Monday, September 21, 2009

Travelling with cloth diapers, easier than you'd think!

We took Gracie with us last week to Las Vegas. DH wanted to pack disposable diapers for the trip (the horror! the horror!), but I convinced him that we could just pack pocket diapers, enough to last a couple of days, with a quick trip to the laundromat during our trip. I packed mostly pocket diapers because they are compact, and quick-drying, and I packed some cloth wipes to clean her bum. We also had a couple fitteds and prefolds in there, just for good measure.

So, how did it go, you ask? We never even made it to the laundromat, I just hand-washed Gracie's diapers in the hotelroom's sink, and let them air-dry. I washed the diapers mid-afternoon, and they were good to go by the next morning. I must add a disclaimer here that Gracie does not poop in her diapers often, but if she did, paper liners would have helped make the clean-up easier. Surprisingly, her prefolds dried as quickly as the microterry pocket inserts, but I would not recommend air-drying fitted diapers in a hotel room, it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

While we were gearing up for ABC, I found out another mom was going to use a diaper service in Las Vegas while she was there, which was a brilliant idea. This particular service would drop-off and pick-up diapers at resorts throughout the city -- genius! I would wager if you're visiting any tourist destination serviced by a diaper service, you would likely be able to sign up on a short-term contract.

We have always brought cloth diapers with us when visiting friends and family, I suppose I've never asked for their 'permission' to wash diapers, but then again, I've never asked for their 'permission' when washing our family's underwear either. I know some people think there's a stigma involved in washing your cloth diapers in someone else's machine, but as we all know, everything washes completely away, you needn't worry about offending anyone. If you plan on washing diapers while you're away, remember to bring diaper-friendly detergent with you! It's also a good idea to wipe down the drum of the dryer with a damp cloth to remove any residue left behind by fabric softener sheets, it could transfer to your diapers and cause repelling issues.

If you're worried about using someone else's machine, for short-term trips (less than 4 days), you could always cart your dirty diapers back with you -- I would recommend a zippered laundry bag for this purpose, the PlanetWise hanging laundry bag is ideal for travelling since you can store both clean and dirty diapers in it.

Some cloth diaper manufacturers are starting to offer compostable, single-use inserts, a throwaway solution that offers a better alternative to disposable diapers. Since these compostable inserts aren't encased in plastic, they biodegrade faster. I'm still on the fence about stocking these inserts, I firmly believe that using cloth diapers 100% of the time is doable (and practical, to boot!), but I know some of our customers use a mix of disposable and cloth diapers. Thoughts, anyone? Yay or nay for the compostable, single-use inserts?

14 comments:

  1. excellent recommendations! i'm going to recommend this to my local Real Diaper Circle and pass it on to other Circle leaders to share with their members. i, too, think it's possible to use reusable cloth diapers 100% of the time and love helping others figure out how to do so, too. keep up the great work!!

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  2. I have used cloth on trips and its worked wonderfully- even camping out in the middle of nowhere without running water. It is completely doable. However, not everyone sees it that way. I say yay to the biodegradable inserts because the people that do not want to cloth on a trip might use disposables instead (cringe).

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  3. We took our cloth diapers backcountry (canoe) camping in July for a 3-day weekend, and it was very easy. We also brought cloth wipes, and we just put all the dirty ones up in a tree just like the food bag at night (to keep critters away). Handwashing would have been pretty easy as well, but we didn't need to.
    I have to admit that for our longer trip with long portages later in the summer we bought unbleached disposables (gasp! it was so hard to do!), since I just couldn't stomach carrying dirty diapers plus pack and canoe and toddler for miles through the mosquito infested bush... That's our challenge for next year (if we're still in diapers).

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  4. I find that as long as I have access to a washing machine or I can bring enough cloth to make it through I do that. In other situations where laundry is not abailable (extremely rare) I do use the terrible disposables. I like the idea of having a new choice for those situations.

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  5. On the fence here. I believe there is a difference between being "compostible" and being "biodegradable". Most people do not have home compost (though with the city program coming....would these be a part of it?). To compost needs the high heat etc of the compost pile. If people hear only biodegrade and toss in in with regular garage, it will not break down in a regular dump as fast (if at all.) If it is wrapped in a standard plastic garbage bag at the dump, there is no difference that if it were a regular disposable. I also support cloth only for travel as it can be done with a little planning!

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  6. travelling and camping with cloth is completely doable, and a good way to endorse cloth diapering. we don't take disposable underwear with us when we travel do we???

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  7. My neighbourhood has been a part of the 8 year compost trial program and we recieved our new bins last week. The collection agency has been told not to collect the compost if diapers or plastic bags are present. They WILL NOT take the new compostable/bio degradable plastic bags that many stores are now using, citing that they will not degrade in their facility. I imagine that the answer will be the same for biodegradable diapers. For me, the answer is, if I don't know for certain that it will be disposed of as the manufacturer intended, I would rather go with the "incovenience" of hauling my dirty diapers and using cloth grocery bags.

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  8. We take our pocket diapers with us when travelling as well as our wet bag. It is really no different than at home. We have a large stash so it is never an issue of running out.

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  9. what good advice! im not D until April but already thinking about traveling with cloth since we travel yearly to europe to visit with friends and family. i plan to use cloth as we'll have access to laundry machines at our family's homes. good idea to wipe down the drum of the washing machine, shouldnt be an issue since the washing machines over there are so small and compact!
    dont you just love seeing cloth diapers hanging on a line to dry too? ahh i just cant wait!

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  10. I admire the campers and canoers who used cloth - we do when traveling to family and I never ask permission anyway (who would say no to my little girls face?). we even used cloth while away for 2 weeks this summer staying at a hotel while hubby took a course... we used cloth until we ran out and then switched to disposables until we could wash again... usually we ran out at night and went to do wash the next am and we ended up using less than one package of disposables. And that was the only time we have ever used disposables so while not perfect, it worked really well for us. So as long as the compostable liner didn't need a special cover (i.e. gdiapers) and therefore some start up cost, I would definitely consider them for future trips.

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  11. When I started cloth diapering, I usually used g-diapers when we went out. I really liked the option of flushing the insert vs. putting it in the garbage in the absence of a composter or green bin program. I never had any issues with flushing though I know many are skeptical. I never tried, but think you could probably use the g-diaper insert with regular covers. Carrying a biodegradable insert might provide some people with an alternative to traditional disposables, though I'd still be a little wary of "compostable" - not everyone has a composter or green bin program. If they go in the garbage, they may as well be a regular disposable.

    I now use cloth 100% of the time even when out. We haven't gone on any overnight trips, but I think bringing along enough cloth wouldn't be a problem - it would just require an extra bag and a wet bag.

    Just as an aside, it's interesting to hear about other city's composting programs - Toronto's green bin program allows the inclusion of regular diapers and menstrual pads even though we all know they won't biodegrade. Apparently the plastics, including the bags we're allowed (required) to line our bins with, are removed during processing. I think it gives residents a false sense that disposable diapers are okay for the environment since you can dispose of them in the green bin.

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  12. This is really interesting take on the concept. I never thought of it that way. I came across this site recently which I think will be of great use http://www.buygreensavvy.com . Have a look!

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  13. soooo what about when you're gone for a month overseas when theres no dryers or access to washing machines...??

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  14. Anonymous, you can look into a local diaper service, or hand-wash your diapers in the sink, line-dry them outside (we did this in Hawaii, we had diapers hanging on our balcony). You make it work, I guess.

    susie ;)

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