Travelling with cloth nappies

image shows Rebecca and R paddling in the sea in Cornwall

Unsurprisingly it took me a lot longer than I had anticipated to have a night away using cloth.  We originally planned to drive to Cornwall to visit my family in March, but lockdown put paid to that idea.  But as lockdown restrictions gradually eased we decided to take a chance and drive to Cornwall (staying in a separate flat to maintain social distancing!).  Of course this meant that I would have access to washing facilities but for some reason I was still a little nervous.  Would I have enough nappies? 

Turns out I didn’t need to worry.  I overpacked, forgot our night nappies and we still got through three nights away.  So here’s my thoughts on travelling with cloth.

How long are you away for and can you wash your nappies while away?

OK so first consideration is how long you will be away for.  If it’s only a few nights then sticking to your cloth nappies is completely doable without having to worry about washing.  You can take several large wetbags and catch up on the washing when you get home (although be prepared that this might take several days).

We spent three nights away so it was a balance between whether to wash or not.  In the end I decided to wash even though I knew I had enough nappies because I’d rather take home clean nappies than dirty ones.  But if I didn’t have access to a washing machine I think that three nights would probably be my limit.  Before it got cancelled we planned to go to Greece for 10 days and I knew we would need to use disposables because trying stay in cloth while staying in a hotel seemed like too much, plus I simply wouldn’t of had room in my suitcase (although I did consider taking night nappies).  Ultimately it comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

I found while I was away that I didn’t have enough nappies for a full load so ended up adding in some clothes as well, switching from my normal 60C wash to 40C.

It’s all well and good being able to wash your nappies but will you have time and space to dry them?  I was able to use an airer while we were away but my nappies still weren’t completely dry by the time we were packing to go home.  It’s an important consideration, especially if you are planning to wash and dry your nappies to be worn more than once during your time away.

Do you have everything you need?

I got really nervous about not having enough nappies.  For some reason, being out and about and not keeping to the routine that we’ve been locked in over the last few months got me worried.  We normally do at least five nappy changes a day but I wanted to err on the side of caution and have at least six nappies for each day.  Unsurprisingly I overpacked! But overpacking is in my view better than being caught out with not enough – as we were travelling in our own car we didn’t have to worry about how much space the nappies would take up.

In order to try to save on space I packed prefolds and wraps.  Prefolds are a really good option if you are travelling as you can get multiple uses out of a single wrap, plus as they fold out they generally dry much quicker than other types of nappy.  I even ended up using prefolds to bulk out a pocket as a night nappy after managing to forget ours.

Which brings me onto my next point – try not to forget anything!  I completely forgot to pick our night nappies up off the drier so had to improvise.  Luckily I had some new hemp boosters (not prewashed) that I could use for a little extra absorbency and picked out the best of the nappies I had with me for overnight (a Baba and Boo pocket, a Seedlings pocket and a Close Pop-in).  But things like wipes are easily forgotten.  If you are planning a wash consider taking your own washing powder so that you don’t have to worry about buying some or not having the right type.

Plan your days

As we were going to be doing a long car journey I carefully picked out the nappies that would go in our changing bag. To avoid compression leaks I opted for bamboo nappies over microfiber, as well as stopping frequently for changes (we also took our potty as we’re dabbling with elimination communication).

I knew that we’d be going out and seeing family and I can’t resist an opportunity to show off our beautiful nappies so I made sure my favourites were packed. I found that I was using more of my bamboo nappies rather than microfiber as they are more reliable.

Be prepared for a lot of washing

The hardest thing that I found was trying to wash all my nappies ready to travel. There was a run of wet days in the run up to our trip so I didn’t have a chance to get things on the line to dry.

If you decide to save up your washing for when you get home you’ll need to catch up as well. Make sure you have clean and dry nappies waiting for you at home to make this a little easier.

Go easy

I know it can be hard, but go easy on yourself if you do need to use disposables.  A trip away is supposed to be fun and relaxing and stressing about nappies isn’t worth spoiling your family time for.  Remember that you are already making a big difference by using cloth every day and a week of disposables isn’t the end of the world.

Do you have any top tips for using cloth while away from home.

R x.

Pin for later:

Packing list for travelling with cloth nappies

Published by Rebecca

Photographer, explorer, travel and lifestyle blogger

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