cloth diaper blog, news, sale, announcement, and giveaways

Vacation Diaries Holiday Edition: Which Diapers are Best for Travel?

Posted by Becca on 12/3/2010 to Cloth Diaper How-To

It’s that time again! Time to pack a suitcase for you and your spouse and a trunk full of baby gear for your little one and go off to visit family and friends for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, or Diwali, you will surely be visiting friends and family within the next few weeks. As you contemplate the space in your car versus the amount of things you must fit into that space, I’m sure you’re seriously tempted to forgo cloth for a couple of days and use disposables simply because they’re easier. But I’m here to persuade you to rethink that option for a couple of reasons:

  • You’ll save money.
  • Disposables are yucky.
  • Your baby’s skin is worth the extra trunk space.
  • Using cloth on trips really isn’t more difficult than using cloth at home.
Of course, you may have to change your regular cloth diapering routine—scratch that, you WILL have to change it, but that’s no problem. Here’s the key: You need to choose which diapers to bring based on what’s best for your travel situation. Here are some of the options you have and the pros and cons for each:

Pocket Diapers:

ProsPocket Diapers are easy to put on and generally have a stay dry inner layer which is great for long car rides.

Cons—They’re a one time use diaper so you’ll need more of them. If you do wash them, there’s a little bit of prep involved in getting them ready to be used again since you’ll have to stuff the pockets.

All In Ones:

ProsAll in One diapers are just so easy to use. They usually don’t even require pre stuffing and they make diaper changes on the road just as easy as using disposables.

Cons—They will take up a lot of space in your car and they have a slower drying time. You may want to use the dryer rather than line-dry them just this once.

Fitted Diapers:

Pros—Since you can use fitted diapers with the same cover for a couple of diaper changes, you’ll need less packing space. Also, they require no prep after going through the wash.

Cons—They have longer drying time and require a couple more steps than pockets and AIOs when putting them on your baby so they may or may not be ideal for quick changes in gas stations or restaurants.

Prefolds and Contours:

Pros—< a href="">Prefolds and contour diapers require less space in your suitcase than either fitted diapers or pocket diapers. Also, I personally feel that they are easier to wash since you don’t have to worry about microfiber getting stinky if you can’t go through your regular wash routine and include the necessary amount of rinses. And, they line dry great so if you don’t have a dryer at your disposal—no problem! Finally, I just love that they are all natural and so gentle against your baby’s skin.

Cons—They require the most amount of steps at diaper changes. Whether trifolded and inserted into a cover or snappied/pinned, they’re just not quite as easy as ready to go snaps and Velcro.


Pros—Believe it or not, I feel that wool is the easiest option for travel. Wool only has to be washed every two or three weeks, and only needs to be air dried between diaper changes so you can use the same cover every other change if you want. Also, it’s breatheable so I find it a wonderful option for long trips and unpredictable situations where diaper changes every 1-2 hours may not be an option. In my humble opinion, wool coupled with a fitted or a prefold is the best option for your baby’s skin.

Cons—If the wool gets soiled, you will have to hand wash it and let it air dry and it can take a full 24 hours to air dry depending on how well you roll out the water in a towel. Also, wool can get compression leaks which aren’t really leaks, per say, but rather a light dampness that occurs when your baby is not changed frequently enough. Using the right amount of absorbency should curb this problem, however.


Pros—if you really must use disposable, why not lessen your carbon footprint by going with a hybrid diaper (a cloth cover with a disposable insert). Generally, the inserts are biodegradable and they take up a little less space in a landfill than a typical disposable diaper. These are easy because you can trash the insert. The inserts will take up only a very small portion of your trunk space and don’t require washing a load of diapers.

Cons—Hybrids mean garbage which clutters planet earth. Also, the inserts must be bought over and over again which means that you aren’t saving money the way you do with cloth.

If you do decide to go with disposables this holiday season, I won’t judge. I understand that sometimes they seem like the most hassle-free option. But I am here to tell you that doing so really isn’t necessary when you have so many user-friendly cloth options that are just better for both you and your baby hands down.