Cloth Diapering on Vacation (camping)
Well, we of course used cloth diapers while camping with Wally when he was a baby, but I’ve written about that already, and plus we changed strategy a bit this trip.
It was really no big deal.
We left town on Thursday night and went as far as Omaha (2 hours) to stay with my awesome brother in law. We got up and left the house around 4 am and went as far as Rock Springs WY, then drove the final 3 hours into Midway UT the next day. For the car, I started out with pocket diapers, thinking they’d be easiest for quick diaper changes. But I only have three pocket diapers, so they only lasted, you know, about halfway thru Nebraska. After that, I switched to fitteds with wool covers.
Wool covers CAN BE prone to compression wicking, not to the same extent as fleece, but somewhat. But I have never had a problem with a properly lanolized cover. I don’t put clothes on over them. The outside of the covers often/frequently feel damp to the touch, but not WET, and the carseat cover (which is cotton in an adorable mickey mouse print) never got damp. This is how wool works. It actually wicks moisture away – pulling it from the diaper to the outside of the cover so it can evaporate. I used the same wool cover until it was quite damp, usually 3-4 diaper changes in a row.
For the car, I used my small size wet bag. I struggled with whether to take the large wet bag, but ultimately left it home, as I felt I was overpacking on diaper supplies. I wish I’d brought it, lol. I ended up switching to a two-bag system, with the older used diapers in a grocery bag and the newer used ones in the small wet bag. If I’d had the large bag, it would have been perfect for the whole car trip.
So, two days of travel later, we arrive. I think it was Saturday.
We did laundry on Monday and then again on Thursday. Our usual Park City laundromat was closed (bummer) so we ended up at a new laundromat, which was OK, I guess, but it was unclean. That bugged me. I just ran a hot wash and cold rinse, no extra rinses, and then dried them a bit. We were in UT, which is arid, so we hung them at our campsite to finish drying, which they did in about 3 seconds.
For the trip home, I did all prefolds with wool covers. I had gone thru an incredible number of diapers on Saturday, and was down to just the prefolds and a few fitteds for the trip home. We left Sunday morning and arrived home Monday late. I did the two-bag system for the car again (NOT my ideal), and the pail liner was full of the wet/dirties from the previous few days. Washed diapers first thing when we got home.
Not once did I wish I’d brought disposables. Other than having to spend a grand total of about 3 hours during the entire week at a laundromat, I’m not sure how cloth could be seen as “difficult” during a trip. If a person is uncertain about laundry access (such as if you were backpacking – though cloth is still doable then, and disposable would be no easier – or traveling thru areas that don’t have coin-op laundry), then it makes sense to use disposable for travel.
That said, some families just simply want to throw away diapers while traveling, rather than carting them around and washing them, and that’s certainly a choice those families can make. For camping, I definitely believe that having to tote used disposables to the trash every day would have been a big PITA.
These days, it’s pretty easy to find laundromats in advance of travel, or even once you’ve arrived at your destination. Most hotels have coin-op facilities, or can direct you to a local laundromat. The yellow pages are handy. We used our GPS to find the one we used in Park City.
A few notes:
I took the prefolds mainly because, as an EC family, we give Genna lots of diaper-free time, but I wasn’t sure where we’d be doing this, and I knew we’d be all out of sync from travel, so I wanted to be sure to have some absorbent pads she could sit on. I took so many fitteds because I change her often, and also because I wanted to minimize our time in laundromats. I took more than enough detergent.
We also were able to pack fewer clothes – about 3 days worth for each of us – because we knew we’d be at a laundromat and could toss in a load of clothes while we were there. It was nice.