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Using Cloth Diapers on the Road

We recently took our first overnight trip as a family of four - two adults and two littles. The added challenge (or so I thought) was that our younger child, Harper, is in cloth. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t any different from using disposables. Seriously. Just as easy. Our trip was 3 - 3 ½ hours away to see some friends in Western Massachusetts. We fit in tons of fun: a stop at the outlets, a visit to one of our favorite places (the Eric Carle Museum), plenty of playtime, a fun movie night (picture all four of us snuggled up on a couch watching “Inside Out” - the only one who wasn’t crying was the sleeping baby), more junk food than I can wrap my head around, and some time at one of the awesomest playgrounds ever. In the midst of it all, our son had his first “sleepover” (at the end of the hall), our daughter slept like a champ, and our cloth diapering went off without a glitch. Score! The biggest challenge was actually the moment on the way home that we were sidetracked because of a little boy who needed to go potty. You know, at one of those times that you juuuuuust got onto the highway and the next stopping point isn’t for many, many miles. I’m pleased to say there were no accidents! I thought my experience might help anyone gearing up for some summer vacations, so here are some tips!

traveling in cloth

Start small. I know a one-nighter doesn’t seem like much, but it was a first step towards longer and bigger trips. Plus, the exhaustion of traveling for about 36 hours was a lot for us. We know that, while we LOVE the exhilaration and fun of travel, it starts to drain us rather than invigorate if we’re gone for too long. Shorter trips are also great to help build your confidence that, YES, YOU CAN CLOTH DIAPER ON THE ROAD!!! Stock up on wet bags! Here’s how I did it: If we were heading in some place (like the outlet mall), I’d take a cloth diaper or two in my purse along with a smaller wet bag. After finished with our excursion, I’d shove any dirty (rolled up) dipes into a larger wet bag. At the end of the day, that one would be jammed full. We ended up with one and a half of these by the time we got home. If you can use cloth wipes, do. I used disposable wipes along the way, so I had to toss them out whenever near a garbage when I had the chance. It was kind of a pain. I’d take using even more precious cargo space with a large stack of cloth wipes and some Booty Luster over the small irritation of finding a trash can for random poopy wipes anyday. Lesson learned! Plus, you can just toss it all into the wash when you’re done. Super easy. Take stock of your diaper situation. Think about how many diapers you use in a day and bring enough. I packed one reusable shopping bag filled with cloth diapers, which I grabbed and threw in my purse as needed. I probably brought way too many, but I wanted to be safe. Also, if you have a variety of types of diapers, I have learned that stuffed pockets = longer time between stops (and longer sleeps at nighttime). Yes, they’re “fluffier” (read: big bum), but keep baby drier longer. Do laundry immediately. I know you’re tired from traveling, but get those diapers in the wash the second you walk in the door. (Okay, not the very second, but you get the idea.) Not only does it fight the set-in stinkiness, it replenishes your stash depending on how many you own. If you’re going for more than one night and are staying at a rental property or friend’s house, ask if you can throw in a load of laundry. (Don’t forget to bring along a bit of your normal soap; I’ve actually kept some laundry soap samples I received in the mail for just this purpose.) It’ll make life easier in the long run. Do you guys have any advice to add for first-time cloth diapering voyagers?
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