Camping With Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering on a camping trip… I know what you’re thinking. Madness! Well no, actually, it’s not. The idea might seem a bit scary, but it is 100% possible with a bit of preparation. If you’re wanting to take reusable diapers camping there are two questions you need to ask yourself.

How long are you going to be away for? And what facilities will there be?

How long your trip is will determine if you need to wash your diapers, reusable diapers shouldn’t really sit around waiting to be washed for more than 3 days – I’ve heard some horror stories about mould and mildew growing on dirty diapers. If you are only going for a couple of nights, you can get away with just dry pailing and then just washing once you’re home.

Camping seems to create a lot of laundry anyway, so what’s another load? If you will be camping for longer than 3 days, you will need to do a wash. Which brings us to the second question.

Some campsites will have laundering facilities if this is the case you just need to remember to bring your washing powder and some change and you can wash and dry as you would at home. Others will not have washing and drying facilities, but might still have clean running water, all this means is you need to handwash your diapers. For this, you will need your washing powder, a large bucket, a plunger and rubber gloves. You’ll need to scrape the poo off your diaper/liner into the toilet, then presoak them for 30 minutes (laminated items only for 10 minutes) in warm water with a pinch of detergent. You then need to remove diapers and refill bucket with cold water, detergent and diapers, now you will need to plunge at least 50 times, let the diapers sit in the water for around 30 minutes and then plunge again another 20 times. Empty and refill the bucket with cold water, plunge until the soapy water is gone. Now just hang your diapers to dry. If you do not have access to warm water extend your presoak time.

How many diapers should you take and what kind? You probably already have an idea of how many diapers your child goes through in a day, multiply by 3 and add your night diapers. This way you have enough for 3 days or to wash every other day. I personally would pack an extra one or two, (I don’t know about you but when I go on vacation I always pack extra pants) you know just in case… As for what kind of diapers to take, take what you are confident work for you and your child, don’t take a bunch of brand new diapers that you’ve never used before. Prefolds and wraps will take up the least space when packing, but it is easy enough to stuff 20 pocket diapers into a wet/dry hanging bag or if you only have one really big wet/dry bag, do what I did and just take a big laundry sack!

If you plan to dry pail you will need somewhere to store your soiled diapers, a large wet bag, a bucket with a lid or even a bin liner will work for that. You will also want a smaller wetbag for when you’re not at the campsite.

It’s really not so different from cloth diapering when you’re at home, it will just take a bit of planning.

Cloth Nappies: Washing, Drying and Storage.

When you chose to have a child, you signed on the dotted line for more laundry. If you have a good wash routine and a decent sized stash, you don’t really have to have that much more work to do when it comes to cloth diapering full time. Read why I chose to use cloth nappies here.

What Happens To The Poo?

Firstly, let me point out that if your baby is exclusively breastfed (no formula or solids), then washing is super easy for you, you just chuck the soiled nappy straight in the wash, because a breastfed babies poop is water-soluble. Okay, so what about formula fed babies or babies who are eating solids? When it comes to weaning poop (or formula poo), you’re gonna want to have a poop spatula or knife or spoon, just whatever works for you. We have a lovely pink spatula from Poundworld, it sits beside the toilet. The more solids your baby eats, the easier the poo is to scrape off, as obviously your babies poo becomes more solid.

cloth diaper storage This is our storage system (and half of our stash)

How Often To Wash?

This question depends on how many nappies you own. I probably have around 35 reusable nappies, but there are a few that I really don’t like, I only use them if we are behind on washing/drying and are desperate. Let’s say there 28 nappies that we actually use, I could get away with washing every 3 days, however, to be safe I like to wash every other (and I only have 5 night nappies).

The Actual Wash… (I am washing mostly pocket nappies)

You’ve flushed your poo, now what?

  • Pre-wash – A cold rinse cycle with no detergent and no softener (on my machine this cycle runs for 50 minutes)
  • Main Wash – A long 40 Degree wash, not an eco wash, with detergent but no softener (this is a 2 hour cycle for us)
  • Rinse – A spin (this is a 10 minute quick spin just to take out extra water)

What Detergent Should I Use?

When choosing a detergent to wash reusable nappies with, it is best to look for something which has natural ingredients, and manufacturers often recommend a detergent in powder form. In our house we use Miofresh, which is a nappy cleanser, plus LIDL own brand washing powder. And NO SOFTENER.


Line Dry Or Tumble Dry?

The answer is either!

Line drying is great, it saves you money since you don’t need put the tumble drier on. Sunlight is a natural stain remover, so all those nasty poo stains will magically disappear! The only downside to line drying is that it is weather permitting, and in England, it’s sometimes quite hard to predict the weather.

Tumble drying is great because it is fast and makes your boosters feel super soft. Always tumble dry on a low heat, and try to avoid putting anything PUL in, so your shells and pockets shouldn’t go in.

In our house, if the weather is nice they’re on the line and then a “freshen up” in the dryer. If it’s not nice weather, the pockets/shells go on the radiators (which are rarely on) and the boosters go in the dryer.


Sorting And Storing

I usually stuff my nappies on a nighttime while watching the TV, but before stuffing them I put all my inserts in piles of what material they are, which makes it much easier as I just grab one from the microfiber pile and one from the bamboo pile.

You can see above how I store our nappies, I usually put my favourite ones towards the front, night nappies and extra inserts are on the shelf below. Everyone has a different storage system and it’s just finding what works best for you.

Victoria @ TheGrowingMum keeps most of hers under the changing table but has a few stored downstairs too. victoriaBoth Sarah @ TobyGoesBananas and Paige @ PaigeAndTheTeaParty use an IKEA kallax for storage.

It’s not so hard after all. It just takes a little getting used to.

Find lots of great information from The Nappy Lady.

Info on how to srip and sanitize your nappies here.