Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Traveling Tots!

We’ve been using cloth for nearly three years, across two kids. We also travel regularly, ranging from short weekend trips to visit family/friends to week-long vacations in fun spots.

For a long time, we used disposables when traveling. This was partly for cost reasons: It’s usually cheaper to buy disposables (with coupons, which I always have since we use disposables so infrequently) than to pay to do laundry. It was also partly because my husband was averse to the idea of traveling with cloth. I didn’t really understand why, but since he wasn’t fully onboard with cloth in general, I figured it was better to respect his feelings and compromise while traveling, in order to maintain his support at home.

But on our last few trips, he’s been open to using cloth, and it’s worked out really well. Our first major trip with cloth was a one-week trip last fall to visit my parents in Atlanta. Then, a few weeks ago, we used cloth on a four-day camping trip. We also have two one-week trips planned for July and September, and we’re planning to use cloth on those as well.

Our essential supplies for traveling with cloth:

Diapers. I’m a prefolds/fitteds girl at home, but I find that I prefer the ease of pockets when traveling. For our upcoming trips, I’m stocking up on Best Bottoms diapers, which consist of a reusable shell and snap-in inserts. I like these for traveling because they are more compact – very important, since space is always at a premium when traveling with kids! Here is what four diaper changes look like with Best Bottoms (on the left, three inserts plus a shell with an insert) and regular BumGenius pockets (on the right):

Extra inserts. If I know my son may need to go longer than usual between diaper changes – for example, on longer drives, or on the plane – I’ll slip an extra insert into his diaper to provide more absorbency and prevent leaks. I usually use Joey Bunz hemp inserts in his pockets, as they do a great job of locking away moisture. For Best Bottoms, there is an “overnight” insert that snaps to the regular insert to add absorbency.

Wipes. At home, we usually wet cloth wipes with plain water and store them in an old disposable wipes container. This setup is easy to travel with. For the camping trip, I brought along the disposable wipes container and some wipes. For the trip to Atlanta, I just brought dry wipes, to save space when flying. We just wet them with tap water when we needed them.

Wetbags. At home, we use a trash can as a diaper pail, but it’s too bulky for travel. Large hanging zippered wetbags take up hardly any space in luggage, contain smells well, and keep dirty diapers safely contained. I have two large Planet Wise wetbags and one large zippered wetbag that I made myself. I usually bring all three; they easily hold up to three days’ worth of diapers. I also bring one or two smaller wetbags to use on daytrips.

Poop disposal aids. At home, we use a spatula to scrape dirty diapers, when necessary (maybe 25 % of the time). On the road, so far, I haven’t brought anything special. Sometimes, I’ll use a bit of toilet paper to clean off dirty diapers, but that’s about it. I’m considering bringing either flushable liners or the spatula on our upcoming trips, though, just to make this part a little easier. If you’re used to using a diaper sprayer at home, you’ll definitely want to give some thought as to how you’ll deal with dirty diapers, as sprayers don’t travel well!

Laundry detergent. I didn’t do diaper laundry on the camping trip. That’s about as long as I would want to go without washing diapers at all. For the trip to Atlanta, I brought a little bit of the detergent we use at home (Country Save) in a Ziploc bag. Since we were staying with my parents, we were able to use their washer and dryer. We washed every 2-3 days, just like at home.

For our two upcoming trips, we found vacation rental properties through Each of the properties has a washer and dryer, so I’m planning to bring detergent again and do laundry there. I’m really looking forward to it! The properties were about the same price as a hotel room, but give us a lot more room to spread out and a full kitchen, as well as the washer/dryer (which should come in handy for regular clothes as well as diapers). It’s a great setup for traveling with kids, with or without cloth diapers, so I think we’ll probably look for vacation rental properties on future trips as well.

That’s it! Traveling with cloth really is a breeze. Give it a try on your next trip!

Lisa and her husband, Richard, are the proud parents of Mia (4 years) and William (17 months). Both kids were flying long before they were crawling! Lisa maintains a blog on traveling with kids, The Traveling Tots.


  1. We are actually leaving tomorrow for a five day trip back to KY to visit my husband's family. This is actually our second trip since Zaida has been born, and we used cloth the first time as well. But, we used prefolds. This time I will take pockets.. I was actually thinking of using prefolds and pockets because I thought it'd be less bulky than all pockets, but now you've got me second guessing. I have a couple of Rockin' Green sample packs I will be bringing for detergent.

  2. Traveling as well next month, my plan is disposable inserts with grovia shells, Econobum covers. I will be bringing my entire stash as well since we are moving cross country. This will be a road trip from West coast to East coast. I am worried about being prepared, thank you for the tips!