trying to make is swimming rids the body of filth just as bathing would, so choose carefully.

My take is don't use soap in any water source, and think about what you are doing when you take water from a supply. If you get it from a ditch, then you can surmise that it ran off from the road (oil, gas, who knows what else in it). Same thing with water from a stream. If it is near a chicken farm or cattle farm, you may want to go thirsty for awhile longer.

sgtjinx
08-04-2004, 12:22
Did you know that fish have the nerve to poop in your drinking water?
Don't forget they also pee in it too!!!:jump

Jack Tarlin
08-04-2004, 18:31
Interesting thread. A few quick thoughts:

1. Soap doesn't belong in backcountry streams, brooks, ponds. Period. I don't care if it's allegedly 'biodegradable." You should do your washing---your pots, your hair, your ass---well away from, and certainly not IN drinking water sources.

2. You should avoid either bathing, swimming, or soaking various parts of your body in water that people are likely to be drinking from. When in doubt, either move well downstream from where people are drawing their water, or wait for a better occasion.

3. People are gonna swim in lakes. They've done this for millenia. Be aware that people are gonna swim in lakes, and treat your water accodingly if you're gonna drink lake water.

stupe
08-04-2004, 21:47
All soap is bad for stream critters. And you're gonna be sweaty and dirty in an hour, anyway. Why bother washing?

grrickar
08-05-2004, 16:41
Why bother washing?Call me anal, but I sleep better when I'm clean. I can handle being filthy when I'm doing something, but there has to be some cleanup before bed, else I will not sleep as well. I plan to sponge bathe with a bandana and some Dr. Bronner's and water (well away from water sources) when I'm hiking. At least my sleeping bag will remain somewhat clean inside, and I'll feel more relaxed at the end of the day.

weary
08-06-2004, 12:00
I've washed up many a time in a river, both with bio soap and with the sand on the bottom de river. Will most likely do it again.

Soap is soap. All soap is biodegradeable. All ordinary laundry and dishwashing detergents these days are also.

Weary

Connie
08-06-2004, 12:43
It is the high phosphate detergents that kill everything important in a septic tank for the septic tank to do the job, a place where the living micro-organisms do all the work of digesting and breaking down "the poo".

Living streams are living ecosystems, so-called "riparian habitat".

Kill one part of the habitat, the other living organisms and "higher" living species depend on, and you get a dead stream. I think streams are more important than rivers, in terms of the amount of "life support" they provide.

Jaybird: "My opinion of human intelligence continues to sink. In almost three completions (and countless gear lists) I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing."

Right, I had one made of nylon, like an accordian shape: it got "yucky" and I tossed it out.

How about those bigger volume "food bags" that sit upright, because the base is like an envelope? Trim the height down, to "bucket" or "washbasin" dimensions.

I would take "that" along in my backpack as a disposable collapsible washbasin, for one trip, and replace for the next.

Fiddleback
08-06-2004, 21:07
Phosphate (detergent) in a septic system doesn't kill much of anything but it can lead to problems that do. Excess phosphate in water can cause algal bloom which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen and light available in surface water. Lakes and ponds can eventually experience eutrophication.

In septic systems, phosphorus originates from detergents and human excreta. Anaerobic digestion in the septic tanks converts most of the phosphorus into soluble orthophosphates and the phosphate is then removed from the soil by adsorption, precipitation, plant uptake, and biological immobilization.

Basically, as long as the septic drain field is working the home owner does not have to worry about phosphate detergents. Phosphate pollution from sewage is a municipal problem where sewage systems do not have the capacity to remove the amount they're receiving. The phosphates then get dumped to the surface waters where problems begin.

All that being said, soap, phosphate-based or otherwise, does not belong in natural waters. If you're going to wash your body, do it out of the stream/lake. It'll help keep one more little bit of 'crap' out of the water.

FB

weary
08-06-2004, 22:28
Phosphate (detergent) in a septic system doesn't kill much of anything but it can lead to problems that do. Excess phosphate in water can cause algal bloom which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen and light available in surface water. Lakes and ponds can eventually experience eutrophication.

In septic systems, phosphorus originates from detergents and human excreta. Anaerobic digestion in the septic tanks converts most of the phosphorus into soluble orthophosphates and the phosphate is then removed from the soil by adsorption, precipitation, plant uptake, and biological immobilization.

Basically, as long as the septic drain field is working the home owner does not have to worry about phosphate detergents. Phosphate pollution from sewage is a municipal problem where sewage systems do not have the capacity to remove the amount they're receiving. The phosphates then get dumped to the surface waters where problems begin.

All that being said, soap, phosphate-based or otherwise, does not belong in natural waters. If you're going to wash your body, do it out of the stream/lake. It'll help keep one more little bit of 'crap' out of the water.

FB

I could argue some technical points. Phosphorus is a plant fertilizer. In a properly designed septic system leach field, most of the phosphorus gets taken up by plants. But the system isn't perfect. Some phosphorus escapes into the ground water and some of that ground water ends up in lakes and streams.

But you are right in saying, "If you're going to wash your body, do it out of the stream/lake. It'll help keep one more little bit of 'crap' out of the water."

However, neither am I perfect. Occasionally on big streams, where I know the downstream pressures, and the hike has been long and the mud grimy and the urge to get really clean emerges overpoweringly, I have weakened in the past -- and may again in the future.

Weary

sprocket
10-11-2004, 16:46
This may sound nuts, but I've used the following on week long trips in the whites and am pretty sure this is as good as it gets for quick/easy/enviro friendly daily dips....

1) restaurant mayo packet (for fat content....)
2) a decent pinch of fine "campfire ashes" (Alkali)
3) small amount of pine sap (this will make the soap anti-bacterial as well)

Mix it all together and use the "goop" as you would a body soap...the amount of pine sap and ashes should be small at first to avoid minor skin rashes (too much alkili) or increased if water is not removing the "oiliness" from the mayo (fat/lard)

Jaybird
10-12-2004, 05:24
This may sound nuts, but I've used the following on week long trips in the whites and am pretty sure this is as good as it gets for quick/easy/enviro friendly daily dips....

1) restaurant mayo packet (for fat content....)
2) a decent pinch of fine "campfire ashes" (Alkali)
3) small amount of pine sap (this will make the soap anti-bacterial as well)

Mix it all together and use the "goop" as you would a body soap...the amount of pine sap and ashes should be small at first to avoid minor skin rashes (too much alkili) or increased if water is not removing the "oiliness" from the mayo (fat/lard)


m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m....& TASTY TOO! :D

Skeemer
10-12-2004, 07:14
As Baltimore Jack said an interesting thread...and has got me thinking about whether I should even go for a dip in a stream or creek. We just got back from doing the JMT where the water in the ponds, streams, springs, lakes, eveywhere was unbelievable...clear, "pristine" and beautiful. I always thought it was okay to wade, even take a dip in these sources since there are other natural contaminants a lot worse than my surface grime.

Having said that, I never wash up or wash clothing in any water source period. Your a hiker and you can wait until town just like you do for a shower food and a bed. Maybe others have mentioned it, but I carry those 20 pack antibacterial wipes and clean my face, hands, underarms, privates, etc before gettng in by bag. I also wear silk long johns and socks, use a bag liner and have never developed the sleeping bag odor so many talk about. In fact, believe it or not, I haven't had to wash it in over 3000 miles.

neo
05-31-2005, 07:33
i skinny dipp,no soap:cool: neo

neo
05-31-2005, 07:36
Interesting thread. A few quick thoughts:

1. Soap doesn't belong in backcountry streams, brooks, ponds. Period. I don't care if it's allegedly 'biodegradable." You should do your washing---your pots, your hair, your ass---well away from, and certainly not IN drinking water sources.

2. You should avoid either bathing, swimming, or soaking various parts of your body in water that people are likely to be drinking from. When in doubt, either move well downstream from where people are drawing their water, or wait for a better occasion.

3. People are gonna swim in lakes. They've done this for millenia. Be aware that people are gonna swim in lakes, and treat your water accodingly if you're gonna drink lake water.
:D i dont even carry soap,:cool: neo

Crazy Larry #1
05-31-2005, 11:13
As I lived on that trail off and on for three years I learned to carry with me wet towels, a little heavy but they did a great job keeping me clean. Since they were made of paper, I would just toss them into the fire after. But I have bathed in many a stream using the sands or small rough rocks to scrub my body. For those of you who have a problem with someone elses hair, then what about all the critters that bathe in the streams?

wanderer

JoeHiker
05-31-2005, 12:38
So why not just use one of those "environmentally friendly" soaps made from vegetable oils (e.g. Camp Suds) or some other such cleaner.

weary
05-31-2005, 15:46
So why not just use one of those "environmentally friendly" soaps made from vegetable oils (e.g. Camp Suds) or some other such cleaner.

Camp Suds and similar products are harmless in the quantities likely to be used along a trail. But so are ordinary bars of Ivory Soap and other mild soaps.

Expensive "special" backcountry soaps are mostly a sales gimmick, as near as I can tell. And I've been looking for evidence to the contrary for years.

Weary

MOWGLI
05-31-2005, 16:00
Camp Suds and similar products are harmless in the quantities likely to be used along a trail. But so are ordinary bars of Ivory Soap and other mild soaps.

Weary

Weary, I've seen you post this a bunch of times. I have to disagree. If every LD hiker carried a bar of Ivory Soap or Camp Suds, there would indeed be an impact. That sort of activity should not be encouraged. If I managed for 2100+ miles - using only water to wash up in camp, than surely it will work for other hikers.

Then again, I clearly recall getting bare arsed naked in front of the shelter just outside of Kent, CT - and dumping water repeatedly over my body directly in front of the shelter - and the Ridgerunner. No one said a word. I think I did the same thing in front of Dicks Dome too. In retrospect, perhaps this wasn't the best idea.

rickb
05-31-2005, 16:07
To my way of thinking, the problem with soap used for bathing is almost entirely an aesthetic one.

IMHO, the problem of unatractive soap bubble is addressed by washing and rinsing a good way up on a bank, where soil will filter what little soap one uses.

FWIW, I believe (not sure) that most bubbles in backcountry water are cause naturally. Could be wrong, but I think natural tanic acids (the same kind as make acorns bitter) are the culprit.

Washing pots directly in ponds and streams concerns me most (whether soap is used or not) There is something about pieces of maccaroni in an othewise pristine stream that gets to me.

Rick B

fiddlehead
07-20-2005, 21:52
Why should it bother me? I prefer clean hikers.
Interesting story here in Thailand. My girlfriend took me to a beautiful stream where everybody goes to bathe and swim. I found out it starts about 20 metres upstream from a huge artesian well so it is very clean water. (Yes, i'd probably even drink it if necessary) anyway, i was in the water and she threw me the shampoo and said: wash your hair too while your in there. I said: no way, it'll kill the fish. The girls with us all got a great laugh on that and pointed to all the fish in the water and later i found out that many people come there just to wash there hair (with soap)
Now, i know these people aren't very well educated in science and the harm soap does to living beings. But try to teach them some things and you just get smothered with laughter sometimes.
But anyway, YES! bathe in the streams, (no soap is best)

kyhipo
07-21-2005, 13:30
man o man are people really whacked out that much .Like who doesnt swim or clean up, soap or no soap aint nobody tell me i cant clean up thats what the good lord put it there for.And when i usually due its not by a water source for drinking lets not get retarted over this one very simple clean or not, lets make it a dumb scientific evalution:rolleyes: like usuall:dance ky

The Hog
07-22-2005, 07:26
I hope the LNT folks don't latch onto this issue. Already I've heard comments that my small cooking fires are no longer kosher. Next they'll tell me that I've violated the prime directive by my usual habit of swimming in every lake and stream I possibly can.

When swimming is outlawed, all I can say is good luck enforcing it.

Sorcerer
07-22-2005, 08:36
Soap near the water sources is bad. All soap including CampSuds, Dr. Bonners, Ivory, etc. Very tiny amounts in the drinking water can cause you to have the "green apple splatters". It is an old Boy Scout trick if you want to get even with somebody, just put a drop or two of soap in their water. It can make somebody very uncomfortable on the trail. Treating the water doesn't take soap out of it and I'm not 100% sure a filter can take it out either.

Now, as far as rinsing off in the stream there is no real problem. Bacteria that might be on your body is easily killed by treating or removed by filtering. You should treat all backcountry water sources. Seems like I saw that on a sign once.............. :jump

saimyoji
07-23-2005, 21:25
Boiling doesn't get rid of the soap either...

Nean
07-24-2005, 00:20
My understanding was that while most soaps are indeed biodegradable- only so in soil, not water

SunnyWalker
07-13-2007, 21:03
I think it is repulsive and inconsiderate to bathe with soap in the stream. I myself get wet, take a bucket of water and move off 100 feet at least. wash up, rinse off and return for additional buckets of water if I need to rinse off (at least 100 feet away). After all that, its time to really get dunked. But I always do this NOT at a spot where folks are getting drinking water, nor small springs, etc. if you know what I mean. -SunnyWalker

gaga
12-02-2007, 14:41
just don`t pee in the stream,like you do in your pool :p

pitdog
12-02-2007, 14:49
on my thru hike,a female hiker decided to bath in front of me,I didnt complain and enjoyed the views.We knew each other for a few miles.

Tipi Walter
12-02-2007, 15:01
I have two questions: Is there a "soap" or some plant product that is okay for streams, like yucca, etc? We know there's a bunch that aren't but is there something else?

Isn't skinny dipping being slowly phased out? Thru the years we all use to skinny dip freely, but recently a friend of mine was actually arrested for the heinous act and he was even informed that he might be placed on some offender watch list, just for skinnydipping. First we have the Tent Police, now comes the Arse Agents.

So, when I go into the water nowadays, I wear my nylon backpacking underwear, even if I'm smack dab in the middle of nowhere, cuz you just never know . . . . .

Frolicking Dinosaurs
12-02-2007, 15:14
In bygone years, Dinos skinny-dipped. Today Dinos sometimes swim. Bathing is something to be done away from the water IMO.

warraghiyagey
12-02-2007, 15:16
In bygone years, Dinos skinny-dipped. Today Dinos sometimes swim. Bathing is something to be done away from the water IMO.

Sometimes skinnydipping still happens. Maine is so big!!:rolleyes:

oldfivetango
12-02-2007, 15:19
I'm carrying a collapsible bucket on my upcoming thru. It weighs under 4 oz and holds 2.6 gallons. Its called the Kitchen Sink form Sea to Summit and its great for gathering water, wahing dishes, bathing, etc.

http://www.seatosummitusa.com/access.html

Peterawk

You can get a platypus bag with a hose on it-I have one.
Oldfivetango

Frolicking Dinosaurs
12-02-2007, 15:23
Sometimes skinnydipping still happens. Maine is so big!!:rolleyes:If I wasn't afraid the sight of massive quantities of Dino hide would traumatize you youngsters for life, I would still be skinny dipping.
The real reason is I don't move fast enough to yank on some clothes if somebody shows up these days.

warraghiyagey
12-02-2007, 15:30
If I wasn't afraid the sight of massive quantities of Dino hide would traumatize you youngsters for life, I would still be skinny dipping.
The real reason is I don't move fast enough to yank on some clothes if somebody shows up these days.
When I'm near the end of my days I hope I can still do it joyfully, to never feel too old. Live is life!! Hoping you find an irresistible body of water soon.

Jim Adams
12-02-2007, 16:09
swim every chance you get but soap doesn't belong in the wilds.

geek

dessertrat
12-02-2007, 16:20
I seldom filter my water, and I don't mind people washing off in a stream, although I don't do it myself.

Why? The moose do it, the bears do it, the deer do it, etc. and so on. There's all sorts of stuff in the water that you'd rather not know about. The plain fact is, bacteria and virii are everywhere, human generated or not, and to pretend otherwise is naive and a bit childish.

You are more likely to get sick from shaking hands with an immigrant just off an airplane than you are to get sick from drinking untreated water in the backcountry. Are we more interested in reality, or in the quaint ideas of LNTers?

FatMan
12-02-2007, 16:24
Nuttin' better than a good bubble bath in the swimming hole after all those hot miles on the trail. No soap for me, just a couple of good farts does the trick.:D

Please keep the soap out of the water. I'm a practical guy who sees little harm in a quick dip, but get out and away from the stream if you feel you need to soap up. Just seems like a common sense thing to do.

wrongway_08
12-02-2007, 16:47
I seldom filter my water, and I don't mind people washing off in a stream, although I don't do it myself.

Why? The moose do it, the bears do it, the deer do it, etc. and so on. There's all sorts of stuff in the water that you'd rather not know about. The plain fact is, bacteria and virii are everywhere, human generated or not, and to pretend otherwise is naive and a bit childish.

You are more likely to get sick from shaking hands with an immigrant just off an airplane than you are to get sick from drinking untreated water in the backcountry. Are we more interested in reality, or in the quaint ideas of LNTers?

Yup. I always found it funny that people are so worried about this subject. A bear crapping upsream while catching his dinner - no one really thinks about that but some one washing up and all hell is raised, ass back wards thinking by humans as usual.

Also the big companies dumping chemiclas into streams - even if 100 miles upstream - will still be worse for you then a few thousand thru- hikers dipping in the streams to wipe sweat off the ol' sweaty butt crack.

saimyoji
12-02-2007, 17:04
It makes sense to try to keep our world's waterways as clean as possible considering the current state of things....that said, rinsing your natural oils off in a stream should not be considered "dirty." Soap may actually be beneficial for some hikers to drink. :rolleyes:

Note that we are talking about a stream which may have all sorts of things in it, versus a spring which will not be as exposed to as much, but may still be less than pure.

I have filtered, treated, and drank it straight. Never been sick on the trail. Not from water anyway. :cool:

JAK
12-02-2007, 17:10
I don't use soap either, but I've wondered if using a little wood ash might be a way to cut the grease when washing your hair, or clothing. Just a light dusting, then dive in and rinse well. You would want to be careful not to get it in your eyes though, as it turns to lye as it rinses out. Too much ash would be just as bad for the stream as soap though. I would try just a little left over from a Kelly Kettle or hobbo stove. Not everytime either. I've never done it, but it seems it might be fun in a neolithic kind of way. Then there are clays and stuff also, but I think that is better left undisturbed.

Tipi Walter
12-02-2007, 20:11
I don't use soap either, but I've wondered if using a little wood ash might be a way to cut the grease when washing your hair, or clothing. Just a light dusting, then dive in and rinse well. You would want to be careful not to get it in your eyes though, as it turns to lye as it rinses out. Too much ash would be just as bad for the stream as soap though. I would try just a little left over from a Kelly Kettle or hobbo stove. Not everytime either. I've never done it, but it seems it might be fun in a neolithic kind of way. Then there are clays and stuff also, but I think that is better left undisturbed.

A little off subject, but your post reminded me of a stone age hike I did about 15 years ago from my tipi 8 miles to another nearby ridge overlook. I wore only some neolithic fleece, i.e. my body was completely covered in a paste of thick wood ash mixed with water, an old tradition with the wandering monks of India who are often seen covered in ash. I wanted to see if I stayed warmer than with bare skin and I did.

saimyoji
12-02-2007, 20:28
A little off subject, but your post reminded me of a stone age hike I did about 15 years ago from my tipi 8 miles to another nearby ridge overlook. I wore only some neolithic fleece, i.e. my body was completely covered in a paste of thick wood ash mixed with water, an old tradition with the wandering monks of India who are often seen covered in ash. I wanted to see if I stayed warmer than with bare skin and I did.


When does your autobio come out? :cool:

Frolicking Dinosaurs
12-02-2007, 20:34
When does your autobio come out? :cool:::: Dino gets on list for advance copy :::

mudhead
12-03-2007, 07:30
I have two questions: Is there a "soap" or some plant product that is okay for streams, like yucca, etc? We know there's a bunch that aren't but is there something else?

Isn't skinny dipping being slowly phased out? Thru the years we all use to skinny dip freely, but recently a friend of mine was actually arrested for the heinous act and he was even informed that he might be placed on some offender watch list, just for skinnydipping. First we have the Tent Police, now comes the Arse Agents.

So, when I go into the water nowadays, I wear my nylon backpacking underwear, even if I'm smack dab in the middle of nowhere, cuz you just never know . . . . .

NPS in Maine will write tickets, but I think you have to try pretty hard.

Anyone had a good tan line, and had fish tag you on the butt?

That will get you swimming to shore one-handed.

gearfreak
12-03-2007, 10:04
I always try to envision what may have gone on upstream when I'm filtering AND treating my water. Will I occassionally soak my feet in a sizable stream? Absoulutely! I think animals are much more likely to transfer unsavory matter into the water than a hiker's sore, tired feet. As for bathing, no. It's just too easy to fill my 2.4L Platypus bladder, attach the push/pull cap and use it as a shower. :cool:

amigo
12-03-2007, 12:26
I never bathe in a small stream, unless I slip and fall in. I do skinny dip in larger streams and lakes.

I never use any type of soap in any waterway.

I do carry a vial of Camp Suds (about 1/2 ounce) and a square piece of sponge about 2.5 inches square, which weighs nothing on my digital scale. I try to get away from the stream about 100 feet (might be a bit less sometimes, but never right on the bank), then I put a drop of soap on the wet sponge and wash all over, followed by a rinse from a water bottle. I try to do this every day (unless it's really cold). The slight abrasiveness of the sponge really gets you clean and I feel like a million bucks after. I also wash my base layer shirt and shorts every day (same time and place) and change into a fresh dry base layer. Would I maintain this regimen on an LDH? I'd like to think so, but I won't know until I do it.

whitefoot_hp
12-07-2007, 13:02
some one always told me its legal to be naked in the national forest. is this true?

this past summer i actually got so hot on a hike that i hiked a few miles naked, until we came upon an environmental engineering crew that gave us a hitch out.

CoyoteWhips
12-07-2007, 13:53
some one always told me its legal to be naked in the national forest. is this true?

this past summer i actually got so hot on a hike that i hiked a few miles naked, until we came upon an environmental engineering crew that gave us a hitch out.

Being naked in the wilderness (http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/hiking/sections/naked/nationalforest.htm).

In some cases, it's not unlike stealth camping -- it's only illegal if you get caught.

skskinner
12-08-2007, 12:29
Actually, the opposite is true. All except specialized use, high phosphate detergents are environmentally friendly. At least I have yet to see any scientific studies that reported the contrary.

As for washing in streams it is more of an aesthetic, than an enviromental and health problem. I don't do it because other hikers frown on the practice.

The difference between bathing your feet in a stream or sitting in a stream, compared with taking a soap bath is merely one of degrees. Soap removes more of your sweat and dirt. It is harmless by itself, as near as I can tell and I've been asking for authoritative evidence to the contrary ever since phosphates were removed from most detergents 3 or 4 decades ago.

Weary

Weary
If you were a surface dwelling insect like a water spider and many others, you would have a different opinion. Some spiders pull drops of air down under the water for a type of diving bell. Surface tension allows for all these incredible creatures to have a life. One little bit of soap or detergent will distroy many square yards of surface tension. Mule

Appalachian Tater
12-09-2007, 02:34
I always assume that there is a bloated deer carcass in the water just far enough upstream that I can't smell it. Still, I would not put soap in any lake or stream while hiking. Swimming is allowed.

Skits
12-09-2007, 05:38
I swim in any body of water deep enough to swim in, making the assumption that anything deep enough for me to swim in has enough volume that my nominal contamination will have no impact. Anything too small to swim in I don't use to bathe. And I never use soap in a stream or lake.

I rarely treat my water and seeing somebody swim upstream from me wouldn't keep me from getting water out of that stream. I have been lucky and the only time I have gotten sick from water was from water I drank in a town (Grants, New Mexico).

archy
12-09-2007, 09:42
Skinny dipping absolutely

CoyoteWhips
12-09-2007, 09:49
I assume that people who are adverse to bathing in streams still have to cross the streams. Does it make a difference to me if you tramp through bear poo and then through the creek or if you just sit your naked butt in it?

Frankly, I'm going to avoid putting either image in my head when I'm filling my bottles.

mudhead
12-09-2007, 09:51
Don't think about the moose eating tender aquatic plants, either.

FlimFlam
04-04-2008, 12:31
holy *****. i just typed in the most well thought-out post i've ever produced for this forum. i'm not signed in, message was lost. DAAAMN!

hopefulhiker
04-04-2008, 13:15
I admit one time I did ice my bare feet down in a good size stream that crossed the AT but I never actually bathed.

rob123ufl
04-04-2008, 19:17
anyone who was at blue mountain shelter right before unicoi gap about 3 or 4 weeks ago, on that hellaciously warm day right after that last push to the shelter....they know how i feel about bathing in cool mountain streams...them and god, and a hiker named kota who thought i was a blackbear.

fiddlehead
04-04-2008, 22:12
Isn't swimming (bathing without soap) in ponds/lakes/streams part of backpacking?

Lone Wolf
04-04-2008, 22:16
Isn't swimming (bathing without soap) in ponds/lakes/streams part of backpacking?

yeah. totally

warraghiyagey
04-04-2008, 22:57
Is skinny dipping bathing. . . regardless of use of soap??

warraghiyagey
04-04-2008, 22:59
holy *****. i just typed in the most well thought-out post i've ever produced for this forum. i'm not signed in, message was lost. DAAAMN!
I hate when that happens.:mad: I always hit copy with my posts that seem the best, musch to the chagrin of the other WBers.:o
:p

GGS2
04-05-2008, 05:25
I voted for swimming, but then on the trail, I rarely do. It took me a while to figure this out. It's a matter of proportion. Most such problems are a matter of overuse or disproportion. Overpopulation, if you wish. If your use of a resource despoils it for others, your use is out of proportion and offensive. But if the resource is well able to accommodate your use without inconvenience to others, no harm. This is as true of water on the trail as it is of garbage dumps in society. The disputes arise when we run out of fee space that doesn't infringe on someone else's personal space. There's a lot of that going around these days.

borntobeoutdoors
04-08-2008, 01:19
Nor have I really found any. But in the interests of full disclosure, I probably should report that some scientists have found that german cockroaches can be killed with household detergents, though the study didn't give the required concentration.

Also I ran across a paper in which it was claimed that eating out of washed, but unrinsed dishes could result in soap scum dissolving the mucous lining of the stomach, causing upset. The author's advice? If a dish tastes soapy, rinse it before using.

This won't change my activities in the woods, because I don't wash either myself or my dishes in streams near trails, or where I am not familiar with the downstream conditions, out of deference to those who object to the practice.

But I continue to believe that the harmful effects of soap have been greatly exaggeration.

Weary

And you received your degree in biology when? And where? You have what credentials that would qualify you to contradict scientists in the particular fields that apply to what is being discussed?

Do you have any evidence that contradicts the experts in these fields?

fiddlehead
04-08-2008, 05:05
Funny that people still think you need some kind of a degree to know something.
I had a meeting with the most popular web-designer on the island here in Phuket a few weeks ago. When we finished, i told him that i wish i could go back to university and learn some of this stuff like CSS and Jumla and PHP etc.
He said: "do you think i am a college graduate?" I said "of course" he said "i learned everything i know by looking it up on google.
I think a university education will become not so important anymore.

Keep it coming Weary. YOur posts are always interesting and usually enlightening. degree or whatever.

JAK
04-08-2008, 07:54
I agree. Anyone can be a scientist.
A university degree is just a symptom.

FlimFlam
04-08-2008, 11:02
I hate when that happens.:mad: I always hit copy with my posts that seem the best, musch to the chagrin of the other WBers.:o
:p

Ha! I should do that. Well now I'll have to spend the next 6 months gathering and organizing my thoughts to post a coherent, useful message. Darn!

Appalachian Tater
04-08-2008, 11:46
A university degree is just a symptom.

This seems to be an original and highly quotable sentence.

What is it a symptom of?

orangebug
04-08-2008, 13:42
Very original! I couldn't find the same quote on Google.

But what is it a symptom of?

Anyone else heard the addage that BS stands for what you anticipate, MS -> more of the same.

And PHD -> Piled Higher and Deeper

(MD -> More Dung)

scout005
04-08-2008, 19:44
i was told in one of my outdoor courses that biodegradable soap only degrades on land not in a stream. they said to get wet, take a collapsible bucket of water away from the stream, lather up and rinse off on land not in the stream. repeat as necessary. The nylon bucket i have weighs next to nothing and was cheap. i think it's made by coughlans.

NorthCountryWoods
04-11-2008, 19:57
Isn't swimming (bathing without soap) in ponds/lakes/streams part of backpacking?

Absolutely. It's a constant sight in VT. It's still perfectly legal to be nekid in public just about everywhere in state. Stay home if you're easily offended.

Have noticed an increase in "Flatlander outrage" over it in recent years. Buzzkill.:mad:

Jaybird
04-12-2008, 06:07
i was told in one of my outdoor courses that biodegradable soap only degrades on land not in a stream. they said to get wet, take a collapsible bucket of water away from the stream, lather up and rinse off on land not in the stream. repeat as necessary. The nylon bucket i have weighs next to nothing and was cheap. i think it's made by coughlans.



Great ideas, SCOUT!

I've always taken "Wet Wipes" for my bathing purposes...but wading thru a nice cold stream....does INVIGORATE you!:D (minus the SOAP)

see ya'll out there (w/ "Jigsaw") April-May Turk Gap to Harpers Ferry

Tinker
04-13-2008, 00:57
My understanding was that while most soaps are indeed biodegradable- only so in soil, not water

That's the way I heard it. Biodegradable soap supposedly degrades when microorganisms in soil feed on it.

I take a cookpot and fill it with water from a stream, walk away from the stream, and wash and rinse. I also take advantage of a heavy rain (if it's not too cold), and take a shower (again, away from water sources).\

I have been known to jump into a river or lake unwashen occasionally. I think the soap is more of a problem than the sweat and trail dirt.

I use a water filter. I might have other feelings if I drank it straight or chemically treated water.

theinfamousj
04-13-2008, 21:41
In almost three completions (and countless gear lists) I have never seen anyone else carry a collapsible bucket for washing.

I don't carry a collapsible bucket for washing, but I do turn my pack cover inside out and use it as a large basin for washing. I cannot go to bed dirty so I do a head-to-toe scrub down before every night. And I do this far, far away from the water source and with biodegradable soap.

Am I the only one? Please tell me I'm not. Anyone else wash up in a similar manner?

Wise Old Owl
04-13-2008, 22:32
Sorry folks I am not going to read all the posts - the primary ingredient is Sodium hydroxide, its the more expensive caustic soda because it is less harmful to the environment. My suggestion in future is to worry a little less about polluting the environment, The Chinese are doing a far better job by following our example by joining us in the burning of millions of tons of cheap coal to create electricity without the use of important scrubbers.

The Ivory soap bar (classic) contains: sodium tallowate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_tallowate), sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, sodium silicate, magnesium sulfate, and fragrance.

Sodium Tallowate is lye,


Sodium hydroxide does not bioaccumulate due to its high solubility in water. It is considered slightly toxic to aquatic organisms unless there is a significant pH shift outside the range of 5 – 10; this change may be toxic to aquatic organisms. ie dumping a very large quantity of soap

I am not 100 percent of the answer... I just don't see the harm to aquatic life vs stinking up the next trail town. Enjoy. Join the Chinese in keeping clean, I suspect bathing was invented by them.

Montego
04-13-2008, 22:41
I don't carry a collapsible bucket for washing, but I do turn my pack cover inside out and use it as a large basin for washing. I cannot go to bed dirty so I do a head-to-toe scrub down before every night. And I do this far, far away from the water source and with biodegradable soap.

Am I the only one? Please tell me I'm not. Anyone else wash up in a similar manner?

I use to carry a collapsible bucket for washing back in the days of yore. After an unfortunate accident (posted on another thread) I ditched the bucket and just started using the bottom cut from an empty 1 gal milk jug. It's only about two inches deep but serves well enough with a bandana and camp soap and, though more fragile, it's a bunch lighter to carry.

general
04-14-2008, 17:58
don't use no filter, clean thyself whenever necessary. common sense would tell most people that if you're not using a filter or some chemical you most likely wouldn't want to get water where there is a creek large enough to submerge oneself in. walk up stream from established campsites, maybe on a smaller tributary, small enough that you couldn't submerge oneself in and get water there.

i live on the chattahoochee river in northeast georgia, several miles below the tourist trap of helen, which sees millions of tubers in the summer time and also dumps treated human waste in the river just south of town. i had the water tested here just for kicks, in the summer time a few years ago. you can drink it too.

Trail Trooper
12-15-2009, 22:07
If A Bear Washes His Balls In A Stream So Can I

Sir-Packs-Alot
12-19-2009, 02:38
Hmmm... At the top of the page - the poll asked if it bothered me if hikers bathed in streams - and I voted no - because it hasn't. After reading the back and forths though - and considering my views on conservation and LNT - I'd vote yes next time.
(at least I admitted to being a flip-flopper!)

I do carry one of Sea to Summits superlight/compact water bucket and carry it back to camp / shelter to filter from. I hardly ever do a full body bathe on trail - but I see no reason I couildn't "do my thing" in a private spot away from a water source utilizing the bucket (I know they make a version of the bucket with a tiny little plastic showerhead underneath as well (size of a button) so you can hang it (but it's not heavy-like the car-camping showers most people know).

However, I'll vote for just soaking in the water to cool off - no soap - and waiting for the next town for a real shower or bathe !

Just Dan
12-19-2009, 12:04
like a person bathing is going to be grosser than years of collected fish/crawdad poop.

Graywolf
12-20-2009, 01:22
like a person bathing is going to be grosser than years of collected fish/crawdad poop.

Hey thats the flavoring....:D

Graywolf

Connie
12-20-2009, 05:03
If soap, then away from the water.

But no phosphates and no detergents.

The phosphates are harmful, killing beneficial micro-organisms.

Detergents can kill everything in a puddle, a pond, a small lake because the detergent molecule stands on end depriving the water of oxygen.

The natural way to wash-up, is wood ash on your own sweat-oils and rinse.

Not every wood ash. Some wood ash is to be avoided.

I mention this, because I detect some people in the thread want to be natural as well as au natural.

The wood ash on sweat-oils and rinse is natural.

Phosphates and detergents are not.

vonfrick
12-20-2009, 11:42
This may sound nuts, but I've used the following on week long trips in the whites and am pretty sure this is as good as it gets for quick/easy/enviro friendly daily dips....

1) restaurant mayo packet (for fat content....)
2) a decent pinch of fine "campfire ashes" (Alkali)
3) small amount of pine sap (this will make the soap anti-bacterial as well)

Mix it all together and use the "goop" as you would a body soap...the amount of pine sap and ashes should be small at first to avoid minor skin rashes (too much alkili) or increased if water is not removing the "oiliness" from the mayo (fat/lard)

this is the same thing as commercial soap minus the fragrances, so why not just bring soap?


So why not just use one of those "environmentally friendly" soaps made from vegetable oils (e.g. Camp Suds) or some other such cleaner.

see?


Camp Suds and similar products are harmless in the quantities likely to be used along a trail. But so are ordinary bars of Ivory Soap and other mild soaps.

Expensive "special" backcountry soaps are mostly a sales gimmick, as near as I can tell. And I've been looking for evidence to the contrary for years.

Weary

yup


The Ivory soap bar (classic) contains: sodium tallowate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_tallowate), sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, sodium silicate, magnesium sulfate, and fragrance.

Sodium Tallowate is lye,

no, it is lye reacted with the fatty acid commonly known as tallow, b/c we are too sqeamish to call it what it is, beef fat. the other 2 compounds mentioned after are analogous.

for the record i don't bring or use any soap at all, it is pointless. you just get dirty again, and the constant rain seems to do the trick. as far as washing pots goes, if you haven't licked that thing clean- you haven't hiked enough.

kanga
12-20-2009, 13:15
If soap, then away from the water.

But no phosphates and no detergents.

The phosphates are harmful, killing beneficial micro-organisms.

Detergents can kill everything in a puddle, a pond, a small lake because the detergent molecule stands on end depriving the water of oxygen.

The natural way to wash-up, is wood ash on your own sweat-oils and rinse.

Not every wood ash. Some wood ash is to be avoided.

I mention this, because I detect some people in the thread want to be natural as well as au natural.

The wood ash on sweat-oils and rinse is natural.

Phosphates and detergents are not.

wood ash is a good source of phosphorus. just sayin'.

Philip
12-20-2009, 13:32
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.

kanga
12-20-2009, 13:36
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.
you're out of your element here, philip. you actually make sense.

Philip
12-20-2009, 13:45
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.

kolokolo
12-20-2009, 15:30
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.

Connie
12-20-2009, 17:08
...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 (http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/84) Trek & Travel Pocket Soaps soap leaves: body wash, shampoo, etal.

vonfrick
12-20-2009, 19:01
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.

Reid
12-20-2009, 19:26
really hot water usually does the trick for me without soap.

warraghiyagey
12-20-2009, 19:35
Soap covers up my naturally sexy pheromones. . .

sheepdog
12-20-2009, 22:59
ever wonder how fish get 100 ft from a water source to go the bathroom

SassyWindsor
12-21-2009, 01:30
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.

kanga
12-21-2009, 09:18
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.
agreed. it's selfishness. it's sad when people can't go a LITTLE bit out of there way to do a helpful thing. wait, that's laziness..

superman
12-21-2009, 09:48
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.:)

tarbender
12-23-2009, 15:13
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.

Just Dan
01-03-2010, 04:14
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.

yeah, tell me about those darn weekenders. just make sure your high horse isn't stepping in that water source as you go by.

Robert Goodmaan
05-11-2014, 19:14
Weary, talk to any Biologist or Biochemist. Soap disrupts cell activity. True it only causes humans to be sick, but microorganisms are killed (thats why you wash your hands). As it works it's way up the food chain it can also kill amphibians and fish. Many things that it does not kill are harmed. You are still fighting for phosphates, why???
I am I Ph.D. biochemist and used to teach Envronmental Sci. to undergrads, and I can tell you the idea of soap working its way up the food chain is ridiculous. You know what soap is? Fatty acid, meaning calories. It works its way up the food chain the way any carbon source would, i.e. as food.

The likeliest fate of any soap (meaning actual soap soap) used in likely quantities by someone washing up in a stream or pond is that the alkali are quickly buffered by carbon dioxide and the soap anion is precipitated by calcium, leaving an infinitesimal bathtub ring on some surface at the water's edge. From there it's just bacteria food. Unless you've found some fulginic waters while hiking or camping, I doubt you see any suds downstream of where you rinsed off, just scum which is indistinguishable from pond scum. The only microbes affected by the soap will have been in the lather on your body.

Damn Yankee
05-11-2014, 21:30
I will however, swim or soak with no soap. Surfs up!

Sarcasm the elf
05-11-2014, 21:46
Depends...I wouldn't foul the water in a trickling brook, seep or spring, but I will gladly rinse off in a pond or sufficiently large, fast moving stream.

And I wouldn't use soap or wash my dishes directly in a stream, I just consider it rude.

hkanz
05-11-2014, 22:57
While hiking in AZ I was shocked to come across a thru-hiker not only bathing in a stagnant pool beside the trail (one of the few water sources on that segment) but also laundering his sweaty clothes in said stagnant pool. He ultimately left the trail due to scarcity of water - hurrah for that one. If it's a river, I don't think it's such a big deal, but I dunno why people feel the need for soap. I draw water and wash my dusty legs; I use deodorant; if my body reeks, I can't smell it. Maybe I'm just a dirty person but I wouldn't go backpacking for months if cleanliness was that important to me. :)

Another Kevin
05-12-2014, 21:07
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'm a clueless weekender. I bathe in a bucket, and either distribute the wastewater or pour it down a cathole, according to the preferences of the land manager. And if I'm doing a weekend trip - and hence without my big heavy pack - I always bring a couple of big garbage bags to trash out. I guess I'm doing weekends all wrong... :)

Another Kevin
05-12-2014, 21:10
I am I Ph.D. biochemist and used to teach Envronmental Sci. to undergrads, and I can tell you the idea of soap working its way up the food chain is ridiculous. You know what soap is? Fatty acid, meaning calories. It works its way up the food chain the way any carbon source would, i.e. as food.

The likeliest fate of any soap (meaning actual soap soap) used in likely quantities by someone washing up in a stream or pond is that the alkali are quickly buffered by carbon dioxide and the soap anion is precipitated by calcium, leaving an infinitesimal bathtub ring on some surface at the water's edge. From there it's just bacteria food. Unless you've found some fulginic waters while hiking or camping, I doubt you see any suds downstream of where you rinsed off, just scum which is indistinguishable from pond scum. The only microbes affected by the soap will have been in the lather on your body.

Right. But stay away from the detergents. Organosulfates, quaternary ammonium, and similar rubbish are considerably less benign. Most shampoos have got a goodly load of ammonium lauryl sulfate, and a lot have benzalkonium as well.

Wise Old Owl
05-12-2014, 21:45
I am I Ph.D. biochemist and used to teach Envronmental Sci. to undergrads, and I can tell you the idea of soap working its way up the food chain is ridiculous. You know what soap is? Fatty acid, meaning calories. It works its way up the food chain the way any carbon source would, i.e. as food.

The likeliest fate of any soap (meaning actual soap soap) used in likely quantities by someone washing up in a stream or pond is that the alkali are quickly buffered by carbon dioxide and the soap anion is precipitated by calcium, leaving an infinitesimal bathtub ring on some surface at the water's edge. From there it's just bacteria food. Unless you've found some fulginic waters while hiking or camping, I doubt you see any suds downstream of where you rinsed off, just scum which is indistinguishable from pond scum. The only microbes affected by the soap will have been in the lather on your body.


Thank you for your wonderful information - Now when the smell of hikers arrive 5 minutes before they actually do. I can pass the Ivory (it floats) and there won't be a objection.:)

bighammer
05-12-2014, 23:37
Proper Use of Campsuds (http://sectionhiker.com/biodegradable-soap-in-the-backcountry-the-campsuds-myth/)

Wise Old Owl
05-13-2014, 00:27
Now ya done it. Contrary to popular current belief; Folks bathed in ponds and in West Chester as I did as a kid. Almost all the way to the 80's and there are still a few water holes that university students still visit. The kids picked up the turtles and showed mom just to watch her horror... The turtles didn't die from having a few hundred people all jumping into the pond. Now folks bath in deadly chemicals like Chlorine and half a dozen others, or what ever they have at the pool supply store... my eyes don't hurt when I go down the Brandywine in my kayak, I don't stink either, and since they can now find microscopic amounts of birth control pills in drinking water - I am not worried that any of this is going to kill me or the turtles. But lately I think the turtles are getting it on a little more... My point is camp suds has little to do with environmental impact even it a thousand hikers do it in a stream, when pcb's, fission materials, lead, zinc, mercury, and other nasty's have already been there before. Folks can't even solve graffiti on the trail... Just do your best clean up after yourself and try to do the right thing. If you see some trash pick it up, I have cleaned the Brandywine River each year for some 10 years by canoe with the Wilmington Trail Club. We filled canoes with tires each year.

Ponder this - as a Lifeguard in Illinois everyone was required to bath prior to jumping in the pool for health reasons to keep the pool sanitary.. a few years back my family went to a state park and we visited the pool inside the park here in Pennsylvania. Due to 5 inner city busses from Harrisburg the kids jumped straight in... within a hour you could see the visible dried particulate turning the pool color brown. I don't begrudge the kids - they had a great time. So did my family. My thought is that this could have made a lot of kids very sick, and send a few to the hospital e coli is not to be messed with. Based on the size of the double olympic pools it took three days to cycle and clean.

A stream is just that-downhill. Just keep it all in perspective - a deer or moose can die up stream and ruin your day. To think your are safer in a pond or a public pool ... well do you?

roustabout
12-03-2014, 00:19
If you bathe in the stream, you are going to environmentalist hell.

RED-DOG
12-03-2014, 10:58
I don't suggest bathing directly in the stream but instead if you carry a water bladder all you have to do is fill it up walk a good ways from the stream hang it from a tree with the drinking tube pointing down and use the mouth piece as you would a shower head now you have a Thru-hiking solar shower awesome on warm days.

squeezebox
12-03-2014, 11:58
That's why I'm going to bring a 2.5 oz 10 L bucket to use for baths NEAR the stream. Too many people don't have enough common sense to not foul the water source.

AO2134
12-03-2014, 12:11
Fill your platypus with water, walk a good distance away from water stream, wash yourself away from our water source. That is just nasty guys.

takethisbread
12-03-2014, 12:29
I bathe in town. Is that unusual. Baby wipes in between .


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Traveler
12-03-2014, 13:19
"Well sure. You have a real good one (bath) when you finish the shove up north, like at the hotel in Alfred. Then one or two in the winter, if you don't catch your death. Then a couple in the spring and one more good one before you start the shove up again. The rest depends on what kind of water you hit on the drive. Well, what's wrong with that?" Will Penny

rickb
12-03-2014, 13:29
In the real world, how may people have EVER filled their water bottle more than 40 feet from the closest practical place along a steam's bank.

Zero, right?

That tells me that if you walk 50 feet upstream, the water you take from the stream will have never been "contaminated" with a bather.

And if you walk 50 feet down stream, any contamination you cause will never contaminate anyone else's water supply.

That said, I tend to favor washing away from a stream a bit to let the earth filter my soap suds-- and I will almost always draw my water from the closest spot that does not show evidence of dish washing.

Connie
12-03-2014, 14:16
I had a lid for my platy, that had holes for personal washing.

Now, there is a product called Simple Shower.

I have had those solar showers, never used once. Not enough privacy for an all-over shower.

I used biodegradable Camp Soap. Now, I like Sea-to-Summit soap leaves even better.

i wouldn't thing of washing near the water source. I don't need to read, to know that.

Booshay
12-03-2014, 20:54
Fish poop and pee, omg!

squeezebox
12-03-2014, 23:00
Your poop and pee, omg!

handlebar
12-04-2014, 10:56
A gallon Ziplock Freezer bag can carry 1-2 liters of H2O for a bucket bath well away from a water source to a secluded area where one can bathe in private. Fold down the sides and place in a slight depression and you've got a decent wash basin. Lightweight, LNT.

brotheral
12-04-2014, 13:53
Not at all !! :)

strogiyogi
01-30-2015, 17:42
downstream and no soap please!