Yes. I did it. Camping and cloth diapering.
I don’t think I’d have had the nerve if it hadn’t been for the Flats Challenge I took back in May. Handwashing flat diapers showed me how simple it would be to live outdoors and cloth diaper. Definitely washing thick inserts and pocket diapers would not have been doable. For me, at least.
Because of the possibility of rain, I took my package of Flip Disposable Inserts. I ended up using those to supplement so I wouldn’t have so many diapers to wash. I used a Flip Insert a couple times the first few days, and then stuffed a Bambo Nature disposable diaper with another Flip Insert for night time (I probably didn’t need to do that!).
In retrospect, I could have double stuffed a cover with two flats for night diapering, but I was concered about leakage! Also I am not insane. Though some have called me so for camping. Camping with a baby. Cloth diapering. Cloth diapering while camping with a baby. But I digress.
Of course, cloth diapering while camping is no different than any other kind of cloth diapering. The laundry is what differs.
First, let me say my son put me to the test. Of all the times to let loose! He did his best to fill poopy diapers 2-3 times a day! Not the kind that rolls off into the toilet. No, no, no, no! Trust me, this was the very. worst. kind. I will spare you.
Fortunately, I was armed with disposable liners from AppleCheeks. I faithfully lined nearly every diaper change with one of these, so when the mess came, about 50-60% could be peeled off and flushed. That still left a pretty big mess!
First, I rinsed the messy diaper in a 5-gallon bucket about 1/3 full of cold water. Using my plunger, I agitated the diaper, and got the remaining mess off very well. Dumped the water and put the still-dirty diaper in a fresh pail of cold water to soak overnight. Diapers that were simply wet I stored in my wet bag.
Unlike the Flats Challenge, I did not wash every night. I had enough flats and receiving blankets, plus the Flip disposables and Bambo Natures at night, to go two days without washing. On the morning of Day 3, I did my first batch of laundry.
I boiled a pot of water on the camp stove. Probably 1.5 gallons. While the water boiled, I did a cold-water rinse of all the dirty diapers (only about 8 due to using disposables at night and a few disposable inserts during the day to reduce the laundry load). I agitated the cold rinse bucket with the plunger, but mostly let them sit.When the water boiled, I put it into another 5-gallon bucket and added a scoop of Nellie’s Laundry Soda (more on that later). When the detergent dissolved, I squeezed out the rinsed diapers and threw them into the boiled water bucket. After a few swishes, I added additional cold water so I would have a lot of water to wash.
Closed the lid on the bucket and used the plunger to agitate the wash load for about 5 minutes. I spent some time chatting with my family and watching the baby play, so this took longer than 5 minutes in real time!
My DH was so kind as to get another bucket full of clean cold water. I squeezed out the washed load and transferred them to the 2nd bucket (definitely helped to have two buckets to go between for rinse/wash). A bit of a soak and some agitation, and the water looked clear. I wrung them out, gave them a snap to reshape the diaper, and hung them on the line to dry!
The weather was clear with low humidity, so the diapers were dry by the evening!
The afternoon of Day 4, I did a second load the same way. These needed two rinses for some reason. The remaining diapers I took home to wash, because we were home by the evening of Day 5.
All in all – it took me about 45 minutes start to finish. But it wasn’t 45 minutes dedicated to the task. Much of that time was just waiting so the diapers could soak, or water would boil. It was easy, and didn’t take away from spending time with my family or son, since we were all hanging around out-of-doors anyway.
I’d do it again.
Have you had to travel with cloth diapers? Did you handwash or find another routine for laundry? What are your tips/methods for making my routine easier?
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