Tips for Traveling with Cloth Diapers
Traveling with cloth diapers is honestly a breeze. We are currently on a road trip of the United States of America with our 1 yr old daughter and 3 yr old son, with cloth diapers in tow. We have been cloth diapering since our son was 7mths old. Cloth diapering is one of those things that gets easier with time. Once your routine is down and you understand that you really can't mess it up cloth is king! We recently cloth diapered on a 16 day trip to Nicaragua. Disposable diapers are REALLY expensive in Nicaragua. Here are my tips for traveling with cloth...
- Wet Bags. You probably already know that you need a wet bag in your diaper bag at all times. For smaller wet bags I love my Grovia wet bag and my Bumkins wet bags. For a trip, I bring 2-3 small wetbags and 1 larger one. My larger one is a Planet Wise, size large. I bag my diapers as I go through the day, in the smaller wet bag and then I place the smaller wet bag into the larger one when I return to the hotel/rental. I am not a fan of the open top pail idea with cloth diapering, no smells for me please so this double bagging works to keep the smells at a minimum and keep everything contained until I wash.
- Detergent. Bring it! I bring laundry detergent everywhere. For the road trip I brought a liquid detergent I love and for Nicaragua I bagged a 1 gallon zip-lock of powdered detergent. I use store bought, fragrance free, normal brand detergents... not specialty detergents. Special detergents are not necessary.
- Keep it simple! Your wash routine does not need to be complicated. Modern cloth diapering likes to complicate things but lets be honest cloth diapering is how most people in "developing worlds" diaper their children, they wash in dirty rivers and guess what... their diapers still work! I saw it first hand in Nicaragua. I wash every 2-3 days, I add dirty towels if necessary to get a truly full load. I use enough detergent, usually line 3 and I select the hot wash cycle. Occasionally, I have to run the machine twice but that is only at places that have a really short wash cycle. For the dryer, I separate my covers and hang them in my room (usually on the shower rod) and then I dry the inserts on hot. (yes, hot! I don't have time for anything lower and I am sure it wears them out sooner but I haven't noticed any issues and I have had the same diapers for almost 3 years.) You will not have a problem finding a place to wash them, especially if traveling in the US. Most hotels have laundry — especially interstate hotels — and/or laundry mats are super easy to find. I can tell you that if you like a specific brand of diaper, like Seventh Generation or Earth's Best, you will have a harder time finding those than you will a laundry mat in middle America.
- How many diapers? Well, that depends on your diapers and habits but we use the Grovia Hybrid system with stay-dry/cotton inserts and boosters. We brought 14 inserts, 10 boosters and 7 covers with us to Nicaragua and that was plenty for diapering our daughter. We did not have a dryer in Nicaragua so I just hung things to dry. We easily fit them into her carry-on sized suitcase with her clothing (10 outfits.) I do HIGHLY recommend liners when traveling. They make getting rid of the solids (AKA poop) so much easier. I prefer the Grovia brand again.
- Wash the day before you fly... If you cloth diaper you know that most of the smell is contained in the wet bag but if you push your face right against the outside of the bag you will smell a faint order. So, you don't want a bunch of dirty diapers going into your suitcase just in the wet bag. I wash the day before (or even the morning of) our flight. Then, I only have the wet bag that goes with my diaper bag. The airlines have never counted that little bag (snapped around the strap of the diaper bag) as a separate carry-on... frankly if they tried that I would just let them open it and smell it. If for some reason you have to pack dirty diapers in your suitcase, and I have had to do that, this is what you do... diaper in wet bag, in bigger wet bag, in plastic bag, packed with dirty clothing around that... and your done! Wash it as soon as you get a chance and you will be clean and fresh.
Anything I forgot? Just ask! We travel full-time with cloth diapers so its second nature to me!
FYI: I have not been compensated or asked to support any brand in this post. As you can tell I am a Grovia fan-girl! Their diapers are truly amazing. We use the ONE for overnight, and our big boy sleeps in a cover and insert sometimes (still night training.)