Hybrid Cloth Diaper System
I have cloth diapered all four of my boys since birth, but I have always had reservations about taking our cloth along on trips for several reasons.
First of all, the space issue. No matter how big our vehicle or family, we always seem to be able to pack to the brim. When flying, there was just no way to handle the extra.
Second, I’m not extremely trusting of washers and dryers that don’t belong to me. I have smelled the detergent and fabric softener on other peoples’ clothes, and I can never be certain that there isn’t a build-up that might affect my diapers.
Third, even if I brought a big load and did trust the washing facilities, is that really what I want to spend my time doing after a long day of vacation fun?
And if staying at a hotel, what if all the machines are busy at night and I fall asleep before doing my wash? I did consider taking cloth on 2-3 day trips before but ultimately decided against it because I feared the smell in a confined space while driving home with a bag full of dirty diapers.
I was extremely excited when hybrid cloth diapering systems offered disposable insert options a few years ago. Since I already invested in one-size covers for these systems, I only needed to purchase disposable inserts to take with me on trips. It was actually more affordable and less bulky than buying disposable diapers.
Traveling with a Hybrid System For a Six-month Old
Here’s a little photo journey of traveling with a hybrid system with a six-month-old baby:
Prefold and Wipe 2 Day Example
This is what I packed for our 5 day trip
- 1 package of GroVia BioSoakers – 50 count
- 1 package of Flip Disposable Insert – 18 count
- 4 Flip One-Size Diaper Covers
- 1 GroVia Shell
- 1 IttyBitti Shell
- 1 Bummis small wetbag
- 1 Planetwise wetbag
- Cloth wipes made with paper towels soaked in a solution made with Baby Bits –
- All stored in a Happy Tushies Wonderbag
8 Flip Inserts (left) compared to 8 GroVia BioSoakers (right)
8 of each insert, 5 covers, 2 wetbags, and the wipes in the Wonderbag for accessibility during the car trip
Here’s the stack of what I would have needed to wash every two days with what lasted the entire trip with leftovers
Here’s the stuffed Wonderbag with 16 inserts and all of the other goodies compared to the 30 prefolds I would otherwise need to take.
I experimented with stuffing each type of cover.
I learned a few things about Flip stuffing I’ll share in a bit.
P.S. This is NOT the optimal way!
Flip Cloth Diaper
GroVia BioSoakers have sticky tabs to attach the insert to the cover. These should not be used with PUL covers in that manner as the stickiness may delaminate or cause other issues for the insides of the cover. They are really sticky!
The BioSoakers could be used as designed with the IttiBitti shell. I chose to tuck it into the gussets.
Here are all three stuffed-
Let The Traveling Begin
The six hour ride (8.5 hour day) went great. Only pees on the way and everything felt dry and there was no odor in the covers.
I switched between the GroVia and IttyBitti. I did realize that there was skill involved in sticky tabs and placement of the inserts.
When nightfall came and I was tired, I decided to go with the Flip disposable system so I wouldn’t have as much to deal with. I placed the diaper under my baby as I photographed the cover and insert above and decided that probably wasn’t the best use. This is what I did instead-
Laid insert in and spread to the entire width of cover-
Laid baby on and pulled insert up and folded over thin portion while spreading on top-
Pulled up cover and snapped closed-
Finished closing cover, making sure insert was completely inside-
Patted baby on his cute little bum since he rolled over-
I did truly love the ease of use with this system for nighttime changes since my little guy pees at least 3 times during the night.
He also pooped in Flip, and it was all contained just fine. I used the Baby Bits soaked wipes and disposed of the insert and the cover was still fine for another use the first time.
The second time, I dropped a wipe and got a little poop on the cover. I rinsed it and it was ready to go the next day.
We relaxed at the beach-
It was slightly colder there than where we’re from, so we took advantage of our BabyLegs to make diaper changes a breeze on the go. Good thing since a lot of our changes took place on the car seat.
The only issue that we ran into was that by the beginning of day four, my “daytime” diaper covers (GroVia and IttyBitti) started taking on the smell of urine on the inner material. I panicked a little because we weren’t leaving until the end of day 5.
I had mostly GroVia BioSoaker inserts, and everything was taking FOREVER to air dry in the humidity. I was worried that even if I washed them they wouldn’t dry overnight. And of course, the hotel’s dryer was out of order.
Then I had an idea! I laid the BioSoaker inserts inside the Flip covers. They worked perfectly so I used those for the rest of the trip. Since I had four Flip covers in rotation, we made it home with no issues.
I brought two wetbags in case we had any blowouts or other issues with dirty covers. I ended up putting the GroVia and IttyBitti cover, as well as the most-used Flip cover in one of the wetbags and packed it in our suitcase until we got home. I’m happy to report that there was absolutely no odor in the minivan!
I am definitely happy this option is available to us, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the disposable inserts again. I think with an exclusively breastfed baby with runny poops, I would choose to use the Bio Soaker inserts for containment purposes.
My son just started adding solids to his diet though, and his transition poop was fine in the Flip inserts. I definitely preferred the lay-in insert option for nighttime changes, and they didn’t cause any noise to wake the family in the shared hotel room or waste (sticky tab covers) to deal with in the dark.
I thought all of the covers fit equally well with the disposable inserts. I would consider a few more covers with material inside if I was planning on using the sticky BioSoaker inserts again because, by nature, those will take on the smell of urine faster than covers with a PUL interior.
If you are just beginning to research cloth diapers, or a seasoned cloth diaperer seeking out travel options, I would definitely recommend adding a few hybrid diapers to your stash. It was compact, easy, and baby still got to wear his cute covers!