I have been lucky and always have been able to use cloth diapers on Sophia when we travel. It’s a lot like when you use them at home. But as with anything, you will have a few options and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
The Way We Roll #1:
When we go for a long weekend somewhere, if it’s less than 4 days, I make sure everything is clean before I leave. I bring enough wetbags to store dirty diapers for all the days we will be gone and enough clean diapers to last that long. That’s it.
I get rid of poo the same way I do at home, smoosh and plop. But if you need other ways to take care of the poo while traveling, please read The Three D’s of Poo Removal. It will cover other options such as the dunk and swish and disposable liners. After the poo is taken care of everything goes in the wetbags like usual and I wash when we get back.
The Way We Roll #2
We went to the Jersey Shore last week. (We had an AMAZING time BTW.) I was lucky enough that we had rented a house with a washer and dryer. Everything continued on exactly as it does at home. Well, almost exactly. You can expect that where ever you travel, if there is a washer and dryer, they will not work anything like the one you have at home. This particular rental had a very cheap washer and dryer. I had to manually select the cycles and stay nearby to get the washing and rinsing done to where I thought everything would be clean. The dryer took FOREVER to get everything dry as well. The year before we had a place that had the fanciest washer and dryer I had ever seen! I had a learning curve on just figuring the buttons out on the front loader. The dryer actually dried everything in half the time it would have taken me at home!
Just be prepared and go with the flow. I traveled with a little stash of my usual detergent, (Tide in case you are wondering), and figured if there were any problems I could just strip everything when I got home. At the end of the week I counted my blessings as everything had gone wonderfully and my cloth diapers had all come clean on vacation.
The Way I Haven’t Had to Roll Yet, but Could if I Needed to #3 & #4
Flats (and prefolds) clean better and dry faster than ANYTHING else you could use to cloth diaper with. That makes them super easy to travel with. Many families have even hand washed them in hotel rooms and dried them over the shower curtain. You can use them in any shell you have. Super simple!
Finally, it’s ok if you decide to just use disposables while traveling. There are a few earth and baby friendly brands such as Earth’s Best or 7th Generation. You don’t have to feel bad about it. A few days of using disposables to save your sanity is totally worth it. You might just be downright excited to get your little one back in fluff as soon as you get home but don’t stress a few days of not using cloth. Even part-time cloth diapering helps to save space in our landfills.
We’d love to hear your story if you have successfully used cloth diapers while traveling! Lots of our readers are scared of it and always ask what everyone else is doing!
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.
We used a huge space saver bag like the one in the picture when we went on our week long cabin trip last summer. ha. Luckily they had a washer and dryer, so we didn’t have to bring a bunch of dirties home. We have a ton, so I can go a week or so without washing, but it isn’t ideal.
We also keep a stash at my parent’s place (about 3 hours away) so we don’t have to take many when we visit. Then we just wash them the day we leave so they’re ready the next time.
This summer we’ll be having another week long vacation and I’ll be taking our cloth again. Covers take up way less space, but most of our stash is pockets. Luckily, all of our inserts are natural fibers, so I can use all of them in the covers, if needed.
Hello! I just thought I’d share this one: I thought I knew everything about traveling with cloth diapers, since my family and I travel a ton. Something that always bothers me though, is leaving the diapers soiled for a day or two. I hate public restrooms for cleaning diapers and have tried a few different ways of prewashing then it hit me! : the RV dump is the perfect prewash station ever! I don’t have to bring the kids into the gas station and all I need is a bucket and a spray nosel to make this an easy solution to traveling and camping with cloth diapers. All the human waste goes down the RV dump drain and my diapers are not going to get ruined by setting there full of poop!
Jennifer Reinhardt says
Great suggestion! Thank you so much for sharing :)
Just got back from a 9 day road trip up to Maine. We stayed in 2 hotels and a campground during the trip. I packed prefolds, flats, covers, a few AIOs and some of those disposable Grovia inserts. I brought a couple wet bags and stored 3 days of dirty diapers in them. We used the disposable inserts while walking around Boston so we didnt have to carry a bunch of dirty diapers. I wasn’t able to do laundry as often as I wanted because we were so busy. Luckily we have enough flats and prefolds that we only did laundry once in the middle and once towards the end. Its definitely possible and I felt much better knowing my little girl had the comfy cotton on her bottom instead of icky disposables. I brought several small packets BG detergent and a small bottle of liquid detergent that I was able to use to wash poopy diapers by hand.
We typically use prefolds/fitteds and covers. When we’ve taken 7+ day plane trips to both San Francisco and Seattle I have taken a few fitteds for the plane and then used a diaper service at the destination to provide prefolds during my stay. They delivered and picked up from the hotel so the diapers were waiting when we arrived! For the SF trip, I just took all the dirty diapers from travel home with me (rinsed and dried the outboud diapers in the hotel before repacking). For the Seattle trip, we had a few day had a layover in another city, so I used fitteds and disposable inserts (GroVia without using the sticky – which doesn’t come off the cover!!) for those days and I washed the fitteds in a load of laundry (yes, with my clothes) while we were there for use on the return flights. Required some extra planning, but worked great and we were able to follow our normal diapering routine.
We usually travel with disposable – but unfortunately we don’t travel often! If we did I might change that – but thanks for the good info!
We travel with cloth, and use covers with biodegradable inserts while backpacking. I have couple of blog posts about it here: http://diveforscience.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/save-money-the-planet-baby-diapers-edition/ and here: https://diveforscience.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=883&action=edit
I’ve used disposables a couple of times for travel and wound up not liking it at all- I could never find places to throw them away after changing, Joey tended to develop diaper rash, and I had constant fear of running out! My backup is to always carry a few flats if we are going somewhere that won’t have a washer/dryer and hand wash/line dry
Amber P says
I took prefolds, detergent and a large bucket to our cabin. I found a tutorial online for how to use a 5 gallon pail to wash diapers so I had my other half drill a hole in the centre of the lid, and washed with a plunger. 5minutes of hard labour, then dump the water, 5 more minutes, and rinsing and ringing before hanging on the line. My arms are stronger and my diapers have never been so white! :) I cheated and used a washer in town twice in two weeks. Not too bad though!
Autumn Beck says
I’d say 90% of the time we go on a trip we take cloth diapers. There have been a couple of long camping trips that I opted for either disposable inserts or 7th generation disposable diapers.
I took our cloth diapers to the beach this year and killed two (well three) birds with one stone – I used the hot beach sun to dry, whiten, and kill any bacteria present I’m the diapers!